You know those orange and white saw horses that the ODOT crews used to have marking off forbidden territory when the summer construction season started? (They have up-dated all that now with tall, skinny cones and plastic tape) An ironic gentleman of my acquaintance once proposed that they should be designated the state animal…probably because they spent even more time in the road than the white-tailed deer which IS our state animal (The deer’s encounters in the road often end badly).
Anyway, the whole construction thing figured prominently in my most recent highway happenings, beginning with venturing off to the wilds of Huron County to the (very) small town of New London to attend an estate sale. The sale was O.K., in the end but getting there was an adventure in itself. I had no recollection of where New London was, even though the high school there had been one of the big rivals that Wellington High School had. So I went to Wellington (I 480, St Rte 10, U.S. 20, St. Rte 58), picked up my mom and prepared to follow my sister, who had directions. Only she wasn’t planning to be followed and took off for parts unknown with us tracking as closely as possible. You know that Army song, “Over hill, over dale, as we hit the dusty trail”? It was sort of like that—two-lane county highway, up and down, up and down, trying to keep a small red car in sight. The auction barn was not that hard to locate—in a park, by the school. Looked over the merchandise and the crowd—both a mixed lot—then the bidding started and my Scots genes kicked in and I only bid on one item. Time to go home,(sans Mama, she stayed with my sister) but how? No need to go back through Wellington.
Whipped out the GPS, punched in my home address and listened in astonishment as it directed me to go in exactly the opposite direction from what I was expecting. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? So I was off.
St. Rte 60 to U.S.224, bear left to U.S. 42 & U.S.224—OOPS—the GPS lady didn’t mean us to stick with U.S.42. RECALCULATING. Turn right onto Holden Rd., turn right on Sullivan Dr. turn left onto U.S.Rte 224—OOPS—she didn’t get the memo about that road being closed. Back up, turn around . RECALCULATING. Turn right onto Colby Rd. Turn right on Fairhaven Rd. Turn left onto U.S. Rte 224, O.K., we’re good. Lovely farm country, four-lane highway, out-in-the-country high school…cruisin’. Take exit whatever to I 71. All righty then, making good time, interstate speeds. Take exit whatsit to I 271, still rolling along. Look! Up ahead, it’s the turnpike. Do I have any change or small bills? Whatever. Off in Shalersville. St Rte 44, St Rte 303, St. Rte 88…home. Total time—even with the detours—just about the same as the usual from Wellington, MPG , a remarkable 42.
Next, a medical run to University Hospitals’ Orange Place facility for blood work (That I just found out can be done now in Garrettsville). Not wanting to do a long stretch on the grooved pavement we went from St. Rte 88 to St. Rte 305 up St. Rte 700 to U.S. 422. ERROR, ERROR. U.S. 422 is also under construction; two of the four lanes are nothing but a memory, one lane, WITH grooved pavement nearly into Solon. Not going there again if we can help it. On the way home, after a successful shopping experience, I decide to take Chagrin Blvd ( St. Rte. 87) all of the way out to Burton/Middlefield and come home that way. WRONG! The sign, about half of the way out of the big city says “Road closed. Local traffic only”. I always want to try those just to find out what the definition of “local” is but not at the risk of winding up in some stranger’s driveway. So next, we’re turning south, heading east, turning south heading east, roads sounding familiar, but not really. Finally emerged onto St. Rte 306 and the edge of Aurora. Hallelujah. Grooved pavement ahead but at least it’s going to be familiar grooved pavement.
Then the surprise! Road crews are working like navvies on the road (St. Rte 82) from the bottom of Derthick’s hill all of the way through Hiram. Yay! First thing you know it’ll be real road through Garrettsville all the way to the Trumbull County line.
One last thing contributed to the adventure of it all. The hatchback lid of the trunk had been a little ”iffy” lately, not latching properly when closed—a little red light comes on on the dashboard, looks sort of like a bug, a car silhouette in red with little doors open on both sides, meaning that something is not secured. So, the last time I shut the thing, I gave it a significant smack-down. ERROR, ERROR! When I attempted to open the sucker next, it was having none of it, not budging, not even jiggling a little bit. Crawling over the folded-down back seat got me to the lock panel but it was no help either. The internet revealed that this was a hanging offense for the Honda Corporation a while back, so I’ m hoping that this will be a freebie when we jaunt off to get it fixed this week.
Did the pioneers have these kinds of transportation difficulties? At least with an ox wagon you could eat the problem. Of course, next planting season, they’d have to hitch up the oldest child…or the wife. No, thank you.