Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Toledo Trip #12: Recap

Hmm. How do I make another routine trip to see Amber's side of the family in Toledo sound exciting? I can't, really. But I don't have much else to write about today (blog activity will probably be fairly light all week), so I'm going to give it my best shot.

This post goes all over the place, so I'm going to provide some quick links, in case you don't feel like reading the whole thing:
Bob Evans #1: Revisited
Disc golfing in Bowling Green
Giant Eagle
Driving notes, including US-35

Friday, May 28th

I'll save the route discussion for the end. First, I'll talk about where we stopped for dinner: the original Bob Evans restaurant in Rio Grande, Ohio. ... Oh, right, we've been there before, and I've already blogged about it. See why I have such a hard time writing these Toledo trip recaps? Just about everything we do on these trips, we've already done.

But that doesn't mean I don't have anything to say about our second visit to Bob Evans #1. For one, we recently learned from fellow curler and Ohio native (I think?) Brian S. that the city of Rio Grande, Ohio, is pronounced RYE-oh (rhymes with "Ohio"), not REE-oh like the river. As dumb as that is, it's not as dumb as how Bellefontaine, Ohio pronounces its name: "Bell Fountain". If you're going to anglicize the pronounciation, why even bother keeping the French spelling?

Anyway, after our second visit to Bob Evans #1, I don't think we're going back. As I said in November 2007, despite being the original, this particular location isn't anything special. In fact, it might even be worse than your typical Bob Evans. In terms of restaurant serving time, it certainly is worse than average. The all-time Bob Evans average serving time is 13:37; Bob Evans #1's average time in two visits is 19:00. It wasn't just that, though: the waitress messed up various aspects of our order multiple times, and our food was ready for probably 8 minutes before our waitress actually brought it to us. I only gave a 12% tip, and I never leave a tip that low. And, unlike last time, I wasn't overly impressed with the food. Maybe this is where future Bob Evans employees go to train? Either way, we probably won't make another visit to Bob Evans #1. And now that we've finally used all of our Bob Evans gift cards, I don't think we'll be going back to any Bob Evans any time soon. I'm kind of sick of it, to be honest. (I guess what I'm saying is, no more Bob Evans gift cards. Thanks, but...no thanks.)

While service was relatively slow at Bob Evans - 21 minutes isn't bad, but it should have been faster - service was very fast at Scrambler Marie's, a breakfast joint we visited the next morning. At 6 minutes, 33 seconds, Scrambler Marie's is the best of 2010...so far. Will it last?

Saturday, May 29th

Our basic plan for the weekend was to get the family together on Sunday for a generic Memorial Day cookout. But what do we do on Saturday?

Well, we started by playing disc golf in Bowling Green. The main reason I don't play disc golf much anymore is because I'd rather go bicycling, but I didn't have my bike with me, of course, so...let's go disc golfing!

The Bowling Green course is easy, and - perhaps not coincidentally - it's also one of my favorites. I've played over 100 holes there now.

We then went grocery shopping. (Isn't this an exciting trip???) Normally, when we go shopping in Toledo, we go to Meijer. Meijer is one of my favorites, and I wish we had them in North Carolina. This time, though, we decided to go somewhere new: Giant Eagle. I've seen Giant Eagle before, most prominently in Western Pennsylvania (it's based in the Pittsburgh area), but I've never actually been to one. Now is as good a time as any, right?

Now...I don't know if all Giant Eagle grocery stores are like this one, but the one we went to in Perrysburg, Ohio was very large and really nice. This particular Giant Eagle looked very new, so I'm guessing this one was probably nicer than your average Giant Eagle. Prices? Meh...hard to say. Wasn't really looking at the prices too much. Hard to say what I think about Giant Eagle, really. I think I still like Meijer better. Low Walmart prices without the awful Walmart experience!

One final note about Giant Eagle: according to my brother James (I think?), Pittsburgh residents pronounce it "Giant Iggle".

We also went shopping at a store called "The Andersons" while we were up there, but I'll save that for another day.

Sunday, May 30th

So, while it was nice to see the family again, family cookouts don't make for very good blog material. Besides, I've already blogged about the Horse Balls game, which made another appearance this weekend.

In case you're wondering who won...the girls won. Both times. The Horse Balls game isn't my thing, apparently.

Monday, May 31st

I was a little concerned about holiday traffic, so we left kind of early (7:45 AM). But aside from the occasional thunderstorm, we had no traffic problems whatsoever.

Meanwhile, according to Google Maps traffic and some first-hand accounts, I-40 east of Raleigh was a mess on Monday. I think we can thank returning beach traffic for that. I-95 in South Carolina was bad, too, as was I-95 between Richmond and Washington, and many other roads coming back from the beaches. It appears Memorial Day weekend is a great time to go to Toledo. Everyone else is going to the beach! Only for Thanksgiving and Christmas do people drive en masse to boring places like Ohio.

Finally, there's the question I posed on Friday. Does the new four-lane stretch of US-35 in West Virginia make that route the fastest route to and from Toledo, surpassing the US-33 via Athens route? The answer: almost, but not quite. Before this trip, the difference between the two routes was 6 minutes. Now, the difference is...2 minutes. So close.

US-35 construction isn't done, though, so I'm not giving up this route yet. At the very least, we have a viable alternative route that we can take for variety's sake. But next time we go to Toledo (probably for Christmas), we'll take US-33 via Athens, just like always.

And yes, we are making an equivalent trip to Jacksonville this summer, most likely in mid-August.


James Allen said...

Some Giant Eagles have an adjacent video store called "Iggle Video".

And, yes, your brother's name is "James".

Writer's Block said...

Very random - I work for AAA and was in need of a photo of a Colorado TripTik. I googled "Colorado TripTik" and it brought me to your blog. I scroll down and see your posts about Toledo, Ohio. My home town. I'm currently living in Arizona so it all seemed a little bizarre. Thought I'd share.

-Stranger from Toledo