April 13, 2004

(and into Pennsylvania)

Today, as we awoke in Van Wert, Ohio, we rolled over, rubbed our eyes, looked out the window, and saw ... rain and fog, as far as the eye could see. We turned on the Weather Channel in hopes of some relief, but none was forthcoming. Undaunted(?), we packed up, added some oil, and hit the road. The plan was to "drive out of it". (How dumb can we be?) As you can see below, it looks more like we're driving into it:

At first, we just encountered fog, but then it was rain pretty steadily for the rest of the entire day. Unsolicited Rain-X commercial: A few days prior, we applied some of this marvelous product to our windshield, and indeed we hardly used the wipers all day—the rain just forms little beads and blows off the windshield (at least at any speed above 90 MPH...).

All of Ohio was pretty much flat (as far as we could see) and foggy. But once we crossed into Pennsylvania, things became hilly (as far as we could see) and foggy. Here we are, parked on a bridge blocking traffic (if there were any) crossing the mighty Allegheny River:

The route we chose was a road that ran northeastward right along the banks of the Allegheny. It would have been a magnificent drive were it not for the rotten, miserable weather conditions. Driving was a balancing act that involved steering with one hand, shifting with the other, and toweling off the inside of the car with ... a third hand, it seemed.

So how are we doing mechanically? Well, our stop at CarMart in Huntington, Ohio yesterday was the right move, any way you look at it. Lots of oil was coming out between the engine and transmission, so we assumed the worst and loaded up on motor oil for the remainder of the trip. But today's consumption was much improved! We did tighten up the oil pan bolts, some of which were a little loose, not expecting any joy. But today was a relatively easy day on the engine—with luck, we'll give it a real test tomorrow!

Social Commentary

Our country is littered—littered, we say!— with these gawd-awful adopt-a-highway signs. Here's one that we'd pay to see:

Culture of the Day

Well, we really wanted to give you some decent culture today! Since we were in Ohio, we had lots of attractions to choose from, such as the Rock and Roll Museum in Cleveland. But we spotted this gem on the map, and made a detour to find it. Rock and Roll, phooey. We were going to treat you to The Fonz! But when we got there, it turned out to be some dumb state park. Not only that, it was closed. And raining.

Beer of the Day

Since we failed so miserably at uncovering any culture, we strove ever more earnestly to uncover some decent beer. We went to a decent restaurant here in Warren, PA and asked what was on tap. Bud, Bud Lite, Miller, Miller Lite, Coors, Coors Lite—you know the drill. We pressed the waitress for more, and even sent her to check with the management for other options. This is the best we could come up with. At least it's made in Pennsylvania (by the country's oldest operating brewery, in fact), and we were able to force some of it down.


It occurred to us whilst driving that, if we had begun this journey three days later, we would have experienced:

1) Sunny weather and record high temperatures in Portland,
2) No snow in Jackson Hole, Cheyenne, and everywhere in between,
3) Balmy temperatures and clear skies driving across the Midwest, and
4) None of the relentless fog and rain that we're in now.

And the top down all the way! Ah, well............


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