Whoo! With family out-of-town, holiday travel is a necessary evil every year. At least we only have to cross the state, and flying is not involved. That would be an evil with a capital “E”! Our route goes from Cleveland almost to Cincinnati down I-71 with several cross-country treks to get to our parent’s home – we have made the trip three times during this Thanksgiving/Christmas season. Here are some observations about winter travel across Ohio.
- Hooray for Speedway gas stations! 99.9% of the time the bathrooms are clean. My husband can get a good cup of coffee or even a latte, my son can get any kind of cold drink and snack he is in the mood for. I like fountain drinks with ice which I can always get there plus now they have a great selections of hot teas for us non-coffee drinkers. I especially like the chai spice, 2 tea bags in a 20 oz. cup, add sugar substitute, dulce du leche creamer and a shot of half and half. Mmmmmm, not Starbucks but delicious and only $1.19, plus loyalty points for everything purchased with my Speedy Rewards card.
- Our GPS has really reduced the arguments that ensue when one passenger (OK it’s me) is deficient in map reading skills. Even if you get lost, GPS will get you where you wanted to go. For example, we were trying to get to a Frisch’s in Columbus and missed a turn, ending up deep in the maze of a residential neighborhood. All we had to do is set the GPS for the Frisch’s nearby and it took us right there. If you have always thought this was a luxury, think again – I now believe it is a necessity for frequent auto travelers.
- With no leaves on the trees, you can see all kinds of things in peoples backyards and farm fields and forests that the foliage hid during the summer like deer tree stands, utility buildings, big campers, pools, trampolines, playhouses, interesting junk, even the occasional car up on blocks.
- Ditto above for wildlife – all kinds of bird and squirrel nests, deer grazing, hawks perusing the ground for a tasty meal. Lots of people in southern Ohio have mules or donkeys. Don’t know why but we saw a lot this trip.
- Weather can be extremely different from place to place. This trip for example, we left home in a blizzard and came home in a blizzard, all because of the phenomenon that is “Lake Effect Snow.” Coming home today, we got within 30 miles of Cleveland when it started and we drove through it for only 4 miles, coming out on the other side, closer to our home, where the roads were clear. However, not before watching a Suburban towing a utility trailer spin 180 degrees across three lanes in front of us before coming to a stop turned the wrong way. Thankfully, no cars were hit and everyone was able to come to a stop or avoid the spin, how I don’t know, I guess our angels were on duty today. And just before we got there, a little further south, the sun was shining brightly and the roads were dry all the way to Cincy.
- If you are traveling through Ohio I recommend a stop at Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio. We spent a couple of days there shopping and eating. Watched part of the OSU Rose Bowl Game in Bar Louie’s, great place to drink. Ate some good Mexican food at Adobe Gila’s. Picked up dessert at the Cheesecake Factory. Shopped at Crate & Barrel, the Origins store, Trader Joe’s. Stores there are too numerous to mention, check out their web site. It’s a really fun place and we hope to go back in the summer when we can walk around with out freezing!
- We try to hit some of our favorite local/regional chains on our trips, places that we don’t have or are not close to us in Cleveland, such as: LaRosa’s Pizzeria, Frisch’s Big Boy, Skyline Chili, Gold Star Chili and United Dairy Farmer’s for ice cream! Be sure to try them out if you travel through Ohio, they are worth a stop.
After some catching up here at home, I will be back to reporting on going’s on here on the North Coast with photos. Hope 2010 is a great year for you!