Monday, August 30, 2010
The Trip: Automobile - Part 1
Here is what I'll call the first leg of our trip. In Chicago we picked up our fab rental - a Nissan Versa - which totally exceeded my expectations for a "compact" rental. I am sold on that little car. We found our way to aunt alex's and literally crashed for the night (with a leg in the air and the light on.)
The next morning we were off to the airport? yup! The airport. Totally last minute my mom decided to join us - she flew up to Chicago and we picked her up on our way out of town. Then we were off through the first of many many many tollbooths. There wasn't much to see or report until Flint, Michigan. There we had the most fun ever at a rest stop, getting ice cream. It was skill crane meets ice cream vending machine. We had to do it more than once.
As we got closer to the border, this thought crosses my mind: was I supposed to get some sort of document to take my children into another country without my spouse??? [insert mild panic attack here] Then Oh! Canada! we are just fine and stop for the night in Sarnia, Ontario, at the bottom edge of Lake Huron. During my research online, I found many lovely little things to do in Sarnia and sadly we did none of them. It was the first pang of regret in my trip: I wished we had more time! I really wanted to see all the things in the Stones N Bones Museum. But we did stay at the lovelist Holiday Inn I've ever seen. After settling in (ie jumping on the beds and turning on the TV) we hit the pool. We listened to the band playing at the outside bar, then we enjoyed some hot cocoa and a perfect night outside with stars, a cool breeze blowing through the pine trees and the exciting feeling one gets when in a whole new place. (We ignored the waitress giving us funny looks for ordering hot cocoa in July...)
The next morning we woke up and looked out the balcony to see a family of ducks sneak under the fence into the pool.
For breakfast the boys had pancakes and the waitress brought out 2 pitchers of syrup - one "table" syrup and the other was "real" stuff. Let's just say that the real stuff was really really good.
On we drove to Niagra Falls. We took the plunge (literally) and rode the Maid of the Mist which is a boat ride to see the falls up close. We suited up like blue Smurfs (the US side of the falls got to be yellow smurfs) and set off to get wet.
And wet we got. My mom, in typical fashion, took off her blue tarp and was pretty dry. Me? She couldn't understand how I got so wet. (there are no pictures of that. obviously.)
Here we are gazing at the top.
Here we are at the bottom looking up. Don't we look tiny? I'm not sure which I held on to tighter, my small child who could have been knocked overboard in a moment of unruly churn or my iphone which I had out to capture the magic of the moment.
We enjoyed walking around and soaking up the gracious views (noting that the squirrels are black in Canada) before setting off to cross the border to get to Buffalo. Finding the right way to the bridge back into the US proved very very challenging for some reason, until we discovered the duty free. Its drive-through exit lead right back to the US. handy. And, yes, we did get some liquor, which was necessary after the dinner we had. We stopped at a place that looked promising on the outside, but whose inside I wish I could block from my memory. It included animitronic animals, ads on the walls for an ice cream sundae manicure/pedicure for your 'tween and a gift shop that had walls of sky-high candy... I think I also saw a water slide inside the building behind the restaurant.
There's not much to see in the above video, but I just had to share the sound.
That evening we had a lovely homestyle cookout with my Great Aunt Marie and some more of my cousins, some of which I haven't seen since they held me. Cousin Chris, by the way, makes a mean broccoli salad! Thanks for the recipe, cuz! Thanks also to Christian for keeping all the kites afloat.
Vicky's daughter was a most gracious host to my boys, putting up with a great deal of squirting, hide and seek, 4-wheeling! and lots of "can we go see Sammy again?" Thanks for putting up with us.
Then next day we were off for the next leg of our trip.