08/12/2013 – 39 days/3919 miles

I stopped in Chicago for a couple days to visit my cousin’s family. Despite having not spent much time in Chicago, I was mostly just interested in hanging out with them and wasn’t too concerned with checking out the city. But I did manage to go for a chilly swim in Lake Michigan and eat some fantastic pizza (deep dish > thin crust, end of story).
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While I was in Chicago, I brought my bike in for the 6000 mile service. Everything they checked looked fine. I’m hoping to get into a dealer for as many of these services as possible, just for the comfort of knowing that someone who knows what the hell they’re doing is checking it out from time to time.
Leaving Chicago felt kind of weird, knowing that from here on out, I won’t be visiting any family, and June is a long way away. It also made the trip feel like it was officially starting once I left. Not only am I no longer visiting people I know, but I feel like I need to actually start paying attention to maps and roadsigns, as I’m no longer in places that I’m familiar with.

On the 10th, I started to make my way towards Toronto. While passing through Detroit, I saw enough graffiti covered, abandoned buildings with busted out windows to keep me from moving there anytime soon.
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The ride from Windsor to Toronto was filled with corn fields and wind turbines…not much different than the midwest, except that the road signs were also in French, and the Starbucks were all replaced with Tim Hortons.
First thing I noticed getting into Toronto is that there is construction everywhere! Huge skyscrapers are going up everywhere, and there’s lots of road construction as well.
Toronto’s skyline is pretty crazy…I looks like the majority of the city was built in the last couple decades, just because the style of the buildings is all so current. On one hand, it makes for a very interesting, modern look, but it also feels a little too uniform…something different from time to time would really go a long way. I kinda wonder what it will look like in 50 to 100 years, when architectural style has drastically changed.  Downtown will look like a time capsule from 2000
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The Lake Ontario shoreline is pretty great…there’s a lot of nice little parks amongst all the docks.  Here are three really cool little areas amongst the parks called wave decks, meant to resemble the shoreline.

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Yesterday, in preparation for getting my bike shipped, I had to get it cleaned up. To clear through customs, they like to have everything clean, and they especially emphasized making sure that there are no bugs on it. I can understand the idea of not wanting to have any invasive species brought into the country, but all the bugs on my bike are dead, so I don’t really see what the problem is. Regardless of my thoughts on the situation, I spent my afternoon getting a bunch of confused looks in the Target parking lot, while I was scrubbing it down.
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This morning, I dropped the bike off at the cargo area of the airport.  Shortly after getting there, I saw another 800GS pull up. Adam, from Australia, has been on the road for 7 months (He started in Chile). He’s shipping his bike to London, whereas mine’s going to Glasgow, but we both have similar time frames for getting across Europe, so maybe we’ll cross paths again.
IMG_2377 So far, the shipping process has gone really smooth (for anyone who might need to do it, I used Motorcycle Express, they ship between a few cities in Canada and the UK…I also got my European insurance through them). We’ll see if that story continues when I need to pick it up on the morning of the 15th in Glasgow. While they were getting my bike situated, they asked a couple times if this is the one going to Gatwick (nope, Adam’s is). I kept emphasizing GLASGOW and did make sure the tag on it was correctly labelled. We joked that it might be smart to trade spare keys, so that when his yellow GS arrives in Scotland, we could at least meet in the middle and swap bikes.
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