Whenever you mention to someone that you have to use the 'facilities,' it's inevitable that somebody slyly tells you, "Whatever you do, don't think of rushing water!!!" Hardy har har.
Well can I just say this? Pretty much the worst place ev-ar to arrive at after a three hour drive and a very, very large tea is NIAGARA FALLS. I was hopping around like a maniac, battling THRONGS of people, wanting to scream at the world, "I hafta pee, I hafta pee, GET OUT OF MY WAAAAY!" But really, they wouldn't have heard me over the gush of millions of tons of water hurtling itself off a horseshoe shaped cliff.
It was a potty eeemerrrrgency.
But don't worry. I survived. My pants were only wet from the spray of the falls, I promise.
So. Err... moving right along...
After returning to normal human status once again, I really enjoyed the falls. I was considering skipping them for the sake of time, but I'm glad I didn't. The falls are spectacular. The surrounding crowds/town/hotels/casinos/rides/lookout towers/attractions/shops/midway/and various other money-munching monsters were a complete gong show, but hey, ya don't have to get pictures of that! *grin* I wanted to do a trip on the Maid of the Mist or the walk under the falls, but time was short, so I just enjoyed them from the top. Still pretty awesome.
After Niagara, I began my 9.5 hour trip to Grand Rapids. Just driving, it really should only have taken 6.5 hours, but I probably made about an hour's worth of stops (including one 15 minute detour when I somehow ended up on the wrong highway and had to backtrack - d'oh!) and T-W-O H-O-U-R-S at the border in Sarnia. Shooot.
There's a bridge to the states (as there are in lots of places, but I've never seen that, so it was kinda novel for me. Yes, I'm easily amused.) that was a toll bridge, so there began the ginormous lineup. An hour and a half of me battling sleep - I was there in my 4-6pm energy dip, and had been driving already pretty much all day - being bored out of my mind, and having no clue how far I still had to go, I FINALLY arrived at the booth, passport out and ready to go. But noooooo. This was just the TOLL booth. There's another lineup on the OTHER side of the bridge for customs.
It took two hours to get through altogether. I know that's not a huge deal, but I'd already been on the road since 8:30am, and it was about 7:15 when I finally got through. Raga! It would have gone by slightly faster had I not been the subject of a rather lengthy interrogation at the border:
- Where are you headed today?
Well today I'm going to Grand Rapids, then in a few days I'm headed to Cincinnati, then I come back to Toronto next Monday.
- And what is the purpose of your visit?
I'm visiting friends! :)
-And how do you know these friends
Uhm... well, I know them through my website.
And that, folks, is where things all went wrong.
- Your website? What kind of website?
-What's a blog?
Well, it's kind of an online journal of sorts. I write entries, and people read them, make comments... the people I'm visiting and I have become friends via that...
She continued to drill me... Well what's your common interest? Don't blogs talk about politics?
What kind of entries do you write? Really? You have time for this in your life? And why would they be interested in reading about your life like that? I've never heard of this, explain it again? How did these people find your blog? What would I google to find your blog? And you trust them enough to go to their houses? Etc, etc, etc.
I had to explain about blogging, commenting, and blogrolls, justify once again why I do this, assure her that I HATE writing about politics on my blog, give her to topis of my last three or so posts, tell her what my friends did for jobs ( was sure to mention that they all work or voluneer for CHURCHES), how long I knew them, tell her about my trip to Chicago in March to visit the same friends, exactly what to google to find my site, what it was called, and on and on. It was taking a long time, so a second border guard came into the booth to check in and see if she needed backup. I heard them debriefing as I drove away: "So she's from Canada, and is meeting friends from the inter.... " I'm glad they let me through. She was sooooo skeptical!
Friendly border guard lady, if you're reading this, hello and welcome! Thanks for letting me visit my lovely friends! Feel free to keep reading!
There was still three hours of driving once I got through, which I passed by using my steering wheel for resistance and gave myself a good arm workout as I drove across the state of Michigan. My arms were actually sore the next day! Sweet!
I finally arrived safe and sound at Anne and Andy's, where Jean was also there waiting for me. I knew which house was hers cause I recognized if from photos she'd posted on her blog! So funny! It was like I had been there before.
And so began the Grand Rapids part of my adventure...