The end of an adventure. Sixteen and a half hours.
Bright and early start, no chance of “night dangers,” ready to take on the day, pedal to the metal, Minneapolis bound! More rolling mountains and wilderness of Canada. Listening to CDs and an audio book about a British POW during the Holocaust who snuck into Auschwitz III. The amount of Amish farms I passed increased. Horse plows and tills.
It was a bit of an anti-climactic day. I was intrigued by the legitimate signs that warned “Do not feed the bears,” and rather relieved I had not seen one before stopping for the night. Deer and moose and bears, oh my! But I didn’t see a one. Actually, that’s a lie, I saw a deer, back when I was in upper state New York. I saw another bizarre sign that I believe was supposed to be an advertisement. I actually can’t remember if it was in Canada or Michigan, but it read “Your pet called. He wants take out.” Not quite sure what it was about, but I had a good laugh about it. It’s funny the things that make you laugh after spending an extended period of time with yourself.
As I made my way toward Sault Ste. Marie, I was starving and running low on gas. I didn’t want to spend any more money in Canada, so I tried to hold out for lunch and filling the tank in Michigan. When I reached the International Bridge, turned out they were doing construction on the bridge so it was one lane for quite a while. Border crossing took even longer getting back into the US. My car was telling me WARNING! gas tank low. But it told me I still had roughly 60 miles before empty. So, I was freaking out that I was going to run out of gas when in reality the chance was slim to none (thanks for making me paranoid, Altima). I wish I had nicknamed my rental car, come to think of it, but I never did. The officer (or whatever their title is?) who reviewed my passport going back into the US was so much kinder than the one who had “welcomed” me to Canada. She joked with me and asked me how I had liked Canada, and told me to have a safe trip home. Then at the toll, the first thing the worker asked me was about the Vikings. Oh it felt good to be home, and feel welcome (home US, not home home…since I was in MI). I stopped for gas ($4.04/gallon?!?) and continuted on my way, hoping to find a better place to eat. Sadly, the UP did not have much to offer. I suppose if I had taken a detour here or there I may have come across a little town cafe or something, but it was rare that I came across anything at all, so I reluctantly stopped at McDonald’s. Besides the random snacking I did (yesterday’s lunch, today’s breakfast), McDonald’s was the only thing I had to eat on the road, how disgusting is that? Ick. Let’s move on. I also filled up on gas because it was a little bit cheaper($4.02), and it seemed to be a locally owned gas station, so I figured that was the better decision. As I got back out on the road, I knew this would be the long haul home.
Although some areas of the drive seemed fairly desolate, the scenery wasn’t bad, and was at times flippin’ gorgeous. As I hit the shores of Lake Superior, I was in awe of how beautiful it looked from this side. I mean sure, Minnesota gets a piece of the Lake Superior action too, but our side pales in comparison to what Michigan gets. I have never seen the water such a bright blue (I would say cerulean, but you would only know that color if you had the 100 color pack of crayons, or you know your blues very well, or you could always look it up. Nevermind, here- http://www.webexhibits.org/pigments/indiv/overview/ceruleanblue.html).
I knew at some point I would want to pull off for a few minutes to admire it’s beauty, but the pull of the road and home was equally strong at this point (or maybe a little stronger). When the strength of the nap beat out both the lake and the road, I decided to pull over for a bit, and allow myself to close my eyes and potentially nap. After I accepted that a nap eluded me (you sneaky nap), I got out to stretch and take a look around. Sandy beach everywhere with the fresh blueness washing over its edges. One sand dune even had a volleyball net on it. I took a picture before nudging myself to continue on the road home. Before getting in the car I stretched to wake up my body, and got back on the road feeling refreshed.
After what seemed like forever I finally made it to Wisconsin, where I called home to state my ETA, got out and stretched again, and mapped my final route home (it was mostly county roads until I hit 94). My audio book had ended and so I opted for the ease and simplicity of the radio. I heard Melissa Etheridge on the radio for the first time in years. I passed countless farms, and finally made it onto Highway 29 (maybe, I think? whatever goes to Wausau and then to 94). As the sun crept below the trees and horizon, I finally reached 94. So close to home, yet so far, as the rest of my travels would be made in the dark. Yet, this night drive would not be quite as frightening because I knew exactly where I was, I had little worry of “night dangers,” and I would find my own bed on the other side.
I finally arrived home at 10:30 pm, and my journey was over. I had the weekend ahead of me to unpack, relax, and readjust, but then it would be time to re-enter the real world. Well, my real world.