Night departure for New England

I had the Cruiser all packed and ready to rock when I was at work on Friday. I needed to get a few things done so I was unable to leave a little early at 3:30pm as planned. Instead, I escaped around 4:10pm and pointed the handlebars up I75 to pick up Karen and head east.

Karen was ready and waiting when I arrived. She fed me a cinnamon roll and helped me add her clothes to the luggage on the Cruiser. Soon enough we were rolling down I696 for Port Huron and a “just passing through” trip across Canada.

From southeast Michigan, a trip to New England can be a bit out of your way if you head south around Lake Erie and then east to the desired locale. An alternative to those with up-to-date passports is to cross into Canada and pop back into the states in either Buffalo, NY or north of Watertown, NY. For me, the dividing line is about New York City, NY: north of NYC and it’s shorter to go through Canada, south of NYC and it’s better to cross Ohio. Since the Cape Cod region in Massachusetts was our first target, we took the northern route, specifically, crossing at Port Huron/Sarnia and coming back into the US as Fort Erie/Buffalo.

Karen had just received her updated passport a few weeks before in preparation for this very trip. Consequently, it was a bit humorous when the Canadian border guard gently scolded Karen for not signing her passport. Oops.

We made two stops in Canada. The first was for gas, where I took a moment to tighten up the bolts on the exhaust headers (should have done that earlier… I forgot). The second was for food after we passed Hamilton, Ontario. We’ve gotten into the habit of stopping at Subway sub shops for quick meals and this stop was quick and satisfying. Note: In the US, they offer provolone cheese; in Canada, they offer swiss. Regional preferences? Go figure.

By the way, we took a new route around Hamilton, taking a parkway named for someone I don’t know around the west and south sides of the city instead of traveling down to the coast and across the bridges over the harbor. I’m fairly certain the parkway route is quicker, but it was nowhere near as scenic or interesting. For this trip, it was already dark so the scenic benefits would have been minimized. Still, I may have to weight the different merits of these respective routes.

By the time we passed Niagara Falls (off in the distance to the east of the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way) the cold air coming up off Lake Erie was making things chilly. After the border crossing back into the US at Buffalo, New York, we stopped for a moment so I could don my flannel shirt for a little more warmth.

We made one more gas stop along the New York Thruway and finally found ourselves at one of my favorite NAS (Notch Above Scuzzy) hotels just off the Thruway north of Geneva, NY. I have fond memories of cheap rooms and, at one time, a good diner at the Relax Inn. When we rolled in shortly before 1am, we found that the name was now Red Carpet Inn and the diner had a new name (back in business?). Come to find out that the rates were more expensive and the “new” version of the diner lasted only three months before going under. Apparently, I’ve never stayed here on a weekend night. All my other visits have been on Thursday nights, when the rate was $59 instead of $87.


In any case, a good night’s sleep ensued.

In the morning, we were treated to what must be the singularly cheapest “breakfast” offered at a hotel. All that was offered were pre-packaged pastries in cellophane and a gallon jug of orange juice in a tiny refrigerator. I took two of the crumb cake packages back to the room and we feasted our bounteous breakfast sitting on the bed.

Time to get cleaned up and down the road to Massachusetts.

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