Road: 2021-2022 September 19-21 Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York

How to Get Out of Michigan

That first bit of road grime feel hits your face at about four hours on the road. That feeling isn’t going to leave except for brief moments after showering. It’s going to be worth it. You’re going to wear the same clothes for as many days in a row as you can stand. You’ll shower, on a good week, twice. If it’s a bad week not at all. Showers have a protocol. Get in, get wet. Turn off the water. Soap. Rinse. Done. You conserve water on the road. You do this so you can camp in interesting locations off the beaten path. You actively avoid campgrounds. You are privileged. You wake up in parking lots. In National Forests. On BLM Land. Sometimes you limp into a campground for the amenities. Those are a lot less like freedom now that you’ve had places like the rim of the Grand Canyon to yourself (and husband/dog/cat).

First we have to get out of Michigan. We left the house after 11am, spending the morning shutting the house up. Putting away our sprawl and shuttering doors and windows. A promise to return soon.

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We made it an hour or so under the bridge, in Michigan speak, and found a spot to stay in a National Forest for the night. Kurt and I made an early start for our only mission requirement before leaving Michigan, operation assist Kurt’s kids with car trouble. (A treacherous dead battery). Then deep into Ohio, strategically avoiding the turnpike. We found ourselves a spot to nestle into between another RV and a semi-truck outside a Cabela’s. Our truck rested while we listened to the highway scream and sweltered in the unmoving hot night air.

Four of Five

I did not sleep well. Billy Ghost had to be coaxed out from under the couch his whiskers twitching and golden eyes wild. I don’t believe he rested well either; to the crooning of a semi’s generator, the clanking of the shades or the constant traffic droning by. Kurt and the dog appeared unfazed.

The first thing we decided to do was stop at the edge of Lake Erie, if we could find a public park. Unlike in Michigan it was starting to become clear that access to the lakeshore in Ohio was limited and special… to mostly big brick monsters.
Lake Erie makes 4/5 Great Lakes I’ve visited. Unlike what I’ve seen of Superior and Michigan, Erie had a debris line of shells.

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The drive through Cleveland was surprisingly pleasant. If I didn’t know where I was I could believe I was dropped in a version of Milwaukee or Chicago, but with the courteous drivers.
Kurt took us along the lakeshore out of Cleveland, unfortunately there were few opportunities to view Erie from the road. Eventually the scenes became more rural and we found that the areas of Pennsylvania that hugged Erie were abundant in grapes. Fields spread out larger than any we saw in California.
Pennsylvania and then into New York for a night in a State Forest. A two-new-to-me-state day, I’ve never been east of Ohio (for accuracy never been to the east coast, unless we count Florida)▪️

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Taryn Okesson: Visual Artist
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