|Main Diner in Westfied, NY|
I'll be honest. Day 2 of the road trip was always the one I was looking forward to the least. Our destination: Ohio, known to me only through WKRP in Cincinatti and Drew Carey -- both dependable, likable TV shows, but hardly romantic or exciting. I assumed the same of Ohio.
The day started off to script. It was so rainy the sat nav refused to come out of night time mode until mid-afternoon. There was a classic Americaville Main Street diner in Westfield, NY, where we stopped for mid-morning coffee. Then there was Pennsylvania, a state that should be better known for its shopping. In the Lake Erie-adjacent stretch of I-90 we drove, you can buy porn from The Lion's Den, wine from Pennshore Vineyards, fireworks and karate Supplies from the creatively named Fireworks and Karate Supplies store, and, right next door, an Amish shed in which to store it all. We didn't buy any of those, but it was tempting.
Then there was Ohio. What were vineyards doing in Ohio? And ski resorts? Maybe I had underestimated this state. We pulled off the interstate somewhere around Richfield in search of lunch. We found beautiful rolling hills and a friendly proprietress of a closed restaurant. She was extremely apologetic that the tavern was closed to prepare for a wedding, but offered us a soda and use of the bathroom and directed us to a Subway back by the interstate to help avert a looming low blood sugar mood-wobble. Before long we were checking into the Red Roof Inn in Columbus, our only planned chain motel stay of the trip. The room was clean and the staff were courteous. Just like Ohio.
We killed the afternoon in a strip mall across the street, where we popped into Marshalls so my husband could refresh his underwear supply (in a rare lapse of planning by this OCD-ish man, most of his underwear stash was trapped in a suitcase under the big screen TV). Next we wandered the aisles of Walmart looking for disposable razors. This was the first time I had been in a Walmart for years, and I was slightly awed. It even had a nail salon. I have always been a Target girl myself, but I think I might start to change things up if I find a Walmart in West LA.
We ended the evening with dinner at Average Joe's Pub and Grill in another strip mall across the street from the Red Roof Inn. It was cold and I didn't have much in the way of warm clothing, so I was wearing running shoes and a waterproof jacket with my otherwise non-sporty outfit. I fit right in. Everyone in the bar, male and female, was wearing some version of sportswear. I saw no shoes other than flip flops or sneakers. There were no collared shirts other than the one my husband was, somewhat conspicuously, wearing. Visors were de rigeur for the group of gentleman playing pool behind us, despite the fact that it was cloudy outside and there was no other indicator in either the way they were dressed or shaped that they were fresh from a game of tennis or golf. They were just a group of average guys hanging out in an average restaurant in an average town.
But here's the thing. Average in America is quite nice. It is pleasant and comfortable and friendly. Average in America is better than average anywhere else, something I feel qualified to say after spending the last six and half years in Europe. Ohio, you might be average, but that's not half bad.