Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Day 4: State College, PA - Merillville, IN

After updating last night's post I switched on the haunted fish tank, thus to discover that large swathes of New England were under a couple of feet of water following flash flooding.  Looks like I escaped in the nick of time.  So, another long day on the Interstate system, with very little to look at except trees, roadworks and the outside temperature stubbornly failing to report it warm enough to lower the top until well after lunchtime.

The rest of Pennsylvania proved to be as scenic as yesterday's portion, though the hills led to some interesting times with the American road haulage industry, driving what are sometimes called "dragonfly trucks".  This is because they drag up the hills and fly down the other side.  I had to get up to 80 mph to pass one logging wagon.  Readers from YACF might also be tickled to know that the town of Clarion shares a freeway exit with New Bethlehem.

On reading glasses: Last summer I bought a pair of reading glasses.  They survived being left on a folding chair out in the desert, only to be sucked into the eddy in the space-time continuum which is somewhere in my living room.  It's eaten my Kindle too.  I bought a replacement pair, which I contrived to leave at home on Friday.  On Saturday I bought yet another pair from the heirs of Jesse Boot at the airport.  On Sunday evening I sat on them.  Happily I was able to bend them back into shape...

On into Ohio which, at least to start with, looks pretty similar to Pennsylvania.  I elected to pay to use the Ohio Turnpike as the alternative would have been slow, complicated and generally ghastly.

Ohio.  Photo taken with flash indoors, hence ropy quality

At over 240 miles in length, the Ohio Turnpike is a bit more impressive than the M6 Toll.  One thing they do have in common, though, is that drivers have a cavalier attitude to the notion of speed limits.  Even in the roadworks, of which there are many.  Anyone foolish enow to attempt to stick to the posted 50 mph would in short order find a colossal Peterbilt rig on their tail, driven by someone who is:
  1. Angry, and
  2. Armed.
With a gnu gun.

Although Ohio boasts a substantial chunk of the shoreline of Lake Erie, you can't actually see it from the Turnpike.  It's too far away, or there's a tree in the way.  Or something.  A Nice Lady relieves me of the princely sum of fifteen dollars for the trip right across the state.  At M6 rates it would be five times that...

A brief stretch of neutral, or at least free, territory brings one into Indiana.  The first sojourn in the state lasts all of four miles, for which I am obliged to ante up eighty of Mr Obama's cents.  Unlike most other states, Indiana appears bashful in advertising itself at its motorway services, so here instead is a photo of an Indiana Toll Road ticket.  And no, I didn't find it in a bin somewhere, because you don't get them back after you've paid, you nasty suspicious little toerags.

An Indiana Toll Road ticket, yesterday.  The silver thing is the release catch for the storage box inhabited by my wallet and iPod.

Trundle a few miles up the road and over the Michigan state line.  They are not backward in coming forward, no.  These signs are everywhere.

Modest Michigan

I continued up the road a while to the town of Coldwater, purchased essential supplies and had a pleasant twenty-five mile trundle past fields of head-high corn and newly-mown hay.  By now I had the roof down, so it smelt good too.

Then back into Indiana for the remainder of the Toll Road.  Driving about a hundred and fifty miles cost just under six dollars.  Once back on the free stuff, I prodded Emily to switch the "Avoid toll roads" option back on.  While doing this, I also switched on "Avoid motorways", which explains why, when there is an exit from I-65 less than a mile from this desk, I was routed through the arse end of Gary, which was every bit as appetising as it reads.  Today saw the end of the Eastern time zone and the start of Central.  Emily picked up the change in five seconds; the motor-car, the Babbage-Engine and my watch require manual persuasion.  But I gained an hour - the first of four.  But I'll have to give them back on the way home chiz.  BEER o'clock.

New states visited: Ohio, Indiana, Michigan.

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