The day following the con woke with us gradually coming to accept that (a) the convention didn't have events going on anymore, (b) the hotel kind of wanted us to check out at some point during the day, and (c) the hotel had changed the password for their free wireless Internet. Actually, they'd changed it just a little bit --- the terminal ``19'' rolled over to ``20'', I think --- and our elite skills let us hack through that and let bunny_hugger check out online, so all we needed to do was put everything in her car, leave the keys and a tip for the maid on the table, and exit.
We left at about the right time for lunch, telling you further when we consider a reasonable time to rise, but went to the Bob Evans just about across the street to eat rather than for more sushi, or Mexican, or even Jersey Mike's which come to think of it would've been a nice suggestion. We ordered off the breakfast menu anyway. We're egg fans.
Not too far outside Columbus on the way back is a shop called Coon's Candy, which bunny_hugger kept seeing and never quite stopping in. We stopped in. This was an excellent idea. It's a homemade candy shop, yes, in business since the 1910s and with a history the attendant there was happy to describe in outline (particularly, trading the teaching of English to a German confectioner in trade for his teaching candy-making), and a wonderful array of sights and smells and all kinds of candies, from brownies to marzipan to chocolate-covered nuts to salt water taffy. And they had accessories as well, and kids' toys and squirrel nut zippers reminding me I'd left a bag of them at home in all the drama of my getting out.
While I didn't find the right thing featuring the apron-wearing, candy-baking raccoon mascot to buy, we did pick up several small bags of candy, some of which would be marked as gifts for bunny_hugger's parents and some of which we'd just nibble on ourselves. We definitely made the right move stopping there and I expect it'll be a future regular pit stop.
The drive back didn't have any of the drama of the drive from Lansing, by which I mean there wasn't anything on fire that I noticed and we didn't have the kind of fantastic electrical storm that made the last hour or so of the drive thrilling. It really had; we were getting not just lightning but massive, half-sky-filling bolts with four main branches and a delta of tiny branches. The way back was a decent if chilly day.
Unfortunately chilly at that. bunny_hugger had hoped to do a spot of letterboxing in Findlay, Ohio, to which she had drawn attention on the way down and which I spared so there'd be something to talk about today. Findlay is perhaps (no real perhaps) better known as Flag City USA, a name prominently featured on its bridges and in a wonderfully Stephen Colbert-ish painting on the side of some oil tanks showing a giant eagle in high Earth orbit coming to touch down on a lunar landscape made of a waving American flag. We had multiple questions about Findlay, Ohio, among them: why it was known as Flag City USA; and, with a public presence like this, why it was not known as Flag City U-S-A U-S-A- U-S-A. My best guess was they made a substantial number of flags, but it appears instead they just one year got all worked up showing lots and lots and lots of flags for Flag Day, decided that was fun, and kept doing it until the United States Congress passed a resolution that they were Flag City USA. Troy, New York, watch out.
Reports are there's at least one letterbox there, and it'd probably be an interesting design. But it was cool and nagging its way around being drizzle, and we were dressed for warmer temperatures, and we couldn't quite get motivated to go hunting for a letterbox in those conditions.
I'd expected to take over driving at some convenient halfway point, but the thing about that stretch of Columbus-to-Lansing is that there is no convenient halfway point. This is something I've never gotten used to about places outside New Jersey, that you can just have these enormous swaths where there isn't anything. You're short on towns and cities, people, even rest stops. It's ridiculous to go a half-hour with nothing but billboards to mark the passage of space.
Where we did stop and trade spots was at a gas station just across the Michigan border where bunny_hugger usually stops for a break when driving back from Cedar Point because that's the nearest thing to a halfway point for that excursion too. We stocked up on snacks --- I was sorely disappointed to learn a four-pack of Mallo Cups does not contain the two Mallo Cup Point Cards I expected, but none --- and soda. When I opened my Dr Pepper it underwent spontaneous fizzle-ion, drenching the cupholder and change tray and the floor under my half of the cabin with foam. It threatened to wash us away with the fine pink tide. Sadly, this would not be the only time during the visit that I would have a catastrophic incident with bottled soda.
But we got to her home, safe and sound, finding everything as it ought to be. We settled in for a quiet night of some dull things like my doing laundry and some exciting things like my having dinner with her, or my seeing her for hours on end, uninterrupted.
Trivia: The Michigan-Ohio border runs slightly south of due west; the straight segment is intended to run from just above Toledo to the southernmost point of Lake Michigan, stopping at the western border of Ohio. Source: How The States Got Their Shapes, Mark Stein.
Currently Reading: Taurus Four, Rena Vale. A ``space sociologist'' is stranded on a world colonized by the descendants of a hippie commune kidnapped at the dawn of the Saurian Wars, as the planet is itself being colonized by new non-humans. This ought to be cooler than it is.