Thursday, July 1, 2010

With Apologies to Columbus, Ohio.

Our disagreement probably wasn't entirely Columbus's fault. I take some of the blame. I'm sure there are some lovely parts of the city, I just didn't happen to be in any of them.
By the time I got there, the distant thunderstorm had been on top of me for a while. The streets were flooding, and visibility was down to next to nothing.
As Route 40 got to the city, the old motels and campgrounds had run out. I checked for a room at a hotel named for the road, but got a bad vibe from the place that was confirmed by a police officer at the next gas station, who told me it was a good place to buy drugs or get stabbed. Fifty dollars seemed a bit dear for either, so I kept going to a chain hotel further along.
It is tempting to say, as I did say to the hotel owner when I checked out an hour later and demanded a refund, that the reason I left Columbus in the middle of the night was because of the uncleanliness of the room, the general atmosphere of danger, or the tough-looking prostitutes and their pimp setting up shop in the room next to mine.
These things were all factual, and it is certainly possible that they would have become an issue, but really I left because I couldn't get a hamburger.
In the particular area of Columbus where I found myself that Sunday around midnight, the only places to eat were the drive-thru portions of several fast food places, which was fine, or would have been, but they steadfastly refused to sell me anything because I didn't have a car. After my third unsuccessful attempt, I decided I needed to get out of town.
The rain had stopped for the moment, but returned just as the lights of the city faded behind me. I was rocketing along I-70 in the dark, in the rain, unseen and unable to see, and even in my somewhat Columbus-addled state this course seemed suicidal. I pulled off after about 50 miles of that, got a sandwich at a truck stop and a room across the street.
After unloading my bike, I turned the heater on in my room, laid my riding gear across it, then woke up the next morning in my wet clothes.

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