Tuesday morning was wait-and-see time in our Fairfield Inn hotel room in Centerville, Ohio. Waiting for the phone to ring and Jim, the service manager at Planet Ford, to say "Your vehicle is ready." Jim called before noon. He said the necessary belts had been ordered and we would be ready to go by about 5PM for an estimated $450. We took Jim at his word and checked out of the hotel. We headed to a nearby Starbucks. Layla wore her Service Dog outfit and behaved wonderfully, as usual.
We nursed several lattes and cappucinos for several hours. I finished reading the truly awesome 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. Just as I have suspected for years, the Americas were full of people before they came into contact with Europeans, people who had been taking care of these two continents for centuries, from the woods of New England to the Amazon delta. Makes me very hesitant to call St. Augustine the oldest city without some serious qualifications.
Then I got started on the latest novel from the ever brilliant Walter Mosely, Blonde Faith. Easy Rawlins has to be one of the greatest characters of modern American literature but what happens in this one will shock his fans. (And when, oh when, will Denzel reprise his big screen portrayal of Easy?)
Finally, we were full of coffee and ready to move to Planet Ford's well-appointed waiting room, with free coffee from, you guessed it, Starbucks). We finally got the keys and a bill for quite a bit less than the estimate (Thanks Planet Ford). We hit the road. The ride through downtown Cincinnati in the dark was quite an adrenaline rush. Nearly got forced off a high bridge by a semi. Having Chey follow me and run interference was life-saver.
I don't know if you can tell from this shot, but the driver's station is fairly rudimentary, which just a simple wheel, stalk for indicator, and a push-pull knob for lights (important for signalling semis that they are clear when overtaking). The hump to the right of the seat is the engine cover.
South of Cincy the weather started to get misty and we started to get tired. We pulled off at a Ramada Inn. The next day we took time to adjust the mirrors, with Chey on the step ladder and me in the driver seat. Ah, much better. He headed out without much drama. The Interstate was quite dramatic through downtown Lexington. (Whoever thought it was a good idea to run an Interstate through the middle of a city or, even worse, join two Interstates in the middle of a city?) Rapid lane changes in a rolling brick like this are either not possible or not a good idea, but they seem to be mandatory for negotiating downtown Interstates. We reached the outskirts of Nashville by mid-afternoon and navigated directly to our friends the Schwartaus near Hendersonville. Backing down their driveway was a challenge, but Chey and Sherra talked me through it (shouted would be more accurate).
Aaaah! Time to relax.