Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Canada -My New Favorite Place

Here I am in Canada, Eh? Kitchener, Ontario to be exact (originally named Berlin until WWI, according to the guy on the next barstool.) We rode about 220 miles after work on Tuesday night and stayed in upstate New York, then up early for a run to the border today.

This was my first experience in Canada. The border crossing was surprisingly easy and went something like this:

Border guy: "I need your ID."
Me: "Here you go."
Border guy: "Do you have a knife?"
Me: "No."
Border guy: "Do you have any guns or explosives?"
Me: "No."
Border guy: "Have a nice day."

There I was with travel bags strapped to backpacks bungeed to zipper bags looking like a freshman on moving day. I was hoping I wouldn't spend a half hour taking the whole shebang apart for him, and it turns out I didn't need to even pull a zipper. Very nice.

We did the tourist thing in Niagara Falls, made our way here to Kitchener, and checked in. With the searing wind still relentlessly assaulting us and the muggy skies darkening, we made for Toronto with our fingers crossed. After a trip to the top of the CN Tower (highest observation deck in the world) and a quick tour of the **very nice** city, we found it much cooler and much less threatening for the ride back. Since entering the country, we had been getting passed by everything on wheels --including trucks with 28 of them-- and with the day's priorties completed and the promise of a cold beer in my future, I hunkered down and picked up the pace considerably.

Holy cow, this is like the friggin' autobahn around here! People actually stay out of the left lane unless they're passing somebody, and unless you're doing 80, you ain't passing anybody. We started running 70 mph, which is well above the 100 km/h standard, and cars were literally rocketing past us. 75? Still a traffic hazard. 80? Nope - get the hell outta the way.

OK... pin the throttle and hang on? Hey, at 105 mph we're finally starting to pass people! :-) We kept that up for a while, then settled in at around 75 and just stayed out of the way. I drive in North Jersey every day and didn't think this existed. What a country!

Also of note: I had my first minor crisis today. I woke up this morning and realized that I'd left the race tickets and campground passes at home! That had been taken care of months ago; it was how the whole trip got started in the first place. In the time since, I'd been putting so much effort into planning the rest of the trip that I totally forgot about them. After a few minutes of panic, I made a hotel reservation for tomorrow night in Detroit, then called Lisa (hi sweetie!!) and had her FedEx everything there. I told the staff to expect the package, and Lisa put my cell phone number in the comments, so hopefully disaster has been averted. We shall see.

That's 550 miles, three states / provinces, and one (hopefully overcome) setback. So far, so good!

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