Chicago to MD: The Road Trip From Hell

Friday, May 6, 2016

.... but it didn't start out that way.  

The trip was supposed to be simple.  Drive from Chicago to Cleveland and Cleveland to Maryland.  12 hours total drive time.  Not hard.  Unless you are me and Heather. 

First, we got 50 million phone calls from people saying not to go through Cleveland because it's supposed to snow really bad.   Fabulous.  We already had a non-refundable hotel there.  Well, we decided to go there anyway ... except we put home in the GPS and didn't check the GPS route. 

The GPS had us going South through Indiana instead of straight across and we realized it three hours into the trip.  So, like it or not, we weren't going to Cleveland.   Other than that disappointment the trip was actually pretty easy.  We stopped for dinner around 8 and switched seats (Heather drove the first part).  

We didn't have any issues until around midnight when we got to the Columbus, Ohio area.  At this point we were just planning to drive straight through and get home around 5am.   The weather had other plans for us.   Right when we hit Columbus it started getting really windy and slightly snowy.  Poor little Tin Can (that's Heather's car) was not doing well in that so we decided to stop for a few hours to sleep and let the salt trucks do their thing ... this is when it got bad.

Enter  The bane of my existence that night.  I had always had good experiences with until that night.  So, we wanted something close and cheap since we were only planning on sleeping for maybe 4 hours. I went online and found a room at red roof that had a room with two beds for $35.  While red roof was less then ideal, we didn't care at that point, so I booked it in the parking lot.

You would think that since it was available online that the room would actually be available.  We'll you'd be thinking wrong.  I walked in and the lady looked up my reservation and says, well I have it here but we only have king bed rooms available, so if you just call and tell them to change the booking, we can get you in a room.  OK, no big deal.  UNTIL tells me that I have to pay the additional cost of the room!

OH HELL NO!  I flipped out!  There was no way in Hell I was paying an extra $40 because of their mistake.  Needless to say, I was not happy!  I gave up trying to talk to the lady on the phone because she hardly spoke English and I was just tired and over it!

I did write a nice little letter when I got home and they did actually give me credit for the extra that I paid.  So my irritation dissipated a little.   Moving on.  We slept til about 5am and headed out again.  This is where it gets interesting.

Ohio and West VA were pretty much uneventful.  It was a bit snowy but nothing too crazy. 

Then PA.  Oh PA, if I never see you again it will be too soon (funny because I lived 5 mins from the border at that time).   We were looking at the GPS and it was telling us to go south into Baltimore then back up to Bel Air.  WHY?  No.  We decided to look at Google maps and see if there was a better way.  And there was ... so we thought.

We got to the road that was supposed to go straight across from the Pittsburgh area to Harrisburg then straight down to HarCo.  Well, silly Google maps forgot to tell us that the road we were headed towards was the fricken turnpike!!  The exit we were supposed to get off on would have cost us $17!!

Ugh.  So, the GPS tells us to get off on an exit a few miles down which only costs $2.  Whatever, we decide to just follow the stupid GPS.  Which worked fine until we decided to stop at Sheetz for some food.  It was snowing and we had to go over a Mountain.   Well, that ended up not being too bad.  Until it had us turn on some random dirt road!

 It took me an hour to go 2.4 miles because it was so hilly and curvy.  We seriously thought we were going to die.  Oh, fun fact about PA?  They don't like to plow their roads!  We were seriously sweet talking her car, "good tin can, don't die tin can".   So, after we got off the scary road and after another few miles we finally end up on Highway 68 and it was smooth sailing from there, thank goodness!  I don't think our nerves could have taken much more!

We were never so happy to see this Maryland sign!  and salt covered roads!  I think Heather may have a picture of the scary dirt road, if she does then I'll post it.

We were on the road for a good 24 hours between the time we left Chicago and the time we pulled up at my Mom's house.  Looking back now I find some of this kind of funny, but we definitely didn't find it funny then!

And that is the story of our road trip from Chicago to MD.

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