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    Comedy of Errors

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    Border Crossing

    September 9, 2016

    I left Mary's home just before 8 a.m.  

     

    No goodbye; she was asleep after a long night at work.

     

    I tried to be as quiet as possible.

     

    Watching students saunter to school (and feeling sorry for them), I drove from Mary's neighborhood to Pine Street and then made the left onto Michigan's 25 East.

     

    It was a mixed weather sort of day: both cloudy and sunny.

     

    Because I was heading East, the sun was directly in my line of vision.  Both my sunglasses and visor were used to deflect the bright light.  

     

    Yet, the blinding light coupled with a morning chill did NOT phase me.  

     

    I had not seen sunshine in a day or two, and I was happy it accompanied me on my route to Canada.

     

    Michigan's 25 East offered much more of an agricultural landscape than what I had seen in the Bay City area.  

     

    Farmland surrounded me on both sides.  Barnyard smells of manure and hay drifted through the air as did the smell of sweet corn.

     

    For quite a ways, I drove by rows and rows of wind turbines.  

     

    Once I reached those white spectacles, the number of cars decreased, and the blue skies opened up.

     

    YES!

    I drove for miles and miles at speeds of 55 mph (possibly more) with very little traffic on ultra smooth pavement:  today was a gift.

     

    Small towns disrupted the rhythm of the ride with speed limits in the 25 mph range; however, we all experience that no matter where we travel.

     

    Later, I could see slices of Lake Huron.

     

    Then, I reached Port Austin.

     

    Port Austin is located just west of the tip of what I would call the "thumb part" of Michigan's mitten.  

     

    Stopping in for gas at the Shell Station off of Lake Street and breakfast at the Lighthouse Cafe, I decided to go for a pier walk, too.   

     

    The sun was shining; the sky was blue.  

    Plus, I was making good time.   

    There was no need to rush for cover unlike other riding days when the weather was not as cooperative.  

     

    Motorcycle lesson:  when the weather is not rider-friendly, my desire to arrive at my destination increases.  

     

    Perhaps it is just human nature?  

    Just after Port Austin, the route switches from 25 East to 25 South.

     

    Sarnia was less than 90-miles away.

     

    Because I have some rider/readers, I encourage you to plant yourself on 25 South (from Port Austin).   

     

    My description?

     

    Twists and turns with straightaways on ribbons of silk roadways.

     

    I ran into some convertibles, too.

     

    There's definitely something about this particular stretch.

     

    Then, the traffic picked up.

     

    I had reached Lexington.

     

    (Indeed, when you see the first road sign with Detroit listed, traffic begins.)

     

    I stopped one more time to refuel before entering Canada.

     

    Following Lexington, the road signs to cross the border are quite obvious.

     

    Bridge to Canada.

     

    Those kinds of signs -- the obvious ones.

     

    I was expecting some glorious bridge fanfare as I crossed the St. Clair River.

     

    Instead, the bridge was quite easy to cross: no metal grates.  

     

    No issues.

     

    That is.

     

    Until I reached the lines to cross the Canadian border.

     

    I had five options: I chose the slowest line.  

     

    The center one.

     

    The line moved so slowly that I shut off my motorcycle and pushed it as the the number of cars were let through by the border agent.  

     

    When I reached the agent, he had me turn off my motorcycle, and I showed him my passport.  

     

    He asked me about my trip and whether I had any weapons.

     

    I told him about my motorcycle odyssey, and that I had mace and a knife.  

     

    The mace/pepper spray would be confiscated.  

     

    "Okay," I said.  

     

    Then, he asked me more questions about my ride.  

     

    "How long have you been on the road?  Where did you come from?  Where are you going in Canada?  How long do you plan on staying in Canada? What do you do for work?  Oh, you're unemployed?  How can you afford this trip?"

     

    More questions were asked.

     

    I was too naive and much too transparent.  

     

    He gave me a yellow slip and asked that I drive into the parking area of the customs office to my right.

    Two agents directed where I should park my bike.

     

    They asked that I remove my backpack.

     

    I showed them where my mace was located and they confiscated it.  I had to sign a sticker on a plastic bag.

     

    Then, my backpack was searched.

     

    The officers were cordial and engaged me in conversation.

     

    They were impressed that I had a knife and a rope and a compass for the journey.

     

    When I asked if I could take a picture of them searching my bag, one of them said, "It's a free country."

     

    The other requested that his face not be in the photograph; of course, I agreed.  

     

    Once the search was complete, I was told I needed to take the yellow slip into the office building and meet with an agent.

     

    My entry still needed approval!

     

    I walked up to an agent who had a pleasing tone (not a condescending one).  

     

    He asked me several questions similar to the ones asked by the first guard at entry point #1.

     

    Ultimately, I had to show him my airbnb reservation and the amount of money in my savings account.  

     

    He asked me to think about why they might be concerned.

     

    Jokingly, I said, "But Trump hasn't been elected, yet."

     

    He gave me a stern look.

     

    "Wrong answer?" I asked.

     

    He nodded.

     

    I assured him that I was passing through Canada as a short cut to reach Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but that I really simply wanted to drive my motorcycle through Canada.

     

    When all was over, he approved my admission into the province.

     

    He suggested some bed and breakfast spots in Ontario, and I shared my blog address with him.

     

    Border crossing scandal averted, I went back to my cycle and used my phone to navigate my way to Lynn's home in Sarnia.

     

    Her home was less than 10-miles away.

     

    When I found her place, I used the code she had emailed me to open her front door.

     

    She would not be home until a little after 3 p.m.

     

    I should also help myself to some tarts and cookies.  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I did!

     

    When Lynn arrived, I shared my story, and we laughed about it.

     

    She made some tea, and we swapped stories.

     

    My favorite was how her and her partner, Scott, met.

     

    In the emergency room!

     

    He was waiting to be seen for his adult chicken pox; she was there with her friend (who had a strange rash).

     

    In the end, Scott gave her his number and suggested they have a coffee together.

     

    She waited several days before calling him.

     

    Seventeen-years later, they are still together even after having raised a blended family of five (three from her and two from him)!

     

    Amazing how life and love works!

    A few hours later, I mentioned a library visit (the local one did not close until 8 that evening).

     

    She offered to drop me off as she was meeting her mother to clean the Catholic church.

     

    I accepted.

     

    On the way out, I met two of her daughters.

     

    Before exiting her car and entering the library, Lynn recommended a few nearby spots to have dinner and how to get back home.

     

    None of that every happened.

     

    Instead, she sent me a text asking me if I wished to join her family at Wharf for fish and chips.

     

    I said, "Sure!"

     

    She picked me up at the library and drove me to where everyone was including her partner, Scott.

     

    They paid for my fish and chips!

     

    I had a chance to mingle with Lynn's mom and her daughter's, too.

     

    When we left Wharf, Lynn and I walked part of the way back together because the car was too small to fit all of us.

     

    During the night walk, she shared her father's legacy with me and their final days together in Hospice (he had cancer).  I also learned about the loss of her cousin (again to cancer).

     

    Another: life is too short lesson.  

     

    We met Scott and the girls at the next street corner, and jumped in the car.

     

    By the time we all retired, it was nearly midnight.  

     

    Although physically fatigued, I was happy to stay awake because it gave me more time with Lynn AND Scott.  

     

    I fell asleep thinking... Canada is exactly where I am supposed to be.

    Until we meet again, my friend.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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