Wherever the Road Leads

Snowbirding in Reverse

New look, same view: winter pending

My arrival back at my mother’s condo in Toronto brought on a new look. This view is approximately the same as the two pictures above, those being taken earlier this year, in January and March. The autumn colors are out in this picture below taken October 31st, yes, Halloween and yes, that is a sprinkling of snow on the cars and the rooftops of the townhouses.

It might be of some interest to know the value of those townhomes. My guess is they are around forty years old. Bus transportation, shopping, schools and the Public Library are all within walking distance. Three bedrooms and a bathroom and a half. Taxes are $1900/yr and condo fees are $350/mo. An excellent view behind them as they back onto theĀ  municipally-owned Tam O’Shanter Golf Course.

Yours for a mere $299,900 plus a one percent ($3,000) land transfer tax. But health care is free.


The drive up here, around a thousand miles, was uneventful, a lot easier than when pulling a trailer, with many parts of the landscape starting to look familiar. I was getting tired and it was getting darker but I knew I wanted to clear Cincinnati that evening so as to avoid rush hour in the morning.

I-75 through the city of Cincinnati is in constant turmoil with concrete barriers narrowing the lanes everywhere, lane shifts and heavy truck traffic. Driving through there in the dark is tough and my tired eyes were beginning to see halos around virtually all the lights. It seemed that every exit featured nothing but premium hotels – Hilton Garden Inn, Radisson, Courtyard et al that wouldn’t be ideal. Ideal both for the pocket book and for smuggling a cat in and out of.

Ideally I was looking for a Motel 6 or a Super 8 Motel where you can park right outside your room. I settled on a Comfort Inn, a little more than I wanted to pay but got a very nice room and Tupelo had the decency to keep quiet as I carried his carrier past the front desk where the hotel clerk had the decency to be quite engaged in a personal conversation on her cell phone.

I had no idea that I was in Monroe Ohio and that Monroe Ohio is the home of the Touchdown Jesus Church.


“Touchdown Jesus”, actually “King of Kings”, was a 62-foot-tall statue of Jesus on the east side of Interstate 75 at the Solid Rock Church, a 4000+ member Christian megachurch. The statue was destroyed by a lightning strike and subsequent fire on June 15, 2010.

Located on the Interstate-facing side of the church’s outdoor amphitheater, the statue was set on an island at the head of the church’s baptismal pool, flanked by fountains and lit by colored spotlights. It depicted Jesus from the chest up, with his arms and head raised to the sky. The statue had a 42-foot span between its upraised hands and a 40-foot cross at its base. The completed statue weighed 16,000 pounds. The sculpted statue was completed in September 2004 at a cost of approximately $250,000.


The replacement statue, entitled “Light of the World” was erected in 2012.


It wasn’t until the next morning when I got back onto I-75, after enjoying a complimentary breakfast and smuggling the cat back past the front desk, that I realized how close I had been to the Touchdown Jesus church. Then, it was run for the border, with a stop for American gas for around $1.50 per gallon less than in Canada.

After crossing the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit Michigan and Windsor Ontario, I was able to drive right up to a Customs booth – no waiting. And hallelujah, I got a male Customs agent.

Now, I am a LONG way from being a male chauvinist pig. As mentioned in previous blogs, my regular dentist is a woman, I sought out a female dentist in Nashville to get my emergency root canal done. My Urologist is a woman, by choice. (No, she didn’t choose to be a woman, I chose a woman Urologist.) I am fine with women policemen, women lawyers, women judges, women politicians, women reading the nightly news. Male or female, do a good job, that’s my criterion for being for or against an individual.

Female Customs Agents are another matter altogether. They are a merciless, unsmiling, compassion-less, live-by-the-rules, no-grey-area group of individuals. Internationally renowned as being tough, may the Lord have mercy on his soul if any one of them is married to a meek man.

Well, okay. There is an area where I do not think women belong. Football. I am sure that every woman involved in football coverage – whether it’s reporting from the sidelines or on a cable sports program – knows more about a single season of football than I will care to learn in my lifetime. I don’t care. She may be the most engaging, personable, passionate – even attractive – woman on the face of the earth. I still don’t care. Stay out of football.

After a very brief discussion with the male Custom’s Agent on where I was from and why I was coming to Canada, I was on my way. He didn’t ask about the cat’s rabies shots and didn’t care that Tupelo had been a bit of a nuisance while I was stopped at the booth. “Thank you, goodbye.”

I had always considered November a gloomy month, and these days I remember why. It seems to have been constantly overcast and chilly here in Toronto. In public, invariably there is someone sneezing or coughing. It has been so noticeable that this year, for the first time on my life, I am going to get a flu shot. “Free”, as OHIP covers those. (OHIP – Ontario Health Insurance Plan – Canada’s ObamaCare.)

OHIP does not cover the Shingles Vaccine. At $200, after seeing what my mother is having to endure, it is worth every penny. Winter in Canada is bad. Winter in Canada with the flu is worse.

Winter in Canada with Shingles would be unbearable.

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