Visiting Toronto itself might be a good idea, but booking a flight in and out of Toronto when flying to Europe and living seven hours away, is not the wisest move.
Tuesday morning, on my day off, I drove with Grace and her boyfriend to Toronto.They were going to catch a plane and they saved about $500 each on the flight leaving from Toronto instead of here in Columbus. So that's a $1000 savings, probably worth it for them.
The drive to Toronto is nice enough, north through Ohio, along Lake Erie through northern Pennyslvania before a sharp left turn at Buffalo, New York. Then we crossed the border into Canada.
The Canadian border guard was a little sterner than I expected as he questioned Grace and Jack about their flights and how long they would be in Canada. Are there Americans trying to sneak into Canada? I mean, there might be now that Trump is threatening. And I can promise that they plan to keep us out, judging by this guard.
He made Grace answer since she sat in the front passenger seat, but she had already taken two anxiety pills since she's afraid of flying, so her answers might have been a bit slurred. He shushed Jack who sat in the back seat. After he assured himself that I planned to leave the country the same day (no, I'm going to sneak and spend the night at a Canadian strip mall), he let us pass.
That's when my driving nightmare increased. Maybe it was the directions that Jack's phone gave us. We traveled a myriad of roads where I had to exit and then exit again and then stay to the left at the V. The roads had names like QEW rather than I-90.
Plus, Canada is on the metric system, and the speedometer only told me how fast I traveled in miles, so I drove much more slowly than I might have in the U.S.
And all of it looked so much like the United States, an awful lot like Buffalo. Industrial and strip malls. I think I passed three outlet malls in my ninety minute foray into the country.
I didn't make it into Toronto proper, which I'm sure is a lovely city. Plus, I saw no moose or polar bears or even Mounties, things that make Canada enjoyable.
I dropped Grace and Jack at the airport. Luckily, no one yelled at me while I dropped them off, and then I got back on the highway to head south.
The gas gauge edged toward zero. It got to the bottom section where it turned red. Then half of that section disappeared. I stayed in the right lane, hoping each time that I'd see a tell-tale sign of a gas station or an exit sign that indicated I could find something other than diesel.
I finally pulled off an exit where there was road construction that sent me through a Walmart parking lot, past a Home Depot and into a Tim Horton's that had gas pumps.
I nearly cried when I finally got to the U.S. border. A laissez-faire border guard asked me how long I'd been in Canada and if I'd bought anything. I told him I stopped at Tim Horton's. He let me go.
You can't tell it, but the lake looked really pretty here as I pulled into America.
And I drove the rest of the way as the sun set over Ohio, getting home around 9 p.m.
Meanwhile, Grace and Jack got on a plane, and only a few hours after I arrived home, they landed in Dublin.
At least I don't have to pick them up from Toronto.
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