Road Trip Day #3

 Posted by at 8:51 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 102019

Note: This is the last of three installments about our trip to Ohio.

When we were going through the Smoky Mountains the day before, the tire pressure monitor on Terry’s Chrysler Pacifica kept alerting to two low tires. Low as in 34 pounds instead of the suggested 36 pounds. Not enough to worry about much, but the warning was an annoyance. There is a Walmart next to the Hampton Inn in Clinton, Tennessee where we spent the night, and I drove over to their auto service center to see if they would let me use an air hose. One of their employees said not to bother, then he checked all four tires, inflated them to the proper pressure, and when I asked how much I owed, he said it was a customer courtesy. I offered him $5 for his trouble and said to have a cup of coffee or whatever on me, but he refused it, saying it was no trouble, he was happy to help. I just love southern hospitality!

We drove north on Interstate 75 through Tennessee and Kentucky, and then approached the Ohio River, with the Cincinnati skyline as the backdrop.

Crossing into Ohio we took Interstate 71 through Columbus, where traffic was a nightmare, continued on to Mansfield, and then got on two lane roads and drove north through beautiful farm country.

The roads were narrow and curvy in some places, but not bad.

We saw several neat old places like this, and several houses we would love to live in if they were someplace warmer than the Midwest.

Here’s a tip for you if you ever make a road trip and stay in hotels. These days when you call to make a reservation, even if you dial the hotel’s local number, you may find yourself rerouted to an offshore call center and talking to somebody who can barely speak English. That happened to Terry when she called to make a reservation for the night. The person she was trying to communicate with originally quoted her $111 for a one night stay, then began adding on extra charges that eventually came to $186. Terry said no way and the woman started arguing with her. I told her just to hang up, and called my cousin Nora Knople’s husband Chris, who actually used to manage the Hampton Inn in Milan, Ohio. He gave us a different number to call and the desk clerk answered and we got the room for the original price. I guess the folks at the call centers make a commission on the markups or something. The clerk said anytime you call a hotel and are told to press 1 for reservations, don’t do it. Just wait, and after you ignore several different prompts, you will get a real person at the desk at the hotel where you want to stay.

Milan, the birthplace of Thomas Edison, is next to Norwalk, where several of my cousins live. We had dinner with Nora and Chris and their daughter Emily, who I tried very hard to marry off to one of her co-workers while we were there, but she seemed to resist the idea. I don’t know why, the girl’s 20 years old. Almost an old maid! She doesn’t have that much time to waste!

Among Nora’s many talents is that of being an artist. She helped create this mural in downtown Norwalk that honors the town’s history.

Here is a picture of Nora (in the white shirt) and some of the others who participated in the project, hard at work on the mural.

The next morning we met cousin Berni and her sister Vanessa for a late breakfast or early lunch. I guess Vanessa was camera shy, because she took this picture of us and Berni instead of being in it.

We would have loved to spend more time with our Ohio family, but I had appointments scheduled in Toledo to research my new book project. So all too soon we said our goodbyes and headed west on U.S. Highway 20, pulling into yet another Hampton Inn in Rossford, just across the Maumee River from Toledo, a little over an hour later. This would be our base for about a week while we delved into the city’s history and came away with a ton of information that will be part of my new family saga book series.

So there you have it; our road trip from warm and sunny Florida to cold and mostly overcast Ohio. Thanks for coming along for the ride. I have already told you about some of our time in Toledo, and in tomorrow’s blog I will tell you about the trip home, assuming I can get online.

Thought For The Day – I walk around my yard wearing a fake ankle monitor so my neighbors won’t ask me to watch their kids.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  3 Responses to “Road Trip Day #3”

  1. We have been using Choice Hotels, Comfort Inn and Quality Inns since they have breakfast included, for our car road trips. I use their app on my Android phone to research the choices and make my reservations.

  2. Good to on booking hotel rooms. Really love to see your pictures from America’s past.

  3. My husband’s paternal grandmother was born and raised in Milan, Ohio. His dad, aunt, and uncle would visit the farm in the summers (from Shaker Heights) and he still has a few relatives in the area. His grandparents are buried in Milan, as is his aunt, I believe (we haven’t been there since she passed). I definitely would like to explore the community and its historical sites more if we ever make it back.

    Your cousin and her friends are so talented. I am always amazed at the skills of good artists.

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