The weird flights makes flying there versus driving there a wash in terms of my hours spend travelling. But the flights put my time at the customer's site on a very tight schedule. Since this is a first of it kind machine I elected to drive there.
And along the way I rolled some good ones on the random encounter chart.
The US side of the trip was OK although the drive around Lake Ontario felt it took forever despite beating the Google time estimate. I would have done better but I blew a perception roll at the I-90/I-81 interchange at Syracuse. Going around the eastern side of Syracuse to get back on I-81 North didn't take too long.
After driving through the Thousand Islands it has been placed on my to do list of places to visit more thoroughly. They are not kidding when they say there are a thousand islands.
At the Canadian Border I run into a huge Traffic Snarl.
Looking around me I realized that 9 out of 10 cars are from Ontario and then it hit me that I run into all the Canadians returning home after a weekend in the US.
Yeah it was raining the whole damn trip. Although the rain shrouded Thousand Island is an image that will remain in my memory for a long while. Although thing of note was all the rocky outcropping. While PA and other regions has rocky outcropping these were Granite with a capital G. Red, and a bunch of other colors. Dwarves would love it here despite all the water.
So I get through customs and thankfully the paperwork to show Canada that I didn't arrive to steal a job from one of their own. Remember you go there to SETUP your company's machine not to INSTALL your company's machine. And always bring the original purchase order. I wasn't expecting any trouble and despite being nervous at having to pull over and present paperwork everything went smooth and they were very polite and helpful.
So I get on 401 and head east to get to Quebec City. I stop at a ONroute plaza to refuel, get lunch, and to get some Canadian Money. I was advised to use a ATM as all you get socked with is the bank fee. I pull out my money and stared at whats in my hand.
Speaking of the ONroute plaza I had to double check my IPad to make sure something didn't escape.
Teasing aside it was really well setup and despite the rainy day it was very bright and didn't feel cramped despite all the people.
Then I found out that my company credit didn't work at the gas pump. Yes it work inside at the register but not at the gas pump. Later I found it didn't work with any of them.
The drive to my first major waypoint Montreal was very scenic. Definitely an area of Ontario worth visiting later. Then when I got into Quebec all the signs became french only. No problem I will just follow the number. Yup 20 to 540 to 40 that will do the trick.
Then just before the general area where 540 is supposed to be I get signs that says
540->30 with some french underneath it. Oh crap! What the hell I am supposed to do? I elect to stay on 20 despite it changing from a interstate a two lane highway for a couple of miles. I just followed the numbers and got back on 20. No problem I will just drive through Montreal and come out the other side and be on my way to Quebec City.
Then I run into the Turcot Interchange.
The above picture doesn't begin to describe how terrifying and messy thing is. And the picture is in bright sunshine and I was driving through it in pouring rain!. To boot my connection to 20 East was BLOCKED! The detour lead me through the interchange, had me turn around and I had to go back through it a second time!
The section on crumbling concrete in wikipedia article doesn't begin how freaking bad it looks when you are actually attempting to drive through the thing. I will move heaven and earth to avoid this coming back to PA.
So finally I am beyond Montreal and on my way to Quebec City. About halfway there I need fuel. See a really nice rest stop and pull in. It is jammed with cars getting refueled. We are talking four to five cars deep at each pump. I look at the gas prices. It is 1.27 per liters. Mmmm that what I paid for back at the Apple looking plaza. I figure it was a some weird rush hour thing. So I go in and eat.
I come out and it is still four to five car deep and more are coming in. And this is a rural place like in the middle of PA, western New York, Farmbelt Midwest. Later I asked my hotel desk clerk and apparently gas is normally $1.37 and that even a 10 cent difference can ignite people flocking to the pump for "cheap" gas.
Getting to Quebec City was a bit of anti-climax after all that couldn't be smoother getting into the city, finding the hotel, and checking in.
Finally I know it sounds like I making out Canada to be this weird off the wall place. I feel it just the dice rolls on this particular trip. I been here multiple times in Ontario and Quebec. Both for gaming and for business and always wind up meeting some really nice folks.
In other news I will be putting up posts later this week about my family's visit to the Origins Game Fair and the final post on the status of the Nomar Campaign.