Crossing the US border on Thursday I was off on another Chipmunk Adventure. I do not really have a plan. I have a few places I want to visit and a few people I want to hug while I am over here but no clear plan. It was funny though, maybe funny is not the word I am looking for. I think different more describes my thoughts and feelings. Where I should have been excited but instead a little anxious. I had not really traveled by myself, out of my comfort zone, in a long time. Forever it seemed. Yes I had gone north a few times but I have been there many times. For me it is a comfortable place to go. Crossing the border has always been a little heart pounding for me. Yes I had done it many times and most of the time with no issues but it always has been a little scary. As I readied the van for a border crossing and my mind for a solo trip into unknown territory I shivered a little then my Dad popped into my head. “The Fear is always bigger than the fear itself” my Dad would say to me when I was up against a challenge. He was right it always is. Had I not been doing this for the past 30 years? Had I not crossed into the US many times even on my own? The answer is yes and always had a great time. Of course there are differences this time. Covid regulations for the most part. They will differ from state to state. Will there be vaccine checks between states like there is in Canada between provinces? What about the masks? I cannot wear a mask but do wear a chin shield. Will that be acceptable? So many unanswered questions. Never mind the regular questions like will I have to worry about snow in the mountains on my way south or bad weather coming into the Midwest in November? There is only one way to find out.
Just do it!!
After some procrastination in the morning I started the van and headed for the border. Fingers crossed for 3 cars, 3 questions. I had all my paperwork with me and the fridge cleaned out. With confidence I pulled into the booth. A nice older gentlemen welcomed me with a nice greeting and asked where I was going. Not wanting to tell him I did not have a plan really (never a good answer) I told him Florida. As it turns out there is a Christmas Party there and I can hug a lot of friends all at once!! That makes me excited! I was expecting the next question would be vaccine related but it was not. He asked what I did for a living. I told him I was retired from the Canadian Post Office. He asked me if I had any identification saying I was retired from the post office. Ummmm I am not sure. He explained that because I was so young (so nice of him and I thanked him) and driving an RV he had to make sure I was coming back. I did not have any Canada Post identification as I had turned that in when I retired. What on earth did I have that said Canada Post. I looked through my wallet, there had to be something, ahhh my benefits card that I recieved when I retired. That did the trick. I was off with have a nice trip. Pheww.
I knew the general direction as my first stop was just south of Chicago to hug my friend Cush and meet his two wonderful daughters Molly and Maggie and pick up my author copies of my book. Since I published From Housewife to Vanlife with Kindle, which btw was a great experience, I could not get authors copies shipped to Canada because of copywriting laws. This would not normally be a big deal as I am across the border all the time but with Covid, the Border was closed for over 20 months. It became an issue. I crossed the Peace Bridge into Buffalo on down to the I90 and turned west. It is a pretty direct route and pretty much all Interstate. A little over 10 hours on the gps but I knew it would take me longer. I drive slower than the posted speed limit and I make stops. Lol. My first was Cracker Barrel. Ok I will admit I am a Cracker Barrel junkie. It is one of my favorite restaurants with all the warmth of a down home country feel, great food and shopping. I love to browse through the store and see the interesting things they have. With a large fireplace in every dining room, my waitress Jenn’s country charm and warm meal I was ready to get back on the road. I was only in Erie Pensylvania, with 4 states to go including Ohio, which if you have driven across Ohio you will know why that must figure in the driving calculations.
When I say calculations I do not always mean arrival time. I also have my own rules when travelling. I try to never drive after dark. As dusk comes the animals come out. I have been hit by 4 deer in my driving career. All at dusk. It is not a good way to get in touch with nature.
While was at Cracker Barrel I checked the weather. Oh it did not look good. There was a weather warning for lake effect snow along Lake Erie. In this part of the country you take heed to that warning. It can go from good to bad very quickly. I still had some daylight left and semi clear skies, it was time to move. As I traveled west the skies grew dark. Something was coming. It started to rain and then freezing rain. Darkness was falling fast it was time to find a place to park. I pulled over and looked at my boondocking apps and found a Walmart about 13 min from where I was in a little town called Ashtabula Ohio. Was that not a song??? Lol! As I pulled in and found an out of the way spot, it started to storm. The van rocked and the sleet pelted the van as I made tea and turned on Netflix. Warm and snug while the world turned cold.
The next morning was overcast and a little gloomy but thankfully the roads were clear and the skies up ahead clearing. With each mile my confidence built. With each roll of the tire I felt the freedom that I so desire. With the highway in front of me and the sun gleaming on the horizon I breathed a sigh of relief and thought Yes I Can!
Through Cleveland and Toledo right up until Indiana where the rush hour Chicago traffic started then I rolled my eyes and whispered Yes I Can but I am not going to like it! Lol!
It is amazing what we discover about ourselves and the world around us when we step out of our comfort zone ad face that unknowing fear. The chat with the wonderful lady that I stopped for gas in a small town in Ohio that made me smile or the puzzled look when I hand the pennies back and explain that in Canada we do not have pennies and really, I do not want any. Lol. The thoughts when I am rolling down the highway and the excitement of the new things I will discover along the way is invigorating. Thank goodness I did not give into the fear and stepped out of my comfort zone. The future is yours to discover.
Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventure.
See you next week. You and me can find out what state I am in and what I have found!