I walked through my front door the morning of Monday April 18 at 2:30 on the dot.  During the drive  home from the airport, I had toyed with the idea of sleeping for a couple of hours and getting on the road.  I knew I didn’t need much in the way of supplies since this was to be an eating road trip and I keep my gear packed and ready to go at all times.  It’s actually one of the few things that stays organized.  However the drive was exhausting and I needed some serious sleep or I’d have fallen asleep at the wheel so I spent most of Monday running errands and leisurely packing.

Obviously standard road trip rules would apply.  The road trip bottle was Woodford Reserve; bourbon seemed appropriate.

Then on Tuesday April 19 at 6:01 am, we left home.  I had hoped to be out sooner but I was dragging my backside a bit.  The long day of travelling Sunday had caught up with me as we joined the rush hour traffic.  I decided that I would not stop for coffee until we were past Toronto, just because of how sticky traffic can be.  And since I was very destination-driven, I had punched the first pit into my phone and let it tell me where I was going.  Unless I saw something really interesting, we were sticking to the GPS; until we got to where we were going anyway.

All strapped in and ready to go.
We found Station 1 Coffeehouse in Grimsby which is just outside of Hamilton.  If there had been more time, I could have lingered there for hours.  I loved the ambiance and all of the coffees are fair trade, organic, and roasted locally.  The americano I walked away with had that lovely full-bodied flavour that I love.  I was tempted by the selection of baked goods but I decided that I was going to be eating plenty soon enough so I settled for a homemade granola bar.

Now if you’ve read a few of my previous posts, you’ll know that I seem to have an issue with crossing the border.  It doesn’t matter which way I’m going I still turn into a babbling fool.  So as we sat in the line to cross at the Peace Bridge, I actually rehearsed everything I was going to say.  Then we pulled up to the booth and the questions began:

“Where are you from?”  I gave her my address.

“What is the purpose of your trip?”  Vacation.

“What is your destination?”  North Carolina for the Historic Barbecue Trail.

She stopped with her hands hovering over the keyboard and literally did a double-take.  I explained the whole story about how I had heard about this trail, what it was, how long, everything.  As I was talking to her, she got out of the booth and reached into the back seat to start petting the dogs.  I can only imagine what the people behind us were thinking.

After we passed into New York, we ended up driving through Hamburg and stopped at Comfort Cafe.  So I ended up getting a second cup for the day.  It was not as good as Station 1 but for a small town it did the trick.  While chatting with some locals, I learned of a small dog park next to the vet office.  They weren’t kidding when they said small.  At least the dogs had a chance to walk around but they were soon standing at the gate staring at the car.  They knew that we would stop at some point for a good walk.

We were passing through Ellicotville when I saw signs for EVL Cheese Company.  Cheese? Yes please.  I found that it had a great selection of cheeses which was kind of disappointing because I had no means of safely keeping anything perishable.  I ended up just buying a container of cheese curds before we continued on.

I almost drove straight past McCarty Hill State Park.  We stopped and hiked up a couple of mountain ridges.  This was the site of first blood drawn on a dog: as we were walking back to the car, I noticed red on the right side of Jack’s face.  Rather than go around some brambles, he in his stubborn Puggy way decided to go through and gave himself a little cut on the tip of his ear flap.  Finally I was able to spring purposefully into action with my first aid kit to find the cut that was barely there.  We sat and had a few cheese curds since Jack was such a brave boy.

We soon passed into Pennsylvania and stopped for another hike in Moshannon State Park. We stumbled onto what I can only imagine is a pump house seeing as how there was a small stream that seemed to come out of one.  I’m not quite sure of the purpose but Leo is never one to let a chance to climb pass him by and jumped up onto the roof until we were eye-to-eye. 

The day was slowly coming to an end and I was looking for a place to eat.  After asking at a gas station, I was pointed in the direction of a bakery and restaurant down the road on the outskirts of Williamsport.  I ended up ordering the fish and chips and a chocolate coconut cookie.  The cookie was the best part of that meal.The fish was good but the crust was more like breadcrumbs and kind of soggy. 

Fish and chips. Looks better than it tasted.
We stopped that night in the Red Roof Inn in Williamsport.  I can’t believe that it took me this long to figure out that they don’t charge for dogs.  It’s not like I hide them when I check in; the dogs come right inside the lobby with me.  After dealing with just me all day they need other people for a break.

Even though it was a relatively calm day, we all fell sleep shortly after crawling into bed.