My wife and I were headed to a dog show at the Sawmill Creek Spring Lodge. And even though I’m not a dog show kind of person that’s okay. I love our dogs dearly, and if it weren’t for them and my wife’s hard work to make them some of the finest agility dogs in the world (this may be a slight exaggeration on my part) I never would have gone to places like French Lick, Indiana, Lawrence, Kansas, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Long Beach, California, or…Bucyrus, Ohio.
Our navigator took us off the interstate, which was a little unnerving. The interstate was familiar, and, we knew, would take us straight through Columbus—and Columbus traffic at rush hour. Instead we were directed down Ohio Route 4, through farmland and small towns.
Bucyrus was not our intended destination. We didn’t even stop there, but from the car windows I got a pretty good idea that it was not your usual small Midwestern town. The first thing that got my attention was the MB Subculture Shop on the left, advertising costumes, comic books, and “accessories”. They had me at costumes, but I really wanted to jump out of the car right then to find out what the “accessories” were. We then stopped at a red light and on the right was The Pelican House Coffee Shop. A man with white hair and wire-framed glasses carrying a heavily decorated journal crossed in front of us. He looked up and gave us a little wave. That was it. By the time we passed the trompe l’oeil painting of Lady Liberty on the side of a building I was in love with Bucyrus, Ohio. The town has a website that fittingly calls it the “small city out in the middle of everywhere!”
We passed through a succession of small towns and small places that advertised good country cooking and homemade peach ice cream, and a miniature golf course and burger place. There was a succession of churches with adjoining cemeteries.
Just before we arrived at the Sawmill Creek Resort we passed a restaurant called Lemmy’s. The all-you-can-eat lake perch got my attention, but the real reason I wanted to go there was because of the large green serpent on the side of the building. I’d later learn that Lemmy is the Lake Erie Monster.
The resort itself is on the edge of Lake Erie. I walked down to the marina where the Sawmill Explorer was docked and resisted the temptation to jump it in and take it out onto the lake. The water stretched to the horizon like a calm ocean. A few nights later we’d go to a bonfire on the resort’s private beach where I found rocks rubbed flat and smooth and put my feet in chilly Lake Erie. The only other thing I could have wanted was an appearance by Lemmy.
The resort had open areas decorated with bits of Native American history, fireplaces, a bear rug.
When we went off the interstate my first thought was that we’d be driving through nothing in the middle of nowhere, but then I corrected myself. No matter where you are it’s still somewhere. Every place has something that makes it interesting. Maybe I have a skill for finding it because I have such a low tolerance for boredom. Or maybe it’s because all you have to do to see something is look around.