Adios, Canada…
As much fun as running aboot the Great White North was, we knew that the time would eventually come for us to leave the land of free healthcare and return home to our high crime rates, boring money, and normal systems of measurement! Coming back through Customs this last time was a real pain in the ass because of heavy traffic and people weaving in and out trying to get over to “the faster lane.” Whether it was because the US is cooler than Canada or simply because the Canadians are just much more efficient than we are, needless to say it was such a relief to finally get out of that unexpected parking lot so that we could get back on the road…


Goodbye, Sweet Maple Leaf. We shall return some day to enjoy your Tim Hortons and your maple sugar candy – that I can promise you.

Welcome to Vermont – State of Misleading Roads
…so that we could get back on the road and promptly get lost, that is! Ok, so actually we didn’t technically get lost until we were all the way across the state of New York and trying to make our way into Vermont. If you refer to Exhibit A, you’ll notice that two strikingly similar roads run along the New York / Vermont border – 22 on the left and 22A on the right … take note of that A because you’ll see in just a moment how vitally important that letter actually is! For you see, if you scroll up on that very map, you’ll how that very small body of water along the border starts to get bigger and bigger until eventually it becomes Lake Champlain.

Seeing as we do not drive an aquatic car, we ran into troubles because we got a good solid hour out of our way before we realized that we were on the wrong side of the lake.

Thankfully we didn’t get all the way up to Burlington before realizing our error, but the backtracking did end up costing us a good could of hours and needless to say, we were very tired and a bit grumpy when we finally pulled into the hotel at around 1:30am.

Also, the hotel was a pain in the ass to find in the dark, too, but I digress because…

The Pint at the End of the Rainbow…
The next morning all was made right when we made the stop that we had traveling a good 5 or 6 hours out of our way to see – the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory. It was the completely random and awesome things like this that really made the trip unique and special for me – I mean, we probably spent twice as long driving there as we did at the actual factory. The tour itself was only about 20 minutes long and after that we just hung out for a while buying souvenirs, eating lunch, and of course, eating ice cream, but it was such a cool element to add to the trip … it’s almost funny to look back and realize that it got added completely on a whim after I thought, “Hey – Sara likes ice cream! That would be a neat place to go…”


The tour itself, which by the way was a crazy bargain at only three bucks a piece, showed us a short video about how Ben & Jerry first started the company and then grew as big as it is today, then took us to an observation deck above part of the factory so that we could watch the machines making the ice cream itself. Afterwards we got a HUGE sample of a new flavor – Milk and Cookies – and from there we were released into the gift shop to buy all sorts of ice cream-related novelties. I would highly recommend the tour to anyone who feels like going out of their way for a fun afternoon – it contained a lot of interesting info about the company, and on top of that our guide was an absolute ham and was cracking jokes the entire time, which was really fun.


By the time we were done, we had scored some really cool loot – Sara wanted new ice cream bowls, plus we each got a shirt and a pint of ice cream from a package deal we did with the tour – and from there we probably spent another hour or so just lounging around, slurping down our ice cream that in no way would survive in the car, and also some pizza for lunch from a nearby cart. We also got to watch a video that talked more about the company’s charitable efforts, which was really interesting to me, especially about how they pushed to preserve them once they got bought by Unilever back in 2000. It was kind of neat to see a corporation that actually understood why the brand it was acquiring had been so successful and how they shared their resources, but also let the company do their own thing to maintain the same company spirit as they grew to become a global brand. Being a guy who’s trying to start his own company from the ground up, I like to hear those underdog stories where a phenomenon started as just two guys who wanted to make ice cream…


No trip to the holy land is complete without a visit to The Flavor Graveyard!

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