U.S. Road Trip Reflections Part I

Ever driven coast to coast in the U.S.? I haven’t, but recently drove halfway across from Boston to NYC and then to Chicago for a spell and then through Canada to Niagara Falls and back to Boston.  All in all, about 3,000 miles – 4,828 Canadian where the speed limits and distances are posted in kilometers without as much as a warning to American drivers. Still trying to figure out how much I paid for a gallon of gas in Toronto. I love Canada. I do. But I don’t dig  Tim Horton’s, the Canadian version of Dunkin Donuts that does not compare favorably, a place my wife calls Tom Norton’s. Tiny coffee cups, weak ice coffee with dainty ice-cubes and small donuts that look and taste “store bought” as a traveling companion put it, with distinctly Canadian flavours like sour cream glazed and maple frosted. And the wait, I mean 15 minutes for a cup of coffee is just not acceptable. Tim Horton’s sounds more like a steakhouse.

Since we were a traveling party of five with a lot of luggage, we took two Honda Fits.  It’d have been a tight fit all of us to go in one and we’d have exceeded the payload of 850 pounds. Our Fits performed admirably, despite the tiny 1.5 liter engine that we had to gun to pass big trucks, but once up to speed, the Fit runs smoothly. We had some pretty miserable driving conditions with driving rain and lightening but never once felt unsafe in the Fit. It handled flawlessly. And we got excellent gas mileage of about 36 mpg in mixed driving and some heavy traffic in spots.

From Boston, we headed to NYC just to stop off at Zabar’s for gifts of coffee and black and white cookies. You can’t beat Zabar’s, unless you happen to be in Toronto where you can beat it if you go to St. Lawrence Market, which is “Zabar’s times 7”, as my oldest daughter put it.

It was getting late and we plowed through NYC and into PA where we stopped in some small town at a Motel 8 or something or other with a number in it. The continental breakfast was a little on the depressing side with stale Cherrios in a giant dispenser and wet English muffins that toasted soggy. The one Red Delicious apple was the loan fresh fruit, and I think all the patrons were afraid to take it, not wanting to be the one to take the last one, which I took to be an act of polite Midwestern restraint. I’d have taken it, but I do not like the Red Delicious. I do not.

We drove past Williamsport the site of the Little League World Series that was about to begin and Bloomsburg, where my friend DH went to school. We rolled past Allentown, the place Billy Joel made famous. I remember thinking a lot about chocolate and wondering whether the Hershey factory was open 24 7 like the local 7 Eleven. PA, the land of chocolate, Rolling Rock, Quakers and three of my FB friends.

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