Finally we decided a road trip was in order. And through Canada is where we make the best road trips. See, we have been up there in the north for road trips before. After crossing Canada by train in the summer of 2008, Rob and I have made several trips up there to drive around. Idiotically, they've mostly been during the winter. You know what it does in Canada in the winter? It snows. We did our first winter trip to the Maritimes - starting in Halifax, driving to Moncton and St. John's during the day, and then continuing the trip with a basically death-defying nighttime drive to Prince Edward Island. We honestly sat there in the car, listening to the last songs we would want to listen to ever, because we were both really uncertain if we could get to our hotel safely. We've done a winter trip to Newfoundland, because that's really intelligent. Then we took some spring trips. Like starting in Winnipeg (I sincerely hope the return of the Jets has helped the denizens of that city get back to something slightly less zombie-like) and driving through Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta - three states our waiter at my birthday steak dinner referred to as "The Gap."
I'm getting off topic. And anyone who came here to read about Pittsburgh is probably seriously confused.
Basically, I celebrated by 30th birthday by going to some places in Canada I have never been before. Sure, there also were normal and previously visited places places - Ottawa, Toronto, Niagara Falls. But that was the back end of the trip. Our first couple days? Small towns with absolutely ridiculous reasons to stop in them.
But, of important note, this drive straight north started directly at the end of the Japandroids show at Mr. Smalls.
|I'm Brian. That's David.|
These guys. No better way to start the beginning of my birthday celebration than watching these nice Canadians be loud and fun and awesome. At the end of the show, we jumped in the car and were off. I was two hours from thirty.
By the time we got to our Howard Johnson's room in Hamilton, Ontario [please go back and reread that for full effect], I had been in my thirties for three and a half hours. When we pulled up to our classy lodgings for the night, we noticed it was attached to a Yuk Yuks as well as a Hooters. Happy Birthday to Me!
|Click for a closer look. It's Hamilton, Ontario!|
We slept a few hours, and then it was quickly to the ORIGINAL Tim Horton's, where I had my birthday donuts. I have been to this Tim Horton's location every year for the past three years. There is seriously something wrong with me. Then a day of driving hell began. From Hamilton we drove to Owen Sound, where my objective was to obtain an Owen Sound Attack t-shirt. (Owen is one of my favorite musicians, so this was a legit thing I needed to have.) We bought the shirt, stuck our hand in Lake Huron, and then got back on the road. We stopped off for gas in Peary Sound and stretched our legs walking up a pier.
|This was supposed to be six donuts with five candles in each, but this did me perfectly fine after a long night of driving.|
|First dino sighting.|
|Canada is such a darling place.|
|My new plan? Buy a summer place in Parry Sound.|
I have a tradition of having a good steak dinner on my birthday. We got to Sudbury, and we couldn't find the steak place we'd looked up online. When I get hungry, I get cranky and impatient. So I made Rob pull into a Super 8, where we went and asked the lady working the front desk about it. She basically told us we were making a mistake for going there for a steak dinner, and she pointed us in the direction of a place called The Keg.
Well, thank you Claire from Super 8 in Sudbury, because this meal was a major highlight of the week. We had the most earnest and happy waiter named Mark, who I think was pretty dumbfounded by our trip. When he learned we had driven there from Pittsburgh, his reaction was "Jesus, what the hell are you doing here?" The steak was good, there was beer, and they gave us free cake, which was actually ice cream in the shape of cake.
Mark's first question to us when he learned we were in Sudbury as "tourists" was, "Have you seen the nickel?!" Seriously. Question mark and exclamation point. We hadn't yet, but it was on our list of things to do in Sudbury. (1. Eat steak; 2. See the World's Largest Nickel.) We got there just as the sun was going down. The sunset looks lovely, which apparently it does every night in Sudbury, because there is so much pollution released into the air by nearby factories!
|Dead bugs/beautiful sunset.|
Oh, and there was a dinosaur at the nickel, which, brought the total count of dinosaur sightings on my 30th birthday tally to two.
From the nickel it was onward to our next accommodations ..in Sault Ste. Marie.