Thursday, March 25, 2010




It seems that 6th day of travel is the one that knocks me on my keister every time.  Bit of frost on the windshield Wednesday morning first thing but by 7:15 we rolled out of Cracker Barrel in Gas City, Indiana, fueled up & headed north on I-69 for Port Huron & the border.  Hadn't slept well at all the night before so I was kinda beat before I got started.  Figured we would make the border about 12:30 but I hadn't figured on an up coming wrong turn!!!!



Traffic was smooth all the way to Lansing Michigan & that's where the road construction began.  Orange traffic cones had us down to one lane & I was stuck in a convoy of large trucks making our way through the construction.  Somehow I missed the sign that must have said highway 69 traffic exit right.  I stayed with the line of trucks until we were free of the construction zone.  It was awhile before it finally occurred to me that I had not seen any signs for Flint, Michigan.  I was beginning to see signs for Grand Rapids, Michigan though.  Kelly was on the computer in the back so I suggested she fire up Garmin Gertie our GPS system.  Well, didn't take GG long to figure out we were well on our way to Rapid City & not Flint, Michigan.  I can't even begin to tell you how upset I was about that as GG re-routed us off I-96.  I had inadvertently sailed us about 25 miles off course!!  Reprogrammed GG for a heading that would take us cross country & link up with I-69 far to the east.  I missed the first programmed turn off (nowhere to turn 53 feet around) & that took us another 11 miles deeper into the Michigan backwoods on a narrow pot holed paved road.  Luckily we stumbled across a major highway with an arrow pointing to I-96 west.  Another 10 minutes to reach 96 & then southeast all the way back to Lansing to begin our journey anew on I-69.  That whole fiasco had just cost us about an hour & by this time I had very little physical or mental energy left to deal with another hour added to the last day of our trip.  I had mentally focused myself for a 12:30 crossing & this really knocked the stuffings out of me.  By the time we got to the border at 1:30 I was pretty well toast.  And burnt toast with no butter at that!!


I answered the young border guards first 637 questions OK but then he asked me the motorhome's license number.  Good thing he didn't ask me a real hard question like my name.  But, I stumbled on the license number so pulled my little black book out of my shirt pocket where I keep that sort of info.  I have 4 separate license numbers listed in there & my fatigued brain would not tell me which one was the motorhome even though I had Damon written right beside it.  It was at this point I saw the guy furiously writing on a yellow pad.  I knew we were flagged for an inspection right there & then.  I did finally get the correct license number sorted out but by this time he had already determined I was a swarthy & suspicious looking character who had undoubtedly stolen the motorhome.  He handed me the yellow piece of paper with his list of bad stuff written in red & told me to pull over to the building with the sign that read...Hardened And Swarthy Looking Criminals Report Here!!



As we dejectedly approached the large fenced in compound, two more border patrol officers quickly came out of a building pointing a rocket launcher in our direction.  Ok, so it wasn't a rocket launcher but the pen he had in his hand sure looked like a rocket launcher to me by this time.  The young fellow (they all seem to be young fellows these days) walked up to my side of the coach, took the yellow slip of paper, & asked a couple more questions.  Luckily for us this guy didn't ask me my name either.  He took a step back & looked towards the back of the dirt encrusted & road grimed motorhome, looked back at me with a look of pity in his eyes, waved his hand & said, "way ya go, have a good day."  I guess the combination of the rig & me looking like such a mess was too much for him & there was no way he was going to get his spiffy clean uniform all smeared up crawling around looking in dust infested motorhome bins.  Never did see where the second female officer went so can only assume when she saw us approaching she ran screaming across the parking lot, climbed the fence, & jumped into the Detroit river!!


I can't even put into words the feelings of relief we felt as we pulled out of there & headed up & over the big Blue Water bridge & down the other side into Canada.  We were back in our beloved country & safely on our way home only a short hour & a half away.  The roads immediately improved, traffic was light, & the sun was shining as we exited Sarnia heading for our first Canadian cup of Tim Horton's coffee since leaving exactly 5 months ago to the day.  Twenty minutes after our border crossing we had our faces buried in a couple pails full of Timmies in Forest, Ontario.  Kelly brought out a big apple fritter for me with a caramel filling inside.  With the first big bite I had caramel in my beard, on my hands, & all over the steering wheel.  But, who cares, we were nearly home.



The rest of the quiet country setting drive was uneventful as we just enjoyed the scenery along the way on this fine early spring day.  This is always one of my favorite parts of every trip.  That last bunch of miles heading home.  What a super great feeling that is to see all the old familiar scenery coming into view & knowing home is just down the road.  We drove into the village of Bayfield at 2:45 P.M.  Unhooked the car in town for the first time since hooking it up at the Lost Dutchman State Park near Apache Junction, Arizona.  Kelly went ahead the final 2 miles home while the furry kids & I followed in the rig.  For me, pulling into our driveway & rolling the big Damon 329 into it's own spot was akin to the astronauts landing the shuttle.  The 5 month mission to the big American Southwest was over for another season & we had landed successfully with the rig & all crew members intact.  The pilot was a wreck of course but the whole Bayfield Bunch gang was happy to be home for sure.  Lots of very happy wagging tails.

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I did change the mistake in Tuesday's blog from Indiana to Illinois in identifying the location of that large cross in Effingham.  Thanks to blog reader, Max for pointing that out & I will remain in the Geography dunce corner for one more day.  Looks like the 'blossom' debate continues so now I'm not sure what they were but in the one photo of all the dogs in the foreground in that post you can see the full blossom trees in the background.  And, welcome to new  blog follower, Handy Hammer.  I wonder if this person might be a carpenter of sorts.......:))

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In Friday's blog I'll talk about how the Gremlins took advantage of a Al's tired mind after he got home!!



GROANER'S CORNER:((  And did you know a chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.



The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...... AL.


  1. OMG! Poultry in motion???? Dang! What a relief that you're home. Maybe your jokes will improve after you rest? :)

  2. Yep, Al, talked to my Mom today and the dogwoods are not blooming in Arkansas yet. She said it could be an ornamental pear tree or something else that I promptly forgot. We arrived home today, wonderful!

  3. Glad you got home safely.. what a trip. I can almost feel your sense of relief as you pulled into your driveway.

    Question... how in the world can your house plants look so healthy after being neglected for 5-1/2 months??

  4. How about that, we arrived home on exactly the same date. Except it is only 4 big days of driving for us. And I don't think our 400 miles a day were anything like the days you were putting in. Glad you made it in one piece and everything at home was looking fine. Remember a couple of years ago you arrived to heavy snow, and slick roads. I still remember you trying to light a fire outside to warm things up.

  5. oh to be back on canadian soil..with a tim horton's coffee in one hand and a donut in the other!!...nothing like coming home!!
    from your fellow canadians
    sue and doug

  6. Glad to hear you got safely through the minefield of Customs. I really think they purposely pull those stunts to play with people and relieve their boredom. Sounds like "bad cop, good cop" to me.

  7. Ahhhh that second border agent took one look at you and thought: "Geee we don't want that crudmudgeon in the states!" and sent you on your way!!!

    LOL --- glad you made it home safe and sound

    Karen and Steve

  8. Like the others have already said, congrats on getting home safe and sound and not getting thrown in jail at the border! Nothing like a Tim Horton's coffee and donut after 5 months away!

  9. What can I ssay? You took on a big job, driving that far that fast. And you made it safely home. We could never make a trip like that, even in our younger days seven years ago! Well, maybe if we were as young as you two kids we could have. Welcome home.

  10. Safe and sound, everyone happy! That is the perfect ending to a perfect winter trip.

  11. So glad you made it home safely and still with a great sense of humor... So my questions on my blog of what to see & do in Canada leads me to believe I MUST visit Tim Hortons for coffee & donult... Apple Fritters are my favorite. Glad to see you on and posting!
    Relax and have fun remembering your journey!

  12. Ill bet it does feel good to get home,,,,I can't remember, my home has been with us for 15 years... But I will admit, it sounds kinda good to hear about your gettin home. Yep, sounds real good... I agree, keep that home!!

    See ya next year,,in AZ....keep yer eye open fer WINDMILLS!!!

  13. Welcome home and Thank You for the trip. I have become addicted to your blog. The places you go and really see are fantastic. I hope you have a good Summer and get out again next Fall.

  14. "The roads immediately improved, traffic was light, & the sun was shining as we exited Sarnia heading for our first Canadian cup of Tim Horton's coffee since leaving exactly 5 months ago to the day."

    On October 21, 2009 you have a picture of 5 pounds of Tim Horton Coffee with the caption "TIM HORTON'S COFFEE & SHREDDED WHEAT WITH BRAN ARE RARE COMMODITIES SOUTH OF THE BORDER"

    I don't remember you saying that you had left it in Canada. What do you do sell it to other Tim Horton crazed Canadians for some outrages markup to pay for your trip?