01 July 2009

IL to ME Odyssey: Indiana, Ohio & Pennsylvania

Here are more of my observations on our car trip from Chicagoland to visit family in Northern Maine, part of the series of posts: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio & Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Distance Traveled: 154 miles
Bathroom Breaks: 2

• Indiana's most noteworthy form of welcome to weary travelers of I-90 is the stench of a sewage treatment plant for at least the first 20 miles. What could be more likely to invite us to get to better know our neighbors to the east? Perhaps a series of spike strips across all inbound lanes?

Or maybe a high-pitched noise broadcast across all channels and through the air, counteracted only for locals by special government-issued noise-canceling earbuds worn at all times? Seems like something those stinky old spiteful Indianans would do.

• The rest stop in Portage, Indiana amused me by having the Girls of Playboy pinball machine in the entry to their game room, right next to the children's claw game filled with Dora and Minnie Mouse dolls. I guess this just means Indiana is fun for the whole family!

Distance Traveled: 245 miles
Bathroom Breaks: 3

• As you can see, we got a lot better about bathroom breaks, thanks largely in part to threats and bribery. It figures, though, since the pricey Ohio Turnpike (more than half our journey through the state on I-80/I-90) is unbelievably clean, well-lit, and lavishly appointed. It makes me wish I could meet all my bodily needs for the entire trip during only those 2 of 22 hours.

• After stopping at a gas station for our final bathroom break (since I-90 splits off the Turnpike proper, it figures), we decided begrudgingly to give up for the day with less than a third of the trip covered after the first day, in about 9 hours. That's right-- only 9 hours, and only 430 miles or so.

Distance Traveled: 40 miles
Bathroom Breaks: 0

I can't tell you how happy I was to start out the day knocking down a whole state without a single bathroom break, or, at least, I won't tell you. Even though we were just clipping the corner of an otherwise large state, I'll still just quietly treasure it as my own secret little joy in this cold world.

By the way, in case you ever take a similar trip, please make sure you (like us this time) follow I-90 instead of I-80 when they split in Ohio, Especially if it's any time within a few hours before sundown. Otherwise, you'll just have to describe to us all how tender is the face of God, either from beyond the grave or having been blessed to narrowly escape it.

Let's all tell Congress it's okay to earmark a little something extra for PDOT (I've decided they must call it this if it's not already) to upgrade this road, perhaps at the very minimum by adding some reflectors on the lane lines, and maybe some new reflective paint. Or, they could issue everyone night vision goggles at the border. Which is cheaper?


Irrational Dad said...

Woohoo... thanks for mentioning my beautiful state of Indiana. I have to travel to Lafayette for work about once a week... there's some type of metals factory there and the place ALWAYS reeks of a burning smell.

Sarah said...

Once US Steel shut down (in the early 1980s) the bad odor went away, along with clouds of smog. All my trips to Indiana the last 15 years, never once an odor, but never once in rush hour. You might have had a better trip had you stopped at my father-in-law's farm or my friend's forested acres, at the LaPorte exit.
How many days did it take to reach Maine?

Chris M. said...

I cannot begin to explain the level of awe at which I currently am sitting.

Driving that far with two young kids is pretty incredible.

Kudos to you, sir.

I maybe, MAYBE, would've spiked their drinks with Benadryl.

But that's me.

Weather Moose

MIITB said...

I"m from the Chicagoland area with family living in Ohio. When I was little we drove there every other weekend.
Be glad all that construction by the IN border is mostly done, you wouldn't have gone past Toledo that first day.

I love the Ohio rest stops. During lake effect snow in the winter they become like a little community of everyone waiting it out. Should get stuck in a snow storm and try it if your bored....? I clearly need more sleep.

Mary said...

Sounds like you can't wait for the next loooooong trip.

Bee said...

You know, I can usually hold it (and by *it* I mean #1)(I'm sure you needed to know that about me) all day but once I'm in the car and I know I'll be traveling far, that's all I can think about.

"Ooh! Beautiful hills! I have to pee! Look at those horsies! I have to pee!" and so forth.

Indiana does stink. Sorry Indianites but it's true.

A Free Man said...

Ah, long trips with kids in tow. Aren't they just the best?

Jim Styro said...

I'm quite grateful that - at this stage of my life - I don't have to travel with little people. I don't want to die in prison with the blood of children on my hands. And I fear that whatever patience I once had for such endeavors has been allocated for someone else's use - hopefully yours.

Anonymous said...

looking forward to running in to you in Chicago!