A Drive To The Other Side

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How can you tell I’m still European? Because I get excited when I go to the USA!

On Sunday afternoon, we decided to take a drive to the USA. Even though the border is only an hour drive from Ottawa, I rarely cross it — last time was almost exactly a year ago, when my best friends in Ottawa took me along as they were getting their landed immigrant status in Canada. We had spent a nice day in Alexandria Bay.

The day was perfect. Warm but not stuffy, sunny but with magical clouds which followed us all the way there. I loved the drive. The freeway was empty (probably because of Memorial Day) and we felt alone in the universe. Even the US Border Officer was friendly and… joked around with us. No kidding. See, it wasn’t a usual day.

The Bridge to the USA, from the Canadian side (Prescott, ON).

The nicest drive we had in a while: a perfect American road trip.

Our first stop in Ogdensburg, NY. A quiet little town with a beautiful view on the St Lawrence seaway.

Alexandria Bay, NY. A small town with a beautiful marina (and a bunch of people listening to ACDC, drinking beer in their moored boats — a memorial day tradition, anyone?), a typical main street and view on the Thousand Islands.


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Oh, Canadians totally get jazzed up about visiting the U.S. as well (that’s why 90% of them live within 100 miles of the border). They’re just too pompous to admit it. 😉

    Jamess last great read…La jalousie (deuxième partie de l’histoire)

  2. Salut Zhu,
    That is a cute town ! I love little towns like this. Partly because I grew up in a bedroom suburb community that was the opposite.
    I loved your trip photos :)) Memorial day left the roads open for you all. Where would you like to go in the US in the future??
    Take care 😉
    P.S. Thanks also much for joining us with the BlogBlast.

    barbaras last great read…4 June, 2008 – BlogBlast for Peace

  3. Nice drive huh!!

    BTW, I have seen always Canadians get excited abt US. Any specific reasons?

    Hey Zhu… Forgot to tell u… I’m heading to North America once again.. Soon I shall keep u posted

    CM-Chaps last great read…Einstein was right 🙂

  4. Hi Zhu,

    You were lucky that gas prices were so high Americans decided to leave their cars in their garages. 🙂

    Holidays such as Memorial Day are solemn occasions marked quietly. Your trip was done at the right time.

    Images of small towns always take me back to the 60’s and 70’s. Something about their character and standard sized structures (no tall buildings)seem to freeze in time. Going to such places via a road trip really revs up excitement. Theres a certain feeling of freedom and an urge for adventure. Sometimes a desire to be a little lawless, just a little, comes up. I think it may be the fact that the getaway vehicle is always ready and the escape route is clear, just drive through the border.

    But anyway, keep taking such trips when you can. It gets better each time. 🙂 –Durano, done!

    durano lawayans last great read…Indignant over Indiana’s Indulgence

  5. Looks like it was a nice day. I was also back in the US of A this weekend and had some nice border agents both ways.

    I’m surprised you were able to take 9 pictures of America and only one had the US flag. You know they like it down there 😉

  6. lovely photos, and great post. traveling is always nice.

    sir jorges last great read…The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Review

  7. @Spyder – I’ll next time. I’d love to finally visit the USA properly!

    @James – Right. But since I admit it, it shows that I’m still a bit French 😉 Thanks for visiting by the way. I subscribed to your blog last week.

    @barbara – Even though I’d love to visit big cities such as NY and SF, I think the “true” USA are still the small towns… they each have a special soul. I’m not saying I’d live there but as an outsider, they are fascinating.

    @CM-Chap – Yes, let me know: maybe this time we can meet somewhere in Ontario!

    @DianeCA – North America is the place for road trips, isn’t it? Sorry for making you feel homesick 😉

    @durano lawayan – You’re so right: I thought of the 60s when I visited this small town as well. It’s like the time stopped… and I don’t mean it in a bad way. Yes, the gas price was probably why the roads were so empty!

    @johnada – 😆 There were plenty of flags actually, I just didn’t show them. I like the maple leaf flag best 😀

    @sir jorge – I know! Feels good to get out of the city a bit.

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – Getting a visa is always a hassle, I understand that. But if you’re living in the USA, it will probably be easier… you definitely should consider a trip to Ontario, it’s a nice place, especially in the summer.

    @Froggywoogie – Why that? You can go to the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany etc. in less than three hours!

  8. This is a very good post Zhu!

    I have never been on this bridge. It looked like a pleasant day indeed. The rare moments we have in life are infectious.

    Colleens last great read…Congratulations, It’s a Quip!

  9. Well, you know my wife is an American and of course I’ve visited family over there a couple of times. Its exciting to me too, but then again: I’m a European 😆

    What a great road trip – glad you where heartily welcomed!

    The bridge looks a bit like the one between Sweden and Denmark. That’s our (Norway and Sweden’s) gateway to the continent you know 😉

    RennyBAs last great read…A memorial for TorAa’s son Ruben

  10. Froggywoogie on

    I meant for visiting the USA. I miss it to much. I know I’ll do it again of course, money wise…

  11. Max Coutinho on

    Salut Zhu!

    It was a pleasant way of spending your Sunday, that is for sure! I love the question on top of the article: how do I know I am still an European LOL LOL…

    Alexandria Bay is beautiful! I had never heard of it before; but now I will do some research on it!

    Great photos (as usual) :happy: !


    Max Coutinhos last great read…Deceiving Perceptions

  12. It is so cool that you can find beauty in small “escapes” like that. My girlfriend, who is also an avid world traveler, is trying to move my “lazy excuse for an ass” into a trip to the US sometime in the future…

    I am one lazy Merc I have to admit, but on the other side of things, an “incoming slipper” from my other significant half is as good a motivation as any to try new things:).

    Keep taking those beautiful pics girl!

    Deadpoolites last great read…Check-in with DP airlines at your own peril…

  13. Hey Zhu 😉

    It sounds like you had a wonderful trip. As usual, your photographs are so truly beautiful and capture the location perfectly.

    Your comment about being Eurpoean because you look forward to going to the USA made me laugh, because it is sooo true. I know exactly what you mean…. lol!!!

    I’m really glad that you had a lovely day 🙂

    Grahams last great read…One Amazing Year Of Blogging

  14. @Speedcat – Sorry about the pictures… yeah, must be the computer cause they display fine here. You can always have a look at my Flickr widget!

    @Colleen – It was a nice day. Getting out of the city even for a little while is so relaxing.

    @Seraphine – I guess that’s why the USA is a free country. You can drive a boat AND drink. Wow.

    @shionge – Same when I lived in France! Canada is such a big place that I’m happy to visit the country though.

    @RennyBA – I didn’t know you had a bridge to mainland Europe — I guess I never thought of it! Take some pictures one day for me, please!

    @Froggywoogie – Well, the USA are actually quite cheap now. I know, the flight isn’t…

    @Max Coutinho – Alexandria Bay is famous in North America for being the gateway to the Thousands Islands, a bunch of small and not-so-small island in the seaway. I didn’t know it before either!

    @Deadpoolite – You should always listen to ( and follow) your girlfriend. Basic rule. Besides, if she is a traveler, she must be an awesome girl, lucky you!

    @Graham – Thank you Graham! yep, I keep on taking pictures… it’s a good excuse for a trip anyway! 😉

    @Aiglee – Oh yeah, you have to do it! Besides, you’re so close in Toronto, it’s worthwhile just to go shop there! Do you need a visa to go in the USA?

  15. It’s interesting that you admit that. Most people seem to think it’s terribly fashionable to hate the US openly.

    Mme. Meows last great read…Also, My Hair is Getting a Little Frizzy

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