Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Reaching East Aurora

"First cousins once removed", Chris and Charlie


At 5:00 a.m., I got into motion quickly, hoping to escape detection by rangers showing up for duty. (One becomes adept at packing in the dark, a useful skill at times.)(Actually, it was not so dark, as the lights of South Bend to the northeast filled that part of the sky with a vermilion glow.) As far as I know, no one came by my tent site last night.

Completely overcast and cold, but not intolerable. On edge driving the country roads, All the while scanning for deer, carefully made my way back to U.S. 6 and turned eastward.

Surprised how quickly the sky lightened. “Damn this cold north wind!” According to displays outside banks and convenience stores, the temperature appeared stuck at 41 or 42 degrees.

At sunrise I could see the sun's disk beneath the blanket of cloud, which was a good sign. "Out ahead somewhere there are clear skies!" It took 1-1/2 hours to reach a break in the overcast, but it made no difference. Still it was 42 degrees. And then I submerged again into a thick layer of low gray cloud.

Through Amish country, school buses making the rounds. Quaint towns and farmlands. With towns scattered every three to five miles miles, progress was slow.

Drove into Napoleon, Ohio to search for some breakfast. Pulled over on a downtown street and flagged a pedestrian to ask where I might get some breakfast. “Right here,” he said pointing to the building we were in front of.

Spengler’s Restaurant and Pub (established 1879) serves breakfast in the morning and spirits at night. Definitely the place for local color. Eggs, sausage, pancakes and coffee, I was eating for the warmth as much as anything. Unexceptional home-style cooking, but a fun atmosphere and popular establishment. $5.28 total. What a bargain!

While filling up at a the Shell station, a fellow approached me and asked if we had met in Ottawa two years ago. He said the person looked and dressed like me, and was riding a similar bike. I tried to piece things together. I had been in Ottawa, but it was further back, and I had flown. Maybe he meant a different city? We concluded it must have been a different rider. He said, his brother, Rod Thompson, buys and sells BMW motorcycles in New Hampshire.

The rest of the day seemed to be a ride in pursuit of some warmer weather. I couldn’t make sense of this. I thought the weather front must be associated with the lakes, but the cold didn’t diminish even in Pennsylvania where the north wind was no longer passing over frigid waters. (I definitely need to study meteorology!)

I was buffeted all day long, at first by a powerful crosswind through Indiana and Ohio, then more head-on as I turned up toward Cleveland. Returned to the Ohio Turnpike for about 40 miles before picking up Interstate 90. No more "diddling". I wanted to make East Aurora as soon as possible.

Reached there around 3:30, chilled to the core. Drove to 200 Walnut just to see if Priscilla might have come home early. Nope. Went to Taste coffee shop and got comfortable. Set up the computer and announced my arrival. "I'm waiting." I would stay here until Priscilla got home.

Looked at the NOAA website to make sense of the weather I’ve been experiencing. A powerful "Nor’Easter" has been swirling over New England, sending a stream of Arctic air down the Great Lakes. A warm front skirted eastward to the south of here. Ah-ha! Suddenly everything made sense.

So, as I was leaving Taste, Priscilla pulled up nearby. We went to buy some wine at a shop a few doors away. Coming out of the shop, Kathy was parked behind my bike. Becky rolled in and joined the procession to 200 Walnut.

Chris and Charlie showed up with some furniture that they were moving into Priscilla’s house for safe keeping. Dinner "to go" from Pasquale’s Italian Restaurant. Priscilla bought a Robert Mondavi Private Selection wine: “Vinetta”.

I studied the wine packaging (the focus of my professional life for nearly twenty years.) Yet another senseless label change infuriates me though I have nothing to do with it! (I always argued the too-frequent label changes merely confused customers.)

I have this feeling that marketing professionals (the modern "Ad Men") are the instigators of more waste than any other profession on the planet. Over-packaging, over-consumption, planned obsolescence, and their vanity “pissing on the package” (the immediate impulse to change a package and thus leave their mark.) That appears to be their ultimate goal in life. It was an endless, and futile battle at Mondavi. For years it seemed that management felt the Marketers could do no wrong. That is, until our finances were seriously scrutinized and the often wasteful follies exposed. It’s sickening. (All this angst from looking at a bottle! Give me a glass of that stuff!!)

A whacky evening (as usual) with my wonderful cousins.

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