The "Sole" claims to sport the world's largest inflatable blue crab (who measures these things?). True or not it is huge although far from attractive. One wonders whether a large number of people in the greater Worcester area choose their seafood restaurant based on the size of the inflatable sea creature on the roof.
Anyway, the really important thing is that we had a nice chat with family to catch up on all the latest news before leaving the Northeast, pretty much forever. After spending the night at Dick & Dorothy's house -- giving us a half-hour closer run to Grand Rapids -- we left about 9am Thursday.
Twenty minutes after leaving Douglas, Mass., while cruising up I-395 heading for the Mass Pike and I-90, we suddenly found ourselves having to scramble to find a Firestone Tire dealer (the one in Auburn is great by the way) to pull a nail out of our right rear tire.
Curiously, before we left Michigan on Sunday we had the very same thing happen but that was a screw in the left rear (tire). Our auburn stop convinced us then and there how great those Firestone folks can be. Otherwise our drives out and back were uneventful, enjoying reasonably moderate traffic, great weather and smooth border crossings.
|Cathy, Frank and Susan|
|Susan and Dorothy|
With our tire repaired we pushed straight over to I-90 and headed west for New York and pulled into our hotel in Ontario about 6pm.
Over the many years we've driven back and forth between New England and Michigan we had often thought about staying at Ramada Inn that you can easily see squeezed between the QEW roadway and the edge of Lake Ontario and also about having dinner at the nearby Lake Shore Inn, just up the road, and so we did. While certainly not dramatic or picturesque, the view from our very tired room was spectacular in its peacefulness.
After having a drink at the hotel's equally tired and rather unkept bar (but also overlooking the lake) we drove to the Lake Shore Inn for dinner. Originally built in 1867 as a farm, the Inn serves delicious food to the droves of people who were packed both inside and out on the patio. We had a lovely window overlooking the lake and enjoyed the coolness of being inside.
|blue crab cakes|
On our way back we stopped at the beached ship which we've wondered at for so many years (you can see the masts and a portion of the upper deck from the QEW). Apparently the Grand Hermine ("big weasel" -- the name of Jacques Cartier's largest exploring vessel) began it's life as a ferry near Montreal in the early part of the 20th century, and eventually became a replica of Cartier's ship, only to end up derelict and alone, it's owner having died before deciding what to to do with the thing.
A group of kids (it's always those pesky kids) apparently lit a fire on board to keep warm one winter day and burned off most of the wooden superstructure, leaving the rest to rust in peace, beached but visited often.
We were on the road bright and early the next morning and after a 20-minute wait at the US border we were in Grand Rapids by early Friday afternoon.
And then the fun began. . .