Friday, September 19, 2008

The Trip to Fort Wayne

The sun set while driving to Fort Wayne, IN

The trip to Fort Wayne started in the early morning. Around 8:30am Lydia drove by to pick me up on her way home. She works in Toronto but lives in Hamilton. It worked out well as I had to go to Hamilton to get a ride to Fort Wayne.

The idea was to arrive in Hamilton, get breakfast, then spend a few hours at the Pheasant Plucker and wait for my 1pm ride with Cheese and Miss Carriage to Fort Wayne. Cheese drives a Toyota Yaris which is great on gas but to fit four of us, Eduskate was added later on, with all our gear was not really ideal... at least without piling a bunch of stuff on the roof. So I opted to go with Trevor who was driving down to Fort Wayne by himself. More leg room and trunk space for all my camera stuff. The only thing was that we wouldn't be leaving until Trevor got home from work (6:00pm). This meant spending the day in Hamilton. There could be worse things to do.

Once we were in Hamilton I had breakfast with Lydia, Melanie and Laine at Steve's Open Kitchen. After that Laine and I made our way over to the Plucker to have more food and drinks. It was going to be a 7 hour wait. Laine looked like he needed sleep in a bad way. His eyes were blood shot. Around 11:30 he wondered off to do some errands. He didn't return until about 2pm. I just figured he went home to get some sleep.

While sitting by myself, in the corner of the patio, in a place that got no sun (it was a bit chilly), I nodded off for a bit clutching my camera gear. When I came to noticed a bunch of people with notepads looking at the pub and scribbling stuff. Building inspectors? No they looked too young. Art students? not artsie enough. I took out my camera and took a few photos of them. It seemed to scare off some of them off but the remaining few kept going about their business taking notes or whatever they were doing with their pads of paper. It was pretty surreal.

When Laine eventually returned he looked a lot more awake. We stashed my photo gear in the basement of the Plucker and headed out to Jackson Square, one of Hamilton's depressing malls as there's really no large anchor stores (like the Bay) that are located in there. It was a good place to kill some time before meeting Trevor at the Plucker. We ended up visiting the dollar store, a Radio Shack (now called the Source) and some other small magazine/book stores.

By 6:30 Trevor was at the Plucker and we left for Fort Wayne by 7:00pm. The hilight of the trip, if you want to call it that, was getting pulled over at the border. They say it's totally random but I somehow doubt it. I think we were profiled in some way. Perhaps it was because we were two males crossing the border late at night? The passport check took a while and the border guard told us the computer was down so everything had to be checked by phone.

While waiting for our passports to clear we could hear giggling from the lane next to us. It was Jett, Perky, Dicey, and Carla (a few hammer city roller girls) signing autographs for the border guy next to us. Their car zoomed off and I swear I could still hear giggling. Meanwhile we were told to go visit the border office as something didn't check out with the guard's computer call.

After parking in the appointed parking place pointed to by another border guard we entered the government office and got into a line. The lighting and drab surroundings were pretty depressing. I would hate to work as a border guard.

Despite this the guy behind the desk seemed nice enough in a detached kind of way. Trevor was trying to be friendly with a odd funny quip here and there. The guard made no response of being entertained or even being amused slightly. "Why are you going to the US?", "What do you do for a line of work?", "Where are you coming from?", "Where do you live?" was his dead pan reply.

Eventually we were given forms to fill out kind of resembling the forms you have to fill out on a plane when coming back in to the country. We were then asked if there was any money in the car. I had left my american money in my camera bag in the car, so I said "Yes". This puzzled me a bit. I was then escorted out to the car to get my money. Back in the office we were told that our car would be searched. I have a few thousand dollars worth of camera gear in the car why did I only get to take my money equalling maybe $80?

Especially after customs had dropped my lens on my way back from Heathrow I was a bit worried. They worked on going through our car for a few minutes but it felt like hours. I could imagine a big guy with sausage fingers saying "oops" after hearing a piece of glass shattering. I think I started to look pale.

Despite my worries, the guards finished with the car and allowed us to leave. The whole experience took about half an hour and all my gear was fine. The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful with maybe the exception of getting pulled over for speeding in a 55 zone. The officer let Trevor off with a warning and we arrived in Fort Wayne around 2:00am.

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