Epic Drive: Part Four–End of the Line

Day 4 Map

When my alarm clock went off at 6:30 this morning, I hit the snooze button.  It’s Saturday! My brain yelled,  And I am really tired!  Plus, I was dreaming something really interesting involving walking in the woods, and I wanted to experience more of that.

I kept hitting snooze.

Finally, around 7:30, I managed to pry my eyes open and make myself get out of bed.  By 9:15 I was in my car, having drunk some coffee and eaten a muffin while talking to my mother.

After a quick stop in Dexter to get fuel, I was on my way to the Canadian border.  Unfortunately, I hit some construction in Detroit, and had to take a detour to get to there.

A detour that was poorly marked.  A detour that sent me past the infamous Michigan Central Station, which is not on as nice a street as you’d think.  A detour that added an hour to my drive.

In other words: a very aggravating detour.

Eventually, I made it to the border crossing, and had a definite, “get off my lawn” moment.  When I was a kid, you didn’t need a passport to cross the river, and you were asked only four questions:
“Anything to Declare?”
“Why are you coming to Canada?”
“How long are you going to be here?”
That was it.  Apart from one trip when I had to tell the border agent that yes, these are my parents thankyouverymuch, the script never deviated from the above four questions.  It was easy.  It was fast.  It was polite.  It is, alas, the relic of a bygone time.

From a visit three years ago, I knew that the border crossing has become much less congenial.  Today I began to wonder if the guards are also less intelligent.  I was asked brilliant questions like, “Have you been to Canada before?” (after just having explained that my mother lives in Michigan*) and “Is this your car?” (No, it’s not.  I stole it and decided that driving all the way to Ontario to enter the country would be genius.)
After I’d made it clear that I was (a) not a terrorist, and (b) not attempting to steal either jobs or a man from the deserving people of Canada, I was allowed to enter the country.  I’d chosen the Ambassador Bridge as my route, so I got this picture on the way:


After passing through an urban wasteland, I got out into the Ontarian farmlands, and got a picture of a lone wind turbine in the late-summer sun:

The Lone Ontario Wind Turbine

The rest of my drive went pretty quickly, and I reached my first stop of the day: the home of the McM’s in Dundas.  The McM’s have known my family for many years via an organization my parents (and I) are in, known as the Dorsai Irregulars.  The eldest daughter of the family, E, is a member.  Her father and I shared a birthday, and we actually had a shared party two years in a row when I was in my teens.  During the second of these, our ages added up to 100, and the McM’s actually put the full number of candles on a cake, then lit them.  They came rushing out of the kitchen with what looked like a fireball, singing “Happy Birthday” in doubletime.  It was hilarious.

Unfortunately, Mr. McM passed away earlier this year.  It was a long, lingering passing, which gave me a chance to both call him to say goodbye, and to speak to the rest of the family.  Connecting back up after so many years reminded me that time on this planet is short.  I decided that the next time I was anywhere near them, I would make an effort to come say hello.  Hence the stop.

You would think that a visit under such circumstances might be somber–but it wasn’t.  There were a few awkward moments, but we laughed a lot.  Also, everyone was in the middle of building E’s “tiny house” so we were too busy to be mournful.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any good pictures of the house itself.  But here is a picture of a wall I may possibly have pieced together:


Let me just break from this linear narrative I’ve got going on here to mention that the day I passed through was one of the days of the Dundas Cactus Festival.  I’m putting that in italics because I was rather agog about it.  Cacti?  In Canada?  Seems a little odd to me–though, apparently the climate in the city allows people to grow outdoor cactus gardens.  But that’s not why the festival is held there.  It started off as an advertising gimmick for a local greenhouse.  The business is long since closed, but the festival continues on.  I’d been warned that traffic might be bad because of it, but I didn’t notice anything.  Parking was fine too.  *shrug*

Back to the narrative: Around 7:30, I decided that I should keep going so I could meet A and his mom.  I hopped back in the car, and arrived at my destination about an hour later.  It was a relief, because I knew that it would likely be the last driving I did for several days.  (Toronto has great public transportation, and A got a rental car.)  My driving stats for the day were relatively low, too:

Daily Driving Summary:

  • Hours on the Road: 5.5
  • Countries Driven In: 2
  • Miles Covered: ~288
  • Tanks of Gas: .5

The last thing worth mentioning for the day was dinner.  We met up with A’s brother and sister-in-law (C & S) at The Lakeview restaurant.  I hadn’t really eaten much so I ended up breaking down and having a grilled cheese sandwich and sweet potato fries.  It was very photogenic, tasty food:


After that, we wandered around a bit before going back to the hotel and getting ready for bed.  Healthy?  Perhaps not.  But it had been a pretty long four days, and the sleep was much-needed.

Author’s note: I wrote this post on 8/30/2013, but for the sake of clarity I’m backdating the post to the day it’s covering.



*Also, Mr. Border Agent, shouldn’t you have a record of my passport going through your system three years ago? I mean, seriously.


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