Unplanned Canadian Vacation

On Sunday, we stopped in Buffalo, NY for a reunion with Fr. Paul Slish of St. Stephen’s Anglican Church. Fr. Paul and his small flock meet in the same building that he was in when we were members 12 years ago. Fr. Paul is as faithful and patient as ever — one of many good pastors the Lord has given us over the years.

On the way up to Buffalo, I was in the passenger seat, working on a sermon Fr. Paul had asked me to preach. The text was from Luke 16, the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. At one point, I had just been writing about what it meant for the rich man to “fare sumptuously every day”, when I lifted up my eyes and saw that we were passing a Bentley worth more than my house:

After the service and a brief luncheon, we decided to go see Niagara Falls. As we neared the exit, we decided, on a lark, to cross the border and go to the Canadian side (better views). No sooner did we cross through Canadian Customs, than our car overheated and the power steering died – literally within two minutes of crossing the border! It’s as though our car was so thoroughly Yankee that it didn’t want to be in Canada.

Thus began our unplanned Canadian vacation. The first thing we did was sign Sora’s phone up for international data and cast about for a repair shop and a hotel. In the event, the closest one was just down the street, so we were able to limp the car to it. I deposited the key in a drop-box and we proceeded to a hotel – the Hilton Niagara Falls, as it turns out.

We walked down to the roadside railing across from the falls:

Sora had requested a single room with two beds for us and our four kids, and the hotel originally told us that they had a room on the city side of the building. But when this turned out to be a smoking room, they switched us to a non-smoking room on the side facing Niagara Falls. It was on the 17th floor. The view was spectacular:

And because the Lord ordained our car to break down on Sunday instead of a weekday, we were also treated to a fireworks display at 10:00 that evening:

At 8:00 the next morning, we called the repair shop and told them what was going on with the minivan we had left at their shop. It turns out that a spring-loaded serpentine belt tensioner had failed. They got the parts, and we were rolling again by 11:00. In the meantime, we went up to the top of the Skylon Tower:

(I’m pretty sure our boys were pretending to aim lasers or bazookas with those viewers.)

On the one hand, it was a bummer to have our van break down. On the other hand, it was probably bound to happen sometime. And if it had happened a day earlier, it would have seriously affected our work at deputation in Buffalo; a day later, and it would have affected our discernment conference at SAMS-USA. We had intended to pop across the bridge, see Niagara Falls from the Canadian side, and come back to the USA within an hour. But God’s timing is best, and sometimes the best adventures are the ones you don’t plan.


3 comments on “Unplanned Canadian Vacation

  1. Jewell says:

    We stayed in Niagara, Canada,
    last year at about this time. Not a bad place to breakdown.

    • Karen Ott o says:

      Matt, Where will you be in the Phillipines? I remeber our adventures there 40 years ago!!!! Best wishes for a wonderful fruitful adventure! Love, Karen Otto

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