'Oh, Canada,' here I come! - Curt Yeomans

I have not yet given up on my hunger for international travel. I'm just moving it to another continent, away from Europe -- for now.

This time, I'm targeting the maple leaf country, our neighbor to the north -- Canada. Toronto, and maybe, Montreal, to be exact.

As opposed to past international vacations I've announced, this trip is not completely set in stone, yet. I mean I know when I would like to go -- the week of Labor Day -- but, I still haven't firmed up this trip.

As I said before, there is a twist with this international trip. Previously, I flew to Europe, but this time, I'll be taking it to the road, in my own car. It is better this way, because it allows me the freedom to do this trip at my own pace.

Plus, with Canada butting up against the U.S., I can actually drive my car this time. It's kind of hard to drive one's car across the North Atlantic.

Also, there is something about a cross country road trip, that can't be replicated by flying somewhere. Part of what makes a vacation fun is the trip to where you're going. Sleeping on a plane, after watching a cheesy movie, and eating re-heated meals just cannot compare with stopping along the way, getting out and stretching your legs at some obscenely overdone roadside oddity.

So, why Canada, you may be asking yourself. Well, as a child, I remember a trip in which my mom as taking my sister and me to see our grandmother in Connecticut. While we were on the road, my mom suggested she take us to Canada for a quick stop, just so we could say we had been to a foreign country.

Well, the problem was me.

While my mom and my sister both had driver's licenses that could be shown to get back in the U.S., I was too young to have one, and we didn't have my birth certificate to prove I was a U.S. citizen.

This was back before U.S. citizens needed a passport to come back from a trip to Canada. You just needed some type of identification, such as a driver's license or a birth certificate, to cross the border.

Needless to say, the Canada leg of that trip was canceled. Now that I have a passport, and I've become accustomed to leaving the country, I want my shot at visiting Canada.

What better place to go than Toronto? It's like most U.S. cities, except it's bi-lingual (English and French) by national law. Could you imagine a Canadian trying to dictate that a visitor speak the language of Canada?

"You're in oar coontry noo, sue you moost speak oar language!" the Canadian would say.

"Which one?" you'd ask. And, that is if you're smart enough to not blurt out the thought of "Do they butcher the French that badly?" that is running through your mind. At least, it would be running through my mind.

So, now the real planning begins. I have to nail down everything. The only definite is that I will drive up there, and that I will stop off at Niagara Falls on the return trip. Everything else is in flux.

I know I'd like to go see the CN Tower, the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Royal Ontario Museum, Old Fort York, Polson Pier, and Casa Loma. Other than that, it's all up in the air.

But, if you hear me singing "Oh Canada!" after Labor Day, you'll know where I've been, and that I probably had a great time.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.