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Our adventure starts on the road, I-80W, to be precise, heading to Wyoming from Philly Suburbs. This route between Philly and Pittsburgh is a long stretch of interstate, running along the northern part of PA. The road goes through tunnels, is hilly and mountainous for a bit, and then flattens out closer to Pittsburgh.
You get to see green scapes, trees, and lots of other vehicles on this well-traveled stretch near the border of PA, NY, and OH. This highway drives through smaller cities like Du Boise, Lock Haven, and Hazelton. It also gets close to larger cities, like State College and Scranton, making it easy to catch Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute at the next Nittany Lion’s game.
For fun, instead of playing punch buggy, try keeping track of billboards. Create a point system for propaganda, political signs, religious directives, ski resorts, and unique roadside decorations. There seems to be an endless supply of these marketing marvels.
After observing the view for several hours, we stopped counting billboards and stopped for lunch at The New Fort Restaurant, right off the highway in Fort Littleton, PA. The restaurant is clean, with plenty of seating. Their decor is homey signs on the walls, offer blessings and prayers. Family-owned and operated, The New Fort Restaurant has fresh food, good portions, and fair prices. Summer had a hot turkey sandwich, and I enjoyed grilled chicken with a salad full of mixed greens, romaine lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, cheese, and egg. We had fresh watermelon as a side, sweet and refreshing. They had pie and homemade ice cream, but we passed on dessert. The owner was friendly and chatted with us. The couple running the joint are working hard to keep business going through the pandemic. You can find out more about them on their website, http://www.thenewfortrestaurant.com.
Having filled our tummies and Fitzpatrick (our Kia Soul) we continued to our first hotel, The Red Roof Inn of Milan Oh. If you viewed our video, you know the horror that awaits in the next few sentences. We arrived late, after midnight. We had to haul in many heavy bags from the car, filled with food, toiletries, and cleaning products that couldn’t take the heat. In need of a shower and a good night’s rest, we quickly got ready for bed, and then Summer pulled back the covers of the bed she had chosen. Summer discovered dog hair on the sheets and pillowcases. There was dog hair, multiple kinds of dog hair, and probably human hair everywhere. So I stripped her bed and carried the mess back to the front desk, wearing a robe. The woman at the front desk assured me that the maid had changed the sheets and then went to find clean sheets and blankets. She gave me sheets and pillowcases but couldn’t find a blanket. I made Summer’s bed, and we were finally ready to sleep. Foolishly I had not checked my bed when I stripped Summer’s. So guess what? My bed was also a hair receptacle. I was too tired at this point to go through the whole process again. So I slept in the bed telling myself that my bed at home had dog hair in it, from my pooch-pies, and I would survive the night. Important Glamping Tip: consider buying a sleep sack.
We lived through the night, I took a long shower and regrouped. By this time, we wanted to put some distance between ourselves and the hotel. We began by shooting the video and then started to re-pack the car. Low and behold, one of the bags was wet. Our cleaning products had sprung a leak through the store brand plastic baggies, leaving me with a cleanup, re-packing job. Important Glamping Tip: tighten caps on all products, keep them out of the heat!
We managed to pack all imaginable items in our bags, then proceeded to the CVS for something we forgot.
By this time, we wanted food and headed to Main Street Cafe in Norwalk, OH, for brunch. The cafe was cute, and we ordered Italian wedding soup, chicken fingers, chicken salad, and coffee. The soup was okay, a little oily and salty. The chicken fingers were good. The fries were big cut style, and they were kind of greasy. The chicken salad was heavy on the mayo. The coffee was just average. The seats had syrup on them, sending Summer to the washroom to try and salvage her pants. Summer described the trek to the restroom as creepy, having to venture into an old elevator up to a long winding hallway filled with odd decorations.
The weirdest part was the waitress. She seemed friendly but had a strange reaction to my order. I am gluten-free and asked for their chicken salad sandwich without the bread and toppings with some lettuce. They didn’t have a chicken salad platter option, so I did my best with what they offered, requesting no bread, bacon, or tomato. The waitress over re-acted, saying, “There’s nothing left to eat!” She brought me my plate, walking across the room while saying, “It looks so strange!” When she placed it on the table, she said, “I’ve never seen it like this!” I wasn’t a fan, but I guess if you don’t mind loud exclamations, sticky seats, and average food Main Street Cafe in Norwalk is okay.
Day two of our road trip had some ups and downs, but we are a resilient team. Our next hotel was in Moline, IL – Quad Cities. That meant we had to drive through Indiana. Follow us to see what awaits us there!
Tell us; your best road trip tips in the comments below.
Until next time, Sparkle On!
Ellen & Summer