Today is day one of our big trip for the year. Two long-sought objectives:
- I’ve been wishing for a vacation in Chicago for years to see the sights.
- We haven’t visited our friends Paul & Biji in Michigan since Nov 2008 for Thanksgiving. That’s two years too long.
The plan for the trip is spend a somewhat leisurely two days driving to Illinois with the entire family, with a stopover in Cleveland, Ohio. There was some debate whether we should try to make it all the way to Illinois in one day, stop over in Pittsburgh, or stop over in mid-Ohio. Ultimately, we decided to stop in mid-Ohio, rest our legs, and not exhaust/stress ourselves out. The plan is to arrive in Illinois on Friday, spend the weekend with Paul & Biji sightseeing in Chicago, then head to Michigan to spend the week with them at their house. Next Friday, we’ll make the trip from Michigan to New Jersey in one day.
The drive today wasn’t too bad. We were originally planning to officially start the trip at 8am, but we didn’t get on the road until 2pm. Blame it on a busy week preventing us from packing during the week. Namita and I took turns driving through Pennsylvania and Ohio, and we took an occasional break for the kids to get out, stretch their legs, and snack. We brought some toys for the kids to play with, but got bored easily, so we did our best to entertain them.
Our route took us along I-80, which I found picturesque in western PA, but there were very few cars/trucks on the roads. The weather was good, and we made pretty good time, until we hit road construction in numerous spots in PA and OH. They would close the right lane, everyone merges, and you drive slowly single-file for a few miles. Mind numbing! I didn’t mind the drive so much, but there was so little to look at. It’s just cornfield after cornfield.
Funny story — so for a long period of time, myself and this 3-series BMW driver with the NY license plate “Sam Syed” were driving….. er, fast, through the western half of PA. I won’t say how fast, but……. let’s just agree that it was above the posted speed limit. My motto has always been, “Hey, when you’re trying to make good time, don’t be the idiot driving fast in the left lane. Find the linebacker and follow him instead.” I would drive in the right lane, but keeping up with “Sam Syed” while he drove in the left lane at his speed. We’re both going just as fast, but I figure he’s more noticeable. Nearing the PA-Ohio border, a PA state trooper was sitting in a depression in the median, with only his windows visible. BAM! As we pass him, I’m thankfully going fast behing a truck, and my linebacker “Sam Syed” was in the left lane, but quickly moving to the right lane. Too late. The trooper passes us, and pulls over my fellow NYer. Sam, thanks for taking one for the team.
By the time we reached the Ohio border, it was dark and raining. Furthermore, there were a lot more police officers on the road, so I kept it at the speed limit. We checked into our hotel this evening a little after 10pm, dried off, and ordered some so-so wings and fries from a local place called Rascals that delivers. I didn’t think the wings were all that, but at least they were open. We’re currently staying at the very nice Doubletree Hotel Cleveland South in Independence, Ohio. We’re recharging tonight, and expect to arrive in the Chicago area tomorrow evening. I’m hitting the hay soon, and be on the road to Chicago tomorrow morning.
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