A great view of the waterfront and Lake Ontario from the CN Tower's observation deck.
I read somewhere that Americans love their automobiles and we are a country of mobility. How fortunate and blessed that we could pack up our cars, at any moment (forgetting about our stinking jobs and all the obligations), traveling from New York to California, enjoy the beauty of our country, stop when we need to rest with plenty of accomodations along the way.
Tracing the routes we took during our week-long vacation the first week of July, I found that the trip had a shape of a right triangle with the drive from St. Louis to Toronto thru Indiana/Michigan was the largest square (hypotenuse) and the other two legs were the drive from Toronto to Virginia thru Niaraga Falls/Buffalo, New York and the 15-hour driving from Virginia back home to St. Louis thru Indiana/Kentucky. This is the pythagorean theorem formula developed by the Greek mathematican named Pythagoras. (I have no idea what I wrote but it sounded so intellectual. Ha ha)
On Friday, June 30th, my husband and I took the afternoon off. We already packed the day before and were ready for our long trip. We went thru Illinois towards I-70, without normal rush hours traffic, with a couples of reststops, we crossed into Indiana at around 8:30 p.m.
We decided to spend a night at Country Inns, a brand new hotel near Indianapolis airport. The next morning, after a quick continental breakfast, we were on our way. We took I-69 towards Ft. Wayne, crossing into Michigan. At the Welcome Center, we picked up a map and learned of the 50th Anniversary of the Mackinac Bridge.
A little more than 7.5 hours later, with an hour stop for lunch in Flint, Michigan, we arrived at the border. After about 45 minutes at the border, we finally crossed into Canada. The lines were long with a bit of confusion because many 18-wheelers that took up two lanes. The border agent asked a few questions such as, “Where do you live? Where are you going? What's the purpose of your visit? How long are you going to be there? Do you have a valid U.S. passport?”.
We received our renewed passports the 2nd week of June. While so many people experiencing delays and problems with their applications, we were lucky that our renewals took only 8 weeks. We did not have to show our passports to get into Canada. I was not ready to show my chubby face photo anyway.
We took Provincial Route 402 East into Ontario. We stayed at the Crown Plaza. When I booked the hotel, the website listed that the hotel was only 10 minutes from downtown Toronto. (Travel tips - when booking over the internet, be sure to check whether the hotel is undergoing major renovations as parking became a big problem for us. The hotel offers valet parking only and the main entrance was closed due to construction.) We learned to take the bus and transfer to the trains. The train system in Toronto is so much simple compared to New York subway.
We visited the Hockey Hall of Fame, CN Tower, rode the Happy Hippo, enjoyed dim sum in Chinatown on Sunday morning and celebrated Canada 140th Anniversay on July 1st. On Tuesday, July 3rd, we drove 1.5 hours from Ontario to Niagara Falls. We took a few photos before crossing the Rainbow Bridge, back home to America.
The drive from Niagara Falls to Pennsylvania was only about 2 hours. We continued on I-79 towards Pittsburgh, then reached Youngstown, Ohio three hours later. We briefly passed thru Baltimore/Washington D.C. area, then crossed into Maryland at around 5:30 p.m.
When we were about three hours from Williamsburg, Virginia, there was a back up due to an accident on the I-70. Both sides of the highway were closed and we were held up there for 1.5 hours. We got out and paced around our car. Most of the people did the same while a few walked towards the area to where the traffic began to back up. A man came back and told us that a front tire of a van carried a family of four blew off, causing the van to roll over several times. As he was telling us, we saw two helicopters landed on the highway to airlift the injured people to nearby hospital.
It was already late into the evening, so we decided to spend the night in Richmond, Virginia. The next morning, July 4th, we finally arrived at the home of CP's brother in Williamsburg, Virginia. We enjoyed the traditional July 4th BBQ and later went to watch the fireworks in Marketplace Square, near College of William and Mary. We enjoyed our visit to Colonial Williams, Jamestown, Yorktown and time with family.
Saturday, July 7th, we were back on the road, driving back to St. Louis from Virginia. We started early in the morning around 6:30 a.m., merged onto I-64 towards West Virginia. After 5 hours, we stopped for lunch and it was my turn to drive as we were to stay on I-64 for about 6.5 hours. As mentioned in previous entries, I only handled the driving when we stayed on a straight road for a few hours with no worry of getting off and getting on to another interstates.
From West Virginia, we crossed into Kentucky, then into Indiana, then Illinois, and finally into Missouri at around 9:30 p.m. We set our watches back one hour to adjust to the time zone. After 8.5 days, 2,418.97 miles, crossing a total of 10 states and two borders, we were so glad to be home.