On our first day (yesterday) we tried to put some distance behind us and made a pretty good job of it. We pulled into a suburb of Cleveland around 8:30 pm after 575 miles and 9/12 hours or so on the road. Bill and I split the driving pretty evenly and stopped five or six times for fuel or just to break things up. After checking in to our hotel (Fairfield Inn, thank you Marriott points) we took a stroll and treated ourselves to an unconscionably expensive dinner at a Hyde Park steak house. We ate in the bar and convinced the waitress to put the Bruins / Maple Leafs game on for us. Food was amazing. Bruins won. And we slept like the dead.
This morning we both honored our goal to get a little formal exercise every day on this trip. I performed a series of undignified but age appropriate, in-room calisthenics followed by a 1/2 hour on the elliptical in the hotel fitness room. Bill went for a morning walk and then spent a half hour on the treadmill.
Then we dawdled a bit. I gassed up and scraped 500 miles of bugs off the windshield of our car. What a massacre. I found a Whole Foods and stocked up on organic road fruit and Kombucha. After check-out we drove around a bit, found my old childhood home in Cleveland Heights, headed downtown, parked, had lunch, and finally hit the road for Chicago around 1:00 pm. We had intended to try to get all the way to Dubuque, IA tonight but that plan got scrapped. In addition to our late start, we got sidetracked and wandered off the highway a couple of times, once to explore the back roads of Indiana and another to dip our toe into Michigan.
On the Indiana side of the Michigan line we visited an enormous fireworks retail outlet. The store was open, but dark and vacated; all the employees appeared to be out back. Maybe where it was safer. This place had absolutely everything a pyrotechnophile could possibly dream of. Including a $500 Super Assortment of rockets and bombs so big we couldn’t have fit it in the car. Which is fortunate or we might have bought it. Surreal. The Indiana State Motto is “Crossroads of America” but something more along the lines of “We Dare You to Buy Your Fireworks Elsewhere” seemed more apt.
We wasted enough time thus that by the time we got to Chicago the sun was setting. So we completed a quick drive-by (apologies to Chris McCahill and Alex Klemarczyk for not stopping) which included an obligatory traffic jam on Lakeshore Drive before we cut back through town and got back on I-90 towards Rockford, IL. That’s where we now plan to bed down for the night.
So a couple of general observations on our drive today. Indiana is flat as a pancake and has a gunpowder problem. Truck drivers and toll collectors are extremely courteous. Chicago is overwhelming. And this is a lot of fun.