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Monday, August 31: Banff

 

Tuesday, September 1: Banff to Boston

A Mad Dash

Now that we're leaving, I finally got a decent (not great) night's sleep last night. For a change I woke up around 2am. I closed the window, and managed to fall back asleep around 3. From that point on I would sleep and dream a bit, then wake up, roll over, and then fall back asleep.

Amy took a shower this morning and then I did. When we came down for breakfast, the tops of the mountains were lit up with a neat reddish glow from the rising sun. Apparently it was really spectacular yesterday, although we missed it.

I didn't think it was worth running up to the room for a camera. A few minutes later, the tops were lit up with direct sun, under a darker overcast sky. At that point, I remembered my cell phone and grabbed a few pictures with that. The mountains look really wonderful in the early morning light.

Mountains Lit by Sunrise
Mountains Lit by Sunrise

- -

Now in the Calgary airport at our gate. The weather was interesting on our drive here. The mountains were totally overcast/cloudy, but as soon as we emerged onto the plains, the sky turned blue and sunny. The mountains must create clouds as the air is forced over them.

At one point, we saw a mist or haze in front of us, but then I guessed that it was light rain. When we drove through it, it was very interesting. Through the windshield I could see an almost cloudless blue sky with a bright sun. But right in front of the car, I could see light rain droplets flying at the car at high speed. If we were going in the other direction, we might have gotten a rainbow.

We had a few adventures getting from the highway to the rental car return. We exited one exit too soon, and then found some really cheap gas. Strangely, all the pumps but one were diesel. But then I found that they didn't take VISA, so we had to drive off, wander around a bit (almost like we were trying to shake off someone tailing us) and eventually take the right exit, get gas, and return the car.

At the airport, I lost. We checked our bags uneventfully, but as we approached security, a woman politely asked to attach a tag to my carry-on bag. She decided that it was probably overweight, so I had to go and weigh it. As I pretty much knew, it was overweight. So we had to go to a shop and buy a luggage lock. Then we had to shuffle things around to move the most expensive stuff out of my bag into Amy's pack. Her's was overweight as well, but she got away with it.

I had to check my bag, but at least they didn't charge us for it. Hopefully it will make it to Boston without incident.

So much for my “don't worry, they don't weigh the carry on”. Personally, I think the rule is bogus. The only rationale is to not overload the overhead racks, because it can't be just weight. I and my “overweight” carry on still weigh less than some passengers alone. If I had to keep it on the floor and not put it in the racks, I could live with that. But I don't make the rules.

- -

Our trip through Montreal was a nightmare. We only had something like an hour for our connection. It turns out that we had to do all of the international stuff. Even worse, it all seemed to be spread out, so we had to hurry through what seemed to be miles of corridors. We had to deal with immigration stuff, enhanced security, import/export, etc. The only saving grace was that we only had to deal with our carry-on; we didn't have to get our checked bags and then re-check them. Fortunately, the place seemed rather deserted at that time, so we had virtually no lines. If we had had lines, we would have been sunk.

At one point, as we were hurrying down a walkway, Michael suddenly realized that he didn't have his jacket. I imagined that he had put it down at the last set of kiosks, and then forgotten to pick it up again when we had left. Fortunately, however, he had just managed to drop it 20 yards back, so he ran back, got it, and we continued.

Unfortunately for Amy, the plane to Boston was boarding at the last gate in the concourse, giving her the longest distance to run. When we got there, the attendants were waiting for us, as all of the other passengers were already boarded. We got on board, the doors were closed, and we left.

Amy and Mike sat on one side of the aisle, and I sat across the aisle at the window seat. During the short flight, I began to get worried about Amy's camera. She had had it out, i.e. not in her bag. At one point I was carrying it, but then at another point I thought that Mike had it. I wasn't sure, but I did know that as of when we were boarding the plane, I did not have it. I really hoped that we hadn't left it behind like we almost left Mike's jacket behind.

It turns out that I had worried for nothing, as Mike did in fact have it.

The moral of this part of the story is that when traveling internationally, make sure that you have a longer layover just before entering the US.

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Monday, August 31: Banff