Main Street Soda Grill, Vermilion, Ohio
This is what I tell myself. AND very clearly sense from those around me.
Any ordinary person would make the drive from Cleveland to Chicago the same ol' same ol' way they always do -- the Turnpike, with it's generic views and sterile (except for the filthy ones) oases.
But me, I'm an explorer. I saw more of of Ohio in my 2.5 years there than 90% of the natives see in a lifetime, from Zanesville to Steubenville, Marietta to Mansfield, Wapakoneta to Warren. So when I had the opportunity to finally see the Lake Erie coast between Cleveland and Toledo, I grabbed that bull by both horns.
Well, not so much. I didn't get to go the whole route, because even the most patient of traveling companions have their limits. But we did take a two-hour detour to see a 20-mile stretch from Avon Lake to Vermilion.
We saw pretty lakefront and big houses, out-of-place mid-rise apartment buildings and run-down ranch houses AND the quaint little town of Vermilion, which boasts a genuine olden-tymes diner.
And all along the way, I provided humorous commentary and composed copy for award-winning commercial spots advertising any of the many pizza and rib joints we passed on the road. It seems a strange combo to me, but I imagine an ad going like this:
Mom: What's everybody want for dinner?Sally: I want pizza!Bobby: I want ribs!Sally: Pizza!Bobby: Ribs!Dad: Simmer down, you two!Mom: You can both have what you want!Sally/Bobby: Huuuuuuuhhhhh?Dad: This is still America, and we're taking you to Geppetto's Pizza & Ribs!Sally/Bobby: Yaaaayyyyy!Mom: Thank you, Geppetto's Pizza & Ribs, for bringing much-needed harmony to this stressed out family!
See? One hundred percent fun!