Chasing rainbows off the Ohio Turnpike

Travelogue, part 1: Day one on the road from Pennsylvania to Michigan.

Nikki Barr


Author photo from another road trip.

It was somewhere around noon when I was wrapping up a phone call and itching to get done with work. Cleveland was a good six hours away, and that didn’t necessarily include the stops I’d need, construction, or speed traps in Ohio. I didn’t even bother to factor traffic — there just isn’t any in most of Pennsylvania.

My suitcase was packed with more than was necessary but I knew it was going to be colder than I was used to in northern Michigan. All I needed to do was pack my cooler with drinks and a couple sandwiches, pet the cats, and a goodbye to Joey.

I was probably “on the road” by 1:30. In my family, “on the road” is meant to refer to the time you get on the highway, not when you leave. It is from there the most important factor in the trip is if you are “making good time.”

I’ve taken the concept of making good time to a new realm with technology. Since my only real goal was to make it to the hotel for the night before venturing out on the rest of the driving Saturday, there was no set schedule. But, Google Maps always provides an ETA based on driving conditions and individual driving behavior. I am absolutely obsessed with that number.

Can I arrive before the ETA? Can I arrive at exactly that time with the eventual added minutes from stops? Can I make up the time from stops?

To say there isn’t much between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh would be a lie. There is a plethora of religious billboards warning of hellfire and damnation on several fronts. If that isn’t adequate, there are a few country radio stations and a huge choice in terms of religious radio and more hellfire. There are also affiliated political sentiments… because in middle Pennsylvania, there is no separation of church and state.

This is why I have no issues in paying for Sirius radio.

Once I hit the Ohio border, the speed limit decreases, the speed traps are frequent, the traffic starts to pick up, and the land is flatter. It’s two more hours to the Cleveland area. It’s then that I spot a rainbow in the distance. It’s really rather spectacular. Not a full arch, but a fade into the landscape of…



Nikki Barr

Normal human in an extraordinaire world. Memoir / Humor / Just Life