Friday, January 28, 2011


As usual we left home late.   Our Prius was in good condition, with a new set of tires.   As we shunpiked westward through southern New Hampshire, the right front tire went flat.   At a gas station we cell-phoned AAA for help , but they and local people said there was no garage to fix our tire, since it was Sunday.   Then a young man came over and said he worked for the AAA garage that would be helping us, that he was off duty  and waiting for them to fix a broken brake line on his truck, and that AAA would only replace our tire with the "toy tire" spare underneath all our luggage.   So he swapped flat for spare before the AAA truck showed up.   We never spoke to the AAA truck driver, and there were no papers signed.   Our helper said we could or should only drive 50 miles under 50 mph on the toy tire, but there might be a garage open until 5 PM in Keene on our route ahead.   Indeed there was.  The Tire Warehouse people immediately replaced our ruined tire, with smiles and a $27 discount.   What a relief !

We drove through Troy, New York, past impressive buildings apparently built since son Phil attended Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute there, then through a mile of slums.   We stayed the night at an excellent Fairfield Inn we had booked.  For that we got triple points on our Marriott Visa, and using Marge's retired Federal employee card, as usual a much better rate than the AAA or AARP rate.

The next day we drove the long New York Thruway westward near the old Erie Canal, past lush scenic farms.

We entered Canada at Niagara Falls, where overhead signs then long lines indicated up to a 2 hour wait at Customs.   Actually it took less than a half hour.   The young lady Customs officer was one of the few very rude Canadians we have met.   As at any frontier, we remained courteous, since we were otherwise helpless.   August 1 is a Canadian holiday, which would have complicated any problems there.

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