Early Tuesday morning we started out. Well, not that early.  It was almost 10:30. But, hey! The best part of vacation is that you don’t have to punch a clock! Our goal, however, was Columbus, Ohio. A mere 500 miles in one day. My dear hubby does not like straight four-lane roads with wide vistas on flat land. We took half of the trip on country roads.

The first hundred miles were roads we take all the time. So there was nothing to discover there! He learned how to handle the trailer on familiar, though mountainous, roads, using the new rear-view mirrors and testing out the new struts and brakes he had installed two weeks previously. This man is amazing! My poor depth perception leads him to decide that driving a 24’ trailer is not a good idea. He drives. I walk the dog and do the trailer maintenance. That works!

By two, we were hungry. Since dear hubby spent twenty years living near Rochester, he knew just the place to stop, Charlies, in Ontario. They have an assortment of sandwiches for eat in or take out. Darn good fried haddock, a staple of hubby’s diet. I opted for the lower-calorie Grilled cheese with tomato and a salad. Fast, reasonable. The place has been in business since 1969 and is still family-operated. They have several places opened year round, and for those who are not hungry, they have a bar next to the original Charlies that we went to. But a separate door to enter.

Late in the afternoon we got close to the New York-Pa. border, where the land flattened out and everything was a new discover. I had never been to Johnstown, NY. This is the actual home of Lucille Ball, and her alter ego, Lucille McGillicutty Ricardo. Although we did not stop to look for her house, or a museum, we did notice that there is a bridge in town named “Lucille Ball-Desi Arnez Memorial Bridge”. They name every bridge after someone or something down in that area. They don’t label the rivers at the bridge like in the north part of the state, just the bridge.

I don’t know why I never knew this, but you can pull a fully-applianced trailer or RV into a highway rest stop and spend the night. What a great idea for a couple who just want to stop long enough to eat and sleep. No spending time checking in, hooking up, leveling the trailer for the night. Just stop and go! The refrigerator works on battery, or electric when plugged into a source. It has about 8 cubic feet of storage space. The freezer has two cubic feet. Enough for several days of food. The water reservoir has sufficient supply of water to wash up, flush toilet a few times, all with no external source. Isn’t technology wonderful? So, of course, we chose to stay at a rest stop in Ohio the first night. The bed was comfortable and, if it weren’t for the excitement, we would have slept well.

By 6:30 we were on the road again. Half an hour later we were crossing through Cleveland. This is an old manufacturing town. There are old factories right on the lake. Too bad the workers couldn’t gaze out the windows at its beauty! All windows are grilled over. We passed an aeronautical high school. What a cool idea! Then I realized it is either closed or poorly maintained. So much for innovation. Like many East Coast (or close) cities, Cleveland is dotted with church spires, some very tall, sticking up into the air like a needle, some very short and rounded, like Eastern Orthodox churches. And right outside Cleveland is a bridge named after Thomas Edison.

The roads in Ohio are pretty well maintained. There are rest stops on non-pay roads. We stopped at one with a paved walk in the woods ending in a fence overlooking a steep cliff. At the bottom of the cliff was a small river. Very pretty. Very dangerous.  Growing along the walkway were oak and walnut trees. I figured I could get into trouble picking walnuts off the trees. So, I looked around the ground and found a few walnuts not degraded. I will try growing them when we get back. That would be great to have a walnut tree.

Driving the Coastal Trail along Lake Erie, we saw Fort Perry National Guard center. They are trying to save money for the government by having several acres of solar panels right next to the shooting range. Wonder if it works. Down the road was a nuclear power plant. I have never been so close to one. The cooling tower is only a few hundred yards from the road. At that distance, it is easy to see just how huge those things are! Well, kudos to Ohio for trying to do something about the energy crunch!

The price of gas has been going down ever since we left New York. I don’t think that is a coincidence. On the east side of Ohio, we saw prices of $3.31. On the west side of Toledo, only two hours away, the price has dropped to $3.06. Such a difference from the $3.75 at home! However, with a tank that eats $75 at a time, that six buck difference isn’t a lot. But, penny-pincher me is calculating the savings over the whole 10,000 mile trip!

Second day…First repair. The battery in the trailer is not good. It has never been used much. We can only get a one amp charge. Time for a new battery! There is a Battery Wholesale store along the route in Maumee. Best do it when you can. We are going to be places where there is no one and nothing for miles. Not a gtood time to find out that the fridge isn’t keeping food cold anymore.

I am learning history as we go. Just outside of Toledo (remember Klinger, from MASH?) is the town of Perry and the village of Perrysburg. All dedicated to Commodore Perry, who obviously fought a battle in the War of 1812 on Lake Erie. There is also a Perry Victory and International Peace .Memorial on South Bass Island on the lake. In Perrysburg there is a large statue of the Commodore on a high pedestal at River Park, overlooking Maumee River. The main commercial street runs right up to the park, making a T intersection and the stature, and another  one behind it, make an impressive view.

As soon as we crossed into Indiana, the price of gas went up 30-40 cents a gallon. As high as some parts of New York are low! Still cheaper than home, at $3.49.  Most of the farms in this area are clean and neat. The houses, almost invariably from the late 1800’s, very early 1900s are well-maintained. There is a large use of brick in the farmhouses. I was surprised, since I thought that was exclusively a feature of Virginia. In the small towns you can see numerous Arts and Crafts homes sold by Sears Roebuck in the early 1900s. There are sometimes several in a row. Someone ordered four or five from the catalog and put them up 100 years ago. Maybe on speculation.

Auctions and antiques seem to be a prominent part of life in the mid-West. There is always another antique shop or antique show advertised along the road.