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2002 Q3 Vacation:  51°1.90979'N, 71°11.76453'W

Day 0:  Wed 31 Jul 2002

00:00 UTC - 03:00 UTC (Aida)

Day 0, defined as the day I actually leave home for my random trip, did not even start at home this time.  It started on Times Square.


Times Square


As the day began my sister and I sat in our seats waiting for Aida to begin.  My sister Cynthia, now 12, had been visiting for several days.  On this, the last night of her visit, we were following up trips to a baseball game, Six Flags and the beach with a Broadway show.  Cynthia had chosen Aida.  So there we were. 




It was a great show and we had a blast.  For those who don't know, it is about a love triangle between an Egyptian princess, a Nubian princess and a Egyptian Captain, with a plot to overthrow the Pharoh and other things thrown in for good measure.  As I mentioned, it was a fun show. 

03:00 UTC - 05:00 UTC (Train Home)

After the show, Cynthia and I walked around Manhattan for awhile, mainly because when I started walking toward Penn Station, I started the wrong way.  So after we got close enough to see Central Park, we turned around and walked the other way, back past Times Square again, and then finally to Penn Station.  We arrived just in time for our train, which was good, because otherwise we would have been sitting in the station for a full hour.  Everybody was quite tired by this time, so the ride home included some light semi-sleep napping sort of thing.  But mostly it was an uneventful ride from Penn Station to Princeton Junction on the lovely New Jersey Transit train.


The most exciting thing of the trip back was that due to construction on the tracks, we could not get off on the normal platform, but instead they made us get off on the low platform and cross the other set of tracks.  How fun!


Low Platform

05:00 UTC - 07:00 UTC (Unwind)

When we finally got back to my apartment, we took a couple more pictures because I had forgotton to earlier. 


Cynthia with Attitude 2002


Cynthia looked good, but I leaned over and my tie was all crooked.  Oh well!


Sam and Cynthia after Aida


Then we had a snack or two and despite being tired and all, took a little tgime unwinding before trying to do the sleep thing.  Cynthia, being much smarter than I am, used this time to pack her bags for her train trip home.  I watched TV.

07:00 UTC - 13:00 UTC (Sleeping Laundry)

Of course, being me, I had not done things in advance.  At this point I had not packed for my trip at all, or frankly even thought about it.  As I was getting ready for bed, I realized my most pressing concern was probably laundry.  I basically had no clean clothes to take with me.  So, I put in some laundry, and all night long, I set my alarm an hour or so ahead, changed laundry as necessary, and slept in between.  Cynthia was in my bed of course (guests get the best location).  I was sleeping on the recliner part of my couch while CNBC World droned on in the background serving as good background sleeping noise.  Over the course of the night, I managed to get enough laundry to last the time I needed.  Barely.

13:00 UTC - 16:00 UTC (Frantically Pack)

Eventually, I roused myself enough to do more than just laundry.  I started deciding what I wanted to take, what not to take, all that sort of thing.  I decided to try to stick with my smallest suitcase.  It will only be five days after all, and having the bigger ones would be a pain.  Now, like last time I intended to take my sleeping bag and tent...  just in case.  And last time in Nevada I had of course ended up needing them.  They would of course not fit in the little suitcase. Perhaps I could check them seperately?  I also needed to bring the maps I had ordered of the areas around my random spot.  And they were big.  They also would not fit without folding.  Dunno.  I decided to worry about that later.


As I eventually had all the clothes type things packed and was about ready to start on packing the many electronic accessories I always bring with me on these things (camera, multiple radios, multiple GPS units, camcorder, etc) when it was time to wake Cynthia up so she could also get ready to take the train home.  So I got Cynthia up and she started getting herself ready, making herself some breakfast, etc.  After breakfast we realized there was ice cream in the freezer, so we had some of that too.  Well, "too" refers to Cynthia.  I only had the ice cream, and I think some Doritos.  She had toast and orange juice and other breakfasty things too.


I had basically stuffed almost everything I needed into the one suitcase plus one backpack.  Then I realized time was short to get Cynthia to her train to go back to DC.  I quickly showered and such, then we hopped into the car.

16:00 UTC - 17:00 UTC (Racing the Train)

So of course, me being me, I did things at just the right pace to ensure that we were rushing to make Cynthia's train.  And traffic was annoyingly slow most of the way.  And then when the traffic was less, I raced as fast as I can, again being annoyed at things like stoplights.  If we missed the train I had no idea what we would do.  I'd probably end up missing my flight to Canada in order to make sure Cynthia got home on the next train. 


But, of course, we actually made it with about five minutes to spare.  Cynthia caught her train with no difficulty and made it back to her home in DC a few hours later.  It had been a really fun visit.  I really enjoy when she can come up to see me, or even when I can go down to see her. 


Meanwhile, I drove back home, not quite as quickly, to finish doing what I needed to do.

17:00 UTC - 18:00 UTC (Tents and Maps and Bags)

When I got home I quickly dispensed with the few remaining things to pack.  Then it was time to figure out what to do about the tent, the sleeping bag, and the maps.  I looked at the sleeping bag and tent.  They could probably be checked as their own items.  But I didn't want to.  After some hemming and hawing, I decided on a solution...  I would not take them.  Yes, last time in Nevada they had turned out to be very useful.  But this time I would be further out, further from help, and needed no encouragement to take risks.  And besides, unlike last time where I left where I would stay each night undetermined until the time came, this time I had B&B reservations, I couldn't not show up just because I get stuck in the wilderness and have to pitch a tent!  This time, if I get stuck, I'll be sleeping in the truck.


This left the maps.  I had ordered some 25 topographic maps of the parts of Canada between the B&B I'd be staying at and the random spot.  Three at large scales, the rest detail views.  They had kindly sent them to me in a large FedEx tube unfolded.  Unfolded is nice.  These maps could be made into nice framed wall decorations or whatever.  But they were too big to fit in my bag.  And I didn't really want to fold them.


But before I figured out how to deal with that, I decided to go through all the maps and make sure they were in the order I wanted them in.  So I spent awhile doing that.  I had them all in order and lined up and found an old poster tube I had.  Perfect!  I would put them in the tube and just carry the tube seperately.  Oops.  They didn't fit.  I couldn't roll them tightly enough.


At around this point I got a call from a real estate agent I had emailed a few days earlier.  I am thinking of maybe buying instead of renting starting early next year.  So I talked to him for a bit.  As I was talking to him, I realized that I really should have left for the airport a few minutes earlier.  I was going to be rushing again.


Once he was was off the phone, I fixed the map problem.  I just couldn't take all of them.  I had ordered the three large scale maps, and the detail maps on the line North from Chicoutimi to my spot.  But I had also ordered the detail maps one map to the East of the line I would probably be traveling.  Those would have to stay.  Once they were out of the picture, the maps fit, I had everything, and it was time to go.

18:00 UTC - 20:00 UTC (To Newark)

Getting to Newark was uneventful.  I took the turnpike and went as quickly as I could.  It was not a question of getting to the airport in time for the flight, it was more the extra padding they are adding to when you "should" get there because of the extra security and the like.  I made it there, I checked in, I went through security and got to my gate with enough time to spare to grab a quick hot dog from one of the food places near the gate.

20:00 UTC - 22:00 UTC (Flight to Ottawa)

I had just enough time after the hot dog to quickly log in and check my email, and then we boarded.  It was a little jet.  I was near the back.  We waited a bit as these things usually go, then we took off.  As we headed out I had a few great views of Manhattan outside of my window.  (And a little of the other parts of the city.)


Manhattan and River


Empire State


The Island


Then I stopped watching and read a newspaper they had provided.  I ended up popping out my laptop to try to write a bit about the day just moments before they told us it was time to put things away for landing.

22:00 UTC - 00:00 UTC (Ottawa Airport)

When we landed, we got off the plane the old fashoned way, down the little flight of stairs and then walking across the tarmac.  I like this better than those little tunnel things. 




They had told us to wait for our luggage at the foot of the stairs to go through customs with it (I had checked the suitcase, although I probably didn't have to).  But the guy waved us on and told us to get them inside instead.  So inside I went, and breezed through customs, where the guy told me the right way to say Chicoutimi is "Chik-we-timi" or something like that.  To be honest, I've already forgotten.


After that I had to go through security again to get to my gate.  I did not try to recheck the suitcase this time.  I figured I'd play it by ear.  So I went through security, had to turn on all the electronic equipment, was declared safe and non-terroristic and then headed to my gate.


I then realized I had left both my suitcase and the map tube at the security counter.  Woops.  I raced back and got them before they discovered the unattended suitcase and issued a security alert.  That would have probably been bad.


After that, it was just a wait for the flight to Quebec City.  I found a comfy chair, pulled out the laptop, checked my email, and started logged the day's activity for the website.


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