I’ve only been gone for 14 hours and have approximately 87,000 things to blog about already.

Let’s start from scratch. (And speaking of scratch, feel free to cancel any plans you may have had before you started reading this post. It’s going to be a long one.) I left my driveway with a fully packed vehicle and headed out to meet the open road before the sun rose. I then proceeded to make the same drive I’ve made for the past 6 years: west on 90 to Rochester. This time, even though I was headed toward a different destination, was not unlike the first time I made the drive when I left for college. Both were unknown beginnings. Both were mixes of anticipation and excitement. However the first time I made the drive I cried the whole way. True story. 4 hours of waterworks. You may not have picked up on this yet but I’m not a fan of change.

I intentionally got into the farthest lane on 90 so I wouldn’t accidentally (on purpose) get off at the Rochester exit and plowed forth onto the rest of 90, which unsurprisingly is not any different from it’s predecessor. All highways are basically the same…except for those in Cleveland, a lesson I learned this afternoon.

Before Cleveland I stopped at the Brick House in Erie, PA, for my first official coffee stop. This is possibly the worst picture I’ve ever taken:

If not, this is a close second:

But in my defense…I had to drive past a Chick-Fil-A, Chipotle, Dairy Queen, AND a Sheetz just to get to this place…it was like all of the fast food forces were aligning to make me cave…so I was eager to get inside and receive my reward.

Oh, holy reward!!! I thought I would just be getting a great cup of coffee (which I did), but instead I got to see the (unfortunate) first quarter of the Gators game. A happier soul could not be found in a 100 mile radius. Slightly disturbed souls could be found everywhere, however, as I may have scared multiple Brick House patrons while taking multiple pictures of their television and eating shoo fly pie out of a tupperware container. All while pumping my fist in the air and wearing climate-inappropriate clothing. Regardless…I’m sure I was a sight to be seen. As always, that didn’t stop me from taking  more pictures:

Brick House, you were a welcome respite. Thank you.

Cleveland, you were not. I’m sorry, but come on now: you can’t call your roadways highways, they were so pothole-riddled that they were more like high speed obstacle courses. And your citizens kept giving me the weirdo-stare because I was wearing shorts in barely 60 degree weather.

It was hot when I left this morning, people. Cut me some slack.

Once I made my way through the jungle of concrete and glares, I made a short visit to Prestis in the Little Italy section of Cleveland.

It was short because it was quite crowded and not especially friendly. I took LeBron’s lead and decided it was time to get out of Cleveland.

One thing Ohio definitely has the corner market on is rest stops. They’re all uniform and beautiful and actually contain good stuff!

This would also be the site of my first run-in with a creeper. I wondered how long it would take and it turns out less than 24 hours was the answer. That may be a new record.

So, I’m sitting in the back of the van, eating a banana and not sitting in the driver’s seat because let’s face it, we’ve had plenty of bonding time today. I’m  in mid-banana when a guy walks over and says “There you are!” Clearly, this was not intended for me. No one knows me at this random rest stop in Ohio.

But, of course, it was intended for me. Which became evident when he continued with, “I thought maybe you had a dog or something and were taking a walk, but then I saw your feet sticking out of the back and realized you were here!”

I didn’t really know how to respond to that.

Luckily, I didn’t need to. He started telling me about this trip from Ontario to Massachusetts to Wisconsin and his family in each area while I started packing up my banana and heading back to the driver’s seat because I was not especially interested in having an extended conversation with a long lost stranger who thought we were long lost friends.

And the saga continues. I am a magnet for odd men.

Moving right along…I had wanted to chill at the rest stop and blog for a bit but decided it was in my best interest not to stay at that particular stop. Michigan was approaching, so I figured I’d just stop there and catch up with you all.

Turns out, Michigan isn’t too keen on the whole rest stop idea. I haven’t seen one yet, so when I saw this across the highway…

I was sure to cross 3 lanes to make a bee-line in it’s direction, which is where I am now.

Whew. Those are the finer points of the first day, hiccups and all. I’m now off to my final location for the day…hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!