Modern day Lewis and Clark

With a brief “low” in gas prices, and in our 2nd winter month away from Cat Maudy, it was time for a new adventure. A road trip. Spontaneous. Unplanned. This is our style.

There were many similarities (and differences) between the expedition of Lewis and Clark…and our “Jane & Paddy goes west story”.
1. L&C started in Pittsburg PA…geared up with salt, smoked meat and canoe supplies. J&P started in Silver Spring, MD…geared up with food from the Giant, clothes and a hoola hoop
2. L&C’s objective was to find a waterway west of the mississippi and mark territory for future settlers. J&P discovered I-70, and “marked” territory by hoola-hooping in each state.
3. L&C gave gifts to the native indians who allowed them passage as they continued west. J&P made large donations to the oil companies for fuel
4. L&C discovered many botanical, zoological and mineral specimens. J&P discovered (and rated…see below) rest areas, sprawling suburbs, mountains reaching nearly 3000 feet elevation (between western Maryland and Ohio) and determined that Indiana is the land of the mega-warehouse
5. L&C, while traveling via canoe and horses, met many native American Indians along the way…some nice, some not so nice. J&P spent a lot of time together in our Jeep Cherokee
6. L&C employed Sacagawea to serve as a guide and provide tranlation services. J&P had google maps and a verizon air card

We are on a mission. We had over 1700 miles to drive…9 states to be exposed to hoola hooping…coffee to be taste-tested….5 days of skiing in the Rockies…and unlimited spontaneous fun along the way. Time to get rollin’.

Day 1 and some change…

Maryland
–drove from sea level to 3000′ elevation by the time we had made it to the mountains in western Maryland
–we were greeted with a mini-blizzard 80 miles into our trip
–observed our Jeep is not very fuel efficient in the mountains
–Notable sights: At Cumberland MD – the average age of the patron at McDonalds is 85

West Virginia
–feeling a lot of warm-n-fuzzies at our first stop in West Virigina. Beautiful rest area – perfect for my hooping state-by-state DEBUT.
–with 30 mph wind gusts and snow/sleet mix – the hooping is challenging, yet successful. Nice ladies came up to me and longed to be hooping too. I think i’ve started something

Pennsylvania
–More wind, but less snow. Hooping would be a tad easier without being pelted by snow and ice. –only a short drive thru Pennsylvania…then we were back in WV…and now in Ohio

Ohio
–the biggest state we had to drive thru (so far). 220 miles of Ohio
–the greeting in Ohio is less welcoming than WV. WV is now the standard for rest stops. It is your basic stop…no vending machines…no little literature of things to do…just stop-n-go. We did manage to locate a monument at the rest stop that would serve as my hoola backdrop.
–Notable sights in Ohio: rolling hills…transform into flat farmland, look closely and you’ll see the Amish off the service roads on their horse-n-buggy. Then it might be best to zoom out – or else you see the confederate flags flying proudly. (sigh)
–Said hello and goodbye to Columbus OH…and kept pace with all of the trucks so that we could get out of Ohio as soon as possible

Indiana
–now we’re getting into some NEW territory. Have never been to Indiana (per my short term memory).
Nice sign at the rest stop – that would serve well for my hoola backdrop. I hooped away in the state of Indiana. We needed to start making some time on this road trip – if we were to get to the next state before nightfall…
Notable sights in Indiana: Indiana is flat, loaded with many farms, the maximum security state prison is located next to a playground for kiddies (?), and it appears that there is some cheap land for corporations to scoop up.
Just a guess, but based on the mile-after-mile of mega warehouses, all products imported from China, are stored here. Indiana is NOT the home of basketball or Bobby Knight…but rather the home of the mega warehouse.

Illinois
–Traffic is still heavy — lotta trucks
Illinois locates it’s state sign INSIDE the rest area. Yikes, that means I have to hoop indoors to get my “Illinois” backdrop. It was after-hours, and nobody kicked me out…but there were some curious onlookers to this hoopster gyrating with her chocolate sparkling hoop
–the time changed from Eastern Time to Central Time…we had an extra hour of driving time (oh joy!)
–we kept chasing the sunset in the west…but it went down before we could get to our destination of St. Louis MO. We opted to stay at Effingham, IL. Don’t ask where that is. It’s a dot on the map with a bunch of hotels, OK?
–got up early (body is still on Eastern time…even tho the clocks say Central time)
–within 5 minutes of I-70West…we hit some Lake effect snow. Lots of it. Not good. Drove slower than the speed limit thru the rest of Illinois
–Did you know there is a St.Louis in Illinois…AND a St.Louis in Missouri? They could be the same city, but the Mississipi goes thru it…

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