Reflections from an ONRoute


This is only something that a regular blogger would do. As such, it might be of little interest to you but I was struck by so many things yesterday. I made a day trip to my hometown of Clinton and back by myself. It’s a little over 3 hours one way so I had lots of time to think about things.

I started the day planning my route. We’ve done the same thing for years; heading up Highway 79 to catch Highway 21 at Port Franks and then through Grand Bend to Bayfield and then a county road to get there. This was a non-starter since there is a road closure where you cross Highway 22. We always went that way since Dad lived in Watford at one time and there’s this big hill that the road takes to go over the train tracks. The standard joke was that you could run into this hill.

The other non-starter factor was to avoid Grand Bend since it’s a holiday weekend! There is no bypass but summers on Highway 21 from the Pinery into Grand Bend can leave you stuck in traffic for so long. I asked Google for some choices. Surprisingly, there weren’t all that many.

One option was to go to London and up Highway 4 or Highbury Ave and both would give you the whole London experience. Pass.

There was another alternative and that was to get off at Highway 76 and go cross-country and catch up to Highway 4 at Clandeboye. I like to reminisce when on long trips as this would go by relatives and a lot of small town communities where I played and umpired baseball and played hockey. At the time I did the search, Google actually reported it as the quickest route. Done deal.

It worked and I go there on time.

Coming home was different. Unlike going up (really, it’s north but you can’t take the home cooking out of me), where there was a time I had to be there, there was no rush going home. I decided that I would just drop in on one of my cousins to say hi. Yes, we’re Facebook friends but it’s not the same. I put her address into the GPS in the car and it took me right to her driveway. What blew me away was that once again this route was cross-country. But I was blown away that I recognized every turn and stop sign. It was exactly the same route that my dad had taken so many times and so many years ago. He certainly had no GPS but he was just smart. It turns out that she wasn’t home so I was off to return home.

Since there was no rush, I decided not to catch the 401 at the Melbourne interchange as guidance would have me. Middlesex County is so nice with a speed limit of 90km/h so I stayed on Glendron Drive. I’d seen a name of a community named Appin on the GPS maps that I’d always be curious about. I got there exploring for the first time and then nature started to kick in; I needed an ONRoute. (or a Tim Hortons)

It was a quick drive to the West Lorne ONRoute. Across the road was the Dutton ONRoute and the naming had always amused me – the West Lorne one is actually closer to the community of Dutton. And, both West Lorne and Dutton are south of the 401. “Our” ONRoutes are both Tilbury ONRoutes.

As I pulled into the ONRoute, it was about 6pm and the lot was jammed pack. This could be interesting. It was a matter of dodging vehicles to get to the building and a quick look showed me just how packed it was. The washroom was right at the entrance and I was in and out in a jiffy.

Yes, it was supper time! But holy smokes, the A&W place was jammed and that looked easy compared to Tim Hortons with a line that snaked all through the inside. Just past that, there was a Popeye’s that was empty except for a couple that was just leaving. I grabbed a sandwich and a water and then decided to go and sit on the bench outside.

That’s where the ideas for this post just spilled forward in my mind.

I thought about back inside and I’m always humbled to be in a crowd and not know a single person and yet I absolutely knew that everyone there had a purpose for their trip. I turned my gaze towards the 401 and started doing the same thinking.

Everyone in their cars or trucks had a purpose for their trip. I had to smile when I observed that staying in one lane and going with the traffic flow didn’t help some of these people with their purpose.

It was the police vehicles that got me next. When you’re driving, you’re in your own little bubble. That bubble includes a few cars to your left or right, in front of you and behind you and that’s about it. As I watched the number of police vehicles go by, I had to smile to think that they were in someone else’s bubble and not mine. One bubble had the police SUV follow a car right into the ONRoute for a little discussion, I guess.

The Ferengi in me started to think that the provincial government had missed out by not licensing a beer vendor at ONRoutes. I just realized, after doing all this thinking, that it was pretty hot out.

Actually, upon further reflection and seeing the police vehicles as well as lots of episodes of Heavy Rescue 401, that probably wouldn’t be a good idea. Most of the people visiting were doing takeout and you can’t do that with alcohol in Ontario.

It was time to continue my trip! I finished jotting my quick notes and it was off to find the car in the still packed parking lot.

I got back on the 401 and joined a new bubble heading southwest. When gainfully employed, I’d made so many trips to London and back that I probably knew every tree. The road itself has been improved so much over the years and now uses grooved concrete which generates a different sound. I wonder what it sounds like in a Tesla without an engine generating noise to dampen it.

I also note that the safety cables along the 401 which raised a lot of concern of going cheap instead of using concrete barrier were still there.

The last step is always the nicest. Once you see the 110km/h signs, you know that you’re just minutes from home.

OTR Links 08/02/2022


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.