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Old Dec 15, 09, 12:56 am
Loose Cannon
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Let me check my Logbook
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Posts: 1,781
New Airports, Border Blues, Fall Colours

Tour of Duty 6th October 2009 to 21st November 2009
Part II: 19th October to 2nd November

I got up at about 04h00 and got shuttle to SEA. I checked in after a short queue and got a Security Document in lieu of a Boarding Pass. There was a short queue for ID check and longer queue for actual security but no secondary screening and no manual search of carry ons. I checked in at the gate and got Boarding Pass.

Southwest #3771 SEA-MDW B-737-700 Boarding Pass C19 Seat 21B Cruising altitude not given Estimated flying time 3:35, actual 3:35 Scheduled departure 06h50, actual 06h54 out of B14 Scheduled arrival 12h55, actual 12h44 into B26

I was stuck in a middle seat on a nearly full flight. Pushback was 4 minutes late followed by taxi/hold of 11 minutes and takeoff to the south into clouds in under 30 seconds. The view was limited due to me being in the middle seat but also due to extensive cloud cover for much of the flight.

Seatbelt sign went off at 0:19. At 0:25 F/A came through with snacks. I chose Ritz Cracker Sandwiches and Oreo Thin Crisps. The other choice was Animal Crackers. At 0:42 I got cup of soda. At 0:49 I got a refill. We picked up some bumps and seatbelt sign went on at 0:56. Seatbelt sign went off again at 1:12 and it was announced we were 40 miles west of Billings, MT. At 1:56 F/A came through and I got pretzels and at 2:02 I was offered water.

The clouds finally broke at 2:34. At 2:44 we passed what looked to be Des Moines, IA. I thought I felt descent at 2:51. Descent was announced and seatbelt sign went on at 2:59 with winds out of southwest 15-20mph and temperature 57F and partly cloudy at MDW. At 3:02 we passed the Quad Cities area and I saw the Mississippi River.

I saw some colour on the trees during approach and saw Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago to the distance to the north. There were gusty winds during approach and we landed northeast to southwest. Taxi was 3 minutes and we arrived at gate 11 minutes early.

During the layover at MDW I got a couple of sandwiches at Potbelly's.

Southwest #973 MDW-SDF B-737-700 Boarding Pass B49 Seat 19A Cruising altitude not given Estimated flying time 0:45, actual 0:42 Scheduled departure 14h20, actual 14h30 out of A5 Scheduled arrival 16h25, actual
16h24 into B15

Plane was totally full but I escaped the dreaded middle seat. An announcement was made that it is a FAA regulation that nothing but Southwest material is to be stored in the seatback pocket for takeoff and landing. It was clear, light winds and 61F at SDF. Pushback was 10 minutes late followed by taxi/hold of 6 minutes and takeoff to southwest and turn to southeast. I saw Lake Michigan and some colour on trees but still a lot of green on the trees. I saw Interstate 294 the Tri-State Tollway and the junction of that highway with Interstate 80 and also Interstate 57.

Seatbelt sign went off at 0:08. At 0:10 I got cup of soda. At 0:16 we crossed Interstate 74. At 0:28 I got pretzels then a turn was made more southeast. At 0:22 we crossed Interstate 70 and I saw what looked to be Brazil, IN to the distance. I saw Bloomington, IN at 0:26. Seatbelt sign went on at 0:27 and descent was announced at the same time. We crossed the Ohio River and I saw Interstate 65 during approach and there were some bumps. We flew over downtown Louisville but I did not see the high buildings. We landed north to south and taxi was 4 minutes. We arrived at gate 1 minute early and I got my bags 19 minutes after arrival.

The company arranged for a shuttle service to Elizabethtown, KY where I was to pick up truck the next day as I arrived too late to make the pickup. The driver was a biker who used to run with the Outlaws Motorcycle Club but now he is a member of a motorcycle club called Sons of God. We had conversation en route and I was dropped off at motel in Elizabethtown for the night.

Trip: Elizabethtown, KY to Milton, ON 600 paid miles Routes: Interstate 65 to Interstate 264 to Interstate 71 to Interstate 75 to Interstate 94 to Blue Water Bridge to Ontario 402 to Ontario 401 Maximum elevation: unknown
Highest diesel price USA: $2.859/gallon at Pilot Monroe, MI
Lowest diesel price USA: $2.699/gallon at Flying J Beaverdam, OH
Diesel price in Canada: $0.899CAD/litre at Fifth Wheel Milton, ON

Next day I was picked up by the same driver and taken to the shipper. This truck was smaller, a Ford F-550 bucket truck with automatic transmission. Weather was good in Kentucky and I had a brief rain shower in Beaverdam, OH. There was a fatal accident on Interstate 75 in Michigan resulting in a closure for traffic going opposite direction but everyone was taken off the Interstate at the interchange where I was trying to enter so that caused delays.

I had to stop at US Customs to get the title cleared. There was a long queue as other drivers were ahead of me. When it was my turn, the officer asked for a fax confirmation and I said I did not have such and he said next time bring fax confirmation or I would be turned around. After the title was cleared I paid the toll and crossed the Blue Water Bridge and entered Canada and saw the broker and Customs and got cleared.

After delivery I had a wait then I was picked up and taken into the Scarborough section of Toronto off Warden Avenue where I was to pick up truck for next trip.

Trip: Toronto, ON to Chesapeake, VA 691 paid miles Routeson Valley Parkway to Gardiner Expressway to QEW to Ontario 405 to Interstate 190 to Interstate 290 to Interstate 90 to Interstate 390 to Interstate 86 to US15 (Future Interstate 99 Corridor) to Interstate 270 to Interstate 495 to Interstate 95 to Interstate 295 to Interstate 64 Maximum elevation: Bloss Mountain 2,157 feet on US15 north of Liberty, PA
Highest diesel price USA: $2.939/gallon at Flying J Corfu, NY
Lowest diesel price USA: $2.719/gallon at Flying J Carmel Church, VA
Permits required: PA trip permit

This was the first time I picked up a truck in Toronto proper though I drove through Toronto numerous times on the 401. This truck was a cab and chassis for a garbage truck and had automatic transmission. It was 16h00 when I got started and it took 2h30min to drive 46 miles to the yard in Burlington where I dropped off some paperwork from previous trips. While still on city streets in Toronto I saw some nice all colours but there was no safe or legal place to stop to take pictures.

I spent the first night in Niagara Falls, NY and next day it was raining when I woke up. The company made a mistake with the PA permit so it had to be reordered and refaxed and that cost some time. I had rain at times in NY state and some light rain from Allenwood, PA to Liverpool, PA. Many trees were already bare in the higher elevations in PA but I saw some nice fall colours in and around Williamsport.

Sunday morning I attended service at Calvary Chapel in Fredericksburg, VA. This was Youth Sunday and there was a skit and after that three youths gave mini-sermons. Fall colours were at their peak in the area and it looked like I was driving through a tunnel of colours in some areas especially along Interstate 64 east of Richmond.

I took the Hampton Roads Tunnel under Chesapeake Bay and I feel that Interstate 64 in the Tidewater area of Virginia needs to be resurfaced! I pulled into the lot at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Virginia Beach to attend the Sunday evening service and it appeared as if the sky was on fire. There were some songs, some testimonies and a short message on Psalm 103 and then Communion was served and I was allowed to partake. I spent Sunday night in Norfolk, VA.

Monday I delivered the truck in Chesapeake, VA and had a considerable wait for arrangements to be made then I was told to rush to the airport. Weather was not great with light rain as I arrived at Norfolk International Airport. I checked in and checked bags which weighed 50lbs and I cleared security with no secondary screening and no hand search of carry ons but my briefcase was run through the x-ray a second time.

Southwest #1129 ORF-MDW B-737-700 Boarding Pass B58 Seat 17B Cruising altitude 38,000 feet Estimated flying time 1:45, actual 1:46 Scheduled departure 17h00, actual 17h08 out of A5 Scheduled arrival 18h05, actual 18h07 into A17

I got stick in a middle seat again and the plane was nearly full. Pushback was 8 minutes late followed by taxi/hold of 6 minutes and takeoff to the north northeast. I saw the beach immediately after takeoff then we were into the clouds immediately thereafter. There were some bumps on the climb. We reached cruise and seatbelt sign was turned off at 0:26 40 miles northeast of Roanoke, VA. There were bumps and seatbelt sign went on at 0:32.

At 0:33 F/A's came through with peanuts and Cheese Nips. At 0:35 there was drink run and I got can of Ginger Ale. At 0:37 seatbelt sign went off and it was announced we were encountering headwinds. At 0:53 it was announced we may encounter pockets of turbulence and it may be too bumpy for people to be up safely so the F/A's were instructed to secure the cabin early and seatbelt sign went on. We were told we may miss most of the turbulence but better safe than sorry.

I felt some bumps at 1:03. I felt descent begin at 1:13. Final descent was announced at 1:19. At 1:25 it was announced there was light rain and it was 50F at MDW with winds out of the southwest. I saw clouds and once we were in the clouds there were some bumps. We landed on wet runway and there was heavy reverse thrust. Taxi was 6 minutes and we arrived at gate 2 minutes late. I got bags 28 minutes after arrival and got transport to Streator, IL.

Trip: Streator, IL to Innisfil, ON 617 paid miles Routes: Illinois 23 to Interstate 80 to Interstate 94 to Interstate 196 to Michigan 6 to Interstate 96 to Interstate 69 to Blue Water Bridge to Ontario 402 to Ontario 401 to Ontario 403 to QEW to Ontario 401 to Ontario 400 Maximum elevation: unknown
Highest diesel price USA: $2.799/gallon at BP Imlay City, MI
Lowest diesel price USA: $2.719/gallon at Flying J Lake Station, IN
Diesel price Canada: $0.899/litre CAD at Husky Bradford, ON

Truck was not ready and I spent an entire day in Streator before getting truck the following day. The truck was a vacuum truck with a standard 10 speed transmission. There was some construction on Interstate 196 in Michigan. I stopped for lunch at Big Boy in Imlay City, MI and found the back dirt lot where trucks parked in was blocked off by a new fence. The truck was small enough I was able to manoeuvre around the lot and park safely. After I ate I filled out a comment card to complain about the blocked off lot but have not heard anything as of yet.

I got the title cleared US Customs in Port Huron but not before I was questioned and the truck was searched. Then the crossing over to Canada went without incident. I had a detour as the Highbury exit off the 401 in London was closed and that was the normal exit for the Flying J truckstop! So I detoured and finally made it to the truckstop.

It rained off and on the day I delivered the truck in Innisfil. After a considerable wait I was picked up and taken to Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ) for a flight to Montreal. After I arrived at YYZ I rang the company and got my confirmation code and found I had about 6 hours before flight time. I had to wait to check in and check bags. Bags weighed 49.0 and 45.4lbs. I cleared security and there was no additional security and no hand search of carry ons.

West Jet #482 YYZ-YUL B-737-600 Seat 10F Exit Row Cruising altitude 36,000 feet Estimated flying time 0:45, actual 0:48 Scheduled departure
22h20, actual 22h18 out of B22 Scheduled arrival 23h33, actual 23h24 into gate 47

I was the first one on the plane and the plane was not very full. Pushback was 2 minutes early followed by taxi/hold of 12 minutes and takeoff to the west. I saw the lights of the GTA on take off then turn south and east. Seatbelt sign went off at 0:06 and we went over Lake Ontario. At 0:13 there was drink run and I got cup of soda plus Bits & Bites.

I felt some bumps during flight. I felt descent at 0:23 but announcement of descent was made at 0:25 and it was 11C at YUL. Seatbelt sign went on at 0:33. We went in and under some clouds and there were more bumps and I saw the lights of the Montreal area on approach. We made turns south and west and landed east to west on a wet runway. Taxi was 5 minutes and we arrived 9 minutes early. I got bags 14-16 minutes after arrival and got taxi and spent night in Vaudreuil, QC.

Trip: Vaudreuil-Dorion, QC to New Castle, DE 487 paid miles Routes: Quebec 540 to Quebec 40 to Quebec 15 to Interstate 87 to Interstate 287 to New Jersey 17 to Interstate 80 to Interstate 95 to Interstate 295 to Delaware 9
Diesel price USA: $3.099/gallon at Peterbilt Champlain, NY
Diesel price Canada: $1.029CAD/litre at Petro Canada Dugald, QC

I picked up a street sweeper truck with automatic transmission. It was raining and I ended up taking 40 east to 15 south. There was construction on 40 east and instead of 3 lanes there was 1 lane which resulted in congestion. I saw a sign that said there was major construction on the 20 and Pont Mercier was down to one lane so I was glad I took the 40. I used the Pont Champlain to cross the St. Lawrence River. The speed limit on the Pont Champlain was reduced to 50 km/h.

A collision between a van and pickup truck partially blocked an interchange I needed to take to stay on the 15. Smaller cars were able to squeeze by on the soft shoulder but I deemed it unsafe to attempt to do so and I pulled off to the side and allowed the cars to proceed while I waited for authorities to come and clear the accident. During the time I waited there was a heavy rain shower and some strong winds. The vehicles were cleared and I proceeded but the low fuel warning light came on so I stopped at the nearest filling station to get a few litres of diesel. I spent the night in Plattsburgh, NY.

Sunday morning I attended service at Independent Baptist Church in Keeseville, NY. The pastor was absent but a deacon gave a message on things we cannot do without. There were a few sprinkles on the NJ Turnpike and on Monday I made delivery at the Port of Wilmington in New Castle, DE.

I took a taxi to Newark, DE where I picked up a rental car on a one way rental to RDU as I was told next trip would be from Creedmoor, NC to Milton, ON. I saw some good fall colours in Newark, DE before proceeding.

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