Thursday, 1 August 2013

Cruising with My Hubby to Hamilton

The road trip took us from Calgary, Alberta to Ontario in four and a half days. We headed south into the huge state of Montana on the first day of our journey, and followed interstate 2 across the northern part of the state after a good night's sleep. The drive across the 2-lane road on a Saturday was sunny and pleasantly warm with practically no traffic, just tooling through the countryside without having to slow down much for towns along the way.

Stopped in at a Comfort Inn for the night, which was fine. Encountered hot biscuits as part of our breakfast buffet, and mistook a serving dish of gravy for oatmeal. Thought it smelt funny for oatmeal.

Remember North Dakota as having road work and delays and more towns than Montana. The same goes for Wisconsin and Minnesota. The hubby did all the driving. "Driving is a business, the business of getting from Point A to Point B," he said. I remember trees and lots of farm land that had just been harvested of its hay. Slept in five different beds, which were mostly okay despite my precarious back. We learned pretty quickly the value of renting a room with a king-sized bed, and we even had queen-sized beds to ourselves in one motel. Hooey!

More trees and more farmland in Michigan. Pointed out to my hubby that Michigan is the state with pasties. (That's the meat and potato turnover, not the tassels that strippers wear.) My mother's mother's people came from Michigan after Ireland, so I knew about pasties growing up. "See," I said to my husband, pointing at signs as we drove by, "smoked fish and pasties," but we didn't stop into these restaurants to try some. Must have been on the wrong side of the road.

We finally did a little sight-seeing one evening in Gaylord, Michigan. I was holding out for Gaylord, rather than stopping in Wolverine and Vanderbilt, because the name reminded me of the character from Show Boat. Told my hubby that I expected to be greeted by some musical theatre when we headed into town. Not much - just some folks with tambourines trailing streamers in period costume doing some singing and dancing. We didn't see the musical theatre, but we had a fine dinner in a restaurant called the "Sugar Bowl" which was founded in 1919. The town was trying for a Bavarian theme with their down town store fronts, and the Sugar Bowl didn't disappoint. We were seated next to a party of half a dozen Catholic priests who had just been golfing and were occupied with discussing the concerns of the local churches, so the conversation we overheard was interesting, too. After dinner, we strolled down the dusky main street to a chocolate store that stayed open until 10 PM. Partook of a chocolate-covered marshmallow, and bought a bar of straight milk chocolate and some caramel corn with nuts. You can best judge the quality of a store's chocolate by sampling a plain bar of the stuff, and I can attest to the quality of this chocolate. The store was the "Alpine Chokolat Haus," if any chocolate aficionados are driving through Gaylord and want to stop for some good stuff.

We crossed the border at Sarnia (hello Canada!) and drove to Waterloo, where we were planning to spend an extra day in our old stomping grounds, seeing what was new, before making the drive to Hamilton. Problem was, the hotel we planned to stay in for two nights was brand new - I mean we were the first people to stay in our upgraded suite - so the room smelt strongly of brand new carpet and the windows didn't open, although the air conditioning worked just fine. Add to that the mattresses were of the superior pillow-top variety, a bed I can't sleep in for more than a couple of hours before waking up with the heat steaming off me, and that made for an interrupted night's sleep. So, after having a lovely lunch with my mother and my hubby's parents in St. Jacobs, we drove a day early to Hamilton and spent our first evening in our apartment complex's guest apartment.

After getting confused by the one-way streets while driving around the down town, we lucked upon a gas station with a supply of Hamilton street maps on the way up the "mountain", and purchased one with alacrity. Armed with directions to a nearby shopping mall, we settled down to dinner in the food court and mapped our route home with lightened hearts. We popped into a Shopper's Drug Mart for breakfast essentials (peanut butter, the store's last loaf of bread, and a jug of orange juice) before leaving the mall. With hubby driving and me navigating, we nailed the way home (with only a little variation to our planned route from getting lost. Must have been something wrong with the map). Back at our guest apartment, I spent the next half hour struggling to make the TV work while hubby googled Hamilton grocery stores, and then we spent the rest of the evening watching HGTV. Ah, the comforts of home!

We also checked out our new apartment, which we take possession of today (it being 6:15 AM on August 1 when I sat down to write this blog), so now we're just waiting for the truck to arrive with our furniture (today? tomorrow?) before we can start the moving-in process. The apartment is spacious, repainted, and clean, so my biggest problem will be getting used to living on the 19th floor. I think the trick is to look out rather than down when I step out onto the balcony for a brief whiff of air.

That's it for now, intrepid readers. There will be further delays to my writing as we get settled and spend some time getting to know our new city, but I plan to get back on track with writing Town Haunts later this month.

Hope that everyone is having a great summer. Until the next time . . . .

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