ERIE, PA—Local fast food consumer and occasional motorist Don Turnbee announced his decision Wednesday to bypass I-79's Greenville exit in hopes that the following turnoff would lead to more appealing fast food options.
According to Turnbee, though the previous exit had several fast food establishments to choose from, the 41-year-old said that he "didn't feel like McDonald's," and that he had "just had Taco Bell a couple days ago."
"I think I want Wendy's," Turnbee told reporters at a rest stop alongside the highway. "There hasn't been a Wendy's in a while so there will probably be one at the next exit or the one after that."
"When you get on the road, there are more McDonald's and Burger Kings than Wendy's," Turnbee explained. "You'd think it'd be about the same, but it isn't."
While holding out for a superior option, Turnbee has passed on multiple eating opportunities, including a Long John Silver's at the Conneaut Lake exit, a Roy Rogers in Saegertown, and an entire fast food plaza off exit 147A containing an Arby's, Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Quiznos, Burger King, and Starbucks.
"I'm not turning off for a Starbucks," Turnbee said of the coffeehouse chain. "Starbucks isn't food."
Turnbee was unable to recall the last time he had eaten at Wendy's, saying that the one closest to him is "kind of far away," since it is located pretty much where the old Rax used to be. Despite not frequenting a Wendy's in months, Turnbee said that his current trip has reinvigorated his enthusiasm for the fast food chain.
"I like the No. 2 there," said Turnbee, referring to the Wendy's Old Fashioned Combination Meal consisting of a double cheeseburger, a large order of French fries, and a large soft drink. "They stopped doing Biggie sizes a while ago, but large is Biggie. It's the same."
"The chili's okay," he added.
Turnbee, who is currently on route to pick up his wife, Shelly, from her sister's house, said he would be on the lookout for a dining service sign with a miniature Wendy's logo. While Turnbee said he depends on these icons to inform him as to what dining options are ahead, he was confused by one near the Mercer exit, which had an image of just a fork and knife, and no other specific details.
Turnbee claimed the dining icon probably meant that the restaurants at that exit were of the sit-down variety only.
"I bet it had places like Perkins or Cracker Barrel," Turnbee said. "They aren't bad, but when I'm on my way somewhere I don't like to waste time with waiters and stuff."
According to fellow motorists, Turnbee was spotted pulling off at a rest stop along I-79 an hour into his trip. At the rest stop, sources confirmed that Turnbee approached a pair of vending machines, carefully surveyed their contents, and then turned around to exit the building.
"I don't want peanut butter cups or chips," Turnbee told reporters, adding that he would draw on past turnpike-driving experiences to aid him in his most recent fast food endeavor. "A month ago I wanted Burger King, but I got off too early and ended up getting a piece of pizza at a Sbarro even though I didn't want a piece of pizza. And then the next exit had a Burger King."
Turnbee said there have been two Wendy's restaurants on his drive thus far. He didn't patronize the first, he said, because he hadn't gotten far enough along in his trip to justify making a pit stop. He mistakenly passed the second because he was "fiddling with the dang radio," and by the time he realized what had happened it was too late.
"I'm getting hungry," he said.
Though Turnbee remains steadfast in his decision to eat at Wendy's, he stated that he would only leave the highway if the establishment "seemed all right" and was visible from his car.
"One time I got off and instead of the Taco Bell being right there, there was another small Taco Bell sign with an arrow pointing to the left," Turnbee said. "I drove for a good five minutes, but all I saw were some houses and trees. I'm not doing that again."
As of press time, Turnbee was observed getting off the Breezewood exit. Onlookers said he pulled into a Wendy's location, noted that the line inside the restaurant extended beyond the crimson-roped metal stanchions, and then proceeded to leave.
Turnbee was last seen pulling into the McDonald's across the street.