JN Adam Tuberculosis Sanatorium

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Hiking in Hicksville

When you're heading to the middle of nowhere without a map, you'd better know where you're going.

Oh, sure. You can print directions. Google gave us directions that didn't make a whole lot of sense, and seemed to want us to drive into Lake Erie. We were pretty sure the tuberculosis hospital we were looking for wasn't in Atlantis, and also that Atlantis wasn't in Lake Erie. So we elected to ignore those directions for the sake of my car and our clothes.

Interestingly enough, the only time I wasn't doubting where I was going was when we first left Buffalo. Boffo, Skold and myself were staying with my friend Nightbird for the weekend, with the plan to wake up at the bright and early hour of 8:00 Sunday morning. "The sherriff like the rest of the town is in church early on Sunday" Boffo hypothesized. God bless hick towns and their fear of god.

The plan seemed flawless. Putting the plan into action as outlined though is a whole other story. You see, bored the night before, Skold and I decided to do some drinkin'. Probably for the better considering our alternative of visiting the toxic wasteland of Bethlehem Steel with some other friends would have gotten us swarmed by bugs while our hands were on the hood of my car, and Lackawanna's finest determining what to do with us. When you have to keep your hands on the hood of a car, you can't swat at bugs. And I really hate bugs, so... getting drunk was definitely the correct choice.

The plan started to go awry when I woke up sometime around 3 in the morning after about an hour and a half of sleep. I had a sick, burning feeling in my chest and throat, and was in an interesting predicament. I knew I'd feel better if I just gave in and expelled the toxins my liver regretted me chosing to consume, but I was in a friend's house, so I had to just take it like a man. But it became hard to sleep. And it became increasingly harder as Skold broke the bed we were sleeping in. Basically we didn't fall asleep again until 6:30, at which point I was debating even going back to sleep. But, I trusted that Boffo would come in and wake us up in an hour and a half.

Next thing I know Boffo's coming into our room, telling us that it's eleven. His cell phone alarm didn't go off. So what do we do? The hicks will be out of church. You can't really be stealthy here either as the town is so small, having an Ontario license plate will make you look out of place. There's only one reason you'd be going there. And it's not legal. But, whatever. We'd go anyway. We figured even if we were caught, the cops wouldn't want to go through the hassle of processing Canadians. It's a bit of a gamble when you're trespassing in another country. If you're lucky, you'll get off easier as it's just a lot of work for the police to deal with you for such a simple crime. On the other hand, breaking the law in a foreign country is never a good idea. You really don't know how they'll deal with you, and if they're going to think you're a terrorist. You know... cause all of us hippy Canadians aren't part of the Coalition of the Willing... and, of course, we hate freedom.

So we head out with our directions initially useless. You see, Boffo had the bright idea to print out directions from his house in Oakville rather than from Nightbird's house in Buffalo. This meant that I had to know how to at least get to somewhere that was on the directions, and luckily, I did that without too much issue. The issues only began once we started trying to follow Google's directions.

"Turn right at..." Boffo said.

"We're beside the lake. I can't go right." I replied.

"Well, maybe the road will eventually curve away from the lake."

And sure enough, it did. But about 20 miles further than we were scheduled to turn right, onto a road we never found.

"Call Nightbird." Boffo told me. "Roaming fees." I responded.

I pointed out that we were passing by a Main Street, which was on our directions. I was told that there's a Main Street in every town, so that didn't help. "There's Lake Street!" I said. We decided to go down it.

From Lake Street, we were supposed to turn onto a Main Street. And we found a Main Street! Suddenly we were back on track! But it quickly turned into some weirdly named road that Google didn't mention. And then ended. I elected to turn right.

"Where the hell are you going?" Boffo asked. "Call Nightbird and get directions."

I continued to complain about the roaming fees, and when Boffo gave the ultimatum of not paying for gas if I didn't get directions, I eventually pulled over.

Skold and I got out and talked to a friendly gas station attendant, who, try as she might, could not find Perrysburg on a map. She knew it was around where we were somewhere, but advised us to ask the guy jockying the pumps for directions. For such an obscure and small location, he was impressively accurate.

"Go down this road until you see Buffalo St, it's the first left past the bridge, then turn left. Follow that until the end of the road, turn left, and then just take any right. When you hit Highway 39, turn left."

If you're ever in Erie county, stop at this gas station where highways 439, 20, and 5 all meet. And give the guy pumping your gas a good tip. If it weren't for his knowledge, you wouldn't be reading this story or admiring the pictures.

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