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Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada - 06/29/2011

Published at 9:14 PM in , ,

Today started out kind of rough.  Jim really isn't feeling well.  I think it's a combination of the frigid temperatures and rain, maybe with a hint of kidney stones.  The rain is really hard on his joints.  So for the beginning of the day, we just hung out in the RV.  Jim really needed to rest, and although he really didn't want to, he acknowledged that was what was best.  So the kids and I watched movies, played online, cleaned up a bit, and relaxed.  I spent time taking care of my sweet hubby, of course!


This way to Canada!


Late in the afternoon, Jim started feeling a little stronger, and really wanted to get out of the RV and get a change of scenery.  So we all got ready to go and headed for the International Bridge to Canada!  This was no easy task with all of the road construction, but nevertheless, we did make it.  The kids were really excited, but they worried about leaving Sam in 'another country' while we were in Canada.  I told them that even though it was 'another country,' in reality we were only about thirty minutes away from him, and he would be okay.


He really was nice!


Once we made it through the construction zones and onto the bridge, the toll plaza was our first stop.  It was a $3 toll, which wasn't bad, especially compared to the other tolls we've paid along the way.  The toll booth operator was friendly and had a great personality.


Here we go!



The St. Mary's River



Passing into Canada



The drive over the International Bridge was great.  Breathtaking views of the St. Mary's River and both countries, although the Soo cities are fairly industrialized at the river. 



Welcome to Sault Ste Marie, Ontario


It was kind of exciting as we were driving close to Canadian customs.  We drove up, and the customs agent made it clear we could NOT take a picture of him, but that we were free to photograph anything else.  He was completely serious, too.  However, by the time he said that, Jim had already taken a picture of him without the flash.



Canadian Customs Agent



Jim and I always joke with each other, "What's your business in Canada?" It's a line from "That 70s Show."  But really, the customs agent wanted to know.  Why were we there, where were we going, who we were meeting, when were we leaving, where were we staying in Michigan, and various other questions.  I was kind of surprised at how serious and thorough he really was.  Once his questioning was done, he was friendly and gave us some recommendations for great restaurants.




Currency Exchange at the Visitor's Center



Our first stop in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, was the visitor's center.  They had great maps and knew where to send us for Canadian souvenirs.  We also decided to go ahead and exchange our US dollars to Canadian dollars.  We headed further into the city of Sault Ste Marie.  It was really neat to see the Canadian versions of things we have here in the US.  All of the fast food restaurant signs had a Canadian maple leaf added to them.  Center was spelled Centre.  Even McDonald's cups - instead of English and Spanish, the writing was in English and French.  Kilometers instead of miles.  Little things fascinated us.  It's okay, we don't get out much (kidding!).



CJ's Restaurant



Our hand-made pizza!


We went to a little shopping center called Frontier Village.  There were several stores and restaurants here.  The Totem Pole and The Trading Post were a couple of the stores, and Frenchie's Fries and CJ's were restaurants.  The Totem Pole had very earthy, woodsy kind of things.  They had MANY animal pelts in there.  Some were made into things and some were just wall or floor decorations.  There was a fox that Rachael and I thought looked like a purse.  There was a totally creepy wolf, too.  We didn't stay in there too long.  We ate a CJ's. They had freshly made pizzas, subs, burgers, and shrimp, so this made everyone happy.  The two employees here were very friendly.  They told us they actually don't get many Americans in their restaurant, usually just locals.  The food was fabulous!



This way to the USA!




After some souvenir shopping, we were ready to head back into Michigan.  I must say, the signs were very clear and helpful in navigating the one-way streets back to the bridge.  It was nice to see the signs that said "To USA" with an arrow.  We know we weren't all that far, but it was still great to see it.



Headed home!



We got onto the bridge towards the USA.  It was just as pretty at dusk as it had been earlier, and at this time of day, the bridge was lit up, too.  The line at US customs was longer than the Canadian one had been.  By this point, I wasn't AS surprised, but the US border agent was just as thorough, if not more so, in asking what our business in the US was, and what had we been doing in Canada.  If I gave a simple answer, he wanted more details.  It wasn't a big deal, though, and we were done in no time.


Funny how it says "Closed"



It was an adventure for us, especially the kids.  They acted SO relieved to be in their home country again! You would have thought we had been around the world!  But their excitement and awe made it all the more fun.

There are a TON of pictures in the Photo Gallery this time (well, more than usual).  We took progressive pictures on the bridge in both directions.  My dad seems to be very interested in us driving across bridges, so we took a lot of pictures for him.  Also, you'll notice Michael's nose picking pictures in there.  He didn't really have a chance for anything yesterday, so he made up for it today.  Silly kid!

We hope you are enjoying following our travels! We certainly are!

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