Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Take to the road

Gas prices may be high, but it's time to hit the road anyway. Driving across central and northwest Ohio on my way to Michiana, I saw many things. On a two lane state route slicing through farmland I most memorably observed a semi truck jackknifing behind me. The rear trailer tore through the ditch, but somehow the driver corrected course and disaster was averted. I wasn't thisclose, but I was close enough to be given a good scare. It looked like something out of the movies, aside from being more real than I would have cared to experience.

As I passed farmhouse after farmhouse, I noticed that the fields looked nice and green for this time of year. Occasionally I'd glide through a small town with no stoplights. There to my left is what looks to be a small family graveyard. To my right is a sign advertising Harold's Haunted Cornfield.

This was the first time I was driving a more direct route to my parents' home. (Now that they've been here more than a year, I suppose I can't call it new, even if I've only been here one time previously.) Online maps from AAA, Yahoo, and Google each suggested different directions. (In contention was how/when to reach Route 30.)

Google's took around twenty fewer miles but predicted a twenty minutes of longer travel time. I rolled the dice on their directions and think they win the prize, at least for driving in non-inclement weather. Plus, I made the trip in about thirty minutes less than anticipated--and using the more fuel-efficient cruise control set to the legal speed--so it would seem that I chose well.

I stopped in Warsaw, Indiana for a late lunch at Schoop's Hamburgers, the shiny diner pictured at the top of this post. I was half tempted to ask my waitress what she thought about American Teen, a documentary that follows a year in the life of students here, but decided against it.

I've been especially careful of late about what I eat, so I was quite surprised (and a little self-questioning) to see the enormous burger in a basket that was delivered to my table with a side of onion rings and a cherry Coke made the old-fashioned way. Healthy diet be damned for one meal at least. This really hit the spot.

I continued west, passing the self-pick fields, mostly for blueberries from what the signs indicated, and before I knew it, I was at my parents'. As I mentioned above, I was using cruise control as much as possible. I almost never turned it on, but I'd read that it can help stretch a tank in these fuel-conscious times. It made a small but noticeable difference. The big change for me was how much easier the four hours of driving were. I was in less of a hurry. I didn't have to worry about a speeding ticket since I was set at or just a hair above the limit. When it comes to cruise control, I have seen the light.

This evening my dad and I went to see the Class A South Bend Silver Hawks play the Beloit Snappers. True to minor league baseball form, there were abundant wacky promotions. It was Hug Your Plumber Night and Mustache Awareness Night, so attendees were treated to free plungers and fake mustaches. My freebie is named The Scoundrel.

The weather couldn't have been better. After sweating it out in 90+ temperatures at the Stitch N' Pitch game, it was wonderful to watch a game while it never reached higher than the mid-70s.

Not that it particularly mattered to me, but the hometown Hawks, an Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate, won the game. Being just three rows from the field and very close to home plate, I thought I might leave the game with a foul ball. To tell the truth, I'm glad none came near me. Chances are I'd also have received a ticket to the hospital for a broken hand or dental restoration.

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At 11:59 AM, Blogger Jenn said...

Sounds like you've had a nice trip--and a nice ball game. I'm glad the weather is being decently nice (and not in the 90s) here as well. Of course, part of my mind reminds me that it might be the effects of global warming, but I'll still enjoy it. :)


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