Canadian Thoughts On An American Trip

Canamerican Flag

I’ve said that I treated the invitation to visit our D.C. hosts as a Royal Summons, but it was us who got treated like Royalty when we got there.  Here’s a shot of us arriving.

Harry and Meghan

More through coincidence than any planning,, we had three successive, different ethnic-food lunches.  One day it was Greek food at a strip-mall restaurant.  The next day, our kind hosts took us to an upscale Afghan establishment.  On the third day, while trying to find decent coffee, (we never did) we stopped into a Thai restaurant beside a Drunkin DoNuts.

Canada is getting screwed for gasoline, even though we pump more oil than the United States.

After calculating for US gallon/Canadian liters, and US dollar value vs. Canadian dollar….
Exiting Southern Ontario, gas was selling for about $1.30/L.  I bought gas 3 times in the US – 83.8cents/L, 76.7/L and 72.7/L – 1/2 to 2/3 the cost in Ontario.

Usually, the closer to the highway, the higher the price.  Pleasantly, surprisingly, this was not the case on the Pennsylvania and Ohio turnpikes.  All the rest centers sold regular for $2.749 (73.8/L).  When I got off in Toledo, the city stations wanted $2.849.

Gas Cost

When I crossed the bridge back to Windsor, the in-town stations wanted $1.269/L.  Twenty miles down the superhighway, where they’ve got you by the short and curlies, where it’s ‘pay or walk,’ the price was $1.369/L!  And there’s 4 liters per US gallon, so that’s another 40 cents/gal rip-off.

Something else I found, that pissed me off….  We wanted to keep all purchases on this trip on a credit card, so that we could keep track of them.  When I went to buy gas with the credit card, the screen on the pump said, “Enter 5-digit ZIP code.”  I’m from Canada.  I don’t have a ZIP code.  I tried entering our host’s ZIP.    The screen now said, “Does not match billing address.  Please prepay at office.”

Now I have to walk a pilgrimage to Coventry….and back.  Not too bad in the city, but I felt sorry for the guy waiting behind me at the Ohio rest area.  This is like gassing up at the Costco, only there, the prepayment authorization is for $150.  Some pimple-faced kid asks, “How much do you want?”  Enough to fill it up.  “Well, I have to put something in the machine.”  $50! Put in $50!  It only took $38.50 to fill it, instead of $75Cd.

Like the jaunt to find John Erickson a few years ago, we again circumnavigated Lake Erie.  Only, this time the trip wasn’t so much a circle, as a deeper oval.  The total trip, from door, back to door, amounted to 2243 kilometers, or 1402 American miles.

There are 12 houses in BrainRants’ little cul-de-sac.  Four of them, including him, fly American flags.  Only yesterday, a letter to the editor urged Canadians to show patriotism by flying Canadian flags.  No need – we know who we are.

On our hosts’ kitchen wall hangs a repro of an old station clock, with the hands at 8:45.  I assumed that it was just a rustic piece of art…. until one morning I was having orange juice and my morning pills all alone, and – tick, tick, tick.  So it works, it’s just jammed and not going anywhere.  I was reminded of The Mamas And Papas’ song, 12:30, or The Guess Who’s, No Time.

I estimate that Rants’ subdivision was hacked out of the woods about 40 years ago.  The developers left lots of trees, in some cases, too damned many.  Our stay was almost like camping in the piney woods, although most of the trees were cut-leaf Maple, and Oak.  It allowed me to commune with nature.

There were many birds, some of whom, by their calls, aren’t present in Southern Ontario.  Rants isn’t much of a bird person.  When asked about them, he identified them all as grey-breasted, Northern Virginia Shit-birds, so-called because of their ability to put white polka-dots on parked cars, so aggressive that they eat holes in the paint-job.

I love birds.  In my de-forested area, both the bright Blue-Jays and Cardinals are skittish creatures, hiding high in trees, sometimes heard, but seldom seen.  As I watched Rants at his forge in the garage, a Blue-Jay landed on a branch in the Maple in front of the house, barely above the garage door, and sat in plain view for several minutes, while we were disgusted by discussed Trump.

As I went to get a beer, through the back door of the garage, I saw what I first took to be a dried Oak leaf, fluttering in the breeze.  It turned into a bright-red hummingbird, which eventually brightly flitted into the neighbor’s yard, and molested some flowers.  The daughter gets the occasional green hummingbird at a feeder behind her house, but red ones are uncommon here.

Baby Cardinal

Later, as I went for another beer, I thought I saw the hummingbird again, but it magically transformed into a bright red Cardinal, apparently unafraid of humans.  It lingered for a few moments, then it too casually flitted to the neighbor’s yard.  Wow!, three usually unseen birds in the course of an hour – Mother Nature must really like me.

I took a walk, early one morning, while waiting for the wife to arise.  Ambling through the nearby woods, I met a lady walking her dog.  She told me that his name was Giggs, a Welsh name, after a well-known (to her) Welsh football (soccer) player.  Strangely enough, she had met another woman with a dog, also named Giggs, after the same soccer player.  There’s an Ontario transport company named Gigg Express.  Now I don’t have to research that name.

White Lady In The Hood, if you’re still out there and reading this, I still haven’t met a stranger.

The ancient Bob’s Big Boy restaurant that has been in front of our Taylor, MI, Red Roof motel for years, since April of this year, has been turned into a Wahlburgers.  Marky Mark and his two brothers should stick to acting.  I was not impressed – with the concept – or the service.  On a four-item order, one was missing (which I didn’t pay for, but should have noticed its absence), and one was wrong.

To the rest of you who are out there reading this – Thank You!  Let’s do it again, soon.  😀

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16 thoughts on “Canadian Thoughts On An American Trip

  1. I never thought about the zip code at the gas pumps before, but agree that could be very annoying. Do Canadian pumps require it as well? Because then we’d be screwed…. and turnabout is fair play after all.
    If you love birds, you’d enjoy our country field backyard. I often do counts for the Audubon society, we have that many different types.
    😊

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    • Archon's Den says:

      No, Canadian gas pumps don’t require ZIP/area codes – yet. I’d like to say that we need American tourist dollars too much to pull that trick, but it may not be too far away. You Americans have already inflicted Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, and Wal-Mart on us. We got you back though. We shipped you Senile Celine Dion, Jim Carrey, and Justin Bieber. Sorry! 😳
      I love all of nature, unless it tries to bite me. I just don’t get out to appreciate it as much as I might like. I probably would enjoy your backyard. Where, approximately, is it located? 😕

      Liked by 1 person

      • We’ll never forgive you for Bieber. 😡
        Our mid coast Maine backyard is filled with birds and wildlife. Everyone feeds here…. deer, skunks, opossums, raccoons, fox, the occasional bear. And just when I think I’ve seen every type of bird, a new one will show up. Yesterday? It was evening grosbeaks. They’re native to our state but we’ve never had them here, then a whole flock showed up. Such brightly colored little jewels.

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  2. Heidi Ellis says:

    Rants isn’t much of an animal guy, although he does occasionally enjoy eating some of them.

    You’d laugh if you could see the house now. Daughter has taken in her school’s bearded dragon for the holidays whose tank sits right by his chair in the living room. Son has set me up with a fish tank in the dining room that has an oscar, a Jack Dempsey and a plecko. It is a menagerie around here!

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    • H.E. ELLIS says:

      Duh. Work account.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      At least they’re quiet, the animals, not Rants – I assume the dragon is quiet. One of the reasons that we’re late night people is from when the tween children had two gerbils, which are nocturnal. Their squeaks and squeals weren’t loud, but their exercise wheel was noisy, even after I oiled it, and they chewed toilet paper and paper towel tubes for bedding, and to wear down their teeth, and then scrabbled around in their cage making tunnels. For most families with children, ‘menagerie’ is a pre-existing condition. 😀

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  3. BrainRants says:

    Good news – the clock is fixed now! Bad news – we have the same President since you were here. Also, the birds have gone somewhere – wherever they go – because winter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Archon's Den says:

      So, you still have one bird-brain who tweets and shits – but, at least now you know exactly what time he does it.
      Winter…. Yeah – I don’t recall seeing any snow shovels or ice scrapers when I was there. I imagine that you’re as happy about that, as I am not having to live on the ‘Happy Feet’ trail in Calgary. 😯

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  4. Daniel Digby says:

    I’ve been thrilled with this week’s events. I no longer have to call Trump “our president”. He’s now our Individual-1.

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  5. 1jaded1 says:

    Glad you had fun. It’s unfortunate about the Big Boy. We had one close in my home town. The new place has much of the same menu. Apparently, the owners wanted the franchises to update to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars in some cases. It was just too expensive.

    Just a little FWIW, sometimes that walk to the gas station is the way to go. People put skimmers on the machines at fuel pumps to steal credit card info. The scary part is that there is, or used to be, a universal key that fits all of the pumps.

    Your music choices are so fitting. 🙂

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    • Archon's Den says:

      It was a blast. A quiet blast, but a blast.
      I keep my eyes open for those skimmers.
      We never used the Big Boy much. There are better restaurants in Taylor, MI. I wouldn’t have gone to the Wahlburgers, but we’d been on the road for 12 hours, and both of us were just too hungry and tired to bother going anywhere else.
      I’m happy that you found the music choices apt. There’ll be more. Did the Canadian band, ‘The Guess Who’ penetrate into the US that you had heard of them? That particular song is a judgemental comment on American war-mongering Imperialism. 😳

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  6. Dale says:

    Darlin’, next time you go to the States and get gas, your “zip code” is the three numbers in your postal code with 00 added on… so, let’s say your postal code is L4B 3J4, you type in 43400 (I already knew this trick but when I went down to Brooklyn last month, one of the pumps actually had a note for us Canadians 😉 )

    As for the price of gas, yeah, I was freaking out myself – we are getting royally shafted with nary a kiss.

    Glad the rest of your trip was fun… and cool for the bird sightings!

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