Day 5: Toledo, OH to South Bend, IN

Thursday, September 4

I extended our checkout time to 1 p.m. so that I could catch up on work and blogging. Thanks, Hampton Inn Toledo Westgate staff, for being so accommodating.

We planned a drive that didn’t involve highways—Route 20 all the way, mostly through flat farmland. It finally felt like a legit road trip.

At one point Andy noticed that we were close to the Michigan border, and he’d never been in Michigan. So we took a short detour so that he could cross it off his list. It’s always interesting to me to see the quality of the roads change at state borders, though there wasn’t a shift at this particular border:


Hillsdale County = Michigan

Lunch was at the Four Seasons Family Restaurant in Montpelier, Ohio. It suited the mood of the day.



I did not eat all of this BLT

Shortly after lunch we crossed into Indiana, my first new state. Indiana’s slogan is “A state that works.” It struck us as funny at first, but then we read the Wikipedia entry for it and learned that it’s a major manufacturing hub. I think Indiana might be one of the states I’ve had the fewest thoughts about, prior to visiting it. It’s a stealthy state, doing a good job of being a state without needing to tell everyone about itself all the time like my current home state.

[CORRECTION: Indiana’s slogan is actually “Honest-to-Goodness Indiana.” “A state that works” is a sales pitch to bring in more business. We misinterpreted the welcome sign. Thanks to Andy for his typically thorough research.]

We arrived in South Bend in late afternoon. I only vaguely remembered having reserved a hotel on Notre Dame’s campus. Maybe I subconsciously wanted to feel the back-to-school energy of college. The Morris Inn was very nice, very much a well-to-do parents’ kind of place, but with tacky touches like room candy and water for $5 and a branded wool throw across the bed with a $395 price tag laid atop it. The thermostat was set to 75.5 degrees.


Notre Dame is much more Catholic than Andy and I realized. The bookstore, pictured above, had more than one religion section and had a front display on the Pope, who’s about to visit the U.S. Seeing stuffed fighting leprechaun toys across from books about Catholicism made me think about the confusing, or just confused, symbols of my people.

Andy and I walked around campus and talked about college while the sun set, enjoying some top-notch clouds. We saw what looked like a fraternity and sorority back-to-school rally in the distance and headed toward it, but it was disbanding to the sound of “Hooked on a Feeling” by the time we got there.  Some of the women were dressed like ducklings.


Dinner was at Rohr’s, one of the hotel restaurants, because we were feeling lazy and it looked just fine. The food was quite good, actually. While we sat there, a number of couples in their 60s and 70s walked through the door in cocktail garb, and every single one of the women a) exclaimed how cold the restaurant was and b) was already wearing some kind of sweater or wrap. (It was a little colder than ideal, but nothing a wrap couldn’t handle. I was in a t-shirt.) It was kind of fun to watch it keep happening.


Hotel Art of the Day


The Boat Club on St. Joseph’s Lake, 1890s
Laser print on paper

The original image:05-art-original

Hotel Art Score

4/10. It would be higher, but the quality of the print drags it down. It’s a little blurry, but more egregious is that the image has been stretched to fit the frame. It is a nice frame, though, if you like your frames simple.

Art Art Score

4/10. I’m giving this score to the original photo. It’s not exactly art, though it’s nicely composed. It feels more like a document of an event, something you’d see in the school newspaper. But 125 years later it seems exotic and quaint, so it feels a little more like it might be art. I think it’s just a nice photo. But all of this is very subjective and nebulous.