It was only fitting to meet with Bryan Farr, President of The Historic US Route 20 Association, in the historic building which now houses the Willoughby Brewing Company (4057 Erie Street). Since I will be taking historic Route 20 from Cleveland all the way to Newport, Oregon, and then from Boston back to Cleveland, it only made sense to make a connection with Bryan.
He is working tirelessly to achieve the Association mission:
“The mission of the Historic US Route 20 Association is to identify & preserve the cultural importance of, and to promote the economic development of inner cities, small towns and rural communities along all 3,365 miles and former alignments of US Route 20.” Source: http://www.historicus20.com
Bryan was only in our neck of the woods for a short time, so being able to sit down and talk with him for almost three hours was unbelievable. He explained to Mike and me how he got started with this dream, and where he sees it going. He also offered me much-needed advice on how to car travel in a frugal and safe way. His tips were great and I will be sharing them in future posts.
Route 20 has always had significance to me due to where I lived as a child. Many of you know I grew up in a very rural location where things to do just did not exist. But if you could find a ride to Route 20 in Mentor, Willoughby or Painesville, then you could find something to do, enjoy great places to eat, do some shopping, see a movie and so much more than my little town offered. Route 20 was like going to the “Big City” for me. When I learned that I could drive all the way across the country on it, there was no hesitation to make that a big part of my trip.
Our time with Bryan was extremely enlightening, but I think the most pivotal part for me was when I asked if travel changes you as a person. This incredible smile lit up his face and he said it was true and he guaranteed that I would be a different person when I got back. He explained how seeing nature and not just from the window of a speeding car, but actually seeing a mountain or a redwood or an ocean effects something inside you as a person. The beauty leaves its mark on your soul. All I can say is…I cannot wait to experience that and all the other unexpected things that will happen along the way.
Today’s Post Shout Out: A quick thank you to Kyle, our server at Willoughby Brewing Company. He treated us wonderfully and allowed us to stay for so long as we talked. Oh, I almost forgot my hamburger quest. Really great burgers at Willoughby Brewing Company!