Sometimes life decides to present an opportunity to you that will change you. You may not know it at that moment, or even for a while after it has passed. But I grabbed an opportunity that forever changed me and made me, as I years later came to understand, a stronger and far more adventurous woman than I thought possible.
I agreed to go on a road trip to the USA. Sounds pretty standard, right? But there were a couple of things that made this trip different. First, I was going with pretty much a stranger ( a guy who I had met recently but didn’t really know) and I would be riding on the back of his Harley. In case I didn’t mention it, I had never been on the back of a motorcycle before. Riding on my husbands Harley as he proudly brought it out of our house ( yes I said house) down a narrow plank, roaring and purring and spewing exhaust throughout the house….that doesn’t quite count as a ride. It does count as “what the hell just happened”.
The time came to hit the road and I was ready….except for one thing….no passport. Never being one to let red tape stand in my way, I hopped (carefully) onto the back of the bike, and prepared for the ride of my life.
We had chosen to enter the USA through Sault Ste Marie as it was the closest border crossing to my home. In the long lineup of assorted vehicles my travel partner asked for my passport and I pretended to be looking for it. I was desparately thinking of the cost of returning home alone if I was denied entry and was kicked off of the iron house in shame. Wonder if they have Uber available?
When we finally reached the border crossing and my passport was requested by the Border Agent, I did the right thing… and calmly stated that I had left it at home. As a note , this was relatively accurate since my passport WAS actually at my home in my mailbox, having arrived in such a timely fashion….right after I left.
The Border Agent slowly scrutinized us and asked me if I was actually going to ride on the back of the bike all the way to San Antonio (which made me think this was perhaps something not usually done?). I nervously said yes and then he said to me the words that were music to my ears…”welcome to the United States, enjoy your ride”. It is at this point the bike was quickly put into gear and we rode. We laughed about me not having a passport…actually for me it was nervous laughter from the overdose of adrenalin coursing through every vein.
We drove for a few hours and finally came to our first stop for the night…..Waters, Michigan.
We found a cute motel, the Waters Inn. Log cabin feel, super clean and friendly owners. And conveniently across the road was The Keg. Nope, not the restaurant packed with local residents. It happened to be trivia night….American history trivia night. Thinking that having two Canadians on a team would not be an asset, we were chosen last….this caused me to regress to gym class when alas I was never first pick for any team…rightfully so as my skills lay in many things other than sports.
Well, to everyone’s surprise we answered the questions quickly and correctly. Our team won, Canada was cheered, and the free beers flowed. All in all it was a great evening and a start to a trip that sure did set the tone for the rest of the adventure. We said our good byes and went to the room at the Waters Inn for a good nights rest. Tomorrow we hit the road early, heading towards Kentucky.