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Whew…

Sometimes driving can be more tiring than walking or cycling.  At least after a long walk or bike ride, you’ve gotten some exercise and gotten the endorphins flowing.

I spent much of today taking my father around on various errands in the mall nearest his new residence.  “Near” being a relative term, since it’s as far from his new place as my home is, but in the opposite direction.  And we didn’t have our navigation worked out well enough, so we got lost a few times.  Well, I got lost.  The first time was when I was on my way up to meet him at his place.  I tried a new route — actually the same as the quickest route back but in reverse, something I haven’t tried before because it’s harder to get to Reading Road from my apartment than it is to get here from it.  (There are two parallel one-way streets going in opposite directions, one of which intersects Reading, the other of which goes on a bridge above it.)  Anyway, I was going up Reading and I saw that the lane I was in was turning into a left-turn lane, so I veered right — and found out just too late that that was the left turn I was supposed to take, sooner than I thought.  So I had to do some turning and come back to the intersection from the other direction.

Then, while going up toward the mall from my father’s place, I got confused by the craziness of Cincinnati street layouts.  Driving north on Springfield Pike, you come to a place where the road of that name veers left and going straight puts you on Congress Drive.  We figured we’d taken the wrong fork, and made a left at the next crossing to get back to Springfield Pike.  But when we got to Kemper Road, where I knew the mall was, I saw no mall in sight.  I checked the maps again and realized that I’d been right the first time: continuing north on Congress would’ve turned it into Princeton Pike — still the same straight-line road, but changing its name yet again.  And that’s where the mall was.  (As if that weren’t bad enough, Springfield Pike is an extension of Vine Street, which down by the university has a stretch where it becomes Jefferson for a few blocks, with a separate Vine running parallel to it until they fork together into just Vine again.)

So we had to go a fair distance east to get to the mall, and then had trouble finding exactly how to get from one place to another once there, because it’s a huge sprawling area and some of it is a maze for cars.  There was one point where I’d spotted our destination and drove into what looked like the right lot for it, but it was a KFC lot that was adjacent to the actual place and separated by a thin fence and a couple meters’ width of grass.  So I had to drive all the way back to the busy main street and wait for the lights and so on just to travel to someplace that would’ve been a 30-second walk from where I was (well, for me if not my father).   There was one opening in the fence and I was tempted to try driving through it, but I probably wouldn’t have had sufficient clearance to get through without losing a mirror or something.  See, this is why I prefer walking — cars have such limitations on where they can go.

And once we were done with the mall, there was still one more store to go to — and when we checked a phone book that the pet store employees helpfully let us see, it turned out that it was right where we’d been before at Springdale and Kemper.  So we had to go all the way back there again.  We really should’ve been more prepared.

All in all, I think I probably drove over 35 miles today, none of it on the highway.  And I’m exhausted from it.

At least I got a free lunch out of it.  My father treated me to Panera.  They have a new chicken salad sandwich, with almonds, celery, and grapes in it.  I like chicken salad with grapes.  I had it with a bowl of a rather good creamy tomato soup which came with croutons in it.  Being Panera, they provided a piece of Italian bread with it as well, and for once the crust was just the right firmness, not really tough on the bottom.

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