So, this weekend, I went down to Michigan to stay with Rebecca & visit with Jenny & Lori. It was such an awesome time.
The drive down was pretty awesome - the only "problems" were: the 30 minute line at Tim Horton's. Jeez... I think a tour bus must've gotten off right at the same time as I did. And then at the border, the customs agent asked me all kinds of questions, and made me pop my trunk and everything. I'm not sure why I always end up being questioned so intently whenever I travel alone (and rarely get questioned when I'm with my parents), but I've never had anything to hide, so it's always worked out okay. Hopefully I'll be fine travelling to LA, too. I always get so nervous when they ask me to open my bags.
Anyway... Drove north on the I-75 to get to Rebecca's... never done that before! It's usually I-75 south, all the way to Florida for me! My favourite was the exit I got off at: Exit 69. Big Beaver Road. No joke... That is so awesome. Haha. I tried to get a picture of the sign, but it was dark the next time we drove by that way, and it didn't really work out so well.
Got to Rebecca's around 2-ish. Rebecca is awesome - her personality is totally what I expected it to be, and we definitely jived well. Wish she lived closer!! Met her sister, Sarah, and Charlie, who is possibly the cutest dog ever. Then we headed out to White Castle to grab a bite. Mmmm! I wish we had White Castle in Canada - it would be such good drunk food! Then we went over to Jenny's place for a bit. Didn't stick around there too long, before we headed out to Woodward for the Dream Cruise. It was so awesome seeing all those cars. Things were so classy back in the 60s. I wish I could've lived then.
We walked over to Rebecca's friend, Laron's place, which was just off of Woodward, for a party. It was totally just us sitting on the stoop of his house with alcohol for a few hours. So awesome... things like that just don't happen up here. I was referred to as "Rebecca's quiet friend" - I think I was just overwhelmed with meeting a whole bunch of new people, plus having just done a 5 hour drive not too much earlier. I'm not normally that quiet, I promise ;)
Afterwards, Rebecca showed me some of downtown Royal Oak, and downtown Clawson, and we went for a bite to eat at a place called Moose Winooski's. I had an awesome chipotle chicken wrap - served with baked nacho chips and homemade salsa. Mmmm. Went back to Rebecca's place and watched some Olympics on TV (first Olympic events I've seen LOL... Michael Phelps ended up setting the record for most gold metals won by an Olympian in one year, which was impressive) ... then we called it a night.
The next day, Rebecca had to work for a few hours, so she dropped me off in a place called Birmingham, and I killed some time on my own. I totally had a blast just exploring and taking pictures, and sitting down with my Starbucks & book, and just reading on a bench. I ended up finding my way back to Woodward Ave too, where, even though the cruise was over, there were still some people (and their cars) hanging around. I bought a t-shirt from the event too, for $10, as compared to the $25 that they were selling them for the previous day. Haha.
Rebecca picked me up, and we headed to Target (possibly one of my favourite places on Earth!). I actually didn't buy very much though. One shirt for me, a super cute shirt each for both of my nieces, and a wicked pair of Converse (black suede with a shiny pink star) for me. And some random makeup and scrapbooking things. Only, when I got to the checkout, I realized that I had my wallet with Canadian money (and a few American dollars) in my bag, but had left the majority of my money back at Rebecca's house... which kinda sucked, because I had to put it on my credit card (which I was hoping to leave with no balance for my trip to LA - so I'll just write a cheque for more than what's due and mail it before I leave)
After that, we hit a Checkers drive thru (OMG, Checkers is my favourite American fast food - I make my parents go there every time we go to Florida!) and headed south to Lori's place in Newport, MI.
It took us about an hour to get there. Lori was awesome, and just how I expected her (and her husband, Kurt) to be! Lori, Rebecca and I went for a hike through Sterling State Park and took some pictures. I'm glad I wore a skirt, because it was SO hot that day. I was telling the girls that it was the most time I spent in nature pretty much all summer long. LOL. I even ended up with a tan! Who would've thought! Afterwards, we did some quick shopping (which just ended up being browsing), and then went back to pick up Kurt, and Lori's nephew, Kory, and we all went out to dinner. Lori & Kurt treated us to some awesome Mexican food (thank you, again!). Then we went back to her place, where she gave us a quick tour of the yard (including her awesome pond!), before Rebecca and I were off.
Rebecca got to witness my awful Guitar Hero skills that evening (I'm impressed at the number of songs I actually managed to finish, on easy mode - I think I made it to the end of like, at least 4 songs! haha) Called it a night kind of early, before midnight, because I had to be off in the morning.
The next morning, I got directions from Rebecca to get to the highway, and that all worked out perfectly... but then when I was actually in Detroit, near the border, there's all kinds of construction down there. I tried to follow all the signs that said "bridge to Canada" ... but I somehow ended up getting off on the 375. So I tried to get back on the I-75 South, but that exit was closed (damn construction!), so I got back on the North, and got off at the first exit, and stopped at a McDonald's for directions. The first lady that I asked looked at me like I was on crack, and then she sent me over to a manager. (I made sure to write down exactly what he said, instead of relying on my memory!) ... he told me a way to get there that was through city streets, rather than taking the highway. It was actually super cool, because the streets he told me to take put me right downtown, so I saw the Fox Theatre, the Fillmore, the new baseball field, etc. It was actually really pretty. I stopped to take a few pictures while I was there.
But then, the road he told me to take came to a dead end, and I had no idea which way to go to get to the bridge. I ended up seeing a sign that said "Tunnel to Canada" ... and, while tunnels kind of freak me out a bit, I figured I'd rather just take the tunnel since I was right there, because I had no idea where I was in relation to the bridge. The tunnel ended up being really cool, actually. There was way less traffic than taking the bridge, and the toll was actually a little bit cheaper than the bridge!
Crossing the border was super easy too, barely got asked any questions. And it took me through a part of Windsor that I had never seen before. However, I was following the signs that said "to all highways" ... and the route that it takes you on is definitely longer than it needs to be. I ended up taking city streets to the "EC ROW EXPRESSWAY" ... and then took that to some rural road, that took me through a bunch of corn fields in Tecumseh, Ontario.... and then finally met up with the 401 at Lakeshore, Ontario. That part of the drive took me about a half hour. And I had no idea where I was, because I had no map, I was totally just following the signs.
There's something to be said about that feeling though. It's like, total freedom. And it definitely reminded me of my favourite roadtrip song - Used To Be Alright by I Mother Earth. "Then you long for the days of trippin' down the long road. Just reading the signs that show you the way. To higher place, to meditate, to feel the quiet of the earth. Yeah that was back when we used to be alright"
(Oh, it was such a perfect moment on the drive to Michigan too - I was listening to my iPod through my FM transmitter, which I always do in the car, but the channel started to get fuzzy... so I flipped the switch to another station, and it just so happened that THAT song was on the radio right at that time! It was awesome)
Okay, now I have a whole lot of stuff to do before I leave for LA on Thursday... I haven't even made a LIST of the things I need to pack.
Photos from the trip are up Right Here!
Oh, and I got my first lomography prints back. They definitely weren't what I expected. Only 3 shots actually came out, the rest of the negatives were all underexposed. I need some more practice with the camera, for sure. I had modified the camera, using a tutorial I found online, so that it could take 35mm film, and I used it at the State Park, so we'll see what those shots come out like (at least I can develop 35mm film a little more cost-effectively and it won't be such a big deal if I get a whole lot of crappy shots)