Pilgrimage

September 2, 2013 at 6:11 PM (Uncategorized)

I’ve written before about a vacation place my family used to go to…but a note about a trip sparked a memory of the journey itself….just the getting there…  For any travel nerds, here’s the Google Maps directions from my childhood home to [as close as I can get to] The Place (it doesn’t exist anymore.  see post below.)

No matter how I wished it as a child I couldn’t make it come out any less than nine hours…and that was speeding all the way, which none of the folks that drove on this journey ever really tried.  So it was ten hours.  At seven in the morning the car(s) were packed, my father (or later my grandfather’s, uncle’s, mom’s or my husband’s) hand turned the key in the ignition and we started on…

An hour earlier and further south, my aunt’s station wagon had also pulled out of their driveway.

The first three or so hours is Cleveland-Buffalo.   It made little sense to me that Pennsylvania was so tiny.

And the Peace Bridge in Buffalo was friendly and free of the hypercheckpoints that exist today.

My five year old self. “Are we in Canada, Dad?”

“Yes,” (with amusement because he knew what was coming.) “We’re in Canada.”

“But where’s [Beloved Vacation Spot ]?  It should be right here!  If we’re in Canada then we’re here, right?”

“No, we have a few hours to go yet…”

[Pout]

(I also loved the spread out variation my husband invented which did get us there three hours earlier on a Saturday so he could either  1. Spend time in Toronto bookstores or 2. Get to the Beloved Vacation Place early and impress my relations.  This involved having a fully packed car pick me up at East Ninth and Prospect as the workday let me loose on a Friday night, and driving to a motel just outside of Buffalo that night, with a stop at a in Pennsylvania at a truck/diner place that used baking soda to enhance the goodness of really loaded-up-with-everything omelets.)

There was also one trip we made where my aunt’s car caught up with my grandfather’s and she honked merrily, and I looked up and we exchanged waves…just outside of Buffalo…didn’t always meet for lunch, sometimes just kept on going…

Then you had Buffalo to Toronto…maybe a picnic lunch about an hour in with good stuff my grandmother or great aunt Jean had packed…sandwiches and fruit and a few seven layer cookies…then seeing what was called the Burlington Bay Skyway, a big bridge…reversing a bit and curving around the western end of lake Ontario to get towards Toronto…and realizing that it would be kilometers now instead of miles, and Queen’s Highway’s instead of freeway’s and bright multicolored cash instead of just the green.

If I was traveling with my husband, later in life this would also often consist of a stop in bookstores ranging from huge warehouse-style venues to little quirky shops for an hour or so.

Then roughly northeast through a place called Coboconk (no lie.) That’s when the air really began to clear for me, when I wasn’t in civilization anymore and the quiet of provincial road 35 really began to remind me how different the vibe was going to be for the next week.  Grass greens and pine greens… and little broken rocky places reminding the adult drivers that it really wasn’t all that long ago that this two lane meander was carved out of the rock…

We’d get to the town itself, and those last last marker’s, the town train and the town plane… that let you know you were minutes away from a quick unpack [and perhaps a quick splash in the lake] followed by a small, slow walk to dinner.  It’s still a long thin lake, according to the Google pictures, more developed, but not completely overcome yet… that transforms from royal blue to midnight blue to grey, as most lakes do, depending on the weather above.

The journey itself was better than some vacations I’ve been on…and if you want to know more about what happened when we got there, I refer you to this earlier post.

Safe travels.

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