April 26, 2016

Starting mileage: 3827.7

Today was our last day on the road.  As I was checking out of the hotel, I asked if there was a good spot nearby for breakfast that wasn’t a chain restaurant.  Apparently the only places nearby were chains and the review about the food from the woman working at the counter was less than enthusiastic so I just climbed into the car with another horrible cup of hotel brew and headed out of Dayton.

Fortunately, I needed gas shortly after and was able to skim my Yelp app.  I love Yelp.  As I was scrolling through I saw an entry for Winan’s Chocolates and Coffee House .  I’m sorry…coffee AND chocolate?! Two of my favourite food groups.  Now I realize that there are six of them in Ohio but in this case I’m considering them a local group and not a chain so I’m not cheating on the no chain restaurant rule.

I ended up ordering a shortbread coffee.   It was good but I don’t think I would order it again.  And a slice of coffee cake to munch on with the coffee.  I’m amazed that I was able to leave after only buying some chocolates and gourmet gummy bears for my amazing friend Liz who watches the dogs when I’m working and takes care of my cats while the dogs and I roam.  Then back on the road; after the dogs made sure I didn’t drop any coffee cake crumbs of course.

When we pulled off the highway at a rest stop before Detroit, I was almost knocked off my feet at the sudden gust of cold air.  It had gone from balmy and warm to that damp cold that sinks into your bones.  To say it was a surprise is an understatement.

Soon we found ourselves waiting at the border crossing.  I had picked a line that was, of course, the slow one.  As I sat there, I was wondering: is the person in front of me difficult?  Is the person in the booth really thorough?  Or are they just chatting?  I ran through the contents of my car.  How much had I spent?  What souvenirs was I bringing back?  Do I have any vegetables?  No I haven’t eaten anything vegetal in days.  Oh crap where are my receipts?  I kept checking to make sure my passport was ready, and the dog documents in their envelope and the envelope was at hand and there was nothing that looked like I was hiding it and oh no I don’t have receipts for the barbecue sauce that woman bought for me at Wilbers on our second day…

Finally I pulled up to the booth and handed my passport to the gentleman sitting there.

“Where are you coming from?”  North Carolina.

“How long were you gone for?”  Eight days.

“What was the purpose of your visit?”  North Carolina Historic Barbecue Trail.

Again, the double take and need to explain what the Barbecue Trail is.  He even wanted to know how I had found out about it.  It turns out that he is another foodie and wanted to know everything about the trip.  Now I realized what the hold up had been.  The conversation went from my trip to recommendations for places to eat in downtown Toronto.  We exchanged “must visit” restaurants and I was soon on my way into Windsor.

By this time I was STARVING and I found myself at Brewin’ Bros Beverage Co.  I ordered an americano and a grilled cheese.  The americano was great and that had nothing to do with it being the best coffee I had ordered in days.  The grilled cheese was on an herb panino and it barely made it out of the parking lot.  I’m pretty sure I burned the roof of my mouth on the melty cheesey goodness.

I briefly toyed with the idea of stopping in Hamilton at a business that I had been cheated out of on a previous trip but I was so tired and so close to home that I decided to press on.  It may have been a better idea to stop since I ended up getting slowed by rush hour traffic across the top of Toronto.  After eight days on the road, what’s another few hours?

Then on Tuesday April 26 at 6:49 pm we pulled into our driveway.  I barely unloaded the car before sitting on the couch surrounded by snoring dogs and purring cats as I finished the last of the bottle to toast our safe return.  Welcome home.

Finishing mileage: 4619.7

I think Chase missed Piper more than she missed me.