Travel Day 2 — Mountains! Snow! Balrogs!

Aerial Bear
3 min readJan 23, 2021

Well, the first two, anyway…

We’re right above the final “A” in Indiana.

We’re in Angola, Indiana, have traveled a little over 400 miles. Retensioning the stabilizer helped us maintain higher speeds, but for most of the “morning” (see below) we were still rolling through the Alleghenies where the long steep grades and endless curves kept us to about 45 mph.

Right around Youngstown OH, the landscape flattens and the roads straighten so while you still have hills, maintainable speeds go up. For most of the day we were running between 55 and 60 — much closer to what I’d like to maintain.

Our plans for getting on the road by 9 am were stymied by a warm comfy bed, and the general nuisance of navigating the tiny kitchen. So, after getting up around ten we needed time to make coffee and to ensure that everything was secure for the day’s driving. We had some spillage yesterday which, fortunately, did not result in breakage or spilled liquids, but both of those things could have happened, so we’re being more careful. This put us on the road shortly before, ahem, noon, but hey, it was 9 am in Oregon.

There are several beautiful tunnels on the PA Turnpike and we exited the westernmost of these to snow squalls. Nothing major and no accumulation but a gentle reminder that it’s the middle of winter. Here in Angola, about tem miles south of route 80, there is an inch of snow and ice in the cmpground. The roads however, are clear. The low tonight will be in the teens. We have the RV propane furnace, an electric space heater, an electric blanket, and an emergency back up “Mr Heater” portable propane heater. I hope it’ll be enough. :)

The travel plazas along the PAT were so deserted we risked using the restroom, which seemed fine (almost no one there, very clean). This became less true in Ohio where the plazas were busier and featured many more people without masks. Still, I had a Panera flatbread for dinner, and Maya had some sort of fried chicken sandwich. I actually typed that as “Pangaea flatbread”. I dunno — I’m tired.

Our goal for tomorrow is somewhere around Des Moines Iowa, not quite 450 miles. I’ve driven through Des Moines many times, and my only memory is the dinosaur at a (closed) Sinclair gas station. I wonder if it’s still there. I wonder if I’ll be able to find it tomorrow.

Maya is happy that we made it through Ohio in a single day. They went Cheeto last Nov, I think? Asking for a friend. I am happy that there are now two whole states between us and New Jersey.

FWIW, Maya is also happy that we drove through the towns of Big Beaver, Beaver Falls, and New Beaver, all of which are in, you guessed it, Beaver county. The fact that the exit for Beaver Falls was also the exit for El Wood City strikes me as deeply poetic. As noted elsewhere, we’re both twelve and technically shouldn’t have driver’s licenses.

Love to you all from the frozen wastes of Angola. I will now curl up around the space heater and wait for dawn.



Aerial Bear

I am a bear living among humans, and have gotten so good at it that people rarely notice. I am a husband, step-father, author, musician, and much else.