During my college days at Denison I had to endure the jokes about Ohio from the prep school kids from “back east”. Columbus in particular, being nearby, had a reputation as a “cow town”. Never mind that those of us from Cleveland called it that too.
Driving to Columbus for the state time trial championship last weekend, one might think that Columbus is more vibrant than Cleveland. They have a pro soccer team (how European!). The skyline compares to Cleveland’s. Parks seemed to be everywhere. The Short North area is very cool.
But then we made our way to the La Quinta hotel in Reynoldsburg, an eastern suburb.
Pulling into the hotel, we had to swerve to dodge a fierce corn hole game going on in the parking lot outside our room. Add more points to the cow town score. Add more points for the tattooed girl smoking outside the lobby entrance, and then more upon hearing later that a corn hole tiebreaker would be needed. OK, that is probably all a bit unfair.
Criticism of Reynoldsburg however would not be unfair. It’s a perfect illustration of dreadful suburban sprawl. Picture 5 lane roads lined with chain restaurants, traffic lights, strip malls, big-box stores … and traffic. Some of the older malls (probably circa 1980s) appear to have been deserted for newer ones. On a whim I typed “Reynoldsburg Ohio sprawl” into Google and wasn’t surprised by the pages of hits.
Driving back to the hotel after dinner and a movie (“Get Smart” — it was not) I spotted a Speedway with gas for $3.84. It took waiting through 2 traffic lights and 2 more stop signs to make a simple left turn to get to the gas station. Any savings were probably eaten by waiting. And we wonder why the rate of fuel consumption continues to increase.
In contrast, the time trial the next day was held in a little town called Groveport, 15 minutes away, that had a real main street, quiet roads and a large community recreation center with baseball fields and a nice pool. No corn hole that I could see, though the race course did in fact pass by a number of farms and required dodging a dead skunk.