I have returned from the Great White North!
Although some Canadians might think of my comic reference to Bob & Doug McKenzie less that complimentary, it was a great trip and truly an adventure.
I left work on Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 pm, knowing that I had packed my gear, including emergency tools for the road trip, the night before, and all I had to do was throw my stuff into the truck and head North. I stopped off at Laura's place of employment just to let her know I was "on the road again," and to steal a kiss.
My original objective for Wednesday was to simply get North of Cincinnati and avoid the rush hour traffic while cutting a large section of the route off before hitting a hotel. Laura and I had talked about this plan the night before and the more I thought about it, the more it sounded silly to lay up so early in the day, so I changed plans on the fly and reoriented my goal to get as far North as possible before I felt too tired to continue. Turns out, I was able to go much farther than originally intended.
By Wednesday night I had made it to the border between the US and Canada in Marysville, MI. Whew!!!
I felt good, so I just kept on driving...and it worked out much better this way. Marysville is a little town on the Southwest side of Lake Huron's Southern tip and only about three miles from the border crossing at Port Huron in Sarnia.
After the drama of obtaining a passport and the anxiety of what the border crossing might cost in terms of time, the actual event was very anti-climatic. It took less than five minutes and I was driving away from the border crossing guard booth with a complete sense of dismay clearly written on my face...the border guard informed me that my trip, planned for a few hours to Owen Sound would take me four hours, each way! FOUR HOURS!!! That's not what the GPS suggested...
Well, the GPS failed to factor in the fact that Canada doesn't use anything like the US Freeway system for roads. Most of the speed limits, posted in KPH (kilometers per hour) are about 45-60 MPH. The roads in Canada were better than I had anticipated, especially as compared to the freeways in Michigan (let's not get me started on the MI road conditions). I made good time despite being passed with such regularity that I felt as if I were standing still at a stop sign.
Upon arrival at my destination, I was informed by my hosts that Canadian speed limits are "only suggestions" that nobody takes too seriously. WHAT?! Not wanting to spend any time in a Canadian jail or court room, I decided that I'd obey the posted limits and not risk any extra time explaining myself way up yonder.
After completing our transaction and gathering the requisite paperwork, I hit the road for the return trip to the US. See, there was a major winter event brewing out in the middle of Lake Huron that was fix'n to blow ashore as night fell and I needed to "get outta dodge" before the sun set and the temperatures plummeted. The race was on!
As I left Owen Sound, I pulled up to a "T" intersection facing Lake Huron to observe five foot whitecaps rolling ashore whipped up by 30-50 mph winds. It was exciting! Oops, I forgot to lock the fifth wheel hitch down to the ball.
However, Clifford didn't hesitate pulling the new trailer that we've named Gladys (just glad-it's us she came home to) and we rolled on through that mess of storm front, almost without incident.
Gladys felt the need to leave a parting gift to her Canadian friends. We have cleared the real bad weather including the lake effect winds when Gladys decided that she didn't need that ol' awning
anymore. I looked in the side mirror to observe that the awning
had opened up at about 40 mph and that the awning
itself was shredded. I pulled into the parking lost of a refueling station and quickly cut the fabric loose using my trusty pocket knife. Those boys a that pizza shop are gonna wonder what that stripy piece of fabric could be from???
We passed back into the US at the border crossing without any more fuss that when we left and I was back at the same hotel in Marysville, MI by 9:00 pm. I stopped for a six pack and ordered pizza delivered to celebrate our joint arrival back in the USA. We still had several hundred miles of rough Michigan roads to cross to get back onto smooth sailing in Ohio but Gladys handled everything thrown at us with grace and style.
We traveled over 650 miles, without a visible license
plate, coming home to Kentucky. At one point, a Ohio State police cruiser drove behind us for over five miles without ever stopping us, Gladys, Clifford 'n me. I guess he was just checking Gladys out.
Since arriving home I have been able to complete the vehicle transfer and registration
, obtaining a "travel trailer" license
plate, and we are completely legal now. Gladys has been formally registered with the DMV and is a legal immigrant!
Looking forward to our next adventure!