Day 5 – Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy-Jig
After meeting with, not one, but two fellow bloggers, blowing the exhaust system off the car, getting seriously GPS lost –twice – and attending a disappointing knife show, it might seem that the adventure was pretty much over. We just intended to head for Detroit, and do a bit of shopping before slipping back over the line, to quiet Canuckville.
Fortunately for my publishing stats, fate still had a couple of (hopefully) interesting things in the wings. As we motored north on I-77, we suddenly passed a State Prison. We came up over a rise, and there it was, right beside the road on our left. I assume that the place with the concrete buildings, double twelve-foot high chain-link fences with razor wire on top and a ten-foot kill zone between them, was a prison, not a chicken hatchery.
We drove near one years ago, near Lapeer, MI. For miles there were signs beside the highway, warning, “Caution Prison! Do not pick up hitchhikers!” This place – not so much. While not near any urban area, I was surprised that it was so near a major highway. Don’t they put prisons in places like Alcatraz, miles from anywhere? I guess guards don’t like living in the middle of nowhere, delivery trucks don’t like driving there, and prisoners have the right to quick medical transportation.
As we came north, we reached a secondary road branching off the Interstate, which would angle northwest to Toledo, saving us several miles of driving, and a couple of dollars of road toll. Northwest Ohio should be flatter and straighter than the Southeast corner, but my ass was still sore from being bitten by ‘Ohio 23’, so we drove on up north, to the Lake Erie shore, passing close to Kent State University, where CSNY sang of Four Dead In Ohio.
Cleveland Rocks! Cleveland Rocks! Even if we didn’t see Drew Carey, or the Rock and Roll Museum. We did see the section of Ohio that Chrissie Hynde lamented had been paved over, by a government that had no pride – from Seneca to Cuyahoga Falls.
After rolling through the concrete jungle of Cuyahoga Falls, and Cleveland, we climbed on I-80, the Ohio Turnpike. We grabbed a ticket, and headed for the toll booths at Toledo. For the entire length that we drove, the east- and west-bound traffic were separated by concrete, K-rail, Jersey Barriers. Not all of Ontario’s high-speed highways are completely supplied, to prevent crossover accidents. Our local ring-road bypass, The Conestoga Expressway, still has open areas, despite 6 deaths in the last five years.
Every mile, the ends of two K-rails were offset, to allow police and emergency vehicles to U-turn, and for cops to hide, while watching for speeders. The right lane was crowded with trucks, including a number of triple-trailer transport-trains. I was keeping up with traffic at the legal 65 MPH limit, in the middle lane. A half-mile ahead, I saw the nose of a cruiser sticking out from one of the gaps. In my mirror, I also saw a couple of bumble-bee cars, zipping in and out of the left lane, and rapidly overtaking me.
Just like the old cliché, they passed me like I was standing still. Then, the guy in the lead spotted the cop, and piled on the binders. The guy racing him didn’t see anything, and almost piled into the back of him. Suddenly driving very slowly, they cut in front of me, and all the way over to the right lane, ending up ahead of, and behind, an overloaded half-ton, but I saw the cop pull out.
I told the wife that he was chasing the speeders. “Who? Where?” “Those guys.” – pointing. “But he’s waving at you??” “Me? What did I do?” I looked out my window, and sure enough, he indicated for me to fall back. He could hit the lights and siren, and force his way in, but it might set off a dangerous chase, and one or both could get away. I eased back. He eased in, right beside them, and turned on the lights. They both looked chagrined and resigned as they pulled over.
I had hoped to gas up once we reached Detroit, but pulled off I-75 at Gibraltar, 25 miles short. Just as I reached the bottom of the ramp, a dash chime sounded, and the ‘Fill Me’ light came on. Already overfed, and eating less because of old age, we skipped the steak and baked potato at The Outback, and supper was a ‘Blooming Onion’ and a small loaf of pumpernickel bread from their takeout, taken back to the motel.
The next morning, we purchased another 25 pounds of Michigan beet sugar, the wife could not find any suitable tops which fit her, we topped up the gas tank again at the Meijer’s store, and had brunch once again at a Denny’s, before heading for the Ambassador Bridge.
Construction on the second bridge has not yet begun, and won’t be complete before we hope to travel here again, but is sorely needed. Two-lane, bumper-to-bumper backup from the Customs booths started at the middle of the bridge. When I finally reached the bottom, I was facing South, (check your maps) into the bright sunshine.
I thought, “When I get to pull into the shadow at the booth, I need to remember to take off my sunglasses.” – and then that thought flew south with the Canada geese. I handed out our Passports, and the female officer, who was wearing purple rubber gloves, imperiously reminded me.
The new Windsor bypass is almost complete, and quickly whisked us five miles out, to the end of Highway 401….where we encountered a roundabout??! Way to go, Ontario! Tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of vehicles a day, at least half of them trucks, headed for the US, across the most heavily-traveled US/Canada border crossing…. and it all comes down to a roundabout??
I need to rest my brain. We’ll be home soon. 😀