Friends, "Big Lub," and why the "Glee" kids left Ohio

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October 20th 2015
Published: October 21st 2015
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Today was a lot of driving. I mean, a lot. I didn't really see a lot, or at least as much as I normally do in a day on this road trip. But I did get to see some good people and have an unexpected pilgrimage of sorts. So that's fun.

First off, I slept a little later than normal, but I was back in the Eastern Time Zone for the first morning, so I'm having to readjust to that. I guess my body is still on Central Time. No big deal, just an hour. Unless you factor in that you told someone you would meet them at X time and now that's an hour earlier for you. That's probably the biggest thing about doing a solo road trip vs. meeting up with people: you can't always do things according to your own timetable when other people are involved. Big revelation, right? Well, so far on this trip, I've only had one person to meet up with, and aside from the football games at specific times (which were the whole impetus for this trip anyway), I've really only had to worry about closing times for certain places when I planned out my days. When you actually have a person say "I can only meet from X time to Y time," you have to plan more carefully. I didn't plan carefully, but I was lucky that things worked out well anyway!

So, my plan was to visit Ohio State, swing past Cincinnati for a few spots, and then end up in Middlesboro, KY, where I was going to stay with a couple of friends. Pretty easy day. When I checked the map, though, I found out that Bowling Green State University (complete with FBS football stadium) was literally right off the interstate along my path, less than 30 minutes into the journey. So I set out for Ohio State, and when I got to BGSU, I was a little hungry, and I needed to figure out how the rest of the day would play out. My time was going to be slim anywhere I went, but I decided to keep going, to stick to the plan. No food.

But about 10 minutes later, I just said to myself, I don't really care that much about seeing Ohio State today. How much time will I save if I skip it? Turns out, 2 hours. At least. My choice came down to visiting Ohio State or the William Howard Taft National Historic Site in Cincinnati. Decision made. I'd rather see Taft. So I reset my GPS for Cincinnati. And not even 15 minutes after that, a teenager who's now at the University of Kentucky asked if I could be stopping by and see him on the way. I figured I had about 30 minutes for a stop, so I told him yes. Of course, this made the rest of my day a bit more cramped and furious than I had planned. Wonderful!

While on the way to Cincinnati, I realized I would driving through Lima, OH. If you're not a fan of the show Glee, that probably means nothing to you. But I am a fan, or at least I was, since it's no longer on the air. I knew at that moment that I had made the right decision not to go to Ohio State. I also knew that I had to make a slight detour. When I got to Lima (pronounce Lye-ma), I followed my GPS to the middle of the downtown area. That's a cute way of saying the town square, since there's really not a whole lot there. And at that moment, I realized why all those Glee kids wanted to get out of the town. I can't blame them one bit. Ten minutes of wandering around the square, and I was ready to be back on my way. I had hoped that there would be a Big Boy so I could get some food - we don't have them where I'm from, and they're still a bit of iconic nostalgia. So the next exit I found one, I stopped. The parking lot was slammed, which displeased me. But I noticed they had a drive-through, so I was glad at least for that. The fries were really good and thick. But I was still heading to Cincinnati.

Once I got there, it was a traffic nightmare. Road work, one-way streets, unmarked roads. Yuck. I can't see why anyone would want to go to school in that. Some of the buildings were nice, and the stadium was pretty cool, but having to deal with all that mess would take a lot of the fun out of it for me very quickly. I was there long enough to get a picture of the stadium after the GPS took me down a service road that was rather unpleasant, and then I was headed to the Taft house. It turns out that it's not a library like the other 2 I've visited on this trip - they only started doing those after Hoover, who left office in 1933. Taft, a.k.a. "Big Lub," was president from 1909-13, so they have his boyhood home available for touring, along with a visitors' center that shows a short film, complete with a gift shop. Admission is free, too. They give tours of the first floor of the house, while the second floor has exhibits with information, photos, and memorabilia on display. I was pressed for time, and there was already a tour of the first floor going on, so they let me see the second floor and told me to come back down to the first when I was done. A tour guide named Jason gave me the quick tour of the first floor - it was pretty sweet to get a private tour, even if it was accelerated. It was a really nice house, and the staff were all happy to be there. I hope to be able to go back and give it a proper viewing at some point, but I do recommend it, even from my limited time there.

Since I was now on a schedule, I didn't have time to do much else in Cincinnati. They apparently have an art-deco tour of the city, and if when I go back, I'll be doing that for sure. Traffic hadn't picked up yet, and I made my way south to Lexington with ease. Once I got off I-75 in Lexington, though, traffic was horrendous. I don't really know why. It was only 4 PM, and Lexington isn't a big city at all. I was told later that the roads are simply not wide enough to accommodate the volume, nor are there enough of them. Nevertheless, I made my appointment with Andrew at the UK library for coffee at the time I promised. It was good to see another familiar face. He's a freshman there, but he's from Lexington, so it's not as big an adjustment as it might be for others. We chatted about presidents (he's an enthusiast, too), train travel, and football. We only had about 45 minutes, but it was time well spent. He insisted on taking selfies before we left, so that's always fun, too. I've added one of those to the photos on this page.

Finally, I had to make it to Middlesboro, KY, home of Kristy and Zach Bay, whom I've known for several years now and in various capacities. Zach is a pastor here, and Kristy works at the university. It's been 2 years since we last saw each other, but when I got to their house, it really felt like it had been only yesterday. Good times. It was taco Tuesday, so that was fun, too. We had good times talking, and then we decided to watch Back to the Future II, since that's supposed to happen tomorrow. I'm guessing other people probably did the same thing, or will do it tomorrow. I've even seen that some cinemas are playing it tomorrow. Anyway, we only ended up watching the part that happens in 2015, since we're all getting old; I had some schoolwork to get done, and they had to get to bed because they have jobs! But it's nice to have a day of meeting up with old friends and sleeping in a bed that I'm not paying for.


25th October 2015

We grew up in Ohio. Dave is an Ohio State graduate. Bowling Green is a nice stadium. Enjoying your trip. Great stuff.

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