Days 28, 29, 30: Buffalo, Toronto, Ottawa, Pembroke
At this point in the trip, tourist time was over and I was simply in store for the unpleasant amount of travel time required to get home – thus the lack of photos and witty urban analysis.
I caught the overnight Lake Shore Limited from Chicago to Buffalo, where I had a three-hour stopover waiting for the Toronto-bound The Maple Leaf. You might think that three hours in Buffalo doesn’t sound like a lot of fun – but then you didn’t even know that I was talking about the Buffalo-Depew station, a isolated little stop designed for easy access to the airport, but also the overlapping stop between these two trains. While I wasn’t pleased with the prospect of killing time in this concrete box, if there’s one thing I was skilled at by this point in the trip, it was the killing of time.
Finally The Maple Leaf arrived and I boarded, eager to heading back to the motherland – but not before what felt like hours of customs inspectors. Eventually, we got to Toronto, where I met up with a tree planting friend and we managed to catch up a bit before heading to sleep.
On my final rail travel day I got up early to catch 6:55am train to Ottawa. A snowstorm was raging in Toronto, and we rode with it eastward. While apparently things were quite calm that morning in Ottawa, as I left the train station the city was slowly descending into blizzard and chaos.
I had originally planned to catch a ride to Pembroke on that afternoon, but it was clear that wasn’t happening. Instead I waited for my sister’s delayed bus (more time easily killed), had dinner in Little Italy and stayed the night in Ottawa.
The next morning, after a two-hour drive on a freshly plowed highway: home. 30 days, done and done.
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