Niagara Falls, NY to West Branch, MI

July 12, 2015

We set the alarm for 6 AM and slept until it went off. We went to bed last night at 9:00 when it was still light outside, but we were tired and had a long drive ahead of us today. We took the short drive to the border and crossed the bridge over the Niagara River.

 
 
We did customs leaving the US and entering Canada.

 
 
We were in and out in less than 5 minutes and were now in Ontario.

 
 
All our worrying was for nothing. We read online, talked to a Canadian customs official on the phone, and spoke to a Canadian camper in our campground who all said that we could not take any chicken, eggs, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, or any other veggies across the border. We had Auggie’s immunization records ready to present to customs officials and of course, we had all our liquor hidden except the bare minimum allowed. The customs officials at the border ASKED ABOUT NOTHING and checked NOTHING. We ate up all our chicken, eggs, tomatoes, and lettuce in the days leading up to crossing the border. All for naught! Oh well, I’m sure the American customs will be more thorough. We traveled on the Queen’s Highway (QEW) along the southwestern shore of Lake Ontario.

 
 
Lake Ontario was calm and glassy today–probably a rare occasion, but the day was windless and a little hazy with a temp of 72 degrees. It was perfect for driving. We passed an old rusty metal sailboat from the turn of the century which had been grounded on the shore of Lake Ontario.

 
 
This region was overflowing with vineyards. That struck us as unusual for this part of the country with the cold, snowy winters they have, but the vines must come from hearty stock. Traffic through this wooded area of Canada was light for a Sunday morning. Road conditions were much improved compared to western New York. The countryside was spotted with well-kept farms and healthy crops of corn and grains. Gas was around $4.50 per gallon. We spent 3 1/2 hours in Canada and reached the U.S. border at 10:40.

We crossed the border into Michigan when we drove across the bridge over the St. Claire River. The center of the bridge marked the border into Michigan.

 
 
The river was wide with marinas, a lighthouse, and a freighter that was headed to the Great Lakes or the St. Lawrence Seaway.

 
 
The border crossing was very busy.

 
 
Two agents walked along and between the cars with a bomb-sniffing dog as we waited in line to go through customs.

 
 
They stopped and spent quite awhile at a truck in the line next to ours. They opened the tailgate and the dog jumped inside. Then he crawled partially under the truck, but the driver was not detained. Everything must have checked out ok.

 
 
That could get your heart to pumping! The dog paused near our trailer for a minute, then moved on, and my heart skipped a beat! Yikes! We sat in line for 10 minutes before it was our turn, but we were in and out in no time and on our way. So much for doing a thorough job. I guess there’s more important things to worry about than 2 old people, their little weiner dog, and a few veggies. Traffic picked up in Michigan near Flint and the 4 lane highway was quite busy. The outside temp rose to 82 degrees as the sun came out this afternoon. We drove 365 miles today in 7 hours and arrived at our campground, Loranger Pines Campground, in West Branch, Michigan at 2:10. We made good time. 

 
 
We checked in at the office and talked awhile with Lori, the owner. She gave us a dozen brown free-range eggs as a welcome gift. We set up camp and relaxed a little before dinner. 

 
 
Auggie was anxious to stretch his legs and check out the new smells. The campground was situated in a clearing of pine trees. Auggie sat outside all afternoon with his eyes to the pines. I think he was keeping a lookout for squirrels or any other sign of wildlife. We were only one of 12 other campers in the campground. It was a nice, quiet place. Bob cooked dinner on the grill and we watched some TV. Auggie and I took our evening walk as darkness fell. We turned in early. Tomorrow would be a shorter day so we won’t have to get up as early. That will be nice!

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