Browsing "Preparations for Departure"
Nov 11, 2012 -

Broken Promises of the Driving in Montreal Sort

All summer, I managed to avoid any serious driving in Montreal. Today, I made up for that in spades!

I had a lunch date with one cousin and a dinner date with another. Lunch was on the east side of town and dinner on the west side of town. The west side drive wasn’t scary; I barely consider Lasalle to be in Montreal even if it’s on the island and officially part of the city. But the east side drive was a little worrisome as I would be taking the Jacques-Cartier bridge and going into the heart of the city to the Plateau sector, an artsy and bustling part of Montreal with lots of narrow one-way streets that is one of the mostly densely populated neighbourhoods in Canada. Great place to live. Horrible place to drive and park!

Surprisingly, my GPS cooperated and took me straight to my cousin’s. Her street had cars parked on both sides. The road was so narrow that a delivery truck the width of my RV could not squeeze through and ended up having to back out. My truck had about a foot clearance on each side. I was kicking myself for not having looked for municipal parking on a busier street when I found a nice clear section of open street that looked very tempting. I tucked myself along the curb and then went to read every single parking sign on the block. They were confusing, but it looked like I was clear to park where I was till 3:00PM, which was ample time. Great! I found parking, I was early, and now I just had to find my cousin’s building. I glanced at the address in front of which I was parked to get my bearings. Oh! This was her building! I had found parking right at her door! Something had to be wrong and I reread the parking signs one more time to be sure. I was fine! Talk about good luck!

It was nice to catch up and meet my cousin’s daughters. They have a menagerie of animals and I found myself accosted by one of their friendly cats before having a ginormous bunny plopped into my lap! I had rabbits when I was really, really young, so I couldn’t remember what they were like. Basically cats with giant ears and back paws. Very cute!

Our visit done, I carefully navigated my way out of my suddenly tight parking spot as someone had parked behind me, then I almost painlessly drove out of the neighbourhood and onto the autoroute to cross town. Almost because it’s illegal to turn right on a red light on the island of Montreal and people behind me were adamant that I risk a ticket to save them a few minutes. *shakes head*

I was a little early for my dinner engagement, so I stopped at the Angrignon Walmart to pick up some cat litter and salad fixings for dinner. Lasalle is now part of Montreal, but it feels more like suburbia, so driving around there is a non-issue. Parking on her street was another matter, however, as both sides were crammed with cars. I squeezed into a gap then had a glance at yet another confusing parking sign. It looked like I was clear. Great, now find the address, which surely had to be the only one with a lit porch that just happened to be across from my truck! I must owe the parking gods a goat by now!

Dinner with this cousin and her son was another lovely catching up affair. She does something I find very interesting; hosting foreign exchange students. I wouldn’t have the personality for that if I had a settled life, but it seems like a nice fit for her and she gets to meet students from all over the world.

I thought that getting home from her place would be a cinch as she is very near the Mercier bridge and I could get to my mother’s from that bridge with my eyes closed, but I forgot about that wonderful Montreal construction. The bridge had only one lane open in each direction and there was a detour to access the open lane. I missed one of the detour signs, but in trying to inexplicably reroute me to the Champlain bridge, my GPS got me back on the detour route. It might be slightly longer in mileage to take Mercier than Champlain from that area, but it’s an easier drive and generally quicker timewise.

It’s been a rich full day. Now that I have seen just about everyone I wanted to see on this trip, it’s time to get into packing mode. The plan is to pull out with Miranda tomorrow and then park her on the street. My truck goes into the shop in the afternoon. Things are going so smoothly, but I’m not waiting for the other shoes to drop. I think I’ve earned an easy pull out…

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Canada, Nice Folks, Preparations for Departure, Quebec, Social, Travel    1 Comment
Nov 9, 2012 -

Winding Down

With just a few days left before my departure from Quebec, it seems like I’m busier than ever!

Yesterday, Thursday, I took most of the day off to spend time with my middle nephew, S, who turned five on Tuesday. Since his brother got a birthday outing, it made sense for S to get one, too. He likes going to the movies, so we went to see Wreck-It-Ralph (in French). It was the perfect choice for the two of us. S loves playing video games and the movie features a bunch of classic games, like Tapper, that I used to play as a child so I got hit with a bit of nostalgia. I splurged on both the 3D showing and the Wreck-It-Ralph snack kit, so S got a reusable cup and Ralph figurine as a souvenir. I was impressed that S knew that he needed to recycle his 3D glasses after!

After dropping him off, I decided to have dinner at Harvey’s one last time. Harvey’s is the best burger chain, featuring charbroiled patties and a counter where you can watch the servers add the toppings you want. I always get their veggie burger (mustard, relish, lots of tomato) with onion rings. The chain is starting pop up all over the country, but they are concentrated between Montreal and Ottawa. Since I won’t be back this way for a while, savouring one last Harvey’s burger was on my list!

Tonight, we went to my sister’s to celebrate S’s birthday as a family. My brother-in-law expressed disappointment that I’m leaving when the kids are getting so attached to me. Agreed, but even if I could return to a settled life, living in Quebec again is not an option. There’s no sense flogging that horse anymore or whatever the clich√© is.

The schedule for the next few days is a little tight. I’m going to my sister’s in Sherbrooke for dinner tomorrow evening. I have plans with cousins on my dad’s side of the family Sunday. Monday is supposed to be a real gift, sunny and plus 15, so I need to do all my exterior prep on the rig. I called the shop this afternoon to ask if I can drop my truck off on Monday rather than first thing Tuesday. Definitely. I’m also going to bring them the tow bar instructions because there are some implications for the electrical setup.

As it turns out, I won’t be able to pick up the truck on Tuesday evening as the estimate is that it will take all day to get the base plate on. So I am expected first thing on Wednesday with the RV so that we have plenty of time to make sure I’m hooked up properly. I therefore need to reassess when I’ll be going out for propane, gas, and dumping, but I will probably be leaving directly from the shop on Wednesday. I only have 300km or so to do to Saratoga, so even a noon start out time and a couple of hours at the border would allow me to arrive at a reasonable hour, albeit in the dark. But that’s fine since I’ll be heading somewhere I’ve been before. Looking at the forecast for the next week or so, it seems that I’ll be leaving in perfect weather, so I don’t want to miss that window. I’d really rather just have a crazy hectic day on Wednesday and wake up across the border on Thursday.

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Itineraries, Nice Folks, Preparations for Departure, Social, Technical, Towing and Toad, Travel, Weather    No Comments
Nov 5, 2012 -

Not Begrudging a Rude Awakening

When the phone rang at 8:30 this morning, I knew it had to be the shop calling to let me know my base plate is in. It is! They wanted to install it on Thursday.

I called the Ready Brake folks (they’re great!) to confirm that my tow bar was shipped on the first as promised. It was, it has cleared customs no man’s land, is in Buffalo, and will be here Wednesday!

So if family stuff hadn’t been going on this weekend, I could have gone ahead and done the installation Thursday and left Friday. But I do want to make these two last family dinners, so I called the shop back and asked to move the appointment to Monday first thing. The best they could do is first thing Tuesday, which is fine, two days ahead of the previously set date, and a couple of days before the no street parking because of winter ordinance comes into effect. It’s also not a moment too soon as the weather has turned and the nights here are COLD!

So if all that goes smoothly, I’m pulling out on Wednesday the 14th, just under six months since my arrival!

I found both a dump station and propane right on the way to the shop, so I’ll go take care of those matters on Tuesday before going to pick up the truck and get the final adjustments made with the rig on site. As for gas, I’m only putting in enough to get across the border!

So, I have to be ready to pull out by mid-day Tuesday. I’ll park on the street Tuesday night and pull out Wednesday morning, probably a little later than I would have liked to let some of the morning traffic pass.

The border crossing will help me set my destination for Wednesday night. If I breeze through, then I might make a huge push and get to Pennsylvania. But I will more likely just go to Saratoga, even though that’s barely any distance, just to lessen the stress of driving my new rig for the first time.

I am concerned about potential hurricane devastation along my route, but a check of the roads indicates a clear path, even on the New York Thruway. As long as the weather holds, I should be fine. Thankfully, I’ll have a nice big buffer of time in case my plans get waylaid.

My biggest regret about this summer is that I didn’t get to go to Toronto. I would have liked to have gone east, too, but that was really a dream. At least, I got to see my family and friends from Toronto, so there’s that. No sense looking back. I am now looking ahead to that magical beloved moment when I cross the Mason-Dixon line and, just like that, spring will return to my world. It’ll be my fourth time and I bet it won’t get old any time soon!

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Canada, Itineraries, Preparations for Departure, Quebec, Technical, Towing and Toad, Travel, Weather    5 Comments