The siren call of the road cannot be ignored. The two previous years I had driven out to visit my grandparents in the southeast corner of Manitoba which is a drive of approximately 2000 km. I knew that I wanted to drive out again and had originally planned to leave on August 31, but when the opportunity arose to have a slightly longer stretch of time off, I had to take it. I had wanted to go for a longer trip and this was my chance.
The catch? The opportunity arose on a Monday with time off starting on Thursday. So I had a few days to organize and get supplies, all while working. I somehow managed to pull it off.
And so begins Road Trip 2015 – West Edition.
August 20, 2015
After a frantic few days organizing supplies, we hit the road at 7:00 am this morning.
Standard road trip rules would apply:
1. NO CHAIN RESTAURANTS
2. Stop when we want to
3. Don’t plan too far ahead
4. Listen to the radio until there is no signal
5. Road trip bottle is Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka
The traffic across the top of Toronto was not too bad but then coming into Guelph we got hit with a sudden wall of rain. No drizzle or light rain to ease into it. It was “oh it looks a bit cloudy” and then whoosh. We made it through the rain and got to the border at the Ambassador Bridge.
I, of course, pick the slowest lane. And then when I got up to the booth, I am reduced to a bumbling fool when I lay eyes upon the border guard who is one of the most gorgeous men I have ever seen. Getting across the border is stressful enough for no reason. Then trying to string more than two words together as a raging puddle of hormonal goo? Definitely not my usual charming self.
I have always heard how bad Detroit is but it didn’t look too bad as we went speeding down the interstate. Then again, most things look like a blur anyway.
Michigan seemed to go on forever. And nothing really piqued my interest. Until we were almost into Indiana. Then we stumble onto this tiny pocket with wineries and breweries and…wait for it…. The Chocolate Garden. Well how could I not stop?
They had truffle tastings, like one would have with wines. I devoured a few samples and then I had to walk away before I bankrupted myself. But not without getting a mocha. No powered or prepared anything. They had jars filled with chocolate, actual chunks of chocolate, and they would add either coffee or water. Oh. My. GAWD.
We got through Michigan and into Indiana. Then I saw one of the most confusing signs I think I have ever seen. It read “Texas Grill”. Which was in Michigan City. In Indiana. I’m surprised I noticed it at all among the signs for adult stores and churches. It makes for, shall we say, interesting reading.
Through Indiana and into Illinois. And here comes the construction. Interstates are confusing enough to an interloper such as myself. So there I am crawling along trying to figure out if I need the 90 West or 290 West and then I realized I needed gas. So I start looking. Keep looking. Ummmmmm usually gas stations are right on the highway or signs posted near the highway. Nothing. I pulled out the handy Gas Buddy app and think I know which way is south to get to a cluster of stations. Nope. I ended up taking the scenic route for gas. Oh and more tollbooths than I have ever seen.
I managed to get the car back on the road and it was time to start looking for a place to sleep. When I initially looked through the route there weren’t any interesting campgrounds immediately apparent so I figured a hotel room, at least for the first night.
I booked a room at the Extended Stay America in Rockwood. Pulled up to the hotel and waited for the desk staff to come to the desk while I chatted with some other guests as the were fawning over the dogs. When the staff returned, they gave me some surprising news. I was at the wrong hotel. The one I’m booked at is literally around the corner. Two of the same hotels within spitting distance of each other.
After spending almost 13 hours on the road I figured I needed a bit of exercise so I threw on my running gear, put the dogs on a tie rope around a tree and literally ran back and forth in the back driveways. It was an L-shaped run so I ran it as intervals: alternating fast sprints with slow jogs. That got real boring real fast. Music would have been nice but I hadn’t brought my phone and the music from the business next door wasn’t loud enough to really hear. Oh the business? The Tiger Tail Lounge. A strip club. That I can see from my room.
So I went back to the room and ordered a pizza. Cracked open the bottle. It was a good first day on the road.