(This is the first of four written on the iPad while in various stages of being in transit, and only now being published with images. This was written on 8th August)
Traveling is both a joy and a trial for me.
I love seeing new places and new things. What I dislike is all the many things that raise anxiety … airport security processes, rental cars, navigating in strange places, the possibility of confrontation with muggers or authority figures. The consequence of all these anxieties for me, is that I quickly get “over it” and am ready to return home.
I have now reached that stage. This is fortunate, as our tickets say we should get back to San Francisco today, in preparation for our flight back to NZ tomorrow (August 9th).
So, there we were, yesterday, on the beautiful shores of Lake Huron, in Ontario. The return trip to our motel in Buffalo ought to take a little over four hours, and since we didn’t want to drive in darkness, and with allowance for misadventure (there’s that anxiety thing again), we agreed to leave mid-afternoon.
In the morning, we visited the beautiful little village of Bayfield, which is one of those historic villages which has been restored to something even better than its former glory. There, we wandered the leafy streets and parks, and browsed the craft shops and galleries, and inspected (but did not inhale) the enormous selection of different whiskeys in one of the local pubs, “the Black Dog”. For a local comparison, I was reminded of Martinborough, and the shopping district in Greytown.
In one of the trendy little cafes, a large group of friends with their kids were seated around a table in animated discussion. Off to one side, a very small child was thirst and saw where the dog went to get water and decided to get some too. His parents saw him and provided a drink from a better source.
On the way back to our hosts’ cottage, we stopped at an Amish farm and retail shop to purchase traditionally grown and home-made items for lunch. I suspect the aroma alone had calories.
After a leisurely lunch and one more session on the deck, we embarked on our return journey.
West bound, life was simple, as the major roads were merging. Eastbound, they were diverging, and it would take just one error to send us off course. Sure enough, I made that error. For about ten km, I wrestled with the growing conviction that we were on the wrong road (heading for Toronto). Once a sign post to Cambridge confirmed our mistake, it took another 6 or 7 km to find an exit and re-entry point where we could reverse our direction back to Woodstock Ontario, from where we could get back on track. That added 40 minutes or so to our journey.
However, that was the only one of my various anxieties to be realized. Even the legendary aggression of the border agents at the Peace bridge was absent, and the agent chatted about our trip and which bits we liked most (Rocky Mountain National Park, of course). I am sure he wanted it to be Niagara, but my dead camera had removed tha as a candidate.
And so ended our last real day of tourism.
Today, we are in transit to San Francisco, tomorrow we board that big blue paraffin parrot bound for Aotearoa. Ka pai!