Sometimes my mom asks me to do ridiculous things. Good intro right? But really, from going to a goat auction for fun, seeing Disney on Ice as a 20-year-old, driving three hours away to a weekend fiber show as she tries (semi-unsuccessful) to drive my dad’s stick shift, staying in questionable hotels, getting lost in the woods of Hocking Hills during a thunderstorm, to leaving the country together, we’ve had some interesting experiences. Usually, after she proposes odd things to me, regardless of the weird situations she has gotten me in before, I agree to do it. So here’s a story of something she roped me into doing:
It’s the summer of 2015, college in view, dorm essentials packed, and it’s time for a trip before college stresses me out for the next 4 years. My mom took me on a memorable little trip. Yes, my mom, not a group of my closest high school friends, took me on my senior trip (which is FINE just not exactly what everyone else did). We went to Canada. No, not Turks and Caicos, Myrtle Beach, or Florida….the great Canada. We took a bus tour…actually, a mystery bus tour….with 30-40 senior citizens. Yes, you did read that correct. Talk about the dream vacation for an 18-year-old (sarcastic eye roll).
So here we are, running late per usual, boarding a coach bus full of senior citizens gawking at us like we were outsiders. After the initial shock of being blind sighted on the fact that I would be the only one there without pictures of my grandkids in my purse, we settled in. Now, the whole point of this tour was that we didn’t know ANYTHING about the itinerary. The only thing we knew was to bring a passport because at some point we would end up in Canada. So the bus took off and some butterscotch candies were passed out as we all wondered where we were off to.
In my mind, we were just headed straight to Canada and I was going to just stare out the window of a bus for hours. Good news, they provided entertainment! We were given a questionnaire titled something like, “Facts you Should Know from the Good Old Days”. It was full of history questions about pop culture movements and breaking news stories from the 50’s-80’s. Surprisingly it was really interesting and, if my memory serves correct, I knew more of the answers than my mom did. We were all rewarded with another butterscotch candy and right about this time I desperately had to use the restroom, good news…so did everyone else on the bus.
After a quick rest stop, as quick as 40 of us waiting in line for the bathroom could be, we headed off again. This time they played a movie for us, a Jeff Dunham movie, which most everyone didn’t know about but I enjoyed. We stopped for lunch in Buffalo, NY. My mom and I sat by ourselves in the restaurant because those mystery tour regulars were clicky folks! (at least the first day). I dressed in comfy sweats assuming this first day would just be a travel day, I was wrong. Before I knew it we were on the American side of Niagra Falls waiting in line for the Maid of the Mist.
We climbed back aboard, crossed the border and made our way into Toronto. After a nice dinner, I figured it was about time to get our bags and get settled at the hotel, wrong again. The activities seemed to be nonstop. We visited the Toronto aquarium that night and closed the place down. Finally, we were back at the hotel, finding our rooms, and enjoying the fact that our bags were already brought to our rooms while we were at dinner. The hotel was beautiful, equipped with a shopping mall underneath, and was centrally placed downtown allowing us to look out the window and see all the commotion and beauty of the city. By the time we got back to the hotel I was exhausted and readily fell into bed, keeping in mind that the next day we were supposed to be up at 6:00 am to be on time for whatever it is this mystery tour was taking us to next. I thought, “How are they going to keep us out all night and then expect us to wake up at the crack of dawn tomorrow? You know, especially the older crowd…”.
Nonetheless, I was up and ready the next morning. We ate at the complimentary breakfast bar in the hotel (which I have to comment on because it was amazing food and nothing is better than good breakfast food) and then headed back out to our coach bus. Thinking we were running a little bit early, I was surprised to see the bus already full of our eager new companions. The next few days were nonstop. Among many things, we visited the Toronto Zoo, Black Creek Pioneer Village, museums, castles, a Butterfly Conservatory, a water boat tour, we saw a play called Once, and then the memorable Kinky Boots the next night, and then my favorite, the Toronto Symphony. The days were packed full of activities, and good meals, all prepaid for and preplanned, no trying to find parking or trying to decide what to do!
As for everyone else on the tour, my mom and I were making friends left and right. Sure, they poked fun at me for being young and laughed at me when I fell asleep on the bus between every activity, but they actually were a fun crowd. As for hanging out with old folks all week, it wasn’t bad at all, in fact, I kind of fit in. We listened to the same music, enjoyed the same shows, and complained at the same rate, to be honest. No, it wasn’t boring and these folks showed no signs of slowing down, unlike my mom and I who were exhausted after every day. By the end of the trip, they were telling us to come on the next trip with them too, and we were thinking about it!
Moral of the story, don’t knock it ’till you try it! Even the weirdest plans can exceed your expectations…truly it was an awesome way to travel and see everything the city has to offer. Also, I learned that maybe I get along with senior citizens better than people my own age. Lastly, I decided that as I age I’m going to continue to go out and have a blast like our crazy mystery tour friends do!