a TigerRAWk Film

Friday, August 3, 2018

Elphie And Joel Roadtrippin' 2017 (September 29th - October 15th, 2017)

***For further insight or information, take note that there are links included in this blog that you can follow to get other or more information on the places we visited and things we saw if you want to know more.***

In the fall of 2017, Elphie and I decided to go on a road trip. The discussion began in the summer when she asked if anyone was willing to travel with her to three states that she had yet to visit: Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. I expressed my interest and we worked it out to do this as a road trip. As things came together so did the idea of seeing the first sunrise on United States soil in Maine then making our return journey through Canada. Also, in the planning we figured out that we could visit Hell, Michigan on Friday the 13th of October which seemed pretty much perfect. Elphie did a lot of the planning of where to be and when. She plans...I tend to sort or wing things or figure things out as I go which can sometimes cause unnecessary stress. Anyway, she connected with punk and goth folks in the Northeast to figure out what kind of events might be taking place. She also found travel based websites of interesting and unusual places along the route. I worked to try to connect with friends along the way so that we could have places to stay without spending a lot. I also tried to make up for an anniversary gone awry by booking a hotel room with a hot tub then also found a hostel in Ottawa that was formerly a jail by using booking.com. My connections in the Boston area came up dry so we dove into the world of AirBnB which provided us two pleasant stays; one in Boston and the other in Montreal. Because we would be returning by way of Michigan, Elphie contacted the Jensen's about staying with them in Traverse City for a couple nights as well so we got to partake of their AirBnB space as well.

While there were some difficult moments in the planning of the trip due to misunderstanding and general lack of communication, the trip as a whole was near perfect. We had a rough day in Toronto but otherwise, it was a good trip. I will try to explain further as I break down each day of the trip as to what it is that we did or saw during those days.
The editing process began with an idea to use a map and set in motion the path of travel. I thought showing where we went would be a good introduction to the project. I have seen this done in movies and television shows so I knew there had to be a way to do this, I just needed to figure it out. I researched google to figure out how to make this idea a reality using the tools I have at my disposal with various editions of iMovie and Final Cut Pro and found a tutorial that was very helpful. I made maps of each day of travel as well. I overlayed these maps on footage of travelling from place to place. For the introduction map video, I later added in clips of photos highlighting each stop along the way. Since we traveled through French Canada, I thought having the title screens in French would be a fun addition. I used google translate to do this. The introduction soundtrack is Road Trippin' by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

I had an idea to "interrupt" the soundtrack with an additional clip before actually getting into the trip footage to explain a few things as well as give thank yous and acknowledgements to all who helped to make this trip possible. This was shot at the end of the editing process and changed to black and white at the request of Elphie. It was put in place with some text added in for clarity on some of the information for others who may want to make a similar trip or research the things seen in the footage.

Thank you Debbie for adding variety to our music options for the drive. Thank you Gale for watching Stein and our home and taking care of the water heater incident. Thank you Moses for also taking care of the water heater incident. Thank you to my parents for the place to stay to start this trip as well as getting the car tuned up. Thank you Shane and Kelly Smith and Church Radiant for the space to stay for our nights in Rochester, NY. Thank you, Boner, for opening your home to some strangers from Chicago on our way through Maine. Thank you Otto and Laura Jensen for allowing us to stay with you in your AirBnB space for a couple of days. Thank you to the Bawinkels for keeping the car we bought in great working order during the time that you owned it. It has treated us very well so far.

We had two very good experiences through AirBnB with Marie-Jose in Boston and Johanne in Montreal. Marie-Jose was from Montreal and she gave some tips on places to see while we were there along with a lot of good information on Boston for the days we would be there. She also provided us wonderful breakfasts and some "Canadian Ketchup" which was delicious...it was sort of like a salsa. Though there was a language barrier with Johanne, it was a nice place to sleep after a night in sleeping in the car and a lot of road time. We also had good hotel/hostel experiences through booking.com on a hostel in Ottawa which was a former jailhouse. We got a great breakfast and a tour the following morning after doing some exploring on our own the night of our stay. Though the internet was not working, the Baymont Inn in Howell, Michigan was another nice stay after another night sleeping in the car.

Informational websites that were helpful in finding things to do or see included AtlasObscura.com, OTIS, and these groups on facebook: New England Goth Community, Gothic Maine, Maine Punk, and Boston Area Goth/Industrial.

The soundtrack of the interrupting thank you/acknowledgement clip is Le Vainqueur by Starflyer 59.

Friday September 29th and Saturday September 30th, 2017
This is the beginning of our trip as we leave Chicago and leave Stein and our home in the care of Gale. We left after I returned from work on Friday evening. We had things mostly packed the night before so we did not take too long to get ready to go and we ate something quick at the house figuring on stopping along the way in Ohio of we got hungry again. We took the turnpike through Indiana and Ohio passing through the awful city of Cleveland and arrived in Warren, Pennsylvania around 5am. Though I was tired, I got up to help with the tuning up of the car which was changing out the oil and filter, the air filter, the spark plugs, and checking other fluids. We ensured we had the best set of tires we could and ended up also changing out the back brakes. Elphie went shopping with my mom during this time and found herself a Grumpy Care Bear onesie. After a nice pizza dinner, and looking up some spots to visit using AtlasObscura.com and some other travel based websites, I tried to go to bed early to make up for the lacking sleep of the previous night, and previous week really, so we could get going earlier in the day on Sunday October 1st but that did not seem to quite work out as I had hoped. I guess that's the price of winging it.

The soundtrack to this portion of the project is Road Trippin' by Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Sunday October 1st, 2017
We left Warren, Pennsylvania sometime around noon or 1pm. Because we had several things I had hoped to see and do, I had hoped to be on the road by like 10 or 11am but it did not work out that way. We took some back roads as we crossed into upstate New York and our first stop was a small town south of Buffalo called Eden to see a Kazoo Factory that we found on AtlasObscura.com that we would be passing along the way. It has a huge Kazoo on the roof and we faked that we were blowing on it. We also checked out some cool Halloween decorations on the neighboring properties then stopped in a graveyard as we left town to look at a pretty cool stone with the name Gomez which of course begged the question, "Where's Morticia?"

We continued to the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo where we found that Rick James was buried as well as President Millard Fillmore. There was also an architectural piece done by Frank Lloyd Wright called "Blue Sky Mausoleum" that we saw among other interesting things. Nearby was a plaque commemorating the spot where President William McKinley had been assassinated. We went into downtown with a couple things we wanted to see but really only saw the City Hall building used in Ghostbusters and Bruce Almighty.

We left downtown Buffalo for Niagara Falls to see the home of Prophet Isaiah and the Love Canal. It is called "Prophet Isaiah's Second Coming House" and is brightly painted with religious imagery as he believed he was to give people one last chance to turn to Jesus Christ who would be bringing in the apocalypse at Goat Island. He apparently does enjoy visitors but unfortunately, Prophet Isaiah was not home. There is more information about this online that we found but I am not recalling exactly what it is now so if you want to dig further, it's out there. If I planned better, we probably should have visited the Love Canal first as it was across town back from where we came but we drove by the area that is a containment zone due to toxic waste that fills the area. We crossed to the Canadian side and experienced detainment for quite a while. After being questioned and searched, we were finally free to see the Falls from the Canadian side as the sun was setting. We drove through Clifton Hill then illegally parked near a hotel with an overlook of the Falls where we could also see the old barge that has been stuck in the rapids for the last 99 years. Though I would have liked to have more time to see the Falls closer, we really had to get going to respect the time of Shane Smith who was putting us up in Rochester, NY for the next couple of nights. In our attempt to leave, I ended up getting on a highway going away from where we came into Canada due to detours so we re-entered the United States at Buffalo instead...being searched once again but for a considerable less amount of time.

We made a quick gas stop then continued through Town Line near Alden, New York which Atlas Obscura describes at the last hold out of the Confederacy. Apparently this town sided with the South for some reason in the Civil War and never officially was reconciled back into the Union until 1946. We arrived a bit later than we planned to Church Radiant where Shane was waiting for us to get us settled in. It was good to catch up with Shane for a little bit. Unfortunately Kelly had to go to Buffalo as we were coming in because she worked there throughout the week. It was essentially upscale squatting with electricity. It was a nice place to sleep for a couple of nights.

The soundtrack for this portion of the project is Road Trippin' by Red Hot Chili Peppers, SuperFreak by Rick James, and Waterfalls by TLC,

Monday October 2nd, 2017
We spent the day in Rochester, New York. We woke up around 11am I think then figured out some things to do before meeting up with Elphie's friend  for dinner. We drove to a cemetery for our first stop to find the grave of a suspect in the "Jack the Ripper" case and we did find it! In the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery lies Francis Temblety who was an "Indian Herbs Doctor" and a suspected "Jack The Ripper." From there we visited what is an industrial complex to see a large, strange structure called Threshold passing the Kodak plant along the way. While waiting for Elphie's friend Owen, we realized that Abel Brass Clinic containing "The Dr. Seussophone" was not too far away so we checked that out for a few moments. As we returned to meet with Owen we passed a law firm known as Murphy's Law. We got some garbage plates at Nick Tahou Hots. I went to use the restroom and there was a bit of a problem with the toilet. After dinner, we visited a goth club called Vertex that was not open at the time then went to Lux and hung out for a while. Before going to bed I made an account with AirBnB and we booked our stay in Boston...very last minute but it worked out.

The soundtrack for this portion of the project is Runnin' Down A Dream by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Tuesday October 3rd, 2017
This day was spent primarily on the road. We had to take the turnpike because any alternate routes would add four hours to our first destination in Vermont according to our GPS. As we were leaving, Shane arrived for office hours at his church so we talked and caught up with him for a bit before hitting the road. The leaves were not changing too much yet, probably due in part to the unseasonably warm weather, but we did see some color. We drove through some small towns once we got off the turnpike headed into Vermont.

Our destination in Vermont was an unusual set of gravestones that were once believed to be cursed by a vine. Due to its very rural location and a nearby cemetery also named for the town of Dummerston, we took some dirt roads to the wrong cemetery. While it was also quite old and interesting, we realized our mistake and discovered where it was we were intending to go so we made our way there, crossing a covered bridge along the way. We found the Spaulding family graves that were believed to be cursed by a vine growing through the plot. The belief was that when the vine would reach a coffin, another member of the Spaulding family would die. Eventually the vine was destroyed after several deaths and the last body buried was burnt for good measure I guess. It is now thought the cause of death of these folks was tuberculosis. While in Vermont, I had intended to get some maple syrup. Apparently we passed the last stand selling them early in our time in Vermont as I never saw another opportunity again prior to leaving the state.

After that little adventure, we headed east into New Hampshire with the goal of seeing another gravestone We headed to Milford to find the gravestone in the Elm Street Cemetery and it happened to be on the way to our next stop which was convenient. This one is noted as having a grudge. Apparently the husband of Caroline Cutter, the deceased person, etched into the gravestone his grievance against a local Baptist church who did him and his wife wrong. After this dusk visit to see this gravestone, we made our way to Manchester to meet an old friend, William James at the Airport Diner. It was good to meet up with him and catch up over dinner before heading to Boston and our AirBnB space. We spent a couple hours with William before heading out. It was nice that there were Speedways throughout the Northeast to get gas. We arrived at our AirBnB space around 10pm I believe and had difficulty with the door but we got in. Our host was Marie-Jose and she was real nice. She talked to us for a while before we settled in. We learned she was from Montreal so we were able to get information for our time we would be spending there later in the trip.

The soundtrack for this portion of the project is Runnin' Down A Dream by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, New York to Nowhere by MxPx, Go-Go To The Graveyard by The Deadlines, Kings Of New England by Gasoline Heart, Shipping Up To Boston by Dropkick Murphys.

Wednesday October 4th, 2017
This footage shows our commute through Boston to Cambridge where we found a Curious George store near Harvard. We walked around the Harvard campus. We saw the John Harvard statute that I found has an interesting story attached to it in that he did not found the university but it was renamed for him after donating his library, the date is inaccurate as to the school's founding, and the statue was made in the image of a student as there were no images of John Harvard to go off of. Elphie wanted to go into a class or otherwise interact more with the students or faculty but it did not work out that way. The buildings are secure so that only students or faculty can enter. We did go into a museum to use the restroom but really did not try to enter anything beyond that. We wanted to find an actual Harvard sign for a picture but we were unable to locate one. We wandered around the area for a bit, ate a snack, then took a mistaken detour where we found a graffiti alley called Modica Way. We walked some more then I realized I had misread the address so we returned, by the subway, to the neighborhood near Harvard to visit Armageddon Records before heading back toward downtown Boston leaving Cambridge behind.

Our first stop in Boston was to see Cheers. While Elphie used the restroom, the guy who was seating people at Cheers talked to me about the "Indian Summer" Boston was experiencing and how much he loved it. We took a break across the street in Boston Common where we watched geese and ducks. People were feeding them so we also fed some. One goose took liberties and snatched a bag from us. As we left Boston Common, we encountered a few squirrels including an albino near the Ether Monument. While making our way to the Green Line, Elphie spotted a Halloween store so we had to go in, of course. Once we finished with the Halloween store, we took the train to the North End and we walked to see the North Church where Paul Revere signaled that the British were coming. We realized that nearby was Copps Hill Burial Ground but it was closed so we were only able to peer in through the gates. It turned out that there was a "skinny" spite house just across the street built by a man post Civil War in a feud with his brother. We walked back down the hill to Quincy Market where we got a Boston Creme Pie and wandered around for a bit. We went into a shop that had Zoltan from Big in it. Quincy Market had a statue of Samuel Adams outside and from there we left to get on a train in a nearby station that was not so easy to find. I found that on the way back to our AirBnB, we would be passing near where an Edgar Allen Poe statue so we went to check that out. On the way back to the train station, we stopped in Emerson College and ate some cheese and fruit that was sitting out while I charged my phone. We walked by a strange little bear statue and frame around the entrance to an alley that looked like it was related to a theatre. We got back to our AirBnB and rested from our full day.

The soundtrack for this portion of the project is Shipping Up To Boston and Skindhead On The MBTA by Dropkick Murphys, Cheers Theme, and Tell Tale Heart by Grave Robber.
Thursday October 5th, 2017
We took a MBTA train into Boston which took us near TD Garden where the Boston Bruins and Celtics play. It also is the transport hub to get to outlying areas such as Salem which was our destination for the day. We purchased our tickets then had some time to kill so we wandered around the area and Elphie got a coffee. We arrived in Salem, Massachusetts early in the afternoon then we walked to a house that is listed as the Satanic Temple Headquarters. The building apparently doubles as an art gallery. Elphie wanted to check the place out...I chose to stay outside.

Afterwards, we walked back into town and through downtown Salem by way of Washington Street. We stopped at a plague marking the area where a building stood in which the Salem Witch Trials took place. We went into a location that hosts a goth club called Darq then went into Army Barracks surplus store. We turned down Essex Street and stopped by several shops along the way including Hex Old World Witchery, Harrison's Comics, Witch City Wicks, Moon Baby, and a couple other thrift store/consignment type shops. We continued down the street but decided to turn around at the First Church in Salem which sat next to the Witch House. On our way back, we saw a statue commemorating the television show, Bewitched. We continued down Essex Street to the old burial grounds where some of the condemned of the Witch Trials were buried along with other famous folks of Salem history. Nearby also stood a home of Nathanael Hawthorne, apparently.

We happened to be in town for the parade to mark the start of the Halloween season so Elphie and I found somewhere to sit at the corner of Hawthorne Boulevard and Derby Street. I got some video of the Nathanael Hawthorne statue as well as other odd things before the parade began. There is a lot of footage from the parade. After the parade ended, we went into an ice cream shop called Maria's Sweet Somethings. On our way back to the train station, I got some clips of the moon with the haze and cloud cover coming in as we left Salem.

The soundtrack for this portion of the project is Tell Tale Heart by Grave Robber, Here In Salem by Leper, and Salem's Suburbs by Project 86.

Friday October 6th, 2017
We left our Boston AirBnB in the morning. Thanks to Marie-Jose for the wonderful accomodations including tasty breakfasts every morning! As we left Boston, I modified our route out of town to pass by Fenway Park. We circled the ballpark then found our way onto a bridge to leave Boston. We found out later that the bridge, had an automatic toll so I was notified by mail to pay it. I think I would have rather tossed my change at a tollbooth than pay with an added processing fee but there was no discernible option to do so on this bridge. We crossed back into New Hampshire then into Maine as we made our way to our destination of Portland.

We made a stop at the rest area entering into Maine where we learned that along the way we could see Lenny the Milk Chocolate Moose and Libby, Cocoa, and Chips the Dark Chocolate Bears. So we did...after we stopped at a Hannaford's Supermarket because someone in the Maine Punk facebook group told Elphie she needed to shoplift liquor from a Hannaford. The question is, should you successfully shoplift the liquor...now what? The funny thing to me about Hannaford is that I know a real life person named Hannah Ford who lives in Boston. The Hannahford was near the town of Scarborough where LenLibby's Chocolates is located and the shop houses a large milk chocolate moose they call Lenny and a  dark chocolate bear they call Libby with her cubs Cocoa and Chips. We purchased some zombie themed hot chocolate packs and other interesting chocolates then continued on our way into Portland. We had hoped to visit the Cryptozoology Museum but we were too late arriving. We did see a Bigfoot carving outside of it.

We were going to a goth night in Portland so we ended up with some time to kill before it started. I looked up cemeteries since that became a theme of the trip and found Old Settler's Cemetery in South Portland. It was not easy to find nor easy to access but we did find and access it. We had to park in a community college and walk...hoping the car would not be towed or ticketed. The cemetery was on the Atlantic Ocean. We hung around there until the sun set getting a lot of cool pictures and video. I became tired so we drove back into Portland and pulled over while I took a little nap before we went to Aura for Plague - a goth event Elphie found through the Gothic Maine Facebook group. Elphie connected with Amy Black who runs the event. We ended up meeting her in person on our next journey in Germany. We enjoyed our visit to Plague and stayed through the whole night. Afterwards we got slices of pizza at Otto with Boner who welcomed us Chicago strangers into his home for the night. Thanks, Boner!

The soundtrack for this portion of the project is Here In Salem by Leper, Tessie by Dropkick Murphys, Gray Cars by Insomniac Folklore, and Behind The Wheel by Depeche Mode.

***due to "copyright" issues go to this link to view this video:
Saturday October 7th, 2017
We left Boner's house outside Portland, Maine before noon and headed north towards Bangor. We experienced some more roundabouts as was typical throughout this trip. On our way, we stopped at the Penobscot Bridge and Observatory which is the first structure of its kind in the United States. We did not go into the observatory but checked it out from the ground at the base of a previous bridge that this one replaced.

In Bangor, our first stop was Stephen King's house which seemed to be a very popular tourist attraction. Elphie actually emailed Stephen King to see if there was a possibility of staying at his house but was told he would be out of town when we were there. I guess that seems like it was a possibility to actually stay, ha! We talked with a guy from California who said he comes out every fall to visit Bangor. He hopes to one day get Stephen King to autograph a book he was carrying. The house was pretty cool and seemed open. Stephen King apparently takes regular jogs around the neighborhood so he seems like he would be a fairly normal guy despite his fame. We hung around a bit then decided we wanted to visit the Pet Sematary filming locations. First, we stopped by a Paul Bunyan statue that was not too far from Stephen King's house and makes an appearance in "It." . Then we went to Mount Hope Cemetery to check out locations where Pet Sematary was filmed. In the cemetery scene, Stephen King makes a cameo. We think we found the basic area but did not find the grave stone menstioned by Atlas Obscura. It was getting dark so we drove to Hancock, Maine to see the house that the family lived that was used in the film. It still looked the same. Unfortunately, we arrived after dark so we just pulled into the driveway allowing our car lights to illuminate the house so we could see it.

Our next destination was to find dinner. We wanted lobster of course, being in Maine so that was what I wanted to try to find but quickly as we were getting hungry. I noticed before we turned to visit the Pet Sematary house that there was a restaurant named The Galley By The Bridge and I figured it likely would have lobster so we tried that and thankfully I was correct and the restaurant was open! Elphie and I each got a couple of lobster rolls as well as lobster mash potatoes. They were wonderful! It was nice to sit down and eat as we had been driving all day. We finished the night driving a couple more hours to West Quoddy Head Lighthouse which is the east point of the United States in hopes to see the sun rise reach the first place of the country in the morning. We slept this night in our car, hoping to not have any trouble from local law enforcement because it seemed it might not be legal to park there overnight.

The soundtrack for this portion of the project is Behind The Wheel by Depeche Mode, Pet Sematary and Sheena Is A Punk Rocker by Ramones, and Sleep In Your Car by Insomniac Folklore.

Sunday October 8th, 2017
We woke up around 6am at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in hopes to see the sunrise but things were not looking good in that regard...there was significant cloud and/or fog covering the area with light rain or mist. I switched my camera lenses to capture at a longer distance to see what we could see. I also put my wide lens on as well. After a stop at the outhouse style restroom, we headed over to the lighthouse where a handful of other folks awaited this cloudy sunrise. Sure enough, at 6:35am when the sunrise was officially expected to occur, we still could not see the sun...just the effects of the sun as the sky became brighter. We also could hardly see the ocean though we could hear the waves. I think we hung around for another 30 minutes or so beyond the sunrise in hopes of a small break in the cloud cover but we did not get that lucky...it is too bad the nice weather we experienced during the first week of our trip could not hold out another day but even so, it was a cool experience.

We left to begin a long day of driving. We headed to St. Stephens, New Brunswick so that we could enter Canada and we were once again detained at the border while our car was searched. While we waited, we found out that we had entered a new timezone as well. Once we were free to enter Canada, I had to adjust to driving by kilometers/hour which was a bit slower than I am used to, however, my GPS converted the speed limits to miles/hour for me making the adjustment a bit easier. As we traveled north and slightly west through New Brunswick, we made a few stops along the way at Tim Hortons for coffee and restroom breaks. The gas pumps (which are by the litre in Canada which was another mindset adjustment) accepted my debit card so I thought that to be a good thing & I would not need to worry about doing a currency exchange. As those charges showed up in my bank account I learned there was a charge for using the card internationally but by then it was too late. It was good information for future trips though.

During one of our Tim Hortons stops, we accessed Atlas Obscura to see what interesting things might be along our route. We found that the longest covered bridge called the Hartland Bridge would not take us too far out of the way so we checked that out. It was a one lane bridge so crossing it required allowance for one side to cross before the other. We ended up crossing it back and forth before resuming our drive. As we continued our drive, we hoped to see some moose as there were signs all along the highway warning of their presence. Unfortunately, we did not see any moose as we traveled through a very rainy New Brunswick.

As we crossed into Quebec, the rain let up and we finally saw sunlight around eight hours or so after the sunrise making for a beautiful drive the rest of the way. Somewhere along the way there was a town with a funny name called Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! that we passed. We did not visit the town but we took the exit to get a better look a the road sign. As we continued our drive, Elphie tried to remember what she had learned of the French language as the realization came that we might not be able to communicate well with the AirBnB we had reserved in Montreal. We stopped to eat some of our canned goods at a rest stop before continuing into Quebec City. We drove around it a bit, stopped at a McDonald's to use wifi to contact our AirBnB about our estimated time of arrival, fueled up, then visited the nearby Cimetiere Belmont to meet our graveyard quota. It was a pretty cool cemetery but we did not have a lot of time as it was getting dark and we still had a couple hours of driving to get to Montreal. We noticed here as well as in Montreal that cemeteries seem more orderly in the burials while still being crowded than in the old cemeteries in the United States.

We left Quebec City for Montreal as the sun set. Our AirBnB was actually in Brossard which sits to the southeast of Montreal. We arrived and as feared, our host Johanna spoke very little English and Elphie and I spoke very little French but we were able to figure out the things we needed to know for our stay the next two nights. Like in Boston, we had a cat to visit with at this AirBnB. I feel we were able to get some good sleep. The next day was Canada's Thanksgiving. There was thought of trying to connect with someone to take us in for the holiday, perhaps our AirBnB host but the language barrier probably prevented that.

The soundtrack for this portion of the project is Sleep In Your Car by Insomniac Folklore, Oh Canada by Five Iron Frenzy, and Ghost In The Graveyard by Ghoti Hook.

Monday October 9th, 2017
We started our day in Montreal on Canada's Thanksgiving sort of slow. It was a very rainy morning and as we drove across the river into Montreal we really could not see much of the city. We made our first stop to be the Cimetiere in Mont-Royal and drove around in that for quite a while before going to Old Montreal where we saw the Notre Dame Basilica. Seeing the pictures, I wish we would have had the opportunity to go inside. We drove through cobblestone roads of the old part of the city until we ended up in a factory district. Next we went by Habitat 67 which was an architectural experiment and housed workers of the Expos '67. There is also a standing wave near this site but I was unable to see it from the car as we drove to the Biosphere which was part of the aforementioned Expo '67. We were able to park momentarily to get out and look at this structure before we headed off to another corner of Montreal. We drove by an amusement park and across a very tall bridge back into Montreal. As we crossed that bridge, I noticed what I assumed was the Olympic stadium off in the distance. I set that as the destination in my GPS and drove over to it and my assumption was correct. I am familiar with this stadium because the Montreal Expos played baseball in it and there were some structural issues with the roof causing some games to be relocated during one season before the team itself relocated. We circled around the area then drove by a Maurice 'Rocket' Richard statue then through the city to the Bell Centre where the Montreal Canadiens play hockey. It appeared there may have been a game on this evening but we had plans to meet with Elphie's friend, Tina, at Juliette et Chocolat. But first, we had to figure out how to get there so we stopped in a McDonald's for a restroom break and to make contact using the wifi. Once we got the information on where to go, we made our way to the restaurant and got some delicious crepes. Mine was chocolate...I also got a very rich, chocolate drink...it might have been a bit too much, ha! We hung out there for a while as Elphie and Tina caught up then we offered Tina a ride home and as we took her home, she suggested checking out Oratoire Saint Joseph which was nearby. The fog made for a cool affect in our pictures. I realized we were near where we started out day so after dropping Tina off, we drove back up Mont-Royal to an overlook of the city. I parked the car near the cemetery entrance and as Elphie waited, I took a walk to another overlook as well which was over the more modern downtown Montreal. I also found my way to an illuminated cross before returning to the car where Elphie had wondered what happened to me since I was gone a bit longer than either of us would have anticipated. We left the Mont-Royal and returned to Brossard to our AirBnB while being able to actually see the Montreal skyline as we drove this time.

The soundtrack for this portion of the project is Ghost In The Graveyard by Ghoti Hook, Ghost And The Grave by Quiet Science, Le Vainqueur by Starflyer 59, and Strange Town by Neon Horse.

Tuesday October 10th, 2017
We left our AirBnB in Brossard in the later morning. It was a clear day so as we left and passed by Montreal, we had a good view of the city and skyline clearly. The drive was relatively short through the western part of Quebec. Ottawa is on a river that divides Quebec from Ontario. During a gas stop I realized we had a little time available to try to find a mine that looked interesting on Atlas Obscura so we found a McDonald's again to access wifi and figure out as close as we could where get to go to the Wallingford-Back Mine. It turned out we ended up having to take a ferry across the St. Lawrence that cost $10 Canadian so that was interesting and unexpected. The ferry operators spoke French as well. After this, we took to a dirt road up a hill. This was a drive like I was used to with my Pennsylvania upbringing but it began to concern Elphie. As we reached a steep hill that had a truck driving up, we pulled to the side to let the truck through and the driver motioned for me to roll down the window. I assumed he would be speaking French and was not sure how I would communicate but it turned out he spoke English and said "the mine is closed, eh" which seemed to be a question to me. I responded that I did not know and he said "well I do, eh, it's closed and it looked like hell. But good for us, eh" so we thanked him and turned around to leave.

We headed into Ontario to go to the hostel which had been a jail. As we entered we passed Maman, a large spider sculpture by the national gallery. We got checked in and found our room which was on a floor that had been the jail hospital and women and children's cells. We checked things out around the hostel for a bit then we drove out to Beechwood Cemetery which is Canada's National Cemetery to meet out quota. We drove around in there for a while then returned to the hostel to park the car then go find dinner. We went to Smoke's Poutinerie to experience this Canadian dish. I really enjoyed it but Elphie was not a fan. We walked around Ottawa for a few hours, watching some skateboarding and checking out various shops. We walked up near where the Parliament building is and as it turned out, we were next to Chateau Laurier along the canal. Apparently the man who commissioned this hotel to be built died on the Titanic as he was returning to Canada to attend the grand opening. We returned to our room in the hostel and got some sleep and would be given a more official tour of the Jail Hostel in the morning.

The soundtrack for this portion of the project is Strange Town by Neon Horse, Prison Sex by Tool, Lonely Grave by Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster, and In The Jailhouse Now by The Soggy Bottom Boys.

Wednesday October 11th, 2017
In the morning, we woke for breakfast and to check out. The person who runs the Ottawa Jail Hostel came up to us because I was wearing my Mario Lemieux Pittsburgh Penguins hockey jersey and talked with us for a while. He gave us some information on the place and his role with it. After I loaded our stuff back into the car, we were given a tour of the Jail Hostel where we learned about the conditions in which those imprisoned had to endure as well as about some famous folks who did time in the jail including some who were executed in the gallows of the jail (and some just in the stairwell using a beam as an unofficial gallows). It was an interesting tour and I enjoyed learning more about the place we got to stay. As we left, I drove by Canada's Parliament building then accidently re-entered Quebec into Gatinaeu, where we passed another statue of Maurice 'Rocket' Richard before leaving to the south. We also passed the Canadian Tire Centre in the suburb called Kanata where the Ottawa Senators play.

As we made our way toward Toronto, we would get occasional glimpses of Lake Ontario. This was a fairly long drive and we did not arrive in Toronto until around dinner time and rush hour. We eventually made it into the city and the first thing we went by was the Hockey Hall of Fame then by the Air Canada Centre where the Toronto Maple Leafs play hockey. Next we drove to the Rogers Centre formerly known as the Sky Dome where the Toronto Blue Jays play and next door is the CN Tower. From here we tried to make plans to see several odd things throughout the city but struggled a bit with finding these things. As we departed, we happened to go by the Chinese Railroad Workers Memorial. We did find the Half House but on our way to find a Little House, we needed to stop for dinner. This set off some difficulties the rest of the evening between Elphie and I but it was thankfully resolved before we officially left Toronto. We decided on Subway. After dinner I drove some more trying to find this Little House (and it is even blurred out of Google Maps Street View) but eventually I gave up as tension was building. The information I had saved was not helpful in locating it so I drove by Casa Loma instead which was illuminated and appeared to be used as a Haunted House on this particular evening. Next we drove by a large rock called the Yorkville Rock. Here, I mistakenly drove myself into a bind trying to get a better look at it and had to back my way out to the road again. At this point, I managed to drive by two final odd spots, the Cube House and Leslieville's Crazy Doll House before taking Elphie to a Starbucks where we rested a while and erase the tension. Really, we should have planned a day in Toronto if we wanted to see these things instead of driving around the city after driving for so long during the day. I got too ambitious. We ended our daily cemeteries quota that we had going on this trip as well. We eventually left Starbucks and headed west toward where we planned to re-enter the United States by way of Michigan near a town called Sarnia in Ontario. I think we drove for about two more hours until we found a truck stop to sleep at for the night and we set up camp in our car for the second time of this road trip.

The soundtrack for this portion of the project is In The Jailhouse Now by The Soggy Bottom Boys, Rally-O by Dingees, and Jesus Keep Us Safe From The Cops by Destroy Nate Allen.

Thursday October 12th, 2017
We woke to a lot of birds flying around the parking lot where we slept somewhere in Ontario just east of the border with the United States. After Elphie got some food at the Subway in the truck stop, we encountered a Canadian who looked a bit like Elvis. We had a short drive to the Canadian/United States border at the town of Sarnia and we slowly, along with all the other traffic, crossed the Saint Clair River back to the United States into Michigan. We had no issues with customs and border control upon our return. Perhaps informing the guard that though I live in Chicago, my car is registered in Pennsylvania was helpful in this matter. We stopped at a rest area as we entered into the country in Michigan. We continued on our way to the town of Howell where we booked a room at the Baymont Inn and Suites. We enjoyed the indoor pool for a while as well as the in room hot tub and got some much needed rest in a bed. The next day we would go to Hell.

The soundtrack for this portion of the project is Jesus Keep Us Safe From The Cops by Destroy Nate Allen.

Friday October 13th, 2017
We woke up on this Friday the 13th of October with our destination of Hell, Michigan. We gathered our stuff to check out of the hotel then stopped at Arby's for lunch as we drove the Highway to Hell and drove right through it before parking the car in the middle of "midtown" (there are three buildings...uptown, midtown, and downtown). We checked out the various things in the parking lot and around the buildings before going into the gift shop where Elphie inquired about how to be mayor for the day and we got a lot more information than we asked for on the subject as well as on Hell, Michigan itself. We decided to play golf first then get ice cream later. While we played our golf game, we received a call that our kitchen was being flooded. It turned out that one of the water heaters was malfunctioning and thankfully that was able to be resolved before our golf game finished (and it did not interfere with any other golfers, ha!). Elphie ended up winning this time. We returned the golf equipment and got our ice cream while we wandered the grounds some more, finding a fun little cut out to get our picture in as well as the chapel and love locks. We then encountered Creepy Clyde as he played his tunes in the parking lot and Elphie told him about our water heater situation and the loss of our Meijer brand macaroni. We stopped in the Hell Hole Bar for a few moments before we left Hell.

I tried to make a stop at a Pet Cemetery but the place was mislabeled on my GPS and turned out to only be a place for pet cremation...no cemetery in sight. We had also considered driving to a Desiring Dead Flesh show in Detroit but figured it might be too much with the remaining drive to Traverse City and we may possibly run late anyway to the show and miss Desiring Dead Flesh. I texted Bryan to let him know we'd not be making it then set our destination for Traverse City and drove for the next few hours through the mitten of Michigan. We spent the our nights in Traverse City with the Jensen's in their AirBnB space.

The soundtrack for this portion of the project is Jesus Keep Us Safe From The Cops by Destroy Nate Allen, Highway To Hell and Hell's Bells by AC/DC, Straight To Hell by Grave Robber, Hell Is For Children by Pat Benatar, and Hell To Pay by October Bird Of Death.

Saturday October 14th, 2017
We woke up to a rainy Saturday in Traverse City. Otto's brother Erik came to the house to visit before he had to go to work. We got some breakfast then made some plans for the afternoon. That evening there was a Halloween party that Otto and Laura were invited to so we stopped by a Halloween City so that they could pick up some accessories for their costumes. After they made their purchases, we went into downtown Traverse City to enjoy various cherry based foods since we were in the Cherry Capital, after all. First we got slices of cherry pie at Grand Traverse Pie Company. Well, most of us got cherry pie but Elphie had a slip of the mind and got something else...so of course she had to sample mine. That's how marriage works, I'm told. From there we drove along the bay then went into Cherry Republic where we could sample all sorts of foods made from cherries such as sauces, salsas, dips, wines, sodas, and candies. I purchased a cherry root beer. Our next stop was across the street in a shop called Nifty Things full of crafty things.

We returned to the house so that the Jensen's could prepare their costumes for the evening. I ended up wearing my Mario Lemieux Pittsburgh Penguins hockey jersey due to not really having a costume available and Elphie wore her Grumpy Care Bear onesie she purchased while in Warren at the beginning of the trip. There was a room with a pool table and darts so we played that for a bit then we watched Otto's band, Whisky Jacket, play a set. It was a different sort of party but it was fun. It was definitely good to hang out with the Jensen's.

The soundtrack for this portion of the project is Cherry Pie by Warrant.

Sunday October 15th, 2017
We woke up on Sunday morning and prepared to drive back to Chicago. We said our goodbyes to the Jensens and hit the road. We encountered a traffic jam due to road construction in an area we couldn't really avoid the traffic so we took that time at the next exit to get off the road for a bit and get some food. When we arrived back in Chicago after making a grocery pit stop at Meijer, it was well into the evening. We had some gifts that we gave Gale for watching over Stein and dealing with the water heater situation then I worked on the unloading process of the car and preparing to return to life as usual. We reunited some with Stein then drove Gale home before returning back to reunite more with Stein and for me to go to bed and return to work the next day.

The soundtrack for this portion of the project is On The Road Again by Ghoti Hook and The Rich, The Strong, And The Poor by Flatfoot 56.

This was a very enjoyable trip overall. In a lot of ways I think it was a first of its kind for both Elphie and I. I know there was some anxiety going into it but we both handled it fairly well and came out better for it in the end. We are truly thankful to those who helped make this trip what it was along the way.

The footage in this project was shot using iPhone 6 and Canon Rebel T6 by Elphie and Joel A. Swanson. The editing process occurred between March 11th and May 3rd, 2018 using Final Cut Pro on a Mac Mini. Edited by Joel A. Swanson

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