Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Journey's end

Ottawa, ON – There’s nothing like getting home after a long trip! All the familiar sights, sounds and smells of a beloved place seem to extend a warm embrace of welcome at such a time. We are glad to be here at last!

Our departure this morning from Wilkes-Barre went without a hitch, and we were soon northbound on the Interstate 81 once again, spurred on by the knowledge that the next bed we slept in would be our own. It was chilly and overcast, but there was no precipitation and the roads were clear.

Before long we had passed into New York State, our seventh since leaving Florida. We stopped at a state sponsored rest area – a fairly new facility set high on a hill with a commanding view of the Appalachian Mountains. There was an excellent photo opportunity set up there to reinforce the state’s signature slogan, and inside the building was a snack bar and shopping area that highlighted local products, including maple syrup.

When lunch time rolled around, we paid one last visit to the Cracker Barrel restaurant, this one near Cicero, and enjoyed once more the down-home atmosphere – this one even had a fire burning in the large stone hearth to chase away the chills – as well as the tasty food we’ve appreciated in many other spots in Florida.

Soon we were driving across the Thousand Islands Bridge and gazing down on the St Lawrence River and Canada on the other side. With the car packed so solidly with stuff from our three-month stay, we approached the Canada customs kiosk with some interest, wondering what sort of questions we might have to answer before we were allowed back in to the country. The young man who greeted us was polite but serious, and his questions were appropriate but easy to answer, and we didn’t even have to dig out the bottle of scotch Val had purchased (and declared) – a good thing, because we weren’t exactly sure which of the many bags piled in the back contained it.

At the first rest stop we came to, once back in our home and native land, we stopped for a steaming hot cup of Tim Hortons coffee! It’s almost a ritual now, each time we return from foreign soil, and a very pleasant one to tell the truth.

When we turned off the 401 and on to the 416 that leads to Ottawa, it began to rain. Fortunately, it was just a scattered shower, and there were only two or three more to follow which were over with before we reached the city limits. We had managed to time our return to miss the rather ugly and destructive ice storm that hit on the weekend. We did see several broken trees on the way in, and found our front lawn scattered with twigs and branches, but our esteemed home checker had cleared the driveway for us so we could pull in with ease. In no time, we’d unloaded the car and filled the front hall with all that stuff, which we will now have to unpack and stow away. But we’re home now, and that will be a sweet chore indeed.

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