If you don't know what that hideous inflatable is, I'll explain. It is a cheese coney. You take a mushy hot dog, put it in a little bun and garnish it with Cincinnati-style chili, onions, mustard and cheese. It was a wonderful reminder of the world we sometimes end up trapped in. Fast food, drive-thrus, traffic jams, automated phone machines... etc. Needless to say, it only made us want to get out even faster.
Another thing you should know about the Cincinnati area: it's in a big damn valley. Whenever you have a great view of the city, you can see how the horizon is perfectly flat all around you. You can thank glaciers for that. Almost all the land is flat unless there is a valley cut by some stream or river. Normally, when you're leaving Cincinnati you go up and out of the valley until you reach the flat plains. Things get really boring and uneventful by that point. Somewhere in the middle of all that flatness is Columbus. Thankfully, we were heading east towards the Appalachian mountains. Those are hills, not valleys.
Still, nothing really prepares you for the first time you see them in Ohio.
"WHY DID NO ONE EVER TELL ME THERE WERE MOUNTAINS IN OHIO?!?!?!" is what I ended up shouting when suddenly the horizon had acne. We were approaching the very outer fringe of Appalachia. They weren't mountains by comparison to the Rockies, but these hills sure did look like mountains compared to the rest of Ohio. We had entered a land where the Amish still live. A land where there are people that have never associated themselves with technology. A land where iPad sounds more like feminine sanitation. Good luck finding a yuppie driving their BMW way too aggressively out here. This is the land of pickup trucks.
I was starting to not miss college. I was also starting to wish I was driving as we got off of Route 50 and turned on to a much more windy road heading to Fort Hill.