The morning starts get slower and slower and this time I think it's down to the small Tadpole. Being a teenager means that your body clock resets and you can't open your eyes much before noon. Oh well, we are on our holidays.
The day was geared around the young 'un, with a trip planned to Easton Town Center, out to the east of Columbus. Easton, I discovered, is like Bicester Village on steroids. It's a vast complex of shops, posh shops mostly, in a manufactured mini-town. There are streets with cars (mostly parked at meters, but that's the idea) lined with these posh outlets, but there are also plenty of pedestrian only areas, including one part of the complex that is under cover. The cars actually don't cause a problem because they're moving at a snail's pace and are obliged to stop at the hundreds of pedestrian crossings. I think that they allow cars in so that people can park close to the shops, but most ordinary folk just use the one of the big multi-story places around the outside (I'll come back to the car parking later). The complex also has a lot of places to eat; they're not cheap but you'd not starve on a day long shopping expedition.
Wide-eyed and slightly in awe of the place, the small Tadpole moved from one "Brand name" shop to the next, enjoying it I think, but being quite disappointed at the cost of most of the merchandise. There were plenty of places for the weary, or the just plain bored, husbands and parents to sit whilst their more shopping-addicted family and friends set about enjoying their day. I sat watching the people wander by most of the time (how can you spend so long in a shop?) and found the day to be quite pleasant.
The young 'un did eventually find an affordable clothes store and bought a few bits and bobs. This being the USA, she found a Bible verse in the bottom of her carrier bag, which was interesting. The owners of Forever 21 are, apparently, quite religious; I'm not sure where religion and shopping meet but hey, live and let live.
Mrs Toad and I are not shoppers but we suffered the jaunt quietly and were both quite pleased to see the back the place when it came time to leave. Here's where I come back to the parking. Apart from the interior of the "Garage", as they're known here, being painted white (a great move to reduce dinginess), we noticed the sophisticated system of getting people in and to a vacant space; lots of red or green lights above the parking bays and a little destination boards pointing you to the aisles with spaces free. I'm sure I've seen something like it before but this was all swept up pretty darned smart!
A point about Easton Town Center that applies equally to Columbus and it's environs is that it's very clean and tidy. The city elders clearly have a plan!
So, departing the retail equivalent of Mecca (which wasn't so easy as it was rush hour), we went west again and over to the Olive Tree Restaurant, the one we'd been to the day before. It may sound a bit mad to drive that distance, twice, but when there's a comprehensive menu of vegan dishes, you don't necessarily need to go anywhere else. Mrs T had a big bowl of something with carrots and potatoes in it and I had the (non-vegan) grilled salmon and rice; it was worth the run over there, especially as it wasn't particularly expensive, at least not in US dollars - the US/Canadian exchange rate will make it a bit a pricier for us when we come to pay the credit card bill.
We headed back to the campground after eating, albeit via a gas station and some frozen yoghurt place that the small Tadpole wanted to visit. The evening was marred, somewhat, by a bit of stupidity from the young 'un's boyfriend. No details, but she was upset and it put a dampener on the day.
Still, I sat outside Towed Haul in the dimpsy evening light, watching the bats zoom over the lake collecting their supper. It was idyllic, apart from the biting bugs which forced me back indoors. That's camping.
Tomorrow is departure day so just the business of breaking camp to be concerned about. It's not a long run home but Mrs T wants and early start - we shall see!
Mr Toad - Airstreamer
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