Monday, February 26, 2007

Day 1- The Winds of Windsor

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

I woke up at 10 AM, which is like the crack of dawn for me. My throat felt a bit scratchy and I desperately hoped I wasn't going to be sick for this concert too. I decided to pop a tylenol, ignore it, and keep getting ready. I threw some new music onto my iPod for the road while Mom got herself ready.

We loaded up the van and set out at 1:00. It was a pretty overcast day, but it wasn't snowing or raining, which was nice. The only bad factor from the weather was the wind. It wasn't terrible, but it was just enough to where Mom couldn't just relax and cruise. Sadly, the wind stayed with us the whole drive.

Approaching Cleveland

The drive to Windsor isn't nearly as scenic as the drive to the Falls, unless you're a big fan of fields, that is. There isn't much to look at along the way, so to pass the time, I would overly excitedly point out every frozen body of water along the way. Rivers, ponds, lakes, even ditch water. Maybe you had to be there.

Traffic wasn't too bad, thankfully. I guess we were driving at the right time. Even so, there was one semi driver who cut us off and missed us by about three feet.

I never used to think crossing state lines meant much of anything, but it is a bit weird how things can seem different the moment you enter another state. The road feels different, the bridges and freeways have a different look, and when we crossed into Michigan, it even seemed like a different season. There was much less snow on the ground and the sun came out for the first time all day.

Also for the first time on the trip, a favorite Chantal song of mine, Little Things, randomly came up on the iPod and I took it as a sign we'd have a good trip.

After sharing the road with the crazy Michigan drivers (they don't seem fond of turn signals), we arrived in Detroit and came to the tunnel to Canada, which I just found out is "the only vehicular international subaqueous border crossing in the world." Groovy.


Three hours after leaving home, we arrived in Windsor.

The high winds were strong as ever when we pulled into the Hilton (get it out of your system, insert cheesy "That's hot" joke here). Alas, it wasn't just windy, it was bitter cold and windy. With the help of Marty, the awesome bellman, we got our stuff and settled into the room a bit.

The view from our room

It was a bit cramped with my wheelchair, but it was nice. If they could combine the room from the Marriott at the Falls with the amenities of this room, it would be perfect. Tons of TV channels and free highspeed internet, including free wireless, though apparently the wireless doesn't work above the 3rd floor for some reason. We were on the 9th. Ah well, I didn't travel up there to play online.

A bit later, we were off to the mall. Yeah, I'm a sucker for shopping. Mom made me wait inside the hotel lobby while she lowered the lift on the van, that's when I heard familiar notes over the hotel music system. They were playing another of my favorite Chantal songs, Wayne. As we pulled away from the hotel, we were greeted by her name on the marquee of the Chrysler Theatre next door.

A ten minute drive and a few pictures later, we were at the Devonshire Mall.

Though the Pen Centre in St Catharines is bigger, I think I preferred this mall. It just seemed to have more variety and better stores. I bought myself Trailer Park Boys: The Movie on DVD and Our Lady Peace Live on CD. Excellent finds.

Neither of us having really eaten all day (aside from some pretzels on the road), Mom and I stopped in the food court and split some fries from New York Fries.

On the way out of the mall, I decided to indulge the action figure collector in me and head to the Toys R Us across the street. That's when it got crazy.
Since it was still windy and freezing out, Mom told me to get inside the store while she closed the van. The parking lot was empty, so I took off. Halfway to the door, a gust of wind hit me and I felt my Our Lady Peace hat quickly leave my head. I yelled out "My hat!" and spun around. The trooper that she is, Mom was already right on top of it. I spun again and resumed the journey to the door. That's when the second gust hit. This time, it caught my sweatshirt and blew it up over my head, completely covering my face. I could still see out of the corner of my eye, so I kept driving as I looked for the ramp to the door.
When Mom saw me driving across the parking lot with a sweatshirt over my face, she freaked and ran for me. Meanwhile under the sweatshirt, I have tears running down my face from laughing so hard. Mom flipped the sweatshirt down and ran back to finish closing the van while I finally got inside.
Seriously, she's a trooper.
Oh, and to complete this story, there was no trace of any figures I was looking for, though I was still laughing too hard to care.

We braved the wind and returned to the van to head back to the hotel. After dropping our stuff off in our room, we went down to the fancy restaurant on the second floor, The Park Terrace Restaurant. Maybe it's stupid, but I try to treat myself while on vacation and eat at one restaurant I'd normally consider too expensive. Sitting in the dimly lit restaurant overlooking Detroit and the Detroit River, Mom and I sipped on wine and ate bread (accompanied by fancy looking butter) before digging into the main course, roasted chicken (Mom's had fruit salsa, mine didn't) and mashed potatoes. It was pricey (to me), but fantastic.

By the time we finished, it was nearing closing time, so we took our piece of hot chocolate cake back to our room.

We split the cake and I checked my email before hopping into bed after a long, busy day.

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