Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day 14 - Returning home

Ten minutes to 9pm and about an hour and a bit away from our scheduled
departure from Toronto.

It's been a relatively quiet week, log splitting, playing Skip-Bo (a
card game), watching TV, and basically enjoying the company of
Michaelea's parents. We visited with a couple new neighbors of mom
and dad and then had quick good-byes and I drove the rental car back
to Toronto. Took route 45 west to Orillia and then south on 11 and
400 to the 401. Stopped in at the Turriton's to say hello, have a bit
of a visit while we're in town, (Tony is the newsletter editor for
Transport 2000 Ontario, and I stayed with the Turriton's back in May
when I came out for a Transport 2000 board meeting in Ottawa.) and
kill some time since we made good time into Toronto (it helps when
everyone on the 400 is doing 120kph, while the speed limit on this six
lane highway is supposed to be 100.)

Returning the rental car turned out to be a rather interesting
experience...Well, not so much returning it, but actually getting into
the parking lot where we were to return it. Basically, we were both
shown and reminded (Jon and Michaelea respectively) how much driving
in downtown Toronto really Sucks. Especially when there's a hockey
game going on at the Air Canada Centre, which happens to be directly
south of Union Station. Lots of pedestrians, no end of "no left
turn's" on the streets we needed to turn left onto, and in general how
traffic just loved to screw around with us. After turning around,
doing a reverse/u-turn in the middle of an intersection, we finally
managed to learn how to get northbound on York street just south of
Front Street and then into the parking lot for returning the car.
What a relief! (Next time, we want to take the bus out to Haliburton
and save ourselves the hassle of driving there...)

Had an inkling to have dinner at a decent restaurant in downtown
Toronto and went for a walk after checking our luggage in at the
Luggage counter. We obviously went the wrong direction and ended up
in a whole ton of construction, just west of Union Station. Nothing
worthy, so found our way into the Skywalk between Union Station and
the Skydome (now known as the Rogers Centre, where the Toronto Blue
Jays and Toronto Argonauts play) and walked back indoors to where we
were going to find "something" to eat. Ended up being Harvey's. Not
really noteworthy other than it was food, done reasonably well for the

Checked in at the Panorama Lounge (we were the first ones here), had
our tickets lifted and shortly afterward, Robert, the Dining Car
Service Manager advised he would be taking reservations aboard the
train tonight. I pretty much instantly recognized him from a previous
trip where George W, Michael C. and myself (all part of T2000) enjoyed
a trip west in the Park Car with a bottle of Canadian Sparkling Wine
(aka Canadian Champagne), and he recognized me as well. Cherie is our
Service Manager to Winnipeg, someone I haven't yet seen aboard in my
travels on the Canadian. From most indications, this should be a good
trip west. If nothing else, I'm sure it's not going to be better than
our trip aboard Amtrak!


We boarded the train around 9:40pm and we were greeted by our car
attendant Dennis who took our small suitcase and led us to our room.
We checked the large suitcase as we shouldn't need anything out of it
for the remainder of the trip. It is Room F on Car 122. It is a large
room with really comfy chairs, which you can move around, a water
closet (bathroom with just a toilet) a sink and several mirrors. After
dropping our stuff off in the room, Jon bolted to the park car to sit
in the front seat to watch our departure. I on the other hand stayed
behind and organized our bags before heading to the park car. The park
car is the last car on the train with the dome on top and the curved
rear end. In the Park Car they offered Champagne and hor'douveres. I
had a glass and Jon had a glass and a half. The Champagne went to my
head much faster than the wine and beer I was drinking at Mom and
Dad's. Only small amounts, I didn't want to get sick. It was really
nice to have the Bon Voyage Reception while our rooms were being made

Compared to the beds on Amtrak these beds were luxury. They are wider
on top and bottom than the Amtrak and more comfortable. They also give
you two really comfortable full sized pillows and a comforter whereas
Amtrak gives you a travel pillow and travel blanket like you would get
in an airplane. Thin and small. There was no want for extra heat on
The Canadian. As per usual the first night is hard to get used to the
moving and bumping so all the sleep we really received is the "travel
sleep" where you are virtually asleep, but aware of what is going on
around you.


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