Midland, Ontario to Kalamazoo, Michigan
803kms, 11 hours
It was day one of our epic (some would say foolish) journey and by 7am we were inching our 4runner and trailer out of the driveway. In the the dark surrounded by clouds of snow drifting down and amid tearful goodbyes between mothers and daughters, Grandfathers and Grandsons and everything in between, I felt a twinge of doubt. We must be mad. Over 5000 kms in to the far north in January with a dog and a three-year-old for nothing but the possibility of a job. The knots in my stomach tightened as we navigated highway 400 in what would have been white-out conditions in daylight. Pre-dawn it was a little more scary.
A few hours later we were heading towards the border at Sarnia, having braved the bad weather and a battle between iPhone and Garmin GPSs, the sun was shining, the road was clear and my confidence in our decision returned.
…and quickly started to fade again during an hour-long wait to cross the border while imagining border agents unpacking our trailer which was filled to the brim with items stuffed in every corner.
"If they search our trailer do they have to re-pack it?" I asked Rich, feeling pretty confident that in that case once they took a peek they would look no further.
"No, I think you have to re-pack it," Rich answered.
We both paused to mentally calculate how many hours that would take.
We spent the rest of the hour alternating between giving each other pep talks about how we would handle a search and trying not to think about it. When we finally did make it to the border, answered a few cursory questions and were waved on, it almost felt like an anti-climax. Although I have to say it was maybe the most satisfying anti-climax in my life.
Once in the USA we drove through what would normally be a pretty boring landscape. On this occasion every tree branch was covered in a glistening coat of ice and the low sun shining through made the forests look like they were glowing. I felt like I was travelling through a strange ice world. In a weird way, the alien nature of the landscape made me feel like we were really on an adventure, even though we were only a few hours from home.
Six hours down the road in Kalamazoo, MI, the ice was gone, the temperature was a balmy 2 degrees and we stopped for the night at a motel. Then we stopped for the night at another motel. Rich decided if Motel 6 advertised $39.99 a night he would not pay $55 when there was obviously lots of vacancies. We ended up at the Red Roof Inn which also advertised $39.99 a night. It ended up costing $55, but that was including taxes, so good enough for us.
Everyone has been exercised, fed and watered. Exhausted, we now nestle down to sleep and prepare for an early morning tomorrow.