Road Foodie

Some people drive simply to arrive.

I Become Intimate with Lake-Effect Snow

Posted By on December 24, 2008

Stella has no trouble relaxing.

Stella has no trouble relaxing.


12.22: Niagara Falls to Toledo, 320 miles. 3 states: New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

Stella and I would like to lie around the 21st-floor room and take another jacuzzi, then read by the fireplace, but C is worried about road conditions on the way to Toledo, so we are up and into the icy car by 9:30am. Getting back into the USA presents a few minutes of unpleasantness, due only to the supercilious self-importance of the small-minded civil servant manning the immigration post on the US side of the Rainbow Bridge. He knows the regulation that a passport actually be current does not begin until June, but wants to force us to A. squirm, and B. leave the window open long enough to thoroughly re-chill the car. So he toys with us just a little, like a cat with an injured mouse. Clearly, this Mr Immigration Dude is cut from a different cloth than my festive buddies of yesterday.

C begins driving, because the road looks like arctic tundra and the wind is starting to pick up. I am left to mourn the reality of last night’s supper, the first official sustenance of this roadtrip (car-snacks—smoked almonds, an exquisite upstate NY Macoun apple, and dried cranberries—don’t count). Though I always research creative, non-chain dining options for each night’s destination, conditions on the ground in Niagara Falls were not conducive to leaving the building we’d fought so hard, yesterday, to reach. So we headed down to the 13th floor to the “Fallsview” restaurant (“floor-to-ceiling windows! Views of the multi-colored falls!”) From our table, we could feast our eyes on the next door ferris wheel, gaudily lit, and the nine or twelve hulking Indian Casino-style buildings within our viewshed. Sadly, we could not feast on anything else. Oh yes, there was a large, sneeze-guarded buffet, well-stocked with faux crab, bacon bits, and the kind of olives I used to love to stick my fingers into when I was ten years old and haven’t eaten since. Not really Roadfoodie’s, um, thing. All three of us were jacuzzied and in bed by 8:19pm.

In short order, we begin to see cars and trucks not only spun out by the side of the road and in the median, but actually in the acts of spinning out. The windshield fluid issue has now become more about survival than simple irritation, so we de-road in Lackawanna and look for a friendly gas station. In fact, co-gassing next to a nice north-country-rugged kind of guy, we mention our little problem. He takes one look under the hood and pronounces that the line was pinched, and releases it. Suddenly, we have spray! C is muttering darkly to himself, something to the effect that he should have caught this. I am busy appreciating his artistic side. No man can be all things and, given the choice, how long would I last with a Mr North-Country? Would such a guy tolerate my 1000 cookbooks, my love of traveling, (my two ex-husbands)?

In the end, I never drive today, because it is waaay too scary out there. My own supremely capable guy spends a harrowing 7 1/2 hours driving 320 miles. By the time we arrive safely at his sister Nancy’s festively-lit, cosy and lovely new home, he is very, very tired. Stella, although she did nothing but ride, also seems exhausted. She makes herself right at home.

Now we will stop for a few days, raise more than a few glasses and forks, eat and cook and laugh, open presents, sit by the fire, and toast to a new president and a new season of hope. Whew.

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