Midwest in the Rearview

That was easy, we said, pulling into Niagara falls nine hours after leaving Chicago. We’re going to be great at this. Our car packed better than I expected (a layer of Rubbermaids topped with duffles and baskets). The kids did great – watched shows, read, played games.

And hey, that first day was pretty easy. Our first stop was Elkhart, IN – the town where RVs are born (and then delivered to driveways by very large storks). In the travel-center, the hot dog spinning machine was broken. A panel was removed exposing insides (that’s how the sausage is made, I chuckle silently). It’s decently complicated and looked to be stumping the maintenance person who was referencing instructions on YouTube – just like the rest of us! A father and son are wearing camouflage. Lucy’s wearing a camo shirt too. Soon we realize it’s hunting season.

Indiana goes by quickly, Ohio takes longer. It’s all farmland except for the occasional tree that managed to escape its flattening fate. We picnic outside an eerily empty rest area, eat pb and j, and keep rolling.

A stop at Starbucks sends us through Cleveland, a seemingly fine town that will forever be remember as the city Brooke spotted a Bald Eagle. It flew yards above our head as we slowly drove onto an onramp connecting us from one highway to the next.

Lucy slept a little. Eleanor didn’t. This is typical.

Lucy, for reasons unknown to us, has always wanted to travel to Pennsylvania. “Where are you most excited to travel?” we’ll ask. “Pennsylvania.” is the quick response, often stretched out to Pennnnnsylvaaaaaania. There was much cheering when we crossed the border and moments of awe when we drove next to Lake Erie.

Trump signs have been a common part of the landscape. Trailers painted. Homemade items of all kinds. In PA one large sign stood in front of a cross, mostly blocking out the cross – that ancient form of capital punishment. Maybe that was the point.

New York. Full of vineyards. I had no idea. Day one ended with Chipotle and a night at the Hyatt Place Niagara Falls. We’re sufficiently frightened of COVID and avoid humans as best we can. The room we stayed in had been empty for four days. We wiped it down. Ate our dinner and saw the falls at night.

We slept and then day two. Day two was hard.

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