With visibility at barely 100 yards I couldn’t tell you a great deal about Ohio. It looks pretty flat, snowy and windy from here. Waking up creased and uncomfortable, Cleveland has a lot of work to do to ward off my rising rage, and the bizarre glut of heavy steel cantilevered bridges, as if they were a fad everyone wanted to be part of when they were built, aren’t cutting it. There are US flags on everything, from bus stations to bulldozers.
Outside downtown Cleveland, modern highrise become timber houses with pointed roofs swooping at a steep incline to persuade the snow to slip down, or bungalows squatting among the trees as if stooped like gleaners against the wind.
The road is lined with alder, birch, spruce and pine. Gusts of wind tear the powdery snow from roofs and trees and cars, creating wispy gauze phantasms that thicken and haunt for an instant and are gone. The storm covers everything in a flat whiteness, and the only contrasting colours come from the gaudy logos of fast food joints at the motoway turnpikes.
A pretty town with a pretty name, Elyria’s street is lined with well kept classic timber homes that exude turn of the century Americana. It also boasts JR’s Gospel Gift shop.
Beyond the towns is… nothing. The odd barn, grain silo, farmstead. But, even when the clouds lift to reveal the landscape miles away, all that can be seen is the vast expanse of the plains; barely any more, you feel, than would have been seen by the
Sioux or Algonquians Chippewas and Sauk tribes who walked these routes between the lakes centuries before.