Thursday, December 30, 2004

Day 4: The Great Race to A2

I awoke an hour later on this morning by design, as I wanted to avoid rush hour in Cleveland, which was the largest city on my route by far (roughly 3-4 million people in that metro area I think). After grabbing a quick muffin and juice at the continental breakfast, I bid my cubbyhole motel room farewell, and I hit the road.

I made good time to Cleveland (1 hour and 15 minutes) from Erie, PA, and proceeded to hop into the express lanes of I-271 and I-480, once again awed by the vastness of the freeway system of yet another large American city. These highways took me throught the suburbs of Cleveland, so the skyline, sadly, was not visible. I was taken aback by the huge area that the urban sprawl of this city encompasses. It took me, in non-rush hour traffic, over a half an hour to cross over from one end of this metropolis to the other.

Between Toledo, OH and Cleveland, OH, I filled up at a British Petroleum station. This otherwise unremarkable event was significant due to the fact that this tank of gas was the cheapest I have ever filled my car for, ever. I paid $13.50 US to fill my car from the quarter mark to full! And to think that they complain about prices down here!!

Shortly after, I crossed into the ultimate destination of this trip, the great state of Michigan! I stopped at a tourist rest stop to call my landlord, letting him know that I was on my way. Getting back on US 23, I noticed something both insane and equally exciting. The speed limit here on Michigan freeways was a neck-snapping 70 mph, which roughly works out to just under 120km/h! I zoomed along at 125 km/h, as if nothing was wrong; being a speed demon, I was loving every minute of it!!

A couple of things kinda pumped up the freak factor a few notches though on my approach to Ann Arbor, MI. One, Michigan makes their highway underpasses quite low. There was a warning of a specifically low clearance, and being behind two 18 -wheelers, I backed way off as both barely ( and I mean barely) cleared under the bridge! Also, there was not just one, but two signs on the way up US 23 that read, and I quote: "DO NOT PICK UP HITCHIKERS -- PRISON AREA". Eeek, I guess I won't be lending a ride to any strangers anytime soon!

I finally reached my house at roughly 2:15pm, and 20 minutes later, my landlord showed up, and gave me a brief tour of the house, and let me know that Ann Arbor was a safe city, and that I was in a safe neighbourhood. He knew what he was talking about, as he is an officer with the cities' police department. Trip over! Whew!!


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