North of the border

So as you may have gathered, I made a quick trip to Canada last weekend. There was a “weekend getaway” aspect to the trip and I did get to hang out with my friend Sarah in Toronto. There was also a business aspect. All in all, it was a great long weekend–if a bit exhausting from all the driving. I always feel so peaceful and calm in Canada. An added bonus was that it was rather chilly so I was able to extend the winter I never really had by a few days.

I stopped in Pittsburgh on the way up, my last visit there since we sold the house. Frankly, I was a little nervous about that. There’s a lot of “breakup baggage” associated with Pittsburgh. But I love Pittsburgh and I’ve decided not to let negative associations ruin it for me (a decision I’m trying to make on a regular basis lately) so I drove into town, had my Italian sub at Tom’s Diner in Dormont and then drove up to Mount Washington to look down on the gorgeousness. And it was good.

On Saturday I made the drive to Niagara Falls with a brief stop in Erie. The border crossing was relatively uneventful, all things considered, and I made my way into Fort Erie for cash before driving the 30 km to Niagara Falls. It was at about this point that I realized it was starting to get cold and rainy and I had somehow neglected to pack a jacket. So it was off to Value Village. I checked into my ridiculously cheap room ($29) at the Super 8 and eventually headed back out in search of dinner. I found said dinner at a wonderful place called The Flying Saucer Restaurant, which was kind of like eating inside an episode of Space:1999, decked out as it was in that beautiful late 1970s vision of the future. I also walked around the Clinton Hill tourist zone for a few minutes.

Sunday morning brought breakfast at a most wonderful diner that was way off the beaten (tourist) path and was dirt cheap–particularly by Canadian standards. I explored Niagara a bit before meeting Sarah at the new Walmart (it was right off the QEW and had a big parking lot, making it perfect for said rendezvous) so we could make a day trip to Toronto. It was great seeing Sarah; we had lunch and roamed about The Annex a bit before popping in to the new Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens and then heading home. After sending her back across the border, I explored a bit more.

On Monday morning, I packed up, checked out got gas, had breakfast at Bassell’s, and did my necessary grocery shopping and other final errands. I shot a few photos downtown and managed to locate the building that served as the morgue in Niagara (I’d scouted a couple of other locations the day before). Then it was back to the USA, appropriately entering through the hellhole known as Niagara Falls, New York. I stopped by Wegman’s, detoured through Buffalo, and got on the Thruway.

After my late start, I couldn’t quite make it home in one day, so I spent Monday night in one of the newly-renovated Motel 6 locations outside Charleston WV. My room was sort of a half-assed version with mostly new paint and a new (but yet still cigarette-burned) bedspread and no actual new furniture.

After a quick breakfast and an unproductive stop by the Charleston Department Store, I came home.


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