Greetings from Columbus, Ohio. Mary Jane Maffini and I have been on the road since Tuesday. We spent the first night in Oakville with my good friends Deanna and Bill - Deanna had chicken in the slower cooker and wine at the ready upon our arrival. We'd made one stop along the way in Toronto at our publisher's new office and had coffee with Sylvia and Allister. I met Emma Dolan who was the creative mind behind the book cover for In Winter's Grip. Anyhow, back to Oakville where the weather had turned nasty just around the time we were to set out for Chapters for our signing. In fact, meteorologists were calling for a 'weather bomb', apparently scary enough to keep people indoors and away from bookstores. We managed a very pleasant evening anyhow since Deanna came with us and a few of Mary Jane's friends braved the dire weather forecast. A few strangers bought books too, and the Chapters staff couldn't have been more welcoming. Then, back to Deanna and Bill's for a few hours of wine and conversation with a fire burning in the grate. It was a lovely start to our trip.
Yesterday, Mary Jane and I puttered our way across the border and across upstate New York and Pennsylvania to the fine Ohio state. We are using GPS - a British man's voice - that gets quite upset if we make a wrong turn. Unfortunately, 'Jeeves' has led us to a few detours that added at least an hour to our trip. One very funny moment: We had entered Pennsylvania and smelled this strong odour of manure. Mary Jane said, "You sure can tell that we've entered farm country." I looked up and saw the head of a cow in the truck ahead of us. "I think if you get into the passing lane, we'll soon be out of farm country," I said.
We reached our hotel in Columbus around six in the evening, not the two or three o'clock that we'd planned (no more long lunches, we've now decided). We quickly changed clothes and hopped back in the car. "Two and a half kilometres to Foul Play bookstore," said Mary Jane. Jeeves led us to a bridge that was out and we had to back track and circle for a while until we found a way. Two and a half kilometres took us half an hour. Luckily, the store owners Toni and John waited for us with some book club members. We spent a few hours talking about books and sharing stories before Toni and John took us for pizza at a local restaurant - it was just terrific. Apparently, people drive down from Cleveland just to eat this pizza. I could taste why.
We slept in today and will soon be heading to Cleveland for a library visit tonight. Jeeves is helping us locate some fine shopping en route. One more cup of coffee and we'll be on our way. Let's hope we don't run into anymore detours :-) Until tomorrow . . . .