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A Sad State of Affairs

I had heard stories of Detroit, but I needed to see it with my own eyes to see if it really was as bad as people said it was. I am here to tell you that it is. It’s very bad. Very very bad. Parts of this city seem more dilapidated than some 3rd-world countries I’ve been to. You can’t even walk into a pizza joint for 20 minutes without having your license place snatched off the back of your ride. Who DOES that!?!? There IS one silver lining in the city, and that is Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Machines.

Holy Toledo!

After visiting the Airstream factory in Jackson Center, Ohio I headed in a northerly path towards Detroit. It was a blistering humid heat during the course of the factory tour but within minutes of pulling out of the driveway I could see a storm brewing out on the horizon. As I got closer and closer to the freeway the clouds got darker and darker. Suddenly it looked as if I was headed straight into the depths of hell! The winds had picked up to a dangerously ferocious speed, whipping the RV side-to-side on the road. I let off the gas and slowed my pace in order to regain control of the vehicle. Just then a huge gust smacked the side of the camper and somehow managed to suck half of the awning out from around it’s spool.

WOOSH! FWACKA FWACKA WFAWKA! The awning was now flapping vigorously in the storm against the broadside of the vehicle.

I found myself trying to keep this 24′ RV in between the lines and was fighting to counteract the gale force winds that were magnified by the fact that I now had what amounted to a giant sail attached to this land-boat! Not a good situation. I turned off the road and into the first driveway I could find to let the line of vehicles behind me pass.

I opened the door to take a look at what was going on with the awning and the second I did, a giant lightning bolt lit up the sky followed by a thunderous rumble. I was now smack dab in the middle of the storm. To make matters worse it started hailing! So I was left with a decision.

  1. Do I venture outside and try to open up the awning all of the way in order to try and re-wrap it around the spool?
  2. Or do I wait out the storm and risk having the entire awning and support bars get ripped off by a gust of wind creating an even bigger and more urgent set of problems?

I really wanted to fix it NOW. But every time I stepped outside to try, I would be pelted with little ice rocks. There was just no way I would be able to look skyward in order to fix the awning 8 feet over my head while having ice balls rain down into my eye balls. Not to mention the fact that in order to unravel the awning I would need to stand outside in this lightning storm with a 4-foot metal rod to un-hook the awning mechanism! I figured life was more valuable and useful when it comes to fixing whatever may happen with the RV. So I climbed back inside the vehicle and drove it around to the other side of a building to provide some isolation from the elements. I also re-positioned it in such a way that the awning was downwind and therefore somewhat protected by the up-wind side of the RV. About 20 minutes later the storm had died down a bit and I was able to fix everything without getting struck by lightning or going blind!

I was able to continue safely on my journey and along the way I saw not one, not two, not three, four, fix or six, but SEVEN semi-trucks that had been blown over by the winds! Holy Toledo, Ohio!

I guess I made the right decision.

Columbus Was Here

Actually I doubt very much that he made it this far inland to Columbus, Ohio.

Amish Country. Awkward, Delicious & Incredible!

Millersburg, Ohio provided for one of the most unique experiences on this cross-country road trip thus far — a day in Amish country. It started off with an unusual encounter where with an elderly Mennonite lady listening to The Beastie Boys. When I heard it coming in through the screen door of her store I asked the lady if she was a fan of the Beastie Boys. She looked at me as if I had a third arm growing out of my forehead. And that’s when I realized what had happened. Turned out I had just left the keys in the ignition and the iPod automatically started playing music unbeknownst to me. Awkward! After removing my foot from my mouth (and arm from forhead) I proceeded to stuff my mouth with some homemade food at Mrs. Yoder’s Kitchen. Delicious! I then headed across the field to watch a real live auction taking place, complete with the fast talking jibber-jabbing auctioneers. Incredible! Next up was a tour of a real Amish farmhouse, and a ride in a horse-drawn buggy. And finally wrapping it up with dinner at a Amish families home where I got to learn a bit more about their unique way of life. If you ever find yourself in Pennsylvania or Ohio, I would highly recommend experiencing this for yourself first hand.

Rock On, Cleveland

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