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US Odyssey Part 1: Entering the States

Here begins the US Odyssey, in many parts, as there’s lots to share!

The first leg of the trip saw us leave Canada through Niagara after having breakfast with my friend Timur in Saint Catharines (he used to book at a venue I played at, and now runs the bookings for the Mansion House) at a little diner before crossing into the US.

photo by Shannon Lepere (www.shannonlepere.com)

Once across, we were in Buffalo, NY, and it was remarkable how many old abandoned factories there were. I wasn’t aware that Buffalo used to be such a place of industry before. The interstate is nice to drive on, although it took us a while to get used to the speed being in miles rather than kilometres. Thankfully, the GPS we have displays it for us in a large font, so we always know. The Garmin has been good, but then randomly decides to send you in tight circles over and over again. “Recalculating…Recalculating…when possible, make a U-turn”. Shut up, Jill. You, and your computer generated Australian accent.

Shannon hanging out at Dairy Queen

Back to driving. Now we’re motoring through Cincinnati at night, and the overhead displays that would normally say “traffic is slow at next intersection” or something similar, instead say “missing adult male – black caddillac – licence #_ _ _ _ _ “. I guess we’ll keep our eyes open for that particular car? It’s either really nice that they’re spreading the word about this particular missing person, or absolutely impressive if that’s the ONLY missing person in Cincinnati at that point in time. Nevermind, I doubt that!

Florence Y'all - taken with an iPhone

We got as far as Florence, Kentucky on our first night, so we slept there, waking up the next day to find the above particularly awesome sight. Apparently way back in the day they had plans for a large mall, so they put up a water tower that said “Florence Mall”, but funding fell through and the mall didn’t get the go-ahead so they changed it to read “Y’all” instead.

Then we headed to Waffle House for the first time, where we had a very funny set of experiences. First off, the staff were so unbelievably friendly and bubbly, they were even singing. They did an abridged version of ‘Whistle While You Work‘, while also referencing the Family Guy episode that revolves around “Surfin’ Bird“. There was a trucker sitting behind us, and he even commented, “this is strange, usually the people at Waffle House are angry and sad.” We then struck up conversation, and it turns out he’s from North Carolina, and criss-crosses the country, however he’s not willing to go to Canada for fear of getting stuck in a blizzard. We then got hints on different places to go for food, and his affinity for BBQ shone through in his recommendations. Now, we must find a Sunny’s BBQ, where we “best be bringing some napkins!”

photo by Shannon Lepere (www.shannonlepere.com)