Remembering the road, day 20

Day 20

This morning we awoke knowing it would be our last big road day. We’re to drive from Rolla, Oklahoma through St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Columbus, OH.

With the morning sun we noticed that the EconoLodge wasn’t quite as fine as we had previously thought. The first sign was the mouse droppings on the sheets. Sign two was the overly flexible bathtub… I thought I might drop right through the floor. Sign three was the dried doughnuts and thick coffee. So it goes.

We headed out and made it to St. Louis in good time. We hoped to visit another Roadfood spot, but we weren’t able to find the street it’s one very easily, so we just pulled over at a Bob Evans.

The arch in St. Louis is pretty and it’s neat to see another icon of America. I didn’t get to go up it, but according to my brother, it’s something to miss. I’ll take his word for it.

Having crossed the Mississippi, the speed limit is back down to 65 at the most, and having gotten used to 80+ mph, dropping to the 60s feels very slow indeed.

The midwest is definitely the land of symbols. Everywhere you look are flags, “United We Stand” slogans and “Let’s Roll” banners. I don’t see nearly this much stuff back in D.C., where one of the attacks actually happened, and where people are still feeling threatened.

Illinois is also giving Texas a run for its money in terms of the world’s largest cross. It stands about 300 feet tall or so. How many of these things are there? And who makes them? There must be some company out there in the giant cross business. I would think it would be a small market, but apparently not.

We spotted a car from Hawaii today (had Hawaii plates). That accounts for all 50 states. It does bring up the question of how they drove across the Pacific, though. And should there be an Interstate in Hawaii?

While at a rest stop in Indiana, we came across the most bizarre thing yet. It was an all-in-one hand washing station. Often I favor the advance of technology, but it has to be an improvement. This definitely was not. It was a hole in the wall with a soap dispenser, faucet, and hand dryer lined up at the top of the wall with the hand dryer closest to the front. Using infrared sensors, the system detects when hands have been inserted into the hole, dispenses soap, runs water, and then dries your hands.

One of the two systems in the men’s room was broken. The other was so slow… and requires the whole sequence to run before restarting, that a line in the men’s room developed. Guys who had just finished emptying their bladders were standing there waiting for this ridiculous contraption to complete each cycle. Just what was wrong with a normal sink?

I slept past Indianapolis. I don’t think I’m the only one to do that. In fact, I think plenty of people living there are doing the same thing.

As we motored into Columbus, I realized that we failed to do a standard travel activity: making semi-trucks blow their air horns. So Cynthia, my niece Jane, and I got right to work. We managed to get 16 out of 20 truckers to blow their horns, and one out of one Buick, driven by my brother.

I found out today that my beloved Cleveland Indians traded their best pitcher, and possibly one of the best pictures in the American League, Bartolo Colon the other day. For roughly 50 years.. from 1949 to 1994, the Indians were the laughingstock of baseball. Then they got great and nearly won the World Series. But now it looks like a return to past and that sucks. Oh well, baseball is going down the tubes anyway thanks to spoiled millionaires… that is, the owners and the players alike. Bah.

Upon arriving in Columbus, we watched a number of hot air balloons float above the city in preparation for the July 3rd fireworks there. Roughly halg a million people gather along the Olenatangy River to watch the show a day early so that neighborhoods can have their own local shows on the Fourth. Once we got to my brother’s house, we picked up some Thai take out, watched the first half of the Harry Potter movie, caught a few fireworks being shot off in the city, and then hit the sack.