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

Day 4:  Thu 4 Aug 2002

00:00 UTC - 03:00 UTC (To Quebec)

As I headed toward Quebec, the road fairly quicky became a construction zone.  For miles and miles it was actually a much rougher road than the logging road to the North.




It was a mess.  And there were long stretches where it was one way, with lights at either end where you would have to wait for up to 20 minutes to go further.  After a while though, the construction ended, and the road was once again a nice normal scenic highway.  You still had to watch out for moose though.


Beware of Moose!


Before long, night fell...


Night Falls


And then before too long I was crusing into Quebec City, when all of a sudden I had to slam on the breaks and suddenly change lanes...  there was a massive traffic jam.


Traffic Jam


It was backed up and bumper to bumper for miles.  Up ahead they had completely closed the highway and were pulling everybody off onto side roads to detour.  I never saw it, but there must have been a big accident up ahead.  I tried to listen to the radio for a traffic report...  but of course I could find on the radio was in French, and I understood nothing.  So it remained a mystery.

03:00 UTC - 06:00 UTC (Clarion Quebec)

It took me a little wandering around to find my hotel for the night, it wasn't right next to the airport like the Comfort Inn I had stayed at during Day 1.  It was more downtown.  But I found it.  The Clarion is a nicer hotel than a Comfort Inn.  I knew that of course.  I figured that at the end of the vacation I'd appreciate a nicer place on the last night.  But by the time I had gotten there, the restaurant and room service and everything was already closed.  I was of course hungry.  I ended up buying a bunch of stuff from a vending machine.  That was dinner.  Yum!  I settled in, played with the computer a bit, did some email, wrote some of this journal.  Eventually I got tired.

06:00 UTC - 12:00 UTC (Sleep)

And then I slept.  But not for too long.

12:00 UTC - 15:00 UTC (Hotel and Airport Hijinks)

In the morning, I was of course rushing to get out in the morning because I slept later than I should have.  After speeding through the normal morning rituals, I tried to check out on the TV system since they had it available.  After a couple minutes, it told me it wasn't working and I had to check out downstairs.


So I get downstairs...  and there is a huge line at the checkout desk.  Moving VERY slowly.  They had two people at the front desk working, but for some reason it was taking a long time for each checkout, and apperantly everybody had decided to check out at the exact same time I did.  So I sat there in line for what seemed like forever.  Impatiently checking the time every few minutes.  I thought I had plenty of time, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn't running too tightly.


Eventually I got through and checked out, then rushed to the truck and packed up the last bunches of stuff that were in the truck and headed off toward the airport.  Despite all my worrying, probably due to the fact I've been late for planes too many times in the past, I did in fact get to the airport with time to spare, and ended up sitting in the waiting room with not much to do for a while before being able to board.

15:00 UTC - 17:00 UTC (Flight to Montreal)

Then it was time to board.  Once again it was a walk in flight, although as this time my connection was Montreal instead of Ottawa, the plane was a little bigger.


Plane to Montreal


The plane was also almost full this time.  No flight to myself.  But there was a highlight.  The best part of the flight was that on this model plane the landing gear are under the wing, and I sat right next to them.  So I got to see the landing gear stow at the beginning and decend at the end.  Quite entertaining.


Landing Gear

17:00 UTC - 19:00 UTC (Montreal)

And then we were in Montreal.  And for some reason, instead of doing it in Newark when we actually touched down in the USA, USA customs was in Montreal.  And unlike Ottawa when going the opposite direction, when customs was quick and simple, this direction was much more involved.  I'm guessing partly because I was headed back into the US, but probably a larger factor was simply that Montreal was a much larger and busier airport than Ottawa.  After getting off the plane I first had to follow a maze of signs and go up and down stairs and through concourses to get to a place to pick up luggage (I had stupidly checked one bag thinking it would go straight through to Newark).  Then once you had the bag, you couldn't go back to the main concourse to eat or anything.  You had to go striaght into the customs line.  I had been hungry, but I figured I shouldn't stop to eat until after I had my bag..   cause you aren't supposed to leave bags unattended, but then once I had my bag it was too late to go back.  I was annoyed.  In any case, after finally getting through the twisty customs line, I headed to my gate.


Luckily, there was a restaurant there...  a "Cheers" actually, and I had a burger or something.  (Although there had been a much bigger selection before customs, and I was still annoyed...  next time I eat before getting my bag!)  Before much longer though, it was time for my next flight, the flight back home.

19:00 UTC - 21:00 UTC (Flight to Newark)

A bit larger plane for this leg of the flight.  An actual jet!


Actual Jet


But we still got to walk across the tarmack to get to the plane.  Did I mention I like that better than the little skyway tunnels?

Uneventful flight.  Only odd thing I noticed was that the way they arranged the seats there was actually a nice large gap between the seat and the wall.


Gap on Plane


OK, so that isn't that exciting.  But it caught my attention!

21:00 UTC - 22:00 UTC (Getting Home)

After arriving at Newark there was really not much excitement.  I picked up my bag, then I took the bus thing to my parking lot.


OK, a little bit of adventure there.  I had forgotten where I parked and had of course not noted it anywhere.  I always just go by "feel" to find my car.  I got off in the place that "felt right".  I wandered around in the 90 degree weather with my bags and the tube of maps for about half an hour before I realized I was looking in the wrong part.  I walked a couple thousand feet in the direction of the next section over, and boom, there was my car.


Anyway, once in the car I hightailed it down the New Jersey turnpike and home.  I thought briefly about going back roads as I normally prefer to do.  But by this point I was tired and just wanted to get home.  So the turnpike it was.

22:00 UTC - 00:00 UTC (Home)

And then I was home.  I brought in the mail.  I brought in my bags.  I checked to make sure the birds were OK and I fed them and changed their water and paper and such.  Then I sat down on the couch, kicked up my feet, and turned on the TV.  And that was that.  The trip was over.


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