Tuesday, September 9, 2008

As an Elephant's Eye

I'm back from my weekend jaunt to Ohio. And I drove. Being a city mouse that doesn't have to drive much I've really come to dread long road trips by myself. In fact, I have this theory. "If the interstate narrows to two lanes - it's time to turn around and go home." But I used to looooove road trips. Made entire soundtracks for them. Had fantasies of driving cross country one day. Would drive home from college for the weekend - a 7ish hour trip - and it wouldn't phase me a bit. Not any more.

I had wanted to fly, but the awesomely cheap flights from Southwest left at awesomely ridiculous times and no one wants a house guest they have to schlep to the airport at 5am. So I drove. And to cope I decided to take a page from a former shrink's suggestion book and just break it all down into little segments. And you know. It totally worked. Middle of Tennessee to the Middle of Ohio? No, no, we're just going to drive from Nashville to Bowling Green. It's an hour. College kids do it every weekend. Then from Bowling Green to Louisville. Two hours. Boring, but very do-able. Louisville to Cincinnati - a measly hour and a half. Cincinnati to Columbus - same thing! Unbelievably boring! But still only an hour and a half! Toss in a few pit stops, some CDs and Diet Cokes and voila, I'm there.

Only there were no CDs as I forgot to pack them. Thankfully there is a public radio station accessible from just about anywhere in the country. There are also digital cameras that you can point toward the passing scenery and take random photos to pass the time while you're driving. Yes, while you're driving. That's why God created auto-focus.

So, in case you're wondering just what it looks like to drive from Nashville, TN to Columbus, OH on a Thursday afternoon. I'll show you.

For most of the trip it looks a lot like this:

Lovely hills and trees. The occasional rolling pasture with a grazing cow and old weathered tobacco barn. At some point north of Louisville all that loveliness starts to get a bit dull, but just as you're about to get antsy the road gets curvy and the hills get tighter and steeper and then suddenly you come around a bend and whammo - there's the Cincinnati skyline.

Cincinnati's a fun city to drive through as long as traffic isn't too bad. You get to go over a big bridge. See the new stadium. Lots of cool old architecture and tall buildings.

But then about 15 minutes later it all changes. The hills disappear. The asphalt highway turns to sections of flat, flaaaaaaat concrete with spacers between them that make the last hour and half of your trip the Midwest version of Chinese water torture. Ga-gunk, ga-gunk, ga-gunk, ga-gunk. For ninety miles. And all you can see is corn. Corn. For. nine. ty. mi. les.

And no, I've never had the privilege of driving through any of the big, square, scary states, so I'm sure that this is quite a breeze in comparison. But when all you have are your own thoughts, a digital camera and Terry Gross to keep you company, you can see how a person could go a bit mad.

But I made it safe and sound (ish) and will be sharing more of my weekend adventure later. That's all for now. Safe travels.


Katie said...

D isn't speaking to you. The phone message.

Tee hee...

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

ah yes, that is too much "fresh air." heh.

I've never been to Ohio, but I look forward to your take on it. Happy trails!