Finally the day had arrived when I’d start my adventures. Originally, the plan was to follow in the footsteps of other America overlanders and travel to the tip of the continent, in Deadhorse, Alaska, to begin my journey. Deadhorse is the northernmost town in the American continent that you can easily access, via car, if you want to reach the Arctic Ocean.
Unfortunately, the road to Deadhorse, the Dalton Highway, becomes fairly treacherous at the end of September/beginning of October, due to icy conditions. If attempted during the summertime, the drive is fairly enjoyable and easy to do even in a motorcycle. Because I was unable to start my trip at the time wanted, it meant having to wait until spring to begin. Right then, another idea occurred to me.
What if I could start my trip at the OTHER side of the continent? Since I’ve always wanted to visit Nova Scotia and the Cape Breton Island, the dice was cast. I’d have under two weeks, far too little time to see all I wanted to see, to go as far north as I could into Nova Scotia, before returning home to get ready for the second part of the trip. This trip also gave me the opportunity to test the vehicle out while still in known waters.
The plan required me to drive approximately 12 hours, to the Canadian border, from southeastern USA, in order to allow most of the time to be enjoyed at far more interesting places than those I’d be driving through. If you’ve never driven throughout the USA before, you might be surprised to know that, while one of the best-kept road systems in the world, it is for the most part, incredibly boring.
Highways, it seemed, were built to purposely direct traffic away from towns. This speeds up traffic flow considerably, but it also removes out of sight the small, interesting towns, often requiring a somewhat inconvenient detour away. While this doesn’t apply to all major routes, as there are beautiful scenic drives, I would not happen to be driving anywhere near one of them on my way to Canada.
I left early yesterday with the hopes of reaching Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, before nightfall. The drive was not really noteworthy, as expected, since I didn’t deviate from the main highway. A couple delays due to road accidents ahead slowed me down considerably. The only semi-interesting scenery were the tunnels going through the Appalachian mountains and some pretty-looking bridges.
The East River Mountain Tunnel (below) is split, almost down the middle, by the West Virginia/Virginia state line. It is only one of two vehicular tunnels in the US to have entry/exit points in different states.
More than 12 hours later, I’m almost there. I’m exhausted and want nothing more than to get out of the vehicle and stretch. Found the signs below interesting, since it listed cities in 3 states: Erie (Pennsylvania), Cleveland (Ohio), and Buffalo (New York).
After almost 15 hours of driving, I finally cross over into Canada. The border crossing is fairly uneventful and I quickly find the hotel I’ve booked, which is one street removed from the actual falls themselves. I decided to take a stroll, if only to stretch my legs and take a peek at the falls at night.
The picture doesn’t do it justice, since my point-and-shoot camera (a Sony DSC-W510 – not recommended) is not the greatest for taking night-time pictures. The falls are illuminated by gigantic light reflectors mounted on the Canadian side of the border. The section of the falls pictured below is actually located on the American side of the border.
I’m glad Mr. Boxy made it ok so far, which bode well for actually completing the rest of the trip. The plan is to explore the area around the falls and be in Toronto by night. For now, all I want to do is crash on the bed and get an early start tomorrow.