Amish Country

The drive through Indiana was very picturesque in comparison to Chicago. We decided to use the turnpikes (tolls) since they were mostly the shortest route to Maine. If I remember right, Indiana and Ohio had automated toll booths. Pull up, grab a ticket from the kiosk and then start driving. If you left the turnpike or got to the Ohio state line, you fed your ticket into a kiosk and paid with a card. MUCH BETTER, but not as good as Massachusetts. We’ll get to that later.

We entered Ohio and their turnpike system was similar to Indiana’s (aka, better than Chicago). The whole way through IN and OH, there were wide and long stretches of forests and farms. I thought the drive very pretty. Spending most of my life in the Portland, OR area, I had forgotten that most of the country had trees and green fields too. There were many moments spent lamenting the fact that career and family had nailed me down. I didn’t carve out enough time in the last twenty-five years to go anywhere not on the West Coast. Ironically, the only brown desolation we saw on the whole trip was in OR and WA.

At this point it was Thursday, July 4th and Steph booked a room at a motel right off the Ohio turnpike. That place was HUMID. Apparently, there was a heat wave going on and the Great Lakes were making the whole region the most humid jungle of all time. Living on the West Coast, humidity isn’t something one has to worry about most of the time. So when I got out of the Uhaul in Ohio and my glasses completely fogged over, it was a surprise. Wow, was it bad. Instantly sweating.

We hit the road the next morning and stopped at the outskirts of Cleveland for lunch at a Cracker Barrel. As per usual, we parked our large rigs in the back and enjoyed our first Cracker Barrel experience. The food was excellent, especially for the price. I’d never been to one before and was unaware that in the last couple of years a couple of locations in the Portland, OR area had opened up.

Being big fans of the homesteading movement and leading a simpler life, we had heard about a place called Lehman’s. Everything you could need for home and farm, all of it human powered and Amish approved. The main Lehman’s store was about fifty minutes out of the way, but we wanted to see it. So we finished our food, plugged in the navigation settings and headed out.

The weather started to turn a bit sour. At one point it rained so hard that people were pulling over and motorcyclists were huddled under overpasses. However, we never stopped. The wind was definitely working over the large box truck I was driving and the trees were moving almost as if there was a hurricane. If you would have told me we barely missed a tornado, I wouldn’t have doubted it. When in doubt, just keep driving.

We got to Kidron, OH in the late afternoon. Lehman’s has “truck parking” in the back lot behind the store. There is a truck entrance on the side street that I saw after pulling over to assess where I could park. There were Amish riding buggies on the main road and the small town had a very rural feel to it. We parked in the gravel lot out back and went in. Overall, a very cool place. Lots of wood burning stoves, kitchen and household items, and craft supplies. I found a stainless steel bowl that was literally three feet across. The biggest bowl I’d ever seen in person. Obviously it was for mixing large batches of something, but all I could think about was cereal. We bought some candy, a couple of walking sticks and then headed back north to get back on the path to Pennsylvania.

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