I’ve Been There And Back


 

 

 

 

Lost in thought – and other places.

I recently read a post from a young Canadian female, about making a wrong turn at night, and driving into the United States.  She said that she had submitted the tale as a Creative Writing essay, and had received an ‘A’ for it.  I expected a teen-ish high schooler, or a college student.  While not bad, I mentally edited it for a few word-usage, spelling and punctuation errors.

She wrote that, as the driver, she and her boyfriend went out for a late-night McDonalds run.  They followed the border, and mistakenly turned south, into the US.  This could happen almost anywhere along the border, but I suspected British Columbia.  Then the story said that she inadvertently took the up-ramp to the bridge in Windsor, and wound up in Detroit.  But the bridge to Detroit doesn’t go ‘South.’  It faces North-West.

She managed to find the entrance to the tunnel to return to Canada, to the north(?), but it was closed for maintenance.  After some more driving and searching, she managed to get back on the bridge.  The Industrially-Polite Canadian Border guard listened to their story, and let them back in without passports.  The McDonalds was now directly in front of them, but they’d spent their burger-bucks on two bridge tolls.

When I viewed the post, I did so, on the WordPress reader.  When I commented, it took me to her actual site.  There I was met with a photo of a partially-clad, full-figured young female, and claims that she was a model, an actress, and an author (?), with 20,000 Facebook followers.  A sort of Canadian-Lite equivalent to the Kardashians – famous for being famous.

I can’t fault her for her little mishap.  Something very similar occurred to us.  Back before 9/11 and passports, the wife and I spent a weekend in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  After checking in Friday night, and eating dinner, we drove on down to the end of the big highway to Fort Erie, ON, and began looking for the terminus of the romantic Riverside Drive, which would take us back to our hotel.

Somehow, a wrong turn in the darkness took us into the one-way driveway to the Duty Free shop.  There is no bridge toll from Canada to the States – nowhere to stop – nowhere to turn around.  With no other exits, we were soon in Buffalo – almost.

As soon as I got off the bridge, I immediately slowed and pulled onto the road shoulder on the fast side.  I carefully dodged a few orange, nylon traffic cones, drove across the paved median, and butted into the line of Canada-bound cars.  There is a bridge toll to cross from the US to Canada, so I was soon confronted by an American Border guard.

I carefully explained what had just happened, and said that I just wanted to get back.  They might as well have robots doing the job.  Do not distract a public servant from his well-rehearsed spiel.  I had just related what had occurred.
“How long have you been in the United States?”
“Uh, going on ninety seconds now.”
“Did you purchase anything while you were in the country?”
(What…. from the trunk of your car, parked over there?)  “No!”
“Very well, away you go then.”

I was happy to pay a(n American) dollar to return to the land of socialized medicine.  We postponed any moonlight trips up the Riverside Drive, until we were sure that we’d found it in the daylight.  Over the years, we have been a number of places that we did not intend to be, but that was the only time that it was in a foreign country.  I’m back, and ain’tcha glad??!  😉

Old Coots’ Horseless Carriages

The government allows the daughter 6 pain-med infusion treatments a year, so they are 8 or 9 weeks apart. Any further than that and the treatment wears off, and her pain levels mount quickly.  My hour drives up the highway with her are always on Tuesdays, because that’s when the doctor schedules the clinic in the hospital.

Late in July, the doctor wanted to take some vacation time, and set up a clinic on a Friday, so that people like the daughter wouldn’t have to go a couple of extra painful weeks. This was the Friday of the ‘Cruisin’ On King Street’ annual old-car show.

After the hour drive home, I dropped her off at her place, and walked a block into the big park where they were marshalling the cars. I took along my camera, and took photos of some of the older vehicles that caught my attention.

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1931 Ford ‘Vickie’ Crown Victoria

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Late ’60s Corvette, blah in straight white, side scoop should be contrasting color.

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1932 ‘Deuce’ coupe cabriolet, (convertible/soft-top) an “any color, as long as it’s black” that Ford never provided.

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It was reported that a 1939 Ford truck was the oldest vehicle in the show….and yet, here’s a 1923 ‘Bucket T’ model Ford, but it’s a kit car, with Fiberglas body and all-new frame and running gear.  While the ‘model’ is ’23, the hot rod is 2007.

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Another Coupe, this one with hard-top and rumble seat, and hot-rod wheels.

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A 1939 red Dodge Saloon, looking very much like my ’39 Pontiac, but with custom wheels.

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Now, that shade of green, or the blue above, would complement that ‘Vette.

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A 1961 VW Bug, not even ‘hopped up’, just prettified.

Back in the 60s, car companies and individuals had ideas about ‘Cars Of The Future.’ A few of them worked out – most didn’t.  We actually went back to ‘cars of the past’ for a few.  The PT Cruiser was mainly successful, while the Chevy SSR car, and the HHR van/truck didn’t fare as well.

Here are four 1960s artistic concept cars.

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A bit too Avant Garde, but this concept became the Chevy ‘El Camino’ and the Ford ‘Ranchero.’

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The Corvette’s grandfather.  Look at the models in these photos, and the clothes, shoes and hairdos.  They certainly weren’t advertising to the oil-soaked wrench jockeys.

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Somebody wanted to go back and recreate a 1923 T-Bucket Hot Rod with new engine and running gear. It was very much a niche market, and the private builders were more than enough to supply the market.

I titled my post a couple of  years ago, “Wasted Days.”  This day was definitely not a waste.  😎