September 3, 2007: Labor Dabor

Happy Labor Day Everybody.

I got up this morning at nine thirty and decided to take a walk through downtown Montreal while Oreo and Dominica slept for a while longer. I went south-east on the av du Parc until it turned into Bleury which I walked the length of and then Rue St. Pierre until it reached the river. Then I went north on the Rue de la Commune Ouest to Boulevard St. Laurent which I took back to the Rue Sherbrooke Ouest and back to the Quality Hotel. All together the walk took one hour.

Oreo Posing

My hour long walk through downtown Montreal was awesome. The entire weekend Dominica and I never ventured very far from our hotel as we didn’t know the city and didn’t have any definite plans we just took things easy which was a lot of fun but we didn’t get to see nearly as much of the city as we would have liked. During my walk I went through a slice of the big business and commercial district and then into the old part of the city, built by the French, near the waterfront. We really wish that we had a lot more time to explore Montreal and to see what all it has to offer. We hope to be back really soon.

It was eleven when I got back to the hotel and I was quite warm as the sun had come out and the city was heating up. We took Oreo for his morning walk, it was a bit of an emergency, and then Dominica started packing up the hotel room while I showered and got dressed. We checked out just after noon, put Oreo and our luggage into the car in the garage then Dominica and I ran to Werby’s for a late breakfast. Their breakfast was really good and a good price too. Dominica got a smoked salmon omelet that was really good.

It was around two or just a little earlier when we hit the road out of Montreal. Dominica was sad that she had missed so much cool stuff on my morning walk (although she was not sad about all of the walking that she had missed – several kilometers) and she wanted to drive through a lot of it so we drove down along much of the path that I had walked so that she could see it. Now she is even more anxious to return to Montreal as there is just so much great stuff to see.

The drive to the border went quickly and there was almost no traffic at all. We barely saw a vehicle on the road. We stopped at a Quebec souvenir stand just before the border to get a few things to bring back and at the gas station next door to fuel up before going into the northern New York wilderness. Canadian gas is insanely expensive at around four dollars a gallon! It cost me $53 to fill up the PR5’s little gas tank that wasn’t even empty!

The big surprise came when we reached customs at the US border. Even though there had been no traffic at all we found that there was an insane backup at the border. We ended up waiting there for two and a quarter hours! It was hot and sunny too. Dominica was getting sick as the air conditioning in the little old Mazda (it has 101,200 miles on it at this point) just couldn’t keep the car cool with two people and a little black dog in it with all of that glass being pounded with sunlight. And there was no breeze most of the time so the air conditioning was the only option. To keep Oreo cool I was taking bottled water and rubbing it into his ears so that they would keep him cooler. He didn’t really like that but it did the trick. He was warm but fine. We were really fortunate that we had bought ice teas and ice cream just minutes before getting stuck in this traffic back at the gas station just one mile before.

Strangely, when we actually made it up to the customs official working at the border he was very friendly, efficient and let us through with no hassle whatsoever. We were having a hard time figuring out where the delays were coming from if the customs officials were working like this. This was one of the fastest, friendliest US border crossings ever. Totally not what we were expecting. Now, to be sure, we had both of our passports in hand and ready, we are both New York residents (the local state at the border which makes things easier) and we had all of Oreo’s paperwork for International travel ready and in hand. We were as prepared as we could be. We had a normal car with New York plates too. Everything was right for an easy border crossing.

After getting across the border we drove for maybe twenty minutes it seems and stopped in Peru, New York at the McDonald’s to get our lunch.  They were pretty busy and, I am guessing, in for a really busy afternoon.  We ate, walked Oreo and got back on to i87 South (sud in French!) towards Albany.

With the exception of the border crossing (and it is a pretty big exception) there trip went extremely quickly and even on Labor Day there was hardly any traffic at all even as we approached New York City.  We made great time.  We stopped at Ramapo and grabbed a quick bite to eat at our rest stop there and then drove on down to Newark.

It was around ten in the evening when we arrived back at 1180 Raymond Boulevard in Newark.  That means that it took us approximately eight hours from Montreal to Newark.  With two food stops and a 2.25 hour stop at the border that means that the south bound drive time was probably a little bit less than the trip on Friday night.  Very good time indeed.

We unpacked the Mazda, walked Oreo and went straight off to bed.  I am working the early shift tomorrow and need to get some sleep.  Dominica is back to work as well.  Vacation is over.  Also, both of us begin college classes tomorrow too!

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