Two Sides, Same Team

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June 17, 2022, London, ON- The DEA squad carried out a seamless check on our line of traffic, at a contraband check on the U.S. side of Ambassador Bridge (between Detroit and Windsor). The agent who was checking my vehicle asked to pop the “trunk” and was given the go-ahead to open the hatch on Saturn Vue. His dog-partner found no contraband, and I was on my way to the Canadian side, where a thirty second query as to my travel plans sent me en route to this Ontario namesake of the Titan on the Thames. (There is a Thames River here, as well.)

I left my friends, the Schroeders, around Noon, having tended to laundry and a couple of errands at establishments near their home. Saturn Vue got an oil & lube, a new air filter and scrubbed headlights, at a Jiffy Lube nearby, then I was off in search of I-94, which for some reason was unknown to Google Maps. A kind librarian in Buchanan, MI, directed me to the only entrance she knew to the Interstate-which was in Benton Harbor, on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Out of the way, yes, it was, but I sensed that a full drive across that beleaguered state would at least unleash some healing energy. At least, that is my hope, having said a bunch of prayers at a Rest Area, outside Battle Creek.

It took four hours to cross the Wolverine State, and another forty minutes to go through the border crossing, most of which was the security check mentioned above. The process made me glad that I had done laundry before crossing-if only to not disgust our canine friend.

Once on the 401, I looked for a place to pull off for the night. I did drove from Tilbury to Chatham, on a back road, taking in the small town Friday night scene of a small group of teens, making the best of a weekend evening in Tilbury. They looked happy, at least. In Chatham, I spotted a small motel, with one car in the lot (a red flag of sorts, this being Friday night and all. The proprietor apologized, in advance, for the room he was letting me check, prior to lettting it out (another red flag). I found it was flea-infested, though the lights, TV and shower were all working. The final red flag was that he had no credit card reader, but he would gladly do an “e-transaction”, if I would just tell him my bank account information. Hmm, where have I heard this before? I bid him good night, and drove clear to London, where the Super 7 Motel had a fine room available, and there was a jacuzzi. I enjoy a bit of luxury, every so often, and this spa was made of marble, working perfectly.

Tomorrow, I will hopefully connect with a group of friends online, and look about London further, before heading towards Ottawa. Friends in Toronto have already said they are unavailable, so I will stay away from the metropolis this time. On both sides of the border, though, we are one team.

The 2018 Road, Day 11: The Essenhaus Kerfuffle

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June 6, 2018, Ridgetown, ON-

On the 36th anniversary of my wedding, I sat on the edge of the bed in Ridgetown Inn, pondering the power of one word.  Not seeing the word, tomorrow, on a friend’s post, cost me a fine dining experience, at Essenhaus, an amazing resort property in Middlebury, IN.

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All the comforts of the homey Midwest are captured here, and thousands of visitors flock to Essenhaus, each year.  I waited for my friends, in the foyer, for twenty minutes, re-read the message that had been sent early this morning, and, yes- as another friend said, not long ago, “It’s the reading comprehension, stupid.”

Not feeling right about dining alone, in the midst of so many happy parties of seven and eight, I headed up the road, found the delightful Hilltop Restaurant, and enjoyed a fish fry/salad bar.  I still stood out, being one of the few “English” patrons, in what is a favourite of local Mennonites and Amish, but folks were no more inclined to leer, than in any other small town establishment. I found Hilltop a delight.

 

Having had the Elantra serviced, earlier today, in Elkhart, I felt confident heading northeast, through Michigan, and across the Ambassador Bridge, the older of the two large commuter thoroughfares between Detroit and Windsor. I wanted to get as close as possible to Toronto, this late night, in the event I was able to meet with two friends there, tomorrow.  Their minds, and schedules, change as often as their clothes, though, so I remain open to doing Toronto solo, this time.  I love my friends, though, just so we’re clear and we do have a plan to get together, when I make a Trans-Canada trek, in summer of 2020.

Anyway, Ridgetown is a pleasant little burg, in west-central Ontario, so this is where I settled, for what was left of the night.

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NEXT:  Ontario’s London