Cross-Country Road Trip Day A Million: A Slow Day in Devils Lake, North Dakota

If there’s an appropriate adjective for the trip through far western Michigan, northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, and most of North Dakota, it’s ‘boring.’ Or maybe ‘stultifying.’ Certainly not ‘engaging,’ or even ‘oddly arousing,’ that’s for sure.

But one thing I’m coming to realize is that it’s not really an emotion that goes away with time. Everybody here appears to be bored, including the state troopers in Devils Lake, ND. Because that’s the only possible reason I can think of for why they pulled me over: doing 75 in a 70 zone would hardly cause the cops to bat an eyelash anywhere else. Hell, the cops do 130 on the 401. I’m not really annoyed or inconvenienced by the stop; it’s only $25. I’m just baffled. I guess the cop just wanted somebody to talk to.

Oh, and I locked my keys in my car in Grand Forks. I’d pulled over to stretch my legs and take pictures of the eerily massive University of North Dakota arena. 11,000 seats and $110 million for an arena in a teeny little town in a dinky little state. I never got the American obsession with college sports. Anyhow, I was a tard and left the keys on the passenger side seat. But Triple-A saved my ass. Thanks for the membership, Mom!

Minot, ND, is even smaller than Grand Forks. But the hotel is cheap. Which probably explains why the phone doesn’t work.

Cross-Country Road Trip Day I Forget: Nothing Much Happened

Except in St. Ignace, Michigan, just over the Mackinac Bridge, I pulled into a rest stop and asked for the number of a mechanic. In Mackinaw City, where I’d stopped to rest, I’d noticed that my car was dripping (water, I think, from the engine area). This obviously worried me.

The guy in St. Ignace asked me, when I said I thought the dripping was water, if I had the air conditioning on. I did, and he said: “oh, it’s condensation.” Yeah. I don’t use the AC much in Alberta.

Oh, I also met a couple on the shore of Lake Superior, whose son is starting grad school at the University of Alberta in the fall. Cool coincidence.

Hamilton to Toronto: Big Waterfalls, Amusement Parks, and the Korean Meat Coma

The last couple of weeks of my vacation fairly flew by in a blur. I spent the first few days after Kingston hanging out with my old roommate Shannon. She took me to Niagara Falls, where her folks live, and I finally got to put my digital camera to good use. Those falls are big, and require many megapixels, yo. We also went to stay with her brother, Scott, in the Beaches area of T.O. I spent roughly 20 minutes looking for parking there, too. Fuckin’ Toronto. I think Scott was glad to have me over, though, since he finally had someone to play Halo with. Someone who kicked his ass while being a total shotgun bitch, coincidentally.

After that, it was off to the wilds of Yonge & Sheppard to visit Polly (another old roommate) and Jen (an old friend). Fun times were had; Polly’s moving in with her boyfriend in Sept., and that makes me start to feel old. Or, rather, that my friends are maturing and I’m not. Score! On that Wednesday, after Geoff had rolled into town, I convinced him to take the day off work (who needs to do clinical research?) and go to Paramount™ Canada’s® Wonderland© , the land of many coasters. And it was fun. Even the white water ride, which got us thoroughly soaked, leaving underwear riding up my ass for hours.

Finally, I topped everything off by staying with Matty & Eric (two more old roommates) in downtown Toronto, at Queen and University. It’s wicked-awesome to see a city when you have friends who do cool shit for a living, like be DJs. At the very least, you meet cool people. Including those crazy 80s kids with the bad hair at that one club in Koreatown. Seriously, scenesters? You’re the ‘hip guy’ for maybe a dozen people in your little social group. Everyone else thinks you’re that knob with a bad haircut who plays Morrissey too loud. I’m just saying, is all.

My last night there (last Monday) Eric took me to the Korean Grill, down the street from his apartment. We had a lot of meat; several trays full, each. I think, due to the overdose on that quantity of animal flesh, we entered into some kind of meat-induced trance state, where everything was deep and meaningful and tasted char-broiled. It was like Zen meditation, but based on barbeque.

And then, after collecting two private parking tickets that apparently I don’t have to pay (thanks, City of Toronto councilors!) I left. And my trip was satisfying. Yeah.