Greetings from St. Catharines, Ontario and the ten Den B&B.
Hours Driven: 15
Kms travelled: 1308
Money Spent: $123
It was ambitious, but we decided to drive from La Crosse, Wisconsin (which is almost in Minnesota) to home in one day. In reviewing the route, we determined that it was even further than we could handle and decided on a stop at my in-laws in St. Catharines to shave a couple of hours off the journey. And then we could see them too!
We made our requisite stop at a cheese factory in Wisconsin and gawked at cheese – how to pick just one? After driving more than 3000 kms on the I-90, we finally turned south to head around the lake. For excitement, we considered taking the Milwaukee ferry across Lake Michigan, but once we determined the cost to be $300, we decided the 1 hour we’d save wasn’t worth it. I guess we are too accustomed to Canada’s subsidized ferries – but that seemed ridiculous for a route that has a reasonable driving estimate.
Illinois is where things got tricky – we had to change highways several times and stop to pay tolls frequently. We were running low on American cash and therefore snuck Canadian change to our toll payments. We’d ask the collector a question to distract from our coinage and then leave immediately once the gate was up! The 407 toll highway in Canada is more expensive sure, but it was annoying in Illinois have to stop at 5 or 6 toll booths while making our way around Chicago. The last booth was quite confusing – pointing us to Iowa – and we mistakely drove right through without paying. We are waiting for the FBI to surround our house in Canada looking for their $1.50.
Emile played the Blues Brother’s Chicago and I answered back with Frank Sinatra’s. Yes, we are dorks.
We snuck through Indiana, and then back to Michigan. You know, for the “auto” state, Michigan has some nice scenery. In Charlotte, we stopped at Taco Bell for our last American experience. Afterwards, we shook hands to say No More Fast Food for a LONG while. About 30 minutes later, Emile saw a White Castle sign and promptly forgot our agreement. Fortunately, he fell asleep (I was driving by this time, otherwise that would not be so fortunate), and I avoided any other purchases.
The border guard accepted our passports and declarations without incident and we found ourselves with non-roaming cell phones for the first time in days. Oh, the things I could look up!
As I neared London, I started making up songs about our trip including a lovely ditty that I rhymed up “pee”, “me” and “tea”. The end was nigh and I was finally cracking up. Emile – rightly so – got concerned that a crazy person was driving, and requested to take over the wheel.
We pulled into St. Catharines at 1:30 am, and I’ve never been happier to arrive anywhere. Except the bathroom at Tri-State Toll Highway Hinsdale Oasis.
August 6th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: The quiet and peaceful sound of driving on asphalt after crossing the border into Canada versus the loud and bumpy concrete highways in the USA.