Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Traveling to Wichita Day 3

Day 3, Friday
Comfort Inn, Painesville, Ohio

I’m up by 5 a.m. The work table is small and not comfortable for anyone with a laptop, journal, and logbook. I skip the journal and write up the first two traveling days for the blog, however, I can’t access “new post” on my blog site. I waste time flubbing around with it and finally give up. I fill out Trip Advisor reviews for the Erie Canal Tours and the Comfort Inn in Syracuse before packing everything up for the day’s journey.

I ask the lady at the counter about area attractions saying I don’t want to go to downtown Cleveland and I want some place quiet. She suggests Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio, half an hour from the hotel. 

At 9:25 a.m. the temperature is already 81 degrees under sunny skies. I’d like to drive for awhile before taking a break, but when I reach the exit and see the Holden Arboretum sign I decide to take the woman’s suggestion.

I drive and drive feeling like I’m veering too far from the interstate and getting into the middle of nowhere. Three times I almost turn around, but something compels me to keep going and I finally see the entrance sign. (It really is only half an hour from the hotel; it just feels like a long time.) There’s an overall peacefulness about the entire area that permeates my soul the minute I pull off the road. I need this after yesterday’s stressful interstate driving. 

The actual visitor’s center building is farther along. I buy a general admission ticket at a little ticket booth for $10 and for another $4, one for a canopy walk which also covers the 219-step tower. I’m not sure I can handle climbing 219 steps, but a canopy walk sounds very interesting. The young woman says the canopy walk is about a 15-minute hike. 

I find a parking space and a short walk takes me to the visitor’s center. The middle section of the inside is open and cavernous. They offer many educational and research programs here.

Holden Arboretum, Kirtland, Ohio

The Holden Arboretum property covers 3,600 acres with over 20 miles of hiking trails and cultivated gardens, and is considered the largest arboreta in the U.S. The Audubon Society has named it an important bird area. There are more than 120,000 plants documented with themed displays, recommended-for-the-region sustainable plants, gardens, and conservation areas.
They also offer hour-long tram guided tours along with dozens of educational programs and events. Visit www.holdenarb.org for more information. 

One of the trails heading off past the garden
I approach the information area and explain my walking issues to the woman behind the desk. She says she will give me a special pass so I can park closer to the canopy walk. I see a garden out the huge back windows and decide to check that out first.

This is the Holden Butterfly Garden and the view outside the door is more spectacular than what can be seen from inside. I step out onto a terraced deck and immediately begin taking pictures. This is absolutely gorgeous! There are flowers, shrubs and lily ponds, with water tumbling over rocks to the pond on one side of the bridge and a fountain shooting water into the air on the other. The layered terrace leads down to a brick path which slopes down to a pond and over a bridge. Many flowers and shrubs, so many I can’t name, are in bloom on both sides of the trail. The colors are amazing. I would love to have these in my garden back home. I meander across the bridge and onto a grassy rise and paths amid flower gardens with fields beyond. 

I could stay here all day

Across the bridge is there is choice in direction
The colors, textures, and patterns are incredible. The trail continues across a field, but I turn back and loop around to make my way along the grassy path that meanders the far side of the pond. Benches are strategically placed to allow one to sit and contemplate. The chirp of birds and the trickling water sounds are soothing to the soul. Oh, yes, I need this after the busyness of the last couple of days. I take my time even though the sun is starting to get to me.

What colors!

I wander around, up a slope and down and cross another bridge circling back to the building. I sit under a pergola in the shade with the visitor’s center at my back, get out notebook and pen, and look across the pond. I want to write a poem, but my mind is so boggled by the beauty, no words come. I could just sit here all day.
A perfect spot to rest out of the hot sun

What a view from the resting spot

Pink water lilies started popping up
Wait! Where did that pink water lily come from? I didn’t see it before. There’s another over on that side, then another. It’s like they are popping-up right before my eyes only I don’t actually see it happen. The blossom is suddenly just there. Oh, of course, there has to be pictures. I jump up to get various angles of the blooms.

And white ones on the water fountain side

But the sun is brutal and the humidity is getting to me. It’s affecting my breathing. I feel woozy and sick. Uh oh, I am not going to be able to do the canopy walk in this heat. I explain my dilemma inside and the lady returns my $4. Darn, I would have enjoyed the canopy walk.

I leave the parking area feeling a little downhearted that I can’t do the walking I used to do. I would make the attempt, but the heat would do me in. I love this place; these types of places. I hope I can find more places like this. I stop for photos in a couple of places on the way back to the main road. 

I’m back on I-90W by 11:15 a.m. and soon take I-271S which by-passes Cleveland. Oh no. There’s a division – I-271S Expressway and I-271S Local Traffic. What does that mean? Does it require a special pass? I take my chance and stay to the left on the expressway. Even though an expressway, it doesn’t mean it’s easier getting through the outskirts of Cleveland, though. There’s a lot of traffic and the speed limit drops from 70 miles per hour to 60 and is 50 through construction areas (of which there is a lot and few pay heed). It’s funny how a drop in speed limit feels so much slower. This is steering wheel clenching and stressful. My back aches and my head pounds. 

Interstate 271S goes on and on and there’s nothing spectacular to look at and ends up being another day of boring driving. I reach I-71S and it’s not much better. I get a glimpse of a farm every once in awhile. What’s really disappointing is that bridges all have concrete walls on both sides that I can’t see over so there aren’t any river or water views. I suppose it’s good to focus on the traffic and road.
There are various signs before exits: area attractions, lodgings, food places, and the last is places to get gas. I reach the outskirts of Columbus, see a Comfort Inn sign and pull off the interstate. I want to call it an early day because I need to work. However, once off the highway, I have no idea which way to go as there are no more signs. I can see signs above a Hilton, a Residence, and a couple of other hotels from the traffic light, but no Comfort Inn sign. I turn right and drive for a bit then make a turn to try to get back figuring the hotel should be near the interstate. I take another road and then double back again. These are all multi-lane roads with lots of traffic. 

Polaris signs are everywhere and this entire section of Columbus seems to be full of huge shopping malls, all named Polaris. I am totally lost and confused. Did some developer buy up all this land and name everything after himself? 

About Polaris

According to Wikipedia, Polaris Fashion Place, owned by WP Glimcher, encompasses a 1,200 acre retail plaza, outdoor promenade, restaurants, and two-level shopping mall featuring eight major anchor stores and more. There are also over 100 other commercial and residential developments in this area. 

I finally stop at the Residence Inn for directions (Comfort Inn isn’t far) and shortly I’m checked into the hotel. The good-sized room is on the first floor with a king-sized bed; a nicer room than the previous two, but not great. I would love to take the time to go for a swim in the indoor pool. I have too much work, though. (I always panic that I won’t get it done in time, but I manage to do so.) Life is good.

But what is that loud music playing? At first I think it’s from the next room. It’s not, it’s coming from outside somewhere. It’s that level of noise where I can hear the bass and thumping, but not quite loud enough to hear what the songs are.

I set up the laptop and call Papa John’s for delivery then check messages. Awww, my kitty, Pele, sent me an email (helped by my good friend Nan McCarthy, Pele’s Auntie Nan, who is taking care of my baby puss while I’m gone). How touching. I miss my fur-baby so much! My eyes leak. How precious is this: 

Hi Mom,
Auntie nan came over yesterday morning for a visit. She brushed me, checked that I had plenty of food, and cleaned out my litter box. Then we had some tummy rubs and sat and watched the birdies out the slider. They looked confused, because there was no food. Auntie said Leo greeted her when she arrived and helped her check the plants, which all looked fine. I ate some of the wet food while she was there. Auntie was wondering what you mix with what for the wet food. I told her she should go get the stuff I like, but she said she didn’t know what brand it was. I’m going to work on that ....
Miss you,

Leo is the neighbor's cat who keeps me company when I'm gardening.
Unfortunately I’d run out of Pele's favorite food before leaving home and although I’d gone to three different stores, none had it. (I can’t always find it.) I settled for a couple other different kinds. 

I chow down a couple slices of Papa John’s pizza while I work on the newspaper. We are shooting for a 20-page edition this week as compared to the regular 24. This will be a little easier on me, too. I put together the docket, community calendar, and edit the editorials in the folder for this week.

I next import 63 photos taken during the day, edit four, and post one of the pink water lilies to the Photo-a-Day challenge. 

By this time I’m totally brain dead. I move some things around for the night and settle to watch a little TV before bed. I write in the journal during commercials. The outside music stops about 8 p.m. and I crawl between the clean white sheets of the bed at 9.

End of day overview: 
Average weather: sunny, humid, 81-88 degrees
Places visited: Holden Arboretum          Rating: 5
Miles driven today: 173
Trip total: 758 miles
Hours driven: 4
Hotel:  Comfort Inn Polaris, Columbus Ohio    Rating: 3
Meal: Papa John’s     Rating: 3

Site fee: $10    Meals: $21.99     Hotel: $103   

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