Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oh, Canada !

We awoke to rain, which I had not expected. Having to make several trips to the car to choose "cold weather clothing," I had to wear my shower cap outside to keep my hair dry.  My umbrella, of course, was in the car. In and out of the motel, I ran into the same man both going and coming, and he obviously had never seen a woman wearing a shower cap with her clothing on, (or off either, perhaps,)  but I just smiled and kept on walking.  I heard Philip, in my head, saying, "Mom, you will never see these people again!"  (I should hope.)

After we had called every single person we needed to tell goodbye forever to, we left our motel and crossed the Peace Bridge into Canada.  We didn't call them because we were afraid, but because our cell phone charges would be hideous if we use them over here!

We really had not "done our homework" for "international travel," as the cell phone companies call crossing the border into Canada.  We had not looked up the rate of exchange for our money, how to read metric speed limits, or how much wine we were allowed to carry across the border.    We will reserve the details of this particular issue until later, but we have just given a very nice bottle of pinot grigio to the marvelously efficient desk clerk of the Comfort Inn in Point Edward, Ontario, where we very soon will be asleep.

Once into Canada, we kept looking at the map to see "Where are we, anyway?"........in relation to the United States.  At one point we realized that we were going to completely circle Lake Erie......and that we were directly north of Akron at another point.  Having already been to Toronto together a couple of times, and having been to Niagara Falls several times, we bypassed those locations and headed west instead.  We stopped at one winery only. (Who needed more wine????) 

At some point near Vineland, we saw a huge rusted shipwreck on the shore of Lake Ontario. This required braking quickly and turning off onto a side road.  The ship still had its sails rolled and attached to the masts, but the ship itself was totally rusted and had grass and other greenery growing all over the deck.  The anchor was still pulled up, and the sides were rusted and falling off.  Not one single sign told us any details about this huge ship, so we cannot tell you a name or date for this shipwreck, but it was really quite a relic. A father and his adult son were on their way to the shore as we were leaving, and we asked them if they knew any details. The son told us that he had driven by it every day on his way to work for ten years, and had no information, but he finally decided to go take a closer look at it today. So we know it's at least ten years there.

Very close to this shipwreck was a lovely restaurant on the banks of Lake Ontario, called The Lake House.  We went there for lunch because I could see they had colorful red umbrellas on their back patio, and we always try to eat "al fresco" in the summer if we can.  We were not  disappointed.  While the sun shone on the Lake Ontario, and we could see Toronto directly across it, Randy ate fried calamari, and I had a plate full of steamed Prince Edward Island mussels with tomatoes in garlic sauce with wine.  Beautiful food !

Then we drove west for the rest of the afternoon.  Somewhere directly north of Akron, Ohio, we realized that the scenery looked a whole lot like Akron, Ohio. We would not have known we were in a "foreign country" except for the fact that the speed limit signs say "100"---- which gave us sort of a cheap thrill, until we translated this to 60 MPH.  Thelma's "miles to go" didn't jive with the road signs, either. After we blamed Thelma for awhile, we had to apologize to "her," when we realized that "she" was telling us MILES, and the signs were written in KILOMETERS.  (Duh.....)

We did stop to exchange some cash for Canadian money this morning, and it is very pretty, with silver strips on the bills. I am trying to spend it all, as fast as I can, so I don't have to turn it in when we cross the border tomorrow. Who knew that they have a $2 coin??  I received one in change this afternoon, and was about to tell the clerk that he couldn't possibly have given me enough change, when he gave me the two-dollar coin lesson: it has 2 different metals on it, and it's worth $2.

We refueled somewhere along the way, and a gas station attendant (remember them?) came out to pump the gas into our car, and we took our credit card into the station to sign the bill, just like we used to do back in the day in the states!

Tonight we had a quick dinner at a Tim Horton's, and then sat on a beach on Lake Huron here in Sarnia.  Those beach chairs got used !  We collected some very large round rocks for our yard on that beach, and a big bag of smaller ones, too.

We can't help but notice that we have crossed the River Thames, been to London (and Woodstock!), and driven on the Queen's Highway today. We are in a lovely suburb of Sarnia tonight, which is perched on the western border of Ontario. We will cross over into Michigan in the morning.

Our original intent had been to see a LOT of Canada this summer, but we (wisely, I think) decided to do a smaller portion of this enormous country.  Even though it is our northern neighbor, it still is a foreign country, and this was our "test case."  We still have plenty to see in the good old USA, also!

The cell phones should be back on by noon.