Travelog of Port Huron / Sarnia, 2007

"The Blue Water Region"

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Domination of Eiler Journal #16: Operation Common People

The New Huron Offensive

What Is the Domination of Eiler?

In one sense, "The Domination of Eiler" is a political entity modeled upon the Holy Roman Empire. Which is to say, it works through national and local political entities, but transcends nation-state boundaries. You may already be a citizen without knowing it!

In another sense, "The Domination of Eiler" is a pen name for an amateur but very prolific web journalist. Perhaps you may enjoy these travel writings, given this simple guide:

  • The Domination of Eiler is led by, of course, the Dominator.
  • Its chief military force, and bodyguard of the Dominator, is the Domination Guard.
  • The Domination's world headquarters is now in Lansing-Michigan. As such, some new points in the North Eileranian heartland are targets for Domination patrols, even across international borders.
  • Domination of Eiler force policy is to take short vacations, close to home. Employers love this policy, and it's helped the Dominator avoid airline checkins and Rituals of Humiliation for almost two years now. Let's make it three!

    Primary target for this mission is the international twin-city of Port Huron-Michigan and Sarnia-Ontario. They call it the Blue Water region for some reason.

    This will be the Dominator's first visit to Canada since September 2001.

    This will be the Dominator's first visit to his Canadian lands under the Domination of Eiler battle flag.

    The highlight of this trip will be an attempt to ride a bicycle across an international border, on the Blue Water Bridges.

    Day 0: Wednesday 29 Aug 2007

    "Work From Flint Day"

    Got Machinery?
    Fine lodging at the gates of the motor plant in Flint.

    A reasonably acceptable EilerBase for the day has been secured, in a destination that practically nobody travels to - unless they're in town to work for a certain large auto company to be referred to as "Got Machinery?", or GM for short. The destination would be Flint-Michigan. The worker would be the Domination Guard engineering force, using its GM connections to get a head start on vacation.

    Flint-Michigan has a heavy gradient in lodging prices. Near the fancy company buildings (one of which is a GM office), a room costs $140 USD a night. Two miles away near the GM metal fabrication plant, a room costs $30. Quarters have accordingly been secured for $30, for two nights starting yesterday, so as to be convenient to this "Work From Flint Day" at the fancy GM office. Wise move, due to road construction.

    The base submits local color and redneck fun, judging from the clientele, all local and fresh from work. This matches a song heard on East Lansing campus radio en route, about common people, by Joe Jackson - and William Shatner! The One Maker says, that's good enough for operational music.

    The base is cheap, but the fancy neighborhood submits a brew pub, Redwood Lodge! This was conquered for Wednesday dinner, by bike, despite storms rising. The Domination of Eiler is increasingly Michigan-tough.

    Operational Map

    Day 1: Thursday 30 Aug 2007

    Crossing Day

    Quarters have been pre-arranged in Sarnia-Ontario on the Canadian side. Before the traditional 3 pm checkin, the plan is to kill some time on the United States side in Port Huron-Michigan.

    Exit Flint at 10 am. Enter Port Huron-Michigan before noon, after a less-than-arduous drive.

    Got Guards?
    Got guards? This tunnel goes to Canada! Amtrak doesn't use it any more, but it's still usable.

    Crossed into Canada around 3 pm. (Operational music "Red Sector A".)

    Down time at selected barracks, Drawbridge Plaza, a full service hotel with yoga classes and an English pub on premises. Chose pub over yoga. Shrieklings were dominating the pub, though, so dined at nearby Ups 'n' Downs Pub. Featured dish jambalaya, washed down with imperial pints of the Ricards Red beer of Ontario. Then a bike ride, and finally dessert at hotel pub.

    Sadly, Sarnia does not match Port Huron, at least for tourists. Sarnia's main tourist attraction is a casino. But its main economic engine is a $#@!ing big Esso Imperial Oil refinery, plus two more refineries nearby. So Sarnia does not feel a need to pump lots of effort into the tourist industry, but it's still a decent working-class city.

    The Port Huron / Sarnia tourist dynamic is therefore less like Davenport / Rock Island, more like Davenport / Moline (Moline being the home of John Deere tractors). But it still has a certain Quad Cities-like charm. So, have fun in Port Huron, sleep in Sarnia.

    Day 2: Friday 31 Aug 2007

    Port Huron Patrol

    Today is the last best chance to do Port Huron touristy things before the famlees show up on Saturday. So, back across the bridge to see if the U.S. passport works for entering the U.S.! Combined arms assault: car for crossing bridges, bike for everything else.

    Under way at 9 am. Cleared the border just before 10 am. Discovered at visitor center, most Port Huron attractions open 11 am!

    Walk the Tower!
    Walk the Tower! Its 188 steps stand ready to defy you. See also:

    Crossed back into Canada around 3 pm. (Operational music "Party Till the World Obeys". And "We've Got A Bigger Problem Now". And "Summer In Hell".)

    Northbound Crossing Tips:

    Pub dinner in the same place as last night, only with lamb curry and Rickard's White. A walk through town (in time for some shopping and a Vesper-Helio-Dominance observance of sunset) and some down time is envisioned to complete the night.

    Well, dessert too, at hotel pub. When the pudding selection is named "Spotted Dick", that's adventure enough until tomorrow. (English pudding = American cake. Eileranian cake, that is.) If only the bar had a rule against noisy pre-verbal patrons who sound like the loudest animals in the zoo, this night would be perfect. But other patrons are friendly. Reg and Norm say Hi to the world!

    Day 3: Saturday 1 Sep 2007

    River Patrol

    Domination day of rest... no, not really. Troops turned out at 8:30 for complimentary calisthentics at the hotel gym!

    Ride the River
    Whether you like cottages or refineries, the St. Clair River has something for you.

    Every fine vacation needs a day without an international border crossing. Today would be the prime day. And prime activity for the day is River Patrol and Breakfast of Champions on the Duc d'Orleans II riverboat.

    Post-luncheon luncheon of onion soup and Rickard's Red at Stoke's Grill and Bar. Followed by down time at hotel, then dinner at Mamma Rosa's Bar and Grill. Then dessert in familiar places in and near hotel. May have to spend another day in town to get a bike patrol in.

    Day 4: Sunday 2 Sep 2007

    Sarnia Patrol

    A secondary target for this mission has been considered carefully. Windsor, or The Thumb?

    With these options duly considered, the Domination of Eiler expeditionary force will spend an extra day in Sarnia instead!

    Cross the River
    Big bridges can be a useful design component of a riverfront park.

    And that's about it for Sarnia.

    Day 5: Monday 3 Sep 2007

    Extraction Day

    March On Your Day Off
    In Sarnia they march for Labour Day. See also:

    Sarnia has some parting statements.

    Could easily make it back to the Great Hall of Eiler in Lansing. This would take about 3 hours - including one hour for border crossing. (Operational music "Thinking is the Best Way to Travel".)

    Southbound Crossing Tips:

    But forces are expected at another "Work From Flint Day" tomorrow! Secondary targets are therefore finally in order.

    But The Thumb is too much work to conquer in a single day. "Buccaneer Beer Fest" would be easier, but probably not the best idea on a day before work. The best supplemental target may be Flint itself... but that's not terribly attractive on an increasingly hot day on which museums are probably closed.

    When already in a beach town on Labor Day, how about some beach time? And Port Huron-Michigan is a beach town of sorts. So, Breakfast of Champions at Quay Street Brewing Company, followed by some sipping of iced tea, wiggling toes in cool shady sand at Lighthouse Park, and watching of pleasure boats in abundance. When toes are kept dry, sand is easily removed!

    In the end, Port Huron / Sarnia did take up all available time.

    Lapeer-Michigan is about twenty miles away from Flint, therefore workable as local lodging for tomorrow. As such it has potential as the day's stopping place, even if it should only offer one hotel and one Applebee's restaurant... Found at arrival, that statement was oddly prophetic. Had choice of two hotels including Best Western, but still only one restaurant open, and it was Applebee's.

    For this evening, hibernation. Maybe organize the trip photos for pictoro-Dominance, hang out by pool after children have left town, drink decaf coffee from in-room coffee maker for first time this trip, or finally get some reading in. (Or as actually happened... organize photos at bar, visit other bar, then just collapse from dominating half a square mile near a shopping mall.) Good enough.

    After-Action Report: Tuesday 4 Sep 2007

    Ribbon of Domination

    The operation shows these signs of success:

    The Domination will admit to these operational shortcomings, though:

    But Domination of Eiler forces return triumphant as ever, all praise to the One Maker.

    (signed) Dominator S. Eiler, Fist of the One Maker, for the Domination of Eiler.

    The Domination of Eiler believes in free sharing of information. But if you wish to reproduce significant parts of the commentary within, be aware that it is © copyright 2007 by Eiler Technical Enterprises. And have a niiiice daay.