The Mapbook, not to be confused with a MacBook©

My beloved Mapbook.  I’m not sure that is the proper name, but that is what we call it.  It makes us happy, it makes us laugh, it makes us close as a family.  It makes and holds memories.  It made me crazy a few years ago.

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THE Mapbook, there is no other…..

 I have always loved going for drives.  We drove from here to California back in ’78.  We left right before the blizzard….so when people start talking about “The Blizzard of ’78”, I just laugh and laugh and laugh…….because I was at Disney Land.    When I moved to Kent with the future husband, we stumbled upon a great place called Towner’s Woods on one of our drives.  My love for drives/roadtrips began a long, long time ago.

Now, I have a Tom Tom that I use all the time…..we have smartphones with gps and I have lived in this state all my life, (except for 1 year in Ft. Wayne …a post all on it’s own), but we live by/roadtrip by this mapbook.  It is beat up, ripped, and written on.  There is some Tim Horton’s© coffee spilled on it and I’m sure some ‘cheese’ from a Combo© or two…or it could be from gas station nacho’s ‘n cheese.   There are some pages that show no wear ‘n tear to them at all.  Uncharted territory.  For now.  Everyone in our ‘circle’ of family and friends knows about the mapbook……

We make notes if there is some place we want to come back to, we add addresses for places we didn’t have time to stop, we circle an area that might have a really old, creepy cemetery, and if I remember, I put the date that we were there.

A few of the places that are ‘penned’ in are:

The G & R Tavern in Waldo – They have the best fried bologna sandwiches.  I’m told they have other things on the menu board, but you have to get the fried bologna sandwich with onion, pickle and mustard.  There is a pie case with pies that are 2 feet high, but I don’t touch ’em…the bologna does enough damage to this girly figure.  Make sure you take cash, they don’t take debit, credit or first born.  Just cold hard cash.  Take me with you if you go.  I know how to get there 🙂

The Smucker’s Store in Orrville – What can you say about it….with a name like Smucker’s…..you know the rest.

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The Bridge of Dreams – it is the longest covered bridge in Ohio.  It straddles the Mohican River and the trail connects the tiny tiny towns of Brinkhaven and Danville.  It used to be a rail line but has since been converted into a walking/biking/horse-riding trail.

The Christmas Story House – Yes, it’s noted on there.  We drove down the road to see it.  A drive-by was all I could handle.  But it is marked on there.  As a one time thing.  Never again.

 The Ohio & Erie Canals – Specifically, the village of Clinton.  Nice place to go for a walk along the tow path.  They’ve paved some of the trails, some of it is a boardwalk over water, and it is 84 miles long.  Amazingly enough, I have NOT walked the entire path.  It’s pretty cool to see some of the old locks too……even more cool that I learn something from it.

Mud House Mansion – This one is my favorite, and is worthy of a post all on its own.  And the hidden gem we found on our way down there.

The mapbook goes with us when ever we go anywhere.  Anywhere.  Even to pick my son up from college or down to Mohican or Amish Country or camping….it goes with us.  You seriously never know what you are going to find or want to go back and see.  One year we were camping and it was hotter then Haiti’s….a storm the night before had knocked out the power and the pool was too full to enjoy…..so we took off for a drive…with the mapbook.  We made our way to Lehman’s (again, a post of it’s own) and found an awesome museum……and Funk Bottoms Wildlife Area.

A few years ago the village of Shelby was flooding.  Again.  It dawned on me that I didn’t even know what river ran through there.  Neither did my Dad.  So, we grabbed my mapbook and educated ourselves (got my geek on) on the name and where it flowed from and to.  My daughter was spending the night with them that night, and wanted to show Gramps all the places we’ve been to on our drives.  So I let her keep it with her.  I will never let that happen again.  It went MIA.  Sure, we could use the Tom Tom….we could print out a map from Google.  We could buy another one.  But it wouldn’t be the same.  It wouldn’t have our memories written down in it.  We couldn’t just pull it out and find that one place that we didn’t have time to stop at.  There would be no new campgrounds circled for us to check out.  I called mom and dad begging them to look for it AGAIN…..for the 10th time.  Neither one could remember seeing it there after that day.  Mom got a little tired of telling me she hadn’t found it.  I was THAT annoying about it.  I cleaned my van out 20 times….looked through every inch of my house…..and every inch of the husband’s and son’s vehicles.  No where to be found.  I was sick.  I didn’t want to get rid of my 188,000 mile van in case it was hiding in there…but I had to.  Then we had to get rid of the husband’s truck…..you know, an engine fire isn’t a good thing.  Still, deep down, I really knew it was still at my parent’s….and yes, every time I went over there I would look.  Things were not looking good for the mapbook/memory keeper.  As crazy as it sounds, we were bummed.  We would take off for a drive…..and feel like something was missing.  Hitting “favorite” on the Tom Tom just wasn’t the same…….

Then my Mom called.  Take a guess what she was calling for.  Almost a year later.  My heart was happy!!!!  I KNEW it was there.  She was cleaning out her cookbook cupboard…..you know, that one stupid cupboard that is above the fridge, that you can’t reach….and you never look in.  There it was…..and the memories came flooding back of all the fun times we had on our drives…..the great ice cream we had……the cute little old man who was sitting with his dog on the porch waiving to strangers……..and the unknown museums we discovered and can go to now that we have our mapbook back.

Life is good now….and the tank is full.