A question keeps coming up... since I can work anywhere from my laptop, why not get out of Columbus and travel the country? Good question! So figured out some of the practical matters:
* Motel bills can add up to a lot, so maybe I can avoid them most nights. Besides, they're kind of dismal places when you're traveling alone. I can try camping, staying in hostels, sleeping in the car (I can fold the seats down), or connecting up with people through couchsurfing.org. Sleeping in the car may be about as comfortable as the tent, and without having to set anything up late at night or worry about rain (my tent leaks in heavy rain), so I might do that even in campgrounds.
* I can maybe save on food by going to grocery stores and using a cooler.
* I have a stack of road maps of just about every state, accumulated from AAA over the years.
* With an AC adapter for my cigarette lighter and "internet tethering" through my cell phone, I can work from my car practically anywhere.
* Besides comfort, and getting work done, my biggest concern is getting lonely. I'm a little shy to just strike up conversations with strangers.
I finally had a week and a half free, so yesterday I got clothes together, packed up the car, and headed south! That seemed to be a good direction. The land isn't so boring and flat, and everything looks a little different which is helpful for feeling like you're on a real trip. Also the people are maybe friendlier, and it won't get too cold at night.
Can I actually fit in there? Just barely.
I'll be back in Columbus to help my friend Ray with the Bike the C-Bus event Labor Day weekend and go to a family get-together. If nothing else comes up, maybe in October I could take a longer trip. This is sort of a trial to see how painful it is to live like this!
I decided to go to Chillicothe since I'd never been to Ohio's original capital city. I stopped at Samuel's on the way out of Columbus. He happened to have a free evening so he followed me down separately, and we had a great time exploring the town. We stopped at a bar with a country band and a few people dancing but needed to get food faster so we just went to Applebee's. I saved some leftovers for lunch the next day.
After Samuel left I went to a convenience store and asked to put some ice in ziploc bags for my small cooler. The cashier helped me and we talked about my plans. She said I could probably sleep at Tar Hollow state park overnight and told me how to get there. Good info!
However, that was almost an hour away in the middle of nowhere, and it was already getting late. So, as much as I hate Wal-Mart's labor practices and how its sweatshop-made merchandise has contributed to the decline of small towns, I decided the easiest thing to do would be to stay overnight in their parking lot. I won't be living very sustainably on this trip! I'd heard you could sleep there, but I was still surprised to find a couple semis and motorhomes way in the back of the lot. I parked alongside and was excited and wondered how I'd get to sleep. But once I did, I slept like a rock. I think trains even went by about 100 feet away and didn't wake me.
The sun got really bright at 8 a.m., and then it became more and more difficult to sleep as the car started getting ever gradually hotter. I finally got up at 10:00 and rolled the windows down and checked e-mail.
I ended up spending the afternoon at an overlook above downtown Chillicothe and worked from the car.
This old house was at the top of the overlook:
In the evening I discovered the Glatfelter wood chip factory. There were some serious three-story piles of wood chips:
I got some different perspectives on it. Here's the WWII battle zone and internment camp section:
I think it's a paper mill. It smelled really strongly like boiled cabbage, slightly on the sauerkraut side. I wondered how you could breathe that in every day and what kind of pollution it generates.
Moon setting over a rusty factory:
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