Along the way, our poor motorcycle got the crap beat out of it. It was in excellent condition when we left, but after a month on that trailer on some pretty bumpy country and/or mountain roads, it’s got bangs and dings in it that will cost a lot of money to fix. Also, at some point in the journey (I think I know where, but can’t say for sure) a few things came up missing from the trailer. Someone who apparently needed the grill, the rug we brought for the tent, and a plastic bin filled with kitchen items helped themselves to these items while we slept.
Because there are so many pictures, I’m not going to write much today. This will be mostly a photo-blog with light commentary. I don’t want to be one of those “look at all the pictures of my grandkids!” people, but we did see some fun and/or interesting things. Take them for what they’re worth.
We bought some “Toe Jam” at the same little roadside stand where we bought the Chow Chow (a cabbage/onion relish that is absolutely delish on campfire roasted hot dogs!!!). We haven’t tried the Toe Jam yet, but we plan to as soon as we go grocery shopping to restock the house. We don’t even have any bread yet!
I was able to tell where we were in the country by how my ice tea was served. If it’s sweet by default, you’re south of the Mason Dixon line. In the South, if you ask for unsweetened tea, you’re an inconvenience. North of there, if you ask for sweet tea, the server looks at you funny and says, “There’s sugar on your table.” (I prefer it unsweetened, with an obscene amount of lemon.)
I think the place with the artiest scenery was Asheville. We saw some really cool things elsewhere, but Asheville seemed to cater to artists more than any other place on our route.
I posted a picture of these giant rocking chairs at Breaks Interstate Park, on the Kentucky/Virginia border, on a previous blog, but I had to sit in one to get the Edith Ann effect. And that’s the truth. :-P~~~~~~
I also knew where we were in the country by how I was able to eat grits the way I like them, without horrifying the restaurant staff and local patrons. Down South, only a Yankee puts butter and sugar on their grits. They put sugar in their tea, and not on their grits. I think they have that whole thing backasswards.
I didn’t mention this at the time, because I didn’t want to attract the attention of any revenuers out there, but Jeff picked up a jug of moonshine along the way. I don’t know if it’s illegal or not, but some things are best to not know. Either way, this stuff will KICK. YOUR. ASS. And it’s gone now, so there is no evidence of any wrongdoing. In fact, these pictures are of Jeff drinking water and acting as if he was having his ass kicked by some powerful hooch. 😉
We didn’t manage to have as many Roman Burgers at Mr. Hero as we wanted. We could (and have) eaten them 24/7 until we burst. These are seriously delicious foodstuffs, and you can only find them in Ohio.
I was baffled by this sign. If someone really doesn’t know what STOP means, is telling them that “STOP MEANS STOP” going to help? It’s like telling a blind person that the sign is red (not that a blind person should be driving anyway). And if they do know what STOP means, will the sarcasm of this sign really reach their conscience and STOP them from misbehaving, or will it awaken their Inner Smartass and cause all sorts of illegal hijinks?
Believe it or not, this crappy little bait shop has the most incredible wine selection you’ll ever see. They boast over 1,000 bottles of wine. I’ve been in there, and have seen brands that I’ve never heard of before, nor will probably ever hear of again.
I’ve noticed that these blog posts have very few pictures of me, so I’m posting the few that I have. That’s because I’m snap happy and Jeff doesn’t think to pick up the camera. Plus, he can’t seem to take a non-blurry picture, unless it’s of an alley or some other tunnel type place. Freud, anyone?
In addition to eating as many Roman Burgers as we can stuff into our faces, no trip to the Cleveland area is complete without a visit to Davis Bakery for a hot corned beef sandwich. Jeff used to drive a delivery truck back in the old days, and the owner of the shop (in the picture with Jeff, at the right) still remembers him every time we visit.
For me, a visit to Cleveland has to include a day in Chagrin Falls. I love this little town so much that when I wrote my first novel it took place here. You’ll find references to many of these town landmarks in Be Careful What You Witch For! Those are the Falls, obviously, and the building that seems to be hanging over the waterfall is the back of the Popcorn Shop, a Chagrin Falls tradition.
Dave’s Cosmic Subs is another must-visit place, even if Dave is a little grouchy. His sandwiches are pretty doggone yummy, though. Across the street, you’ll find an adorable little park, with this adorable statue of a cat gazing up at a nearby tree, which is presumably the home for some doggone yummy birds.
If you take S.O.M. Center Road (S.O.M. stands for Solon Orange Mayfield, the townships it runs through) north to Willoughby, where Jeff grew up, you’ll find this friendly sign on the back of the Friends Church. Who knew Jesus was such a whiny baby?
And if you go out with Jeff to dinner with old friends, you won’t be surprised to find that his jeans are covered with grease, because he’ll fix a car wearing whatever he has on, and not notice that they got ruined until his wife points out that fact in the entranceway to TGI Fridays.
Speaking of working on cars, Jeff’s brother Brian is working on renovating this old Dodge. He has a gorgeous ’57 Chevy that he has restored to mint condition. I can’t wait to see this one when he’s done with it! It’s going to be a long while, because he’s working on it in his spare time, but if it looks anything like the Chevy, it will be well worth the wait.
Here are a few picks of the fancy shmancy hotel we stayed in, with their continental breakfast and luxurious lobby. I earned a couple of free nights with Best Western because I’m a member of their rewards program, so we chose to use those nights while we were in Mentor.
It was a gorgeous hotel, and a much needed break from camping, before we launched into our seemingly endless stay at Lake Pymatuming (which eventually resembled the Hotel California … we couldn’t ever leave!).
While we were stuck at Pymatuming (and if you’re going to be stuck somewhere for an extra week, this was a good place to be!) we rode around on the bike and saw some really interesting sights! Who knew that this little corner of the world, which one would think is nothing but farmland, would have such amusing and pretty things to look at!
I have no idea WTF these things are, but they are on the porch of the office of a fenced-in boat/trailer storage yard near Andover, OH. I had to poke the camera through the fence to get the close up of this bat critter.
On our trip to Seward, we found that the backroads of Pennsylvania offer some fun and kitschy sights as well. This is a toy store shaped like a Stealth Bomber. I bought a mood ring shaped like yin/yang symbols, and Jeff and I both bought a finger puppet. His is the monster, and mine is the monkey. I finally have a finger monkey, Kristina and Stacy!!!
When we finally found ourselves released from whatever was keeping us stuck up north, we bolted home as fast as we could, without stopping. Well, Jeff had to stop to take a picture of this cotton field and to pick a boll of cotton.
We also managed to snap a shot of this water tower, without even stopping the car, with what was probably the strangest town slogan we saw on the entire trip: Claxton Georgia Fruitcake Capital of the World
But the happiest site, short of our own driveway, was this sign that said “Welcome to Florida.” I couldn’t have been happier if I was a college freshman on spring break, heading toward Daytona to do things I hope my parents would never hear about, nor show up on video on some sleazy pay-per-view station.
Final inventory of things lost, damaged or disposed of on the trip: one bin filled with various kitchen items, one portable grill, one bathroom rug, one pristine motorcycle, and–most importantly–the rut we had fallen into before we left home, oh so long ago.
Final inventory of things we didn’t have before we left, but brought home with us: one bag of dirty laundry, one kitschy can of smoked sausage for my kitchen collection of weird foods, one pummeled and beaten motorcycle, two finger critters, one Virgin Mary medal, one electric blanket, two new perspectives on life.