Leaving Florida with a warm sun on my back and a warmth in my heart from the hugs of my friends it was time to head back to Canada. Of course there would be a couple of stops along because as you know by now I am like that. The plan was to come straight up through Tennessee and Georgia cross over towards Kentucky and up into Illinois. Straight back as Christmas was coming and my grandkids were needing a hug. Ok maybe it was me. Lol.
As I charted my course I had to take into consideration the fact a tornado had devastated places from Arkansas to Kentucky. A day before I left a massive tornado had torn through the path I was going through. I waited an extra day and looking at news reports made sure I did not go through any areas where I would get in the way of a clean up or my way was blocked with debries. With a clear path I set off. There were places as I passed through Kentucky you could see the path of the tornado. Trees snapped like twigs and I seen a few buildings that had been destroyed. A reminder that as beautiful mother nature can be, it’s beast is ferocious!
My first stop would be in Atlanta Georgia to have dinner with my friends Jim and Jill. They chose a cute diner called the Marietta Diner. Wow what a great place. The food was delicious and the company amazing. They had a baklava cheesecake I just had to try. I was so full from dinner I had to get it to go. Even then I ate it in pieces because it was so big. Very good with tea though.
I had seen posts and listened to conversations from my traveling friends about Altlanta traffic and all of them were OMG stories. Lol! They are all true. It is a lot of highway and a lot of traffic. A definite go around plan for best time.
North through Tennesee into Nashville where I would veer left towards Illinois. Nashville is also a busy traffic area with many interstates branching and crossing in the city. As I was emerging from a heavy traffic zone,traffic was moving at a good place. All of a sudden I seen the tractor trailer in front of my coming to a hard stop. I put my brakes on hard and with a little room to spare got stopped. I then looked in my rear view mirror and a white tractor trailer was coming on my fast. There was no way he was stopping. I turned my wheels as hard to the right as I could and tried to move the butt of my van to the right as much as i could. There was a lane to my left if he could get into it. He missed me by inches. I stratified out my van back into my lane and breathed. As I glanced in the mirror another truck was coming up behind only slowly with his 4 ways going. He gave me the thumbs up and I returned. Hahaha! Thought maybe I was going to have to change my pants.
A quick, well overnight stop in Indiana to see my friends Woody and Theresa. I wanted to get as many hugs from friends as possible. I would usually see most of these people at least 2-3 times a year at different events but with covid it had been way too long.
Sliding over to Illinois to visit with my friend Cush and his two beautiful daughters Molly and Maggie for a few days before I hit the border, I was reminded it was Christmas. Although if I tried to move in my van I was reminded. Lol. Even one extra bag is annoying as I dislike having to move things around or step over things in the hallway. I had bags of gifts everywhere!!
While we were out we drove by a beautiful light display. We went for a walk through the next night and the air sparkled with Christmas. There happened to be a festival going on that night. With fire pots to drink hot chocolate by and the smell of fresh kettle corn in the air. Ut was a beautiful evening spent with wonderful people.
Getting ready to cross the boarder took more than getting receipts together. Because of Covid I needed to record my arrival into an arrivecan app along with my vaccination information as well as have a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of my arrival at the border.
I had downloaded the arrivecan app while I was in Florida with the help of my friend Debbie who is from the Ottawa area of Ontario. I had inputted all my information and the only thing needed was my arrival date and time and which border I would be crossing. When I opened the app it said it needed an update. When I went to update screen there was no update only and open button which took me back to the app that said it needed an update. Ugggg! They said it was mandatory but cannot make it work right. Great! I looked at the reviews to see if anybody else had the same issue. I did not see that same issue but a lot of others. Each of the questions they were told to delete the app and reboot the phone and reinstall. I wrote my question, gave them a 1 star rating and tried to reboot and reinstall. It worked but I also had to input all my information again.
Finding a covid pcr test that would have results withing the 72 hours was more difficult then I thought it would be. I had been told that Walgreens would do it for free. The result had a turn around of 24 – 48 hours which was within 72 hours required by the goverment. Perfect. Finding an open appointment was not so easy. Finally 2 days later than I wanted I found one. It would get me home for Christmas but it would be tight. The morning of my test my oldest daughter called and told me she was in labor with my 4th grandson, 1 month early! Omg! I need to get back now. My youngest daughter had an incident a couple of days earlier and she was being released from the hospital that day and now my other one was going in. I had to get back. I k ew it was about a 15 hour drive back but I needed that test result. Thinking maybe there was a rush fee or something I showed up at my appointment and was told that because of the volume of tests it would be 3 -5 days for the results. What??? Oh no. I have to get back.
I took the test and drove towards the border trying hard to think of what to do. I stopped by a Cracker Barrel for a quick bite to eat, googled pcr test same day results and for a place in Indiana, Any Lab Test Now. I was about 20 minutes from them but it would cost me $200. At this point it does not matter. I need to get back. They were closing soon but if I could get there I could get the test done that day and I could make a run for the border. I arrived in time and as the lady was taking the test she informed me that the result would not be until 9:30 am the next day. Well if that is as quick as they can get it to me then it will have to do. I explained that my daughter was in labor and I was heading for the border. I asked if I had to wait for the results here and she informed me I would recieve them by email. Awesome, I could drive. She then asked if I would grab a hotel by the border to wait for the results. I told her no I would just find a Walmart and sleep in my van. I then wished her a Merry Christmas and made a run for the border. Well as close as I could get anyway. 45 minutes later I recieved a phone call that they had stayed and ran my test and the results were in my inbox. They did not want me sleeping in my van in a Walmart and then I could drive through to get back for my kids. I laughed a little at the sleeping in the van part and cried a little at the beautiful gesture of going that extra mile to make sure I got across.
When I got to the border I showed them the email with the negative test and answered all the regular questions. I was then told I had been randomly selected to do an at home covid test. I am not quite understanding why I would be given a test when I handed them a negative result that was taken less than 12 hours before?? I said ok and was on my way.
The test and the paperwork had to be done within 24 hours and the information in the document given was that if I did not comply I could be taken to an “isolation facility”. Really!! In Canada I am threatened with being taken away and basically put in covid jail. I have since recieved an email stating the same as well as an email from the health department with an appointment do the test 5 days after the required 24 hours again threatening covid jail if I do comply.
I understand the seriousness of the virus. I am complying with all the protocols put in place but in my humble opinion it is way out of hand. If I hand them a negative covid test why am I made to do another within 48 hours of the first one? Do they not trust their own processes? They are the ones who mandated that particular test and as far as having to pay for it, maybe that’s the fine for leaving the country and remembering what it is like to in a free country? I am scared for my kids and grandkids and where this is all heading. But one thing I know that unless the US says I cannot come in I will travel there if nothing else just to be free for a little while.
In the meantime I will enjoy my children and my grandkids including the newest member of our family, Cassius Aurlius weighing 5 lbs 9 Oz.
I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and I wish you all a very happy New Year!
Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventures! See you next year!!