Trip Start Jul 24, 2008
4Trip End Jul 27, 2008
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Where I stayed
I left work at 5:30, and the sky was pretty clear in Ottawa, so I took my chances, naively believing the rain would stop, as I traveled east. Nope.
There were some light sprinkles as I passed through the Ottawa Valley, but as I crossed the 1000 Islands Bridge, everything just got much worse. The bridge is metal, and full of little holes everywhere, so it was a terrifying experience. Seriously.
When I got to the customs officer on the other side, not only was I completely shaken up by the bridge experience, but after he took my passport, he looked me in the eye and said,
"Have you ever been arrested or charged for an illegal substance?"
I regularly go through such things at border crossings, so this was not a surprise to me.
"Ummm.... yes? I think?"
"Customs officers at the Ottawa Airport."
His eyebrows went up...
"Coming back from Amsterdam once, they found some traces of weed in my luggage."
"So you weren't charged with possession or anything like that?"
"We take charges like that very seriously in the United States, you know."
"Oh, I know."
"So you weren't charged with any drug-related crime ever before?"
"No, I was not charged, just arrested and searched."
"Were you smoking weed in Amsterdam?"
(Burst out laughing) "Yeah of course!"
"But you don't smoke weed now?"
"How old were you when this happened?"
"Ummmm..." (trying to do the math in my head, failing) "It was 2003."
"OK...So where are you going in this awful weather all alone on a motorcycle anyway?"
"Wha? What is there, a boy or something?"
"Yeah, sorta, not really."
"OK, I think you're OK. I was a little suspicious there before, but I think you're OK."
Well thank GOD you think I'm OK, Mr. I'm-in-charge-of-everything...Always the attitude with these people...blah...
Immediately after that, the rain just started hammering down on the little concrete shelter the customs officers get to stand under. I sigh, put the bike in first gear and head off...still foolishly thinking the rain would at least slow down a little bit. It was like I crossed the border into a land of disorder and chaos. As soon as my ordeal with the border was done, all there was was wetness, cold, and a giant rip down the leg of my rain pants. This allowed my jeans to slowly become soaking wet and consequently cause my body to commence hypothermic responses to the aforementioned stimuli.
Now, when you're riding a motorcycle and you're shivering from head to toe, you know in your heart, it's time to stop, and I really wanted to. But there was nothing around for miles. So I just kept going, at about 80 km on the 65 mph highway...that's way too slow, in case you can't convert metric to imperial like me. I just kept going and going until finally, I came to something familiar, Watertown, NY. I was just ecstatic to find an exit with Arby's, McDonald's THREE hotels and a super Wal-Mart, open 24 hours.
The first hotel I saw just looked too expensive, so I went by it, then I stopped at the cheapo place down the road. No vacancies, but the lady informed me there was a Microtel further down the road to Watertown. I really had no choice, so I went over there. It was like, $80 for a room for the night, so that sucked. It would've been cheaper if I was in the military...Everything in this area would've been cheaper if I was in the military. Why DIDN'T I sign up for basic training when I had the chance?! Dammit!
So anyway, there was no way I was turning back to go home right now, and also no way I was going further. My rain pants were toast, and I couldn't be trusted to operate machinery in the condition that I was in. I asked if they had a dryer that I could use at this hotel and the lady at the desk said, "Of course!" Sold! To the bitter lady working the desk at Microtel.
I took off all my soaking wet clothes and threw them in the industrial-sized dryer. So happy to be somewhere warm and dry, I cranked up the heat and called Mike and my mom. Mike was under the assumption that I was going back home tomorrow, but I obviously was determined to make it to the ocean. So we had a conversation for a good five minutes on totally different wavelengths, which was funny. Mom was happy to hear from me and she said she'd pray the rain stopped tomorrow.
By the time that was done, my clothes were dry enough, so I went immediately to bed and asked the desk lady to wake me up at 5 a..m.