There’s No Business Like Slow Business
In order to ensure our early departure from the Biggest of Apples, we prepacked our bags the night before, set multiple alarms for 6:45 and 7AM and contacted the concierge to make sure the car was waiting out front no later than 7:30 the following morning.
We left the hotel a little after 9 AM the next morning. Sometimes you just have to make your best friend’s girlfriend’s parents’ wait. We not-as-immediately-as-planned made a run for the border: Taco Bell. And then… Canada.
Getting Mountied in the Eh?
Canada was apparently very excited about our cause because they actually asked us to stop in at the border crossing office so we could meet more of the fine, fine Canadian officers. Either that, or Mr. Canadian crossing guard did not appreciate our cameras. At first he noticed Gary holding a GoPro and asked him to turn it off. Then a short backseat discussion ensued between Rob and Trent that pretty much went as follows:
Rob: Trent, you might want to put your phone down.
Trent: In a second. (Trent Facebook updates)
Rob: (nonchalant) Seriously, put your phone down.
Trent: (flippant) I said I will. (continues Facebooking)
Rob: He just asked you to put it away.
Trent: He asked Gary to put the GoPro away. He can’t even see me.
Rob: He is literally looking at you.
Crossing Guard: Okay. So you boys have been randomly selected for a vehicle search. Please pull up to that building over there and leave your keys in the car. Eh.
The search turned up a strawberry beer, a unicorn mask and a pack of waterproof matches, and we were then directed the vehicle search area as Rob’s cavity search was over. He quickly applied a bit of Gold Bond powder because “You never know when you’ll need finger print evidence.” In actuality, we stood around a room for 15 minutes while they paid exactly zero attention to us and then told us we were free to go.
A Significant Amount of Water
We were told that the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is supposed to be much nicer than the American side. “Supposed to” should be changed to “without a doubt” because everything in Canada looked like it came directly out of a Dr. Seuss book. The tractors had curvicles and whatsidoos and the trees smelled like vermilicious mupps.
One thing Canada managed worse than America, however, was traffic control. As we neared Niagara Falls, we quickly discovered that we weren’t going to have to park. This is because the moment you enter Niagara Falls you are sitting in the country’s largest parking lot. There was so much traffic that Rob (who had been there before) volunteered to pull the car around while the rest of us ran off to share in some memories. We took Rob up on his offer by bailing out of the car in the middle of the street and yelling “Sucker!” We later promised Rob we’d incept him into our memories when we arrived in Detroit, except we forgot that Inception is a movie and that Rob, like Dr. Seuss, is already a figment of our imaginations anyway.
Also, “the Falls” – as the Canadian hipsters say – were pretty impressive because there is a significant amount of water.
Yes, I’ll Have Fries With That
Our lightning fast waterfall stop was followed up by what may be the highlight of the trip for Gary: driving on Canadian Highways. Considering how many miles we had driven, you can imagine the hours spent stuck behind someone in the fastlane going slower than the speed limit. In Canada, it happened only twice, and both cars had Michigan plates. It’s amazing to be part of 100 miles of road where everyone uses their rearview mirror. Listen up Americans! Canadians use these fuzzy dice holders to see if someone is behind them, and if there is, they get out of the way. Incroyable! This phenomenon allowed us to make great time as did the fact that we converted the speed limit in kilometers to miles by realizing that 100 kilometers per hour equals 100 miles per hour. Since all of our digital devices were roaming, we chose to accept this as fact.
Eventually, we took a break from flying through Canada to grab some food at a local fast food chain called Harvey’s. Harvey’s should be called What the Whatting What and their slogan should be “Fine food served by THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE IN CANADA WHAT IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW?!”
If this was America and Ashton Kutcher still had a career, we would have thought we were being punk’d. Then we stopped again just before crossing the border back into the US and found more insanely attractive people working at the Duty Free store coffee shop. Then it occurred to us: Canada saw our fancy car and pulled a North Korea type switcheroo hoping we’d come back to the US, shoot some hoops, and explain to the president why we shouldn’t blow them up.
On the side of the road, literally feet from the border, all of us realized we had one final chance to do something we had dreamed of: Duty Free shopping spree! We parked and laughed for 15 minutes about the word “duty.”
Here’s how Duty Free shopping works:
Step 1) Become instantly overwhelmed by the amount of tax free, giant bottles of alcohol on sale for the lowest prices you’ve ever seen anywhere ever in the history of booze purchases and seriously consider taking up smoking because it’s so cheap, they practically pay you.
Step 2) Mentally debate whether you actually require four gallons of gin.
Step 3) Realize you absolutely require four gallons of gin.
Step 4) Rent a mule to haul the four gallons of gin out to the car followed by the five gallons of scotch because when are you going to find five gallons of scotch for forty bucks?
Step 5) High five a stranger because you’ve both participated in the glory that is Duty Free Shopping.
Step 6) Reward yourself with a smoothie for your hard work and patience. Make sure to ask for the plastic free version, though, otherwise the attractive female barista will break the first blender, pour the contents immediately into a second blender, and then reblend for desired plastic effect.
America: The Reunion Tour (Now With More Booze)
We headed back to America. Rob reapplied a bit more Gold Bond for the “security check” and Matt grumbled about the stupid American drivers. Trent still had no idea why everyone was complaining. In his mind, he was still the best driver in the car. In his heart, though, he knew otherwise. One day he’d show them. He’d show them all…
At the border, we had expected the worst. In addition to still looking exactly the same when entering Canada, we now had enough alcohol in the car to set an entire state on fire, and Trent was wearing his stupid glasses again. The border guard asked where we were from. We proudly proclaimed “Los Angeles-eles-Ohio-ngeles” and were asked about our roadtrip. After our heartfelt explanation, the guard smiled and said “I don’t think I have three friends who I could stand enough to sit in a car with for that amount of time.” He then became deadly serious as he mentioned how badly our car must smell.
Fire Pits and the Powers That Be
Before arriving at Sara’s childhood home, Trent learned that Detroit’s Robocop statue wasn’t finished and was probably the most disappointed he’d been on the trip so far. Gary was never actually planning on going there, but Gary is a dream maker. Not a dream breaker.
We pulled up to the Powers’ residence, where we were greeted by a white van adorned with a perfectly reconstructed PanAmerica logo made from electrical tape. It felt like we were home, even if just for a night. Then we met Sara’s parents, cousins, and saw pictures of Sara’s sister. And what happened then, well in Detroit they say – that the Robert’s small heart grew three sizes that day.
For the first time, we took in a sunset with family.
After amazing pulled pork sandwiches, corn on the cob, coleslaw and beers, the remainder of the night was spent laughing and talking around a turquoise fire (no fooling! Look up “copper sulfate” packets). When it comes to dating, you don’t just date a person. You date their family. Gary was clearly dating an incredible family and it was the easiest thing in the world to see.
Rob would not be left out of this equation.
The night wore on, more bottles of wine disappeared, and Sara’s father realized it was time to get to the good stuff: a little champagne and a whole lot of gin and tonics. This must have been fuel for Rob’s proverbial fire because he was throwing out that Wild Card charm like it was three-day old bathwater. All anyone could do was laugh as Rob asked question after question about Sara’s sister, Sara’s mom, how good their respective relationships were, if her mom wanted a younger boy toy, if her father needed an apprentice, if her parents wanted a son-in-law, had they seen Son-in-Law, whether or not they think Paulie Shore would be a good father, Jury Duty was hilarious, when did the fire turn blue…
Rob finally passed out. Trent tucked him in, Matt kissed Rob good night, and Gary went to bed whenever he and Sara’s dad ran out of things to say.
We’re pretty sure they were up all night.