Sunday, July 8, 2012

Twit on a Road Trip [Part 5 : Day 8 and 9]

First, I apologize for my slacking. I was a few days behind, and then my laptop died on me. I had fully expected to get behind in my blog once I hit Washington, DC solely based on the fact that I would be exhausted and/or drunk with my GORUCK family. But, the loss of my laptop was unexpected.

Mea Culpa.

Anywho... I left Akron with the goal of Buffalo. I knew I was going to be spending a few days in the city, but organizing the to-do list while there was a bit overwhelming. This all revolved around a half marathon *supposedly* scheduled for Saturday, June 30th (Day 9 of the trip). But, the organizers of said race, Rapid Running (Don't EVER run one of their races), had their heads so far up their backsides that they couldn't organize a trip to the grocer. The day before I left on my trip, they canceled the half marathon. Knowing I was screwed, I still sent them an email asking for a refund. The 'we had too many people sign up for the race' excuse seemed flimsy to me, but getting my $85 appeared to be a longshot. So, I planned on not racing and planned my trip around a Blue Jays game. Well, realized that this would piss off people visiting the city, and they pulled together a race in EIGHT DAYS. It wasn't great, but I give them credit. More on that on my upcoming race report, here (I'll post link when it's done).

American Falls from the overlook
I drove up to Buffalo (short trip from Ohio) across the unnecessarily-expensive toll roads and arrived around 2PM... plenty of time to head up to the falls and see Niagara. They were most impressive. I went out on the overlook and even rode the Maid of the Mist into the falls themselves. It was amazing. I also came to understand that the Canadians have a much better view than we Americans do. They've capitalized in this by allowing what amounts to the combined efforts of DisneyWorld-wannabes throw up on their side of the bridge. It's quite the display. The American side? Parks and preserves.... I know, right?!

Horseshoe Falls from Canada
I took some pictures from 'our' side and then walked over to Canada. It was my first time in the country, though I doubt those 1000 yards of Canada should really count. It was mostly Americans and Swedes. Beautiful views, though. I ate an early dinner there and then returned to the States. I would imagine my 'singles' trip to Niagara puts me in the minority, as I wasn't on a honeymoon or couple's retreat.

I left there in a hurry, though, anxious to make the Buffalo Bisons AAA game that night. I had been to MANY games on my trip and thought I might pass on the Bisons. But, I drove near the stadium on the way to the Falls and couldn't pass up a game. Right downtown, Coca-Cola Field is a great place to watch a game. I made it to my hotel late and hit the bed hard. But, I had a long day ahead of me on Day 9, as I headed back into Canada.. this time by car....

Oh, but first I ran a half marathon. A PR in 1:54:11. But, check the race report for that. And, CHECK it. The finish was amazing... even if the organization (understandably) left something to be desired.

The end was worth the rest of the headache
So, I pulled out my passport and headed to Canada. The border crossing was s-l-o-w. The fact that my Florida plates drew interest and that Canadian customs seemed perplexed by the fact that I "drove all the way from Florida for a Blue Jays game, eh?" didn't slow me down. They didn't seem to understand I was doing a dozen other things on this trip... but whatever. I crossed into traffic-filled Canada, armed with photos of my route on the iMaps application to limit my data needs on my phone. Though I extended some coverage to Canada, why take the chance?

Getting used to kilometers took a second, as the 'Toronto 130' sign threw me for a loop. WTF? That's two hours! Oh, wait... kilometers. Silly Canadians. It should be noted that I accepted kms by the end of the day and wondered why Americans didn't just stop being obnoxious and embraced what the rest of the world already has.

Traffic made me late for the Blue Jays - Angels game, but I parked and walked the downtown area for a bit. CN Tower. The Rogers Centre (yea... that 're' at the end of 'centre'? I don't get that either. Silly Canadians). Oh, and the people? Yea, I wasn't impressed. Canadians are NOT friendly in their native habitat. The nice ones? They were all AMERICANS. So, turns out Canadians are only polite when they travel to foreign countries. Yea, you read that here first.

On the flip side, the burning atmosphere at roughly 170 degrees Celsius (I'm not converting, but I'm pretty sure that's accurate) couldn't deny that the Blue Jays have a nice set-up. The roof was open and CN tower loomed over the field... a sickly, AstroTurf concoction that looked like Green Giant vomited on Canadian top soil. But, it was nice nonetheless.

I watched the game and ducked back on the Queen's Expressway to return to America. Traffic was grande (note the 'e' at the end). I crossed back at Niagara ("Wait, you drove up from Florida for a Blue Jays game?!" in an American accent this time...) and plunged into my bed at midnight.

It was a great day that saw me straddling two countries and sharing with our neighbors to the north. I understand my experience is somewhat unique in that it was scalding hot in Canada. But, that just means I need to get up there again. Vancouver next time, though. I hear good things...

But, Day 10... day 10 was to be a great one...
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