Road trip to Pittsburgh

Nov 15, 2008

As I told you in this post, Jerry and I went on a road trip to Pittsburgh for a formidable sports week-end.

Nobody seemed in favour of us stopping at Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub, so we didn’t make the detour.  I still thought about it, since it would have only added an hour and 43 minutes of travel time.  But then, another 5 hours to eat the Beer Barrel Belly Buster would have been too much to make it in time for the SabresPenguins game at the Mellon Arena.

Instead, we stayed on the I-90, also known as the AMVETS Memorial Highway.  Part of the Dwight Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways, the I-90 is the longest Highway in the United States, almost 5000 km long from Massachussets to the State of  Washington.

We passed a bunch of service areas, and, as we got hungry, we decided to stop somewhere we would feel like home:  The Ontario Service Area.

It is a very small service area as far as they go.  A McDonald’s, an Edy’s, a convenience store/Deli counter, and a pizza place.

It seems that the owner of the McDonald’s actually owns the rest of the place, as McDonald’s products (containers, glasses) were used every other place.  In fact, the girl at the pizza counter was wearing a McDonald’s uniform.

We decided to start our road trip with real american food.  We ordered a full pizza, and two Cokes from the fountain.  We went for the meat lovers, hell, why not?

The pizza was freshly made in front of  our eyes.  Not the greatest quality of toppings, but still, not frozen.  It came out 15 minutes later, nicely cooked and very filling.  The sauce was kind of sweet with a bit of basil. Meat was sausage bits, peperroni and bacon.

It was not a great pizza, but it was good enough for a road stop.
What wasn’t good enough, though, was the lack of the geographical knowledge of the people working there.  One would think that employees working at a highway service area would know where they are.  Jerry was curious, he wanted to know how far from Rochester we were, and if it was behind or ahead of us.  “Ask at McDonald’s”, the McDonald’s uniform wearing pizza-girl told him.  We glared at each other in disbelief.  After all, Rochester is a city of one million people, and although it is not New York City or even Buffalo, it is quite certainly the biggest city near the Ontario Service Area, as opposed to, hmm, I dunno, let’s say West Chili, Beullah, Belcoda or  South Chili.  Off to the McDonald’s he went, to come back with no better knowledge of where Rochester was.

We checked on a map, and for the record, the Ontario Service Area is three miles before the 490, which goes to Rochester. A grand total half an hour away.  They could also have pointed out that we passed the 390 14 miles ago, and it also goes to Rochester in half an hour.  How can you have a million people living 30 minutes away from where you work, on an interstate, and have no idea where it is is beyond me.

Welcome to the United States of America.

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