Road Trip: Hartford to Paris

The road trip has begun! In three days, I’ve driven from Hartford, CT, to Hershey, PA, to Oberlin, OH, and now, I’m sitting in a motor lodge in Paris, IL, which I insisted upon solely due to the sheer weird nostalgia of being in Paris in another country. Turns out it’s basically the same as any other small town, but I’m consoling myself with a very impassioned religious channel and a plastic cup of gin with leftover dry ice from the Jeni’s I carted from Columbus this afternoon. I call it the G-N, the negative gin and tonic. It’s special in only the way that a motel cocktail can be.wpid-wp-1400024652485.jpeg
I started out my trip driving to Hershey, winding down past New York and going through New Jersey. I met up with an old friend from high school, who is currently pursuing her Ph.D at Penn in neuropsychology. We went to a friend’s house for dinner, who made us wonderful fried catfish with potatoes and beans.
wpid-wp-1400024616958.jpegIn the morning, we got our caffeine fix at the Cocoa Beanery, a local coffee and tea shop with chocolate teas, coffees, and more. A French toast-flavored latte and a Harney and Sons iced cocoa nib tea made the drive much easier. wpid-wp-1400024620405.jpegOn my way out of PA, I checked off one of the items on my sad, weirdly specific, fast food bucket list- Sheetz. Sheetz seduced me by telling me they, like my mouth, were open 24/7. Okay, maybe buy me dinner first, but that’s clever and no less offensive than the sleazy Carl’s Jr. ads. The above photo may include everything I enjoy in life- limited edition chips, a means of acquiring food without any human contact, and adding appetizers to sandwiches.wpid-wp-1400024623496.jpegSheetz redeemed themselves by being exceptional. The steak and cheese on a pretzel bun was perfect to inhale and despite not adding a melange of macaroni and cheese bites, jalapeno poppers, and fried mushrooms, it was still very flavorful and savory. Also, they were offering a special banana and peanut butter ‘smoothie’ made with whipped cream, banana ice cream and Reese’s peanut butter. Oh, Sheetz. You’re adorable. That’s not a smoothie.wpid-wp-1400024728759.jpegI was pumped to see this rest stop farmer’s market only to realize it was closed. It may not have ever existed. wpid-wp-1400024626732.jpegI arrived at Oberlin, visiting another old childhood friend, welcomed with a lovely spread of homemade crackers, cheese, various fruits, and nuts, and wine. Both a flash flood and apparently, tornado were said to be in the area, according to my paranoid New England phone, so we stayed inside and drank roasted calendula blossom and Prince of Wales tea as the storm careened around us.wpid-img_20140512_210113.jpgThe Farmer has 18 chickens and though I woke up too late for eggs, we ate goat cheese chocolate fudge with homemade preserves for dessert and I lamented the final day of wearing my velvet pants in 80 degree weather. That shit don’t fly in the heat. I refuse to apologize for my Birkenstocks.wpid-wp-1400024630025.jpegI made a killer u-turn when I saw a sign for slaw burgers roughly 20 miles outside of Oberlin, and they were just as delightful as I expected them to be- fresh beef with a peppery, cool slaw on a fluffy white bun. After, I made the drive to Paris, going through Columbus to pick up a pint of Douglas fir ice cream from Jeni’s and also explore the North Market, although I was too cheap/tired to pick up too much food. I was also anxiously anticipating the cafeteria in Mooresville, Indiana, that I’d had my eye on since seeing it on Roadfood.
wpid-wp-1400024647691.jpegI caught a nasty storm on my way out of Ohio, but the sun came out the moment I arrived at Grey Brothers Cafeteria, so I celebrated by gorging myself on orange cream and pecan Jell-O salad (it’s salad if there’s lettuce, right?) with a big piece of fried chicken, paprika-dashed macaroni and cheese, a slice of Indiana sugar cream pie, and unlimited iced tea. I ate about four bites and boxed the rest to go. I suspect it will last me the next three days. wpid-wp-1400024634077.jpegNow I’m in Paris, Illinois. I started out fashionable and fun on my first leg of the trip, clad in appropriately eccentric clothing.wpid-img_20140511_132550.jpgAnd now I’m exhausted, middle-aged, and am watching the Food Network interspersed with bible infomercials as the air conditioner blares. Such is life and travel.wpid-wp-1400026832216Tomorrow I’m off to Kansas City, Missouri, for one to three days depending on how long I feel like staying. I may drive to Oklahoma, I may mosey down to Arkansas early and take a weird route and stay in a vintage motel. Not sure yet. But I’ll keep you all in the loop with food, travel, and gratuitous selfies. Ciao!

2 comments

  1. Kevin

    O, Jess, you road diva, with all the junk food you plow I am wondering how you keep your skin so alabaster perfect. Now I would admire you even more if tell me you are going to South Carolina (instead of Arkansas) via Oklahoma.

    • Jess Watsky

      Both are on my list of stops en route and from The Natural State, don’t you worry. My mojo remains intact.

      As for junk food, wait ’till you see what I’ve got planned for an upcoming post. It’ll waffle your brain.

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