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Mike's Trek to the Great White North 1994

Part 5: Montreal

On that Friday morning at 4 AM, my boss pulls the car up to the lobby of the hotel, where I start loading all our furniture.  For the first time all trip, it was snowing.  And it was snowing a lot.  We called to check our flight status, and the flight was listed as still operating.  So, we hit the road in the snow storm.

As we got closer to Montreal, the weather got a lot warmer - and a lot worse.  What was a lot of snow in Quebec City was a several inches of frozen rain in Montreal.  The roads were extremely slick.  We turned in the rental car and got to the ticket counter.

We were scheduled to fly back on USAir on a 737.  Much to our surprise, every other airline had cancelled all flights for the day, except for USAir.  So, we checked in our baggage and made our way to the gate.

At the gate, we saw that there were only a few passengers there.  The pilot was talking to the gate worker, and he told all of us that he was going to try to "go for it."  He said he knew that once he got airborne, everything would be okay.  It was just the matter of getting off the ground.  So, he told us that he was going to taxi around.  If he could taxi, he would taxi back, load the plane, and we'd be on our way.  So, he goes aboard and gets the pushback.  He fires up the engines, and starts taxiing towards the runway.  He goes to turn, but the jet doesn't turn.  So, he is now skidding towards another gate.  He hits the reverse thrusters, and the few airport workers who were outside scatter as the reverse thrusters start firing ice, sand, and other debris towards the other gate.  Ultimately, the pilot gets the plane stopped at the other gate (he wasn't going that fast, so there really didn't look like there was any danger of him running into the gate).  Then, we all knew what the gate worker was going to announce next.  First, there was a gate change for the USAir flight.  And second, the USAir flight was cancelled.

USAir 737
Picture this image with no sun, about three inches of solid ice on the ground, and just as deserted.  Oh, and the back of the engine would be popped up spraying little bits of ice and gravel towards the gate...

So, we went and retrieved our luggage, and found out that we were booked on the 8 AM flight the next day.  It was only 9 AM, and we would have to spend the day in Montreal.

Oh, did we have to suffer this fate?  A whole day in Montreal?  Yeah!  This ruled!

So, we drove around a bit on our way to the hotel, checking out some of the sites. 

Actually, this should probably be listed as 'the former home   of the Expos'...
The top of the Olympic Stadium, where the Expos play.  This part is a giant winch, which retracts the roof, which is attached to the cables.

Montreal's Olympic Stadium from the 1976 Olympics.  They're still   paying it off...
The Olympic Stadium from a different angle.  Obviously taken in the summer, as noted by the green tree and the lack of ice...

We checked into a hotel downtown, had a great lunch at a place called the "Bar-B-Barn", and then walked around downtown.  The whole place was very slick, though, as there was (no kidding) two or three inches of solid ice on all the sidewalks, so we each fell about a dozen times while walking around, but all in all, we had a good visit in Montreal.

Continue on to Part 6: The Real Trip Home