Friday, July 23, 2010

.road trip!.

During the Canada Day long weekend, Kim had a few days off and agreed to accompany me on my cross-country move back to Ontario.  We crossed through 4 provinces and 4 states in 3 days, and have some stories and pictures to prove it.
Day 1:
We left Calgary for Winnipeg.  Thankfully, although we saw evidence of the flooding, the highway had reopened by the time we needed to go through.
We discovered that Swift Current may possibly be one of the last places in Canada that we'd actually want to live.  We grabbed some lunch at their local "Wheatland Mall" and realized that we did not fit in.  (That was a common theme of much of the trip.)
The drivers in Saskatchewan were exceptionally bad.  5 or 6 times various transport truck drivers decided to cross over a few lanes of oncoming traffic travelling at 120 km/hr and then stop and simply block the lanes before turning left.  Seriously?  The first time we just thought it was a random incident of a bad driver, but it kept happening again and again and again!
The best part about Saskatchewan was we stopped for a few minutes in Regina and I got to see Mel!  YAY!  Miss you, Mel.
From the little I've seen of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, I like Manitoba better.  It's a bit more interesting to look at.  More trees.  More lakes.  MORE MOSQUITOES.  Ok, that part, I'm not such a huge fan.
We stayed just outside of Winnipeg the first time, with Kim's friend Kurtis who just bought a farm.  And some goats.
Day 2:
We headed to Otterburne before crossing the border, because I couldn't imagine coming so close and then not seeing the school from which I graduated.  (Seeing the entire campus took less than a minute, with the foot hovering the brakes.)
On our way there, we were caught in the middle of a wicked storm.  I do mean wicked.  I slowed down significantly because the rain was so heavy it was difficult to see far ahead.  At one point we saw headlights coming towards us, then lightning strike, and the headlights go out.  We pulled over.  When we continued, we wanted to see if the people in the car were ok, but when we passed where the car had been...there was no car!  So we might have witnessed a car being incinerated by lightning.  (Or, truthfully, we don't have a clue what actually happened.)
By the time we got to Otterburne we had passed the storm, and the rest of our drive was sunny, hot, and much less buggy.

 We breezed through the border into North Dakota, where we also did not fit, then continued on to Minnesota.  Guess what?  We didn't fit in there either.

But we did meet a giant roadside fish!
When we were in Duluth we were looking for a restaurant.  Kim had been telling me about an American chain where they have a cheap salad buffet, and you can get all kinds of all-you-can-eat salads, and it sounded so delicious, and we were quite disappointed when the guy at the gas station had never even heard of it.  I then asked a ridiculous question: do you have any restaurants with salad buffets?  Kim almost died choking back her laughter.  Note to self: never ask a vegetarian question in Minnesota.  We ended up going to a local restaurant whose owners buy local food, and it was both affordable and delicious. 
Continuing on to Wisconsin we took photos at a cheese store, which sadly wasn't open, and drove until we reached some random town along Lake Superior and found a cheap motel.
Day 3:
Head out early!  Crossed into Michigan.  We went through a town called Christmas.  It had a giant Santa.

It was a pretty drive.  We discovered a lot of Michigonians(?) are Lutheran.  Or at least, Lutheran churches are most prevalent in the midwest.  It felt like we were in Michigan for a long time, but the lakes and trees and winding road kept it interesting.
And then finally we were at the border! 

A rude shock upon arriving in Sault St. Marie: gas was $1.10/L!  We pressed on, hoping to reach South Baymouth before the last ferry took off for Tobermory.  We also discovered a town called Spanish, and then shortly thereafter, a town called Espanola.  (I am told that because it doesn't have the ~ over the n, you don't pronounce it the Spanish way, but still. Kind of funny.)
Someday I may go back to Manitoulin Island and explore or go for a day hike or something (except the ferry is rather expensive, so maybe for more than a day.  Or not drive over.) because it was pretty, but we were rushing to make the ferry.  Kim had doubts.  I was determined.  And.  We made it!  Barely.  But we made it.
We got some supper on the Chi Cheemaun and tried to nap a bit.  But it was COLD.  When we got off the boat, my gas tank was hovering on empty, but every gas station we passed was closed; I guess pay-at-the-pump hasn't made it that far.  But, we made it home (whew) and my parents did not wake up with our arrival (around 1:30am).  Which means, they shrieked (read: mom shrieked) upon discovering me the next morning.
Day 4:
The next day we (mostly just Kim, actually) slept in and then I took her around town and to Sauble Beach.  Oh, how I had missed that beach!

We also stopped by Inglis Falls briefly, and headed to the drive-in for a couple of shows, since Kim hadn't been to a drive-in movie before.
Day 5:
We went to church, had lunch, then I drove Kim to the airport to fly back to Calgary.  I went to my sister's for a bit, and then drove back to my parents' place.
And the sadness hit me and I cried.
Thankfully, Meera called me and cheered me up with talk of home.  (I say "home" very loosely, because I don't really know where "home" is...but at that moment, "home" was Calgary.)

1 comment:

Eric said...

I love road trips! It's a great North American tradition...

A few minor points: (1) it's Michiganders (seriously)... (2) the Upper Peninsula of Michigan actually shares more characteristics of Wisconsin and Minnesota than it does with the rest of Michigan, so yes the Lutheran thing makes sense since a lot of that area was settled by Swedes, Norwegians, and Germans (all of which tended to bring Lutheranism with them)... and (3) it's so great that you got to experience the Americans' obsession with "the World's Largest Whatever." Especially in that part of the country, it's a big thing.

On a more serious note, though, I can totally understand the difficulty in sorting out your sense of home. It gets really tricky when you've lived in a bunch of different places around the world. I don't think there's any way around the problem, though (i.e. no "perfect city" where all your problems would melt like lemon drops). In lieu of any better options, though, I might suggest that you consider relocating to Amsterdam again. :-)