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Sunday, September 10, 2006
The next morning I went on from London. I drove out towards Detroit again due to some bad advice from the guy at DR Horton's. After righting myself I went on to Niagara. I was trying to decide between Niagara and Toronto, I was due for a recreation day after all that driving so I was going to stop at a casino. I didn't want to spend a whole week of vacation doing nothing but driving from A to B. A and B being a long way apart notwithstanding.
I was worried about the border crossing again, the line was a lot longer to get into the US than to get into Canada on the other side, it was probably because it was about noon which would have been shortly after checkout at all the hotels. I waited in the long line, I was getting a little stressed because I was almost out of gas and had no idea how far the nearest station was on the US side. I needn't have worried, Niagara was a decent sized town.
I saw the holy grail that I had read about, the Casino Niagara. It was time to stop and play a little poker. I put the car into valet parking and went into the casino and enjoyed some of the best poker I've played in a while. I got trips three times and had made over $150 in a couple hours. I decided that I would make it a short day and stay the night here. I checked into an expensive room, it was $195 with the tax but it was so nice. HDTV flat screen and beautiful marble everywhere. Besides that I'd already paid for most of it in the poker room.
I played about 8 more hours of poker downstairs and made another couple of hundred. I had more cash on me than when I had left! All that I'd paid for was my hotel rooms for three of the nights (I'd paid for the one in Canada in cash), I had paid for gas and meals in cash so the whole trip was about $300.00 total in expenses so far thanks to the good folks at the casino Niagara.
After breakfast I went to my car and packed up the stuff. I'm was so sick of taking the boxes in every night but I wasn't going to have a $300.00 window in my van broken so that someone could steal my $120 PlayStation. The guy who I saw at breakfast was outside and looking at my plates, he said another hello and then we both drove off. As I was getting onto the freeway he passed me and I saw his plates, he was from Utah too and had a big BYU plate holder on his car. He was a Mormon after all.
I drove on through Illinois, more farmland but lots of industrial stuff too. You can tell that Illinois is where the grain gets processed and stored. Illinois had a busy feel to it, it wasn't at all like the rest of the mid-west where you felt like you could sit on your porch and watch the corn grow for days upon end. In Illinois you felt like you should be doing something.
I went on through Chicago, they had some bad construction and on the route I was on there wasn't any city stuff to see I guess I can say I've been to Chicago but I don't really feel like I've been. North of Chicago I went into Michigan, Michigan is very different from what I expected being full of trees and hills. I thought it would be a state full of industrial crap, I guess I thought Detroit was the whole state. I don't remember much from Michigan, I stopped at a couple of gas stations. Everywhere I stopped it looked like the bad part of town, I'd have no problem going to the places I stopped now but it's different being somewhere when you don't have a home and everything you own is in your car.
I got to Detroit and it was pouring rain, It was hard to see the cars around me as I drove through the city. It was about 5 Eastern, rush hour and as I went through the traffic jams toward Canada I realized that about every car on the road had a dent in their fender. When you want to change lanes in Detroit you just go and sometimes you make it and sometimes you don't. Fortunately I made it through without a dent.
At the Canadian border I was questioned harshly by the border guard. I was worried about this part because if I was denied entry it was backtracking about 500 miles and would have added an extra day or two to my trip. Not to mention by the time I got to the border was ready to never see Detroit again. They did agree to let me through and I've never been so happy to see someone else's country. It was my first time out of the United States and it was cool.
I loved how everything was marked in kilometers, everything seemed closer that way, 100 kilometers is only an hour instead of an hour and a half with miles. I stopped at a gas station about a hundred kilometers in and filled up with petrol, paid for by the liter. Somehow it was cooler than buying gas by the gallon.
I drove on to London and decided I had better stop and get a hotel, it was getting kind of late and I was tired. I found a roadside motel, motels sounded better than hotels because I had to unload that half ton of crap every night for fear it would get stolen. The place was a total dump, the owners were from Fiji, they had a velvet map of New Zealand on the wall and I asked if they were from there, they had been on a trip there last winter. I paid in American dollars and got my change back and learned the difference betwoon a loony and a twony. I went to the room and unloaded my stuff, it was a super old motel. Some dudes where hanging outside a corner room enjoying a beer and the sunset, most of the rooms had bicycles in front of them chained to the posts.
I went on the lookout for a restaurant and a six pack to while the night away. I found a Chinese place that had a bar. Three people were getting drunk in the place but otherwise it was empty. I ordered a special and asked if they could take American dollars. They said yes and gave me a price higher than the Canadian one! I thought the exchange rate went the other way, at least it had everywhere else I had been. I said whatever to myself and paid up, I was too tired to be arguing over a couple of bucks. I had no luck on the six pack though, I drove to several convenience stores and there was no beer to be found there. I guess wherever Canadians get their beer it isn't at the gas station. I still have no idea what kind of store I should have been looking for to get a drink.