Nebraska or Bust – Field Report By Rob Sinatra – Day 1

Here’s the whole trip in a nutshell (well… five pages of a nutshell anyway).

Mr. Rob and Mr. Ed Hit the Road: Nebraska or Bust May 2000

DAY 1:

The day started out pretty uneventful. We planned to leave at 7:00 AM so that we could miss all the traffic coming out of Philadelphia and make it pass Pittsburgh before rush hour. After departing Rob’s house at 11:45 AM (different story for a different day), Ed and I made pretty good time, mostly by breaking major laws of both physics and mechanical engineering (Average speed: 80 MPH). The weather was really nice and we had ample opportunity to enjoy it as we were stuck in two long episodes of stop and stop traffic (there ain’t no go). It took us nine hours total to get to the Econo Lodge in North Olmsted, Ohio. A nice place to stay( i.e. two beds, A/C, and a bathroom- everything a body needs). Due to the diligent Internet research of my brother Frank, we had detailed maps of where we were going and some really neat places to stop and enjoy all the local color that North Olmsted had to offer. After calling both our parents and telling them that we were alive and not in jail, we decided to eat at the local Lone Star a few minutes away. The e-mail search said that Lone Star was open until 11:00 PM, and since we got there at 10, we thought that we would have plenty of time to eat and unwind. Unfortunately fate had other plans. The hostess at the Lone Star after asking us whether we wanted to sit in smoking or non-smoking proceeded to tell us that the place had just closed. Ed and I had just traveled 485 miles. We were tired and more importantly hungry. WE WOULD NOT BE DENIED!!!!!! Right next to the Lone Star that had denied us life giving sustenance was a place of that was absolutely to quote J.J. “DY-NO-MITE!!!!” The name of the place was the Macaroni Grill. The cuisine was home-made Italian with lightning quick service. Needless to say the food was very good. The really neat thing about the Macaroni Grill was their jugs of wine. No, not bottles, but enormous, honking huge, behemothian jugs of wine (approximately 15 11 oz. glasses per jug and they gave us 11 oz. glasses to drink the wine with too). The wine works on the honor system. They charge you for one glass each and you pour as much as you want telling your waiter or waitress how many glasses of wine you’ve actually had. Pretty cool. Since Ed doesn’t really know a lot about wine, I chose a very nice Chianti, or at least what I THOUGHT was a really good Chianti (more on that later). Ed had the Chicken Marsala and I had a really tasty shrimp dish. The New England Clam Chowder was absolutely out of this world. The desert was interesting- an eggless custard. It was like eating something the consistency of Smoo, but not too bad.

Back to the wine. Ed at this point was really beat and had finished eating. He had one glass of wine and couldn’t finish the second. I offered to not waste his glass of wine in combination with the two large glasses that I had already. I know what you’re thinking. Rob drove back to the Econo Lodge totally vasnikered. UNTRUE. I went to bed feeling fine. It was only at 3:00 AM that my gastrointestinal system decided to wake me up in full rebellion. For those who know me, they know of my bathroom prowess (i.e. the mighty DM: Dumpus Maximus). However, things got so bad that a new category had to be created- DMEU: Dumpus Maximus Extremis Uncontrolabus. Thank God that I had the bed next to the bathroom. Rob’s Helpful Traveling Hint #1: Never ever have 2 and ½ 11 oz. glasses of wine and take two antacids and forget to drink a tun of water. Let the bathroom beware!!!! But that wasn’t the only bedtime adventure we had that night.

Apparently someone used the Econo Lodge for their other use (i.e wink, wink, nudge, nudge). To mask this they decided to crank out the toons that the young people will enjoy. I decided to call the front desk and they handled the matter with all due haste (only because Ed and I couldn’t find the room so we could blast the door down the Anti-tank weapon Ed packed along for those SPECIAL occasions. That’s what I love about Ed, he’s so resourceful.). I went to sleep after that with only the aforementioned problem stated above. However for Ed, the fun just kept on going. Ed had to deal with my snoring (i.e only second to my brother, Frank, who now has a machine to help him breath at night because he snores so bad) and the ‘happy couple’ who decided to watch TV at O Dark 30. Fortunately the A/C kicked in and Ed was able to kick the bed until I stopped snoring. Hopefully that is the worst that will happen to us on our trip