July 30, 2001
We're back! After 14 states, 2 Canadian provinces, and 4200 miles on the road in 11 days, we're home. Despite passing through 12 metropolitan areas, we weren't mugged, robbed, shot at, or threatened. Our car was always waiting in the parking spot where we left it. There were some hookers and drug dealers hanging around a corner where we stayed a couple of nights, but they seemed nice enough (not that I got real close, you understand). All in all, it was a good vacation, but there's no place like home.
For the insidiously curious, we went through Texas, Arkansas, Missouri (cheapest gas we saw there at $1.09/gallon), Illinois, Indiana, Ohio (stopped at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, which was very cool), Pennsylvania, and New York. Then we crossed into Ontario at Niagara Falls, spent a couple of hours admiring the view and feeling sorry for the suckers who decided to be tourists from the American side which has a terrible view of the falls, then north, way north, until crossing into Quebec on the north shore of Lake Temiskaming, down to Montreal, back into Ontario on 401, and down I-81 all the way through New York and Pennsylvania again, Maryland and West Virginia (blink and you'll miss them), Virginia, and Tennessee. Then down into Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and back home to Texas.
We saw cornfields, tobacco fields, soybean fields, cotton fields, vineyards, cows, sheep, horses, goats, and ducks. I saw haystacks in a pasture for the first time in my life. I saw two flying saucers (Toronto and Montreal, the movie theatres). I went to the tourist trap of Montreal, the Old Port, which is really lovely in summertime. Mostly though, we just drove. You know you're doing a lot of driving when you say, "We only have to go 350 miles today, that's nothing." We bought some clothes in Hagerstown, MD, but the outlet mall there is kind of scummy compared to the one in San Marcos, TX. The Wendy's in New Liskeard, ON still sells pitas, which I hadn't seen in a while. I sent my parents two postcards and stuck them in the mail at the same time from Niagara Falls, Canada, and today they received one of them. Here's to the Canadian and the American postal services!
Now the dirt. Avoid Interstate 30 between Texarkana and Little Rock if you can - it's a mess. Interstate 71 in Ohio isn't so great either, it's all driving on the shoulder. Quebec roads in general suck. The whole town of Monroe, LA kind of smells like open sewage. Traffic headed toward North Bay out of Toronto is terrible, what with lanes disappearing out of nowhere and just the surprisingly large number of vehicles. Also, I recommend you cross the border from Ontario to New York, instead of vice-versa, since it's $3 either way, and $3 Canadian is really $2 in US dollars.
Published: July 30, 2001