Thanks to Team MagnaFlow!
Day 2 – Toronto, Canada to Chicago Illinois
This morning, we’d start off where we left off, the beautifully lavish Toronto Hilton. Good food, a great room and a great night’s sleep gave us the rejuvenation we needed.
Before I share our highway hi-jinx, let me say for the record that Toronto is a wonderfully scenic city populated with great people. I’ve long described living in Canada as being akin to living in an apartment above a really great party, but after a short time, it was clear that this part of Canada had its charms.
The roll out from the Toronto Hilton was uneventful. JP Clinging and I would do today’s trek in the Audi RS4 (with yours truly at the wheel), while Nick and Dan would do the trek in the hot rod Panoz. (Mario Andretti was only with us for day one).
After a morning fill up, we blazed onto the 401 south heading for Windsor, Ontario, just outside Detroit.
The drive down 401 revealed some of the most spectacular scenery in North America…mostly flat but green, not at all devoid of quaint farms New England style villages. We didn’t get to see much of it, largely because the convoy we were in was booking along at a good rate. Canadian drivers are courteous, attentive and kind like no others in the world…they happily merged right after a quick flash of the high beams. I won’t say how fast we were going, but the convoys often touched speeds of 140mph. Granted, there was scarcely a car on the road and the long straight aways (for sometimes 50 miles without even a hint of a bend) were conducive to a brisk pace, especially when considering the talent behind the wheels of the Bullrun cars.
The 228 mile trip took something like 3 hours and we rolled into Windsor Casino in rock star fashion. Hundreds of spectators gathered to hang out with us.
The Audi finished 7th, the Panoz came in about 30 minutes later. It seems Nick and Dan had decided that they would utilize a more moderate pace to see what the difference would be versus our break-neck pace.
The view of Detroit from the Canadian side of the river surely showed Detroit’s best side…it’s certainly not that nice in the heart of the city. The Windsor Casino treated us like royalty and the buffet had dozens of stations and mounds of good grub. It was a great stop.
After a brief respite, we learned that the Canadian police would escort us across the Ambassador Bridge into Detroit. We’d even have our own lane at the border crossing. This was the most efficient, courteous and cooperative police force on the entire run and other than one fellow who got arrested (he had an outstanding warrant somewhere in the US), we all made it across without incident.
As the convoy ripped through the closed streets of Windsor, we felt like Champ Car drivers…speeds were brisk if not insane but the closed streets ensured maximum safety. The Bullrun helicopter covered the rollout and what must have been an amazing site as 106 exotic cars lined the Ambassador Bridge. There were lots of thumbs up from other drivers stuck in traffic and again, as we left Canada, I couldn’t help but feel sorry that I didn’t have more time to explore this amazing place and meet more of the wonderful people.
Once into Michigan, we settled into our long arduous drive to Chicago.
The fond memories of Canada would soon be replaced by the Michigan Militia, aka “The State Troopers.