• USA Road Trip 2016: Barrie ON to Morgantown, West Virginia

    July 31, 2017
  • We were in Barrie, Ontario November 2016, for another visit with our daughter and family. Our family had a new addition in the past year, another beautiful Grandson. We were there for among other things, to participate in the new Grandson’s first Birthday and first Halloween. It was a great bit of fun with us babysitting to get to know the little man a little better. After all we live on the Rock and we only get to see our precious grandsons a few times a year. This has paid of though as our oldest Grandson knows us very ,very well and can’t wait to see us when we visit him or he visits us!! It was a great bit of fun to be able to attend his first birthday and take them out Trick or Treating!

    Birthday Celebrations and Halloween Fun Times!

    After the dust settled we had a decision to make, head back home to the Rock or take advantage of our location and make a vacation out of it! We looked at Europe from Pearson International Airport in Toronto and there were no deals to be had! The Caribbean and Mexico and again no deals to be had in early November and Florida was the same, and there it was staring us right in the face! Our Emerald Club membership with National Car Rentals had yielded us a brand new 2017 Nissan Pathfinder (200 Kilometres on the odometer) at a compact price! For an extra $500.00 or so we could drive this nice big rig down to the USA for some fun and sun at a beach which was not too hot in November, maybe Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!

    Birthday Boy and Nanny Trick or Treating!

    We had visited Myrtle Beach and Virginia Beach a few years back in really late November and the weather was still nice. I had enjoyed our trip there and to Nashville, Tennessee and Dollywood that it had prompted me to write and publish my third novel titled The Squatters. These places and Florida had been then inspiration for my book! So decision made, we packed up the Pathfinder on a sunny Monday morning , said our goodbyes to our daughter and the kiddies. This was a temporary goodbye, as our plan was to return to Barrie for a few more days before we headed back to the Rock. It seemed like a good time to leave as we had spent some time with them and they looked like they needed a break from us too! All good!

    Brand New Nissan Pathfinder Rental: On the Road to USA!

    It was a lovely warm Fall day, around 20 C and sunny, as we took the 400 South to Toronto which is about a 70 minute drive in good traffic. It happened to be the day before the USA Presidential Election, so we were stoked to be part of Election Day USA 2016, Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton. Of course we all know how the election turned out with Trump winning!

    Beautiful Day on the Road Between Canada and the USA!

    About 70 KM South of Barrie we took the 407 Express Toll route for another 65 KM, merged with the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) and then another 100 KM to the USA Border at Buffalo, New York. We crossed the Peace Bridge around 2:00PM and with no problems we sailed through USA Customs, and we were now in the USA. We were using Google Maps to navigate our way to Myrtle Beach as well as a booklet our daughter had prepared for us through her membership with the CAA. Using two sources eventually got us in trouble but more on that later!!

    CSA Road Guide! Needed Siri Too!

    Our navigation sources told us to take I-90 West toward Erie for 160 KM. Hubby had drove all of this so far, so about 30 minutes South of Buffalo, we encountered a Rest Stop with restaurants which was a good place for a lunch and  to change drivers! My turn!! The food was of the fast food variety, appealing enough if you were in a hurry which we were. Anyway it was good to take a break, hit the bathrooms and stuff our stomachs. We expected to be on the road for about another 5 or 6 hours, so we were prepared.

    Canada/USA Boarder Rest Stop 

    The weather was getting warmer about 23C at the Rest Stop. You park on one side and you walk over the covered bridge to the Rest Stop coming from the Canada side. The drive South on I-90 was very nice, a great highway with some nominal tolls. The highway afforded some periodic views of Lake Erie which was nice, especially since Canada was on the other side! After our 16KM drive south on I-90, our directions told us to pick up I-79. It is the primary thoroughfare South through Pennsylvania and West Virginia. About 150KM South on I-79 we bypassed the Pittsburg area. It was around 5:00PM with lots of traffic coming North. I had been driving for over three hours, time for another driving change at the next rest stop.

    USA Rest Stop on the way to Morgantown!

    Rest stops are very important when driving anywhere in the USA on all the Interstate highways. You can count on one every 60-70 KM, complete with picnic areas, washrooms, vending machines and sometimes full restaurant services. All very convenient! So we found one shortly, changed over, agreed we would drive another 90 minutes maximum which would put us around 6:30 – 7:00 PM thereabouts!! We didn’t have a planned stop over, but we learned a lesson later in our trip which led us to do a bit more planning with respect to where we were going to stop and where we were going to stay!!!

    Time For a Late Lunch!

    Anyway around 7:00PM, lots of signs began appearing I-79 mentioning Morgantown, West Virginia. Hubby is a sports fan and was aware of the WVU Mountaineers who play NCAA College Football out of Morgantown, so it was worth a stop he felt! It was now about 7:00PM and we looked up on our I-Phone for hotels in Morgantown. The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott popped up, and by stroke of luck we spotted its neon sign on a hilltop. We took the first exit and found it no problem. We were very lucky this night!

    Our Room at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Morgantown!

    The Fairfield Inn and Suites was a modern nice hotel. The rate was a little over $100.00 US per night, about as cheap as it gets for this type of hotel in the USA. Breakfast was included which was good. Not many amenities though, a kiddies pool was about it. However, it was perfect for our purposes this night. We had a cooler with us with some treats inside including Gin, Tonic Water, Diet Coke, lemons, water and some snacks. So once we had that up to the room, it was time to relax with a Gin and Tonic. The room had two double beds, free Wi-Fi, a mini fridge, and a microwave, so the the room was nicely equipped. We were really pleased with this hotel!

    Many Restaurants in Morgantown just of the Highway! We ate at the Olive Garden!

    After a Gin and Tonic, we went out for dinner. Lots of choices right next to the hotel including Cheddars Scratch Chicken,  Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Chilli’s Grill & Bar and a few others as well. We chose the Olive Garden, an Italian themed restaurant. Our server was a young lady of Chinese descent and a student at West Virginia University. It was a Monday night which was a slow night. Wine was the special that evening and she was an excellent server. The food was excellent and very generous! Hubby had the Chicken Picatta which came with salad and bread which he really enjoyed. I ordered the Tour of Italy which came with Chicken Parmigiana, Lasagna Classico and Fettucini Alfredo and all with homemade sauces. Too much to eat though for one person! Hubby mentioned to the server that the salad was light on tomatoes (he loves tomatoes) and she promptly returned with a plate of sliced tomatoes at no extra charge. Dinner cost around $50.00 US including tax and tip. A really great dinner for sure!

    On the road Again to West Virginia!

    The Fairfield Inn and Suites had great beds which equals a good night’s sleep, which is definitely not guaranteed on the road. Next morning the weather was great again 60 F already at 9:00 AM. This morning was also Election Day, USA. We missed the breakfast which ended at sometime before 9:00 AM. I just wish that some hotels somewhere offers a complimentary breakfast until 10:30 AM, and when I do experience it I will be sure to let you all know!!!

     

    MK