I Had Better Earlier Today

Dad and I made specific plans to leave home at 5:27 A.M. yesterday morning. We ran just a teeny bit late but alas were on our merry way. With a 22 ½ hour drive ahead of us there wasn’t much need to discuss when or where we would stop, we just got a move on. We knocked out one necessity of the trip early in the morning; breakfast at McDonald’s. I think it is pretty much required any time a person takes a super long road trip. I got a “steak” skillet wrap of questionable integrity and Dad had the norm food.

Back on the road. There comes a time when a girl has to pee, but more importantly the low fuel light popped on and there were no gas stations in sight (besides the two we passed deciding we could make it just a little bit further). Eventually we stopped in Sturgis, Michigan. We didn’t even know we were going to Michigan on this trip but we got gas and ate at a little place called Savory which was recommended to us by the gas station man. I’ve been having very good luck with gas station employee recommendations lately. This one and the lady in Galena who told Krista and I about Potosie Beer, delish. Dad had his first country-fried steak (which was actually two individual steaks) of the trip and I had cheesy potato soup. Both were scrumptious, it was a nice stop.
From here I took over the drive while Dad took a napski (while doing so managed to sun burn his one arm by hanging it out the window). During this time I made the following observation; People from Illinois are considerably terrible at driving, even worse are people from Ohio. Unfortunately, there is a large concentration of both Illinois and Ohio people driving through Ohio. This made for an incredibly unpleasant jaunt through the rather boring state. Another annoyance lies in the fact that we, as Iowans pay taxes which maintain our roads, including I-80. In states like Indiana you have to pay approximately $10 just to DRIVE through their state, pay for your roads and we’ll pay for ours. Maybe Iowa should start charging out-of-staters to drive on our preciously paid for roads.

Still driving, we get to Erie, Pennsylvania and decide we may as well keep on to Buffalo, New York and then while we’re at it, Niagara Falls is only 27 more miles up north. So, I booked us a room in the somewhat swanky Moonlite Motel (classy name) whose outdoor pool is in the MIDDLE of the parking lot. I love it. The sun was setting and I wanted to get some pictures at Niagara Falls so Dad and I headed to the waterfront and thanks to my excellent navigation skills we ended up in the parking lot of a Duty Free Store. Hmm, how do we get out? As there are one way road spikes at the only gate in to the parking lot. Dad doesn’t have a passport, this makes things difficult. We ask the lady inside what to do and she informs us we must go to Canada and have no other choice, but we can park at their store for free. Excellent.

We leave the car at the DFS and walk over to Niagara Falls Park and right up to the water. Beautiful! Dad and I walked around for a while, took lots of pictures and had lots of great conversation. Made fun of tourists and talked about how we thought the falls themselves might have been taller and how soaking wet you would be if you wanted to pay an arm and a leg to stand almost under the falls themselves. Now the real adventure begins; our journey into Canada. We went back and began the trek through customs across Rainbow Bridge into Canada. It is interesting to inform a Canadian you in no way wanted to enter their country, more interesting is explaining to an American why you went to Canada without REALLY going to Canada.

Dad, not having a passport, was illegally on Canadian soil (sort of). See, nobody is trying to blow up Canada so they don’t require you to have a passport to come in. Getting back in the America was the problem. We had to do paperwork (I must say there are some very decent looking Canadian Border Patrol officers) and when we returned to the U.S. side even had to step out of the car and go inside and blah blah blah. We were cleared and sent along, phew!

This is a picture of how Dad feels about running from the law!  We chose Denny’s as the most inconspicuous hideout option.

Now it’s about 11:00 P.M., good thing Niagara Falls doesn’t shut down at 7 o’clock like Maquoketa and we were able to grab a bite to eat at Denny’s. My buffalo chicken sandwich was tasty and Dad had his THIRD country-fried steak of the trip and of the day for that matter. Our waitress, a fairly frumpy middle-aged woman who seemed mildly disgruntled finally came back to ask how our food was when it was almost gone. “Somebody else’s is better.” Dad replies in reference to his first country-fried steak at Savory. HA! Just kidding, even Dad isn’t that blunt. He did make that comment after she left though. Oh, Dad. You’re so silly.

We enjoyed a nice evening at the Moonlite and even slept in just a little bit. We’ve begun our trek today across the state of New York. Stopped for breakfast at Cracker Barrel, an old favorite, and I had biscuits and gravy and guess what Dad had? His FOURTH county-fried steak of the trip, which he made sure to make known was MUCH BETTER than the one he had at Denny’s.  Since we had a huge-o breakfast we decided to get somthing small from a travel plaza McDonald’s.  I hadn’t had a Big Mac in a really long time, but I offically quit McD.  The Big Mac was not even good, the patties were half the size of the bun and the Mac sauce was terrible.  My favorite McD feature gone, I also had one of their frappes, also not delicious. Massachusetts was the worst possible drive ever. Traffic was backed up like crazy for no apparent reason it took us 2 ½ hours to go 63 miles. Is it bad that Dad and I were cut off by a train of three cars who kept zipping in and out of the lanes, shortly thereafter we saw the one who was bringing up the rear on the side of the road SMASHED and we said serves you right? It was nasty driving. We spent approximately 10 minutes driving through New Hampshire and then FINALLY we arrived in Maine. Portland is large so we decided to skip around it and ended up in Brunswick. We are trying to spend conservatively seeing as gas is expensive, food is expensive and we’ve spent over $40 on tolls on the way here.

We’re staying at the Rodeway Inn. Yes, $75 a night but way worse than the $60 Moonlite. Moldy shower curtains, t.v. with a blue hue, stained sheets… and more. I wouldn’t recommend it. Apparently, like Maquoketa, Brunswick closes at 8 (even on a Friday) and the restaurants who don’t, charge $17 for a chicken breast. No thanks, we ended up at the ever over-priced Applebees and had terrible service. Yesterday was MUCH MORE successful than today. Lucky for us, Union is only a mere hour or so away for tomorrow. 2 countries, 10 states oofta!

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6 responses to “I Had Better Earlier Today

  • Jenni Schwartz

    First of all, McDonald's = gross.Second, why did you let dad eat so much chicken fried steak? NOT being a very good caretaker, PAM.Third, you should always ask gas station employees/any locals when you go ANYwhere. They always know the best spots because they've actually had a chance to try them all!Fourth, pretty pics!!!Fifth, I would not go anywhere NEAR either of those hotels I have a feeling. Ask ma & pa. They were actually quite cooperative with me when I made them stay somewhere that was NOT sleazy on our way to pick you up from DC.Sixth, I want to eat that potato soup. Bring it to me.Seventh, Dad owes me $15,000 for the bail I paid to get him out of Canada. Tell him.Eighth, you and dad are two peas in a pod and it sickens me. Blech. (Talking about food and driving habits, yeesh.)Ninth, YAY for being almost there!Tenth, why am I not with you? :'(Eleventh, just kidding! I'll leave it at a very sad tenth comment!

  • Pam Schwartz

    Jenni, after you read my blog I added a bit more into the 2nd to last paragraph. Your mention of McD being gross reminded me of something more to say. Also, like Dad ever listens to me about food and I wasn't eating much better. The Moonlite was a fine little place, Rodeway is disgusting. I slept in fetal position with my own cover and pillow being careful not to touch their's.

  • Anonymous

    The real answer is your dad should have a passport so he can come to our cabin in Canada. Aunt De

  • Jenni Schwartz

    For the very same reason that I need to renew mine because it expired in April! Bah!

  • Anonymous

    great blog, great pictures! this puts mine to shame. looking forward to hearing more about maine!-joelle

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