Wednesday, June 10
Our happy Crew gathered early. We were mostly veteran Venturers. By 8:35 a.m. we were on the road, heading north on our way to adventure. We made our way north to Cloverdale to pick up I-70, in order to avoid the roadwork on Hwy 37. Having reached the interstate, we headed through Indianapolis toward Dayton. Traffic was heavy; I-70 is a game trail for migrating herds of semis.
We were seven in all. T.J. was our Crew leader. T.C. was his mentor. Jeffrey and Abby rounded out the youth. Abby’s parents, Matt and Julie, were driving their family’s van. I was driving my old Mazda truck. Every couple of hours, we would rotate one of the youth from the van to the truck in order to give people the chance to talk to somebody new (and to give me a new navigator).
Just add water. And dirt.
We turned north at Dayton and drove up I-75 toward Detroit. Other than a bunch of road construction, there was nothing eventful along the way. We arrived about 3:30 in the afternoon at Sterling State Park on the shores of Lake Erie just south of Detroit. It was hot and windy, with no shade. We made a tasty dinner of chicken stir fry – we always eat well – and then went to bed early.
Sterling State Park
Calm before the storm
Just after midnight, a sudden storm hit us. There were 45 mph winds with gusts up to 60 mph. T.J. and T.C. had their tent flattened. Several others had some serious water issues inside. After half an hour of holding my tent down from the inside, I emerged to help others. The rain slacked off and the night was warm, which was helpful. We improvised sleeping arrangements to get through the night. I was back to sleep by 1:00 a.m. with only a slightly damp butt to show for it.
Thursday, June 11
I was up at 5:00 and started drying out gear. The storm had passed and the morning was fine. We made bacon and eggs and went about things slowly and deliberately. By the time we left camp at 9:00 a.m., we were mostly dried out. One tent had some seriously bent poles where the storm had smashed into it and doubled it over; these would plague us from time to time the rest of the trip. T.C. had the most damp clothes. He borrowed some sweat pants and we planned to dry his things out when we got to the next camp. And with that, we were off.
We drove into Detroit and came to the Ambassador Bridge. It was very tall. Would have made me nervous if I hadn’t been so busy watching my lane and all. We showed our passports to the border guard, who waved us through. We were in Ontario.
Some observations about Canada are in order. First, all Canadians rave about how good Tim Horton’s is, but we all thought their coffee rated a “Meh.” Their pastry was very good, though. Second, adjusting to the metric system took a little while. At first, it’s cool to see a posted speed limit of 100; however, that’s just 62.5 mph. We passed through Salford, ON, a wide spot in the road whose claim to fame is to be the birthplace of Aimee Semple McPherson. And, I discovered that my American bankcard wasn’t working, so I had to use credit cards wherever we bought something. Hmmm.
When we stopped for lunch, Matt called my attention to the parlous state of my tailpipe. I had been noticing a buzzing kind of noise. He showed me that my tailpipe was swinging free of my muffler. The muffler wasn’t damaged, but the pipe had rusted through and broken at some point. I’m guessing that happened when I hit a rough spot in the roadwork the previous day. We stopped in Tillsonburg and asked for the location of an auto parts store. There was a NAPA at the end of town, so we went there to look for something to manage some sort of fix. The manager rummaged through a pile of old exhaust parts in a box and came up with a short piece with a stepped-down end. It fit over the tailpipe and into the muffler, and fixed the problem (other than a bit of a rattle). We swapped stories. “I was a Scout, myself,” he said. When I reached for my wallet to pay for the part, he waved me off. God bless him.
It was cool and overcast all day, a good day for driving. We arrived at Rock Point Provincial Park at 4:30, hoping for a good (and dry) night’s sleep. T.C. hung his damp clothes up on a line to finish drying. I reminded him to get his clothes in off the line before he went to bed, but he did not; meanwhile, a fine, soaking rain fell overnight. We arose well rested, but T.C. remained depressed since now all his clothes were soaked clear through.
T.C. = Top Chef
In deepest Ontario
Rock Point Provincial Park
The eponymous rock point, I guess