US Road Trip Epilog: 3rd July 2005

Today was not a normal Sunday on the road trip. 500+ miles and 9 hours of driving, from Ottawa back into the US. I don't think I've done such a distance in the Riviera in a day. In fact I can't remember the last time I've been so far in any car in a day.

I must admit that I woke up thinking that today would be like this. Alex and I had planned two places on the way where we might stop for the night, but the temptation to do it all in one day was too much to resist. On leaving Ottawa - before 9 a.m. for a change - the traffic is all a bit mad (even on a Sunday) but once on Highway 17 it thins out and we are soon passing through more open farmland. The road is mainly single lane, with the occasional stretch of dual carriageway, and on the bits where we need to overtake I'm grateful for the power of the car as we get close to the speed warning buzzer (currently set at 95 MPH).

Highway 17 through Ontario
Highway 17 west through Ontario. Yes, there are a lot of dead bugs on the screen.

Most of Highway 17 is surrounded by forest, with the occasional lake or river as above. There are very few towns of any size and I think it's right to say that we're fairly lucky to find gas stations when we do - at one point it was getting a bit too close for comfort. Eventually the forest gives way to more open farmland and we arrive at Sault Ste. Marie. The drive is made more pleasant by Alex plugging his iPod into the cigarette lighter and running a small pair of speakers, so we have some music for a change. I've been borrowing the speakers - Creative TravelSound ones - for my laptop in the evenings over the last few weeks and I think he'll be lucky to ever get them back.

The bridge into the US at SSM
The bridge into the US at Sault Ste. Marie.

In the queue for customs / immigration it's fairly obvious that everything mechanical on the car is hot. Not really surprising after 500 miles without a chance to cool down. I'm worried it might actually boil over, but after the wait in the queue and a quick chat with the man in the booth we're on our way with no problems. There seems to be no need to go through the same routine of leaving the car to stand in a queue and get the passports stamped as there was in the way into Canada, which is a relief.

Once in Michigan the line of motels makes finding a room easy and we choose a Comfort Inn. Not surprisingly after 9 hours in a car together, Alex and I go our separate ways once checked-in. Personally I'm surprised we've managed to get through the day with so few thoughts of homicide. In truth, it was all very easy (well it was for me, anyway).

It may not really need saying, but I'm damn impressed with the Riviera once again. It didn't miss a beat all day, even when obviously very hot, and I left the driver's seat without any cramp, backache or anything. That's impressive for a modern car, yet alone one built in 1963. A class act, and I'm more convinced than ever that it was the right choice - more by luck than judgment, admittedly - for all this road trip nonsense.

US Road Trip Epilog: 4th July 2005 >