Day 3

Michigan and Canada (I don’t recall the date)

We woke to the sound of a discussion between Dustin and his mother. She was quite familiar with random people occupying their many bunk beds. Dustin described his parents as arborists. I’m not entirely sure what that means. Something about trees I’d guess. Arbor Day is probably similar to Christmas…maybe without the part where you kill a random pine tree and put it in your living room until it’s totally brown and dead. Then your wife yells at you to quit watching the football game and take the damn thing out to the trash. “At half time,” you respond and it stays there for yet another week. When is Arbor Day anyway?

It was 9:45 AM and Dustin needed to be at work by 10:00. He would be late. No time for brushing teeth or a morning grind. We hopped in the Volvo, sleep still in our eyes and sped off yet again. Dustin dropped us off at the airport, said goodbye, drove to work and got fired. He returned to sit with us as we went through an abbreviated version of our morning routines in the public restrooms provided. This would not be a good day for him but he still managed to maintain an ere of enthusiasm. My most disappointing moment was the discovery of a new girl working behind the desk. Still quite cute but not the angel that we’d met the day before. Her name and photograph I did get, however. Though it doesn’t make up for my previous mistake-letting the angel go.

We left for Holland, Michigan, a happy town on the coast line of Lake Michigan. There we were greeted by another of Shawn’s college friends, a beautiful brunette named Karlie. Her and her friend Sara had been laying by the pool for most of the morning awaiting our arrival. A major dilemma presented itself as Karlie enthusiastically spoke of our plans over the course of the next two days. She was not aware of our intention to stay for mere hours. Her smile and bikini were almost enough to make us do whatever she said however. Pat and my desire to get to Niagara Falls and New York City on time coupled by the fact that Karlie is only 19 and has a passion for her boyfriend kept us on track. But first we would lie in the sun for two hours to recharge our tans and stare at Karlie, Sara and Morgan, another of Karlie’s gorgeous friends who showed up a moment after we arrived. We finished off the extravaganza with a barbeque of freshly caught salmon. Karlie’s Father was preparing for a fishing tournament the next day and brought a fresh catch home for us to feast on. Holy shit it was good. Pat got the recipe.

Eventually Pat and I managed to drag Shawn to the airport (kicking and screaming) where we spent the next hour playing with ideas about what to do. We decided to go to Niagara Falls where we would spend the night in a local hotel and drink our faces off in several locations on the Canadian side of the border. Canada’s version of Tijuana would allow the twenty year old Shawn to get his fill of whatever distilled spirits we threw at him. On our way over the border we stopped, awe struck, to look at the wonder of the falls illuminated by colored lights from across the river. Our discussion with the Canadian border agent was brief and then we hoofed it to one of the more interesting clubs on the strip. After a few libations, Shawn and I hit the dance floor while Pat took his usual stance in the shadows of the darkest corner. I used my typical strategy to meet any of the young ladies around us by shoving Shawn into attractive girls and stepping in after he had initiated a conversation. Yes, I’m a child. We were fortunate enough to meet 3 college coeds who were sophomores at Syracuse, Libbie, Jessica, and Mistie. We danced and laughed with them until the bar closed and then attempted to continue the evening once we got outside. Much to our disappointment, they had three other girls waiting for them outside the bar. Normally that’s not a bad thing but these three were not nearly as enamored with us. Our drunken smiles were no match for bored roommates who wanted nothing to do with us. We made our way back to the border, tails tucked between our legs only stopping briefly to drown our sorrow in Wendi’s hamburgers. Damn roommates! I can’t tell you how many times the tired, neglected roommate has cut my night short. Strange how that works. I can’t think of one time that my male friend’s have forced me to cut my night short. Mostly because I’m perfectly willing to go alone if necessary. I think Cindy Lauper was wrong…only fun girls want to have fun.

Amazing how much longer the walk back can be if you’ve been let down. Of course Canada charged us fifty cents of their money (which we didn’t have) to cross the bridge. After fifteen minutes of fighting with the coin machine, we attempted to do it ghetto style-not a good idea. Apparently, we weren’t the first to try such a stunt and a skinny Canadian official with a bad mustache came after us. Fortunately, another frustrated American paid for us before any real trouble started. The 35 questions shot at us by US Customs didn’t help either. It didn’t really matter–we got the hell back where we belong.