My dear wife has been trying to get me to the Toledo Art Museum for 49 years. Well, not exactly “trying” — I’m not that hard to sell on a good idea, it’s just that several attempts have fallen by the wayside and we just haven’t made it there yet.
So, out of guilt I decided to fill in the cracks and make sure we finally got there. It’s time for a mini-roadtrip! Our first since the end of October. I can’t say I was “ready” as in jumping-up-and-down-impatient-to-go-somewhere ready. It just seemed a good time to break away.
Tuesday will be for art in general, the collection here is supposed to be pretty decent for the size of the community. We’ll spend Wednesday at the Art Museum to watch the Glass demonstration, and see more art. Ostensibly the purpose is to see the glass exhibits which are special.
The drive over from Milwaukee (330 miles) was uneventful. We don’t do much big city driving any more and even with over a million miles on the clock I never take traffic for granted. We cruised right through downtown and picked up the Chicago Skyway to cut the corner off the bottom of Lake Michigan and save a few miles. We have only used the Skyway a few times since it was privatized and I was a bit surprised to see the toll is up to $5.20 each way for two axled vehicles. We took the same road a few years ago with our coach pulling our car and paid about $4.00. If we decided to do the same 4 axle trip today the fare would be $24.10. For anyone who is currently ambivalent about rumors that changes in Federal highway funding might mean more privatized highways this is a real-life-warning how those things work.
As uneventful as the lightly-snowing trip might have been it was a good reminder that we are out of touch with things. Since our last trip on this route about 4 years ago three service plazas on the tollway system have been closed, the others have either been remodeled or are in the process of remodeling. All of which means that we no longer have places we know to be reliable as stops. All the options are new. We were also reminded of how much we forgot about all the interchanges along the way.
I’ve been taking the Skyway / Indiana Tollway / Ohio Turnpike for 50+ years and there was a time I know all the mileages between places, all the restaurants at all the exits and on the pikes, and a trip was pretty much plannable in my head from past history. Now that’s no longer the case. New vehicles, longer fueling intervals, new travel trends, all these things and more have made a world I once knew intimately seem like a foreign land to me. I’m not complaining — that’s life — I’m merely observing once again that Life Changes. You can’t count on something staying the same forever.
We don’t take the Big Roads all the time. But this route is one we travelled at least once a quarter for 45 years and it’s way to familiar and way too long for us to take the slow way, and enjoy the side roads. This is like a commute to us, miles that have to be done even though we’re coming here for a leisurely purpose. The trip is still the same old trip. But it’s not. It’s a new trip. A different trip. And something new to get used to.