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|05/29||Canada, Lansdowne to Ottawa
This morning started out on a very interesting note. The car ran out of gas!
But wait. I'm getting ahead of myself.
Yesterday afternoon, in Northern New York, I noticed the gas was low. Lisa suggested waiting until we get into Canada because we were running late, and anyway, the price might be lower. I agreed.
I noticed, as we crossed the border that he "low gas" light was on, but we wanted to get Lynn to camp and us to our hotel to confirm our rooms. There should be enough gas.
We passed a gas station, but the destination was very close, so we went on. We dropped Lynn at the campground, picked up Joan (Larry and Priscilla were not in yet) and went on the to the motel. We checked in, showered and returned to the campground for dinner.
After dinner, we loaded everyone and their gear and headed back to the motel. After all, it was only 1.3 miles. There should be enough gas.
Morning. We loaded our gear and Larry and Joan's gear. Then I drove over to Priscilla and Roma's room to pick them and their gear up. I backed up to their door and turned the engine off. After loading their gear, I went to start the car and drive down to the registration desk. Nothing! Nada!! Zilch!!!
The car was on a slight slope and was not getting any gas. Shades of yesterday with the lost keys. Again, I'm kicking myself for delaying too long to get gas.
Then, as I was looking around for a place to phone AAA, I spotted something red that looked a lot like a gas can sitting on the edge of the lawn. Upon closer look (and smell), I confirmed it was a 5 gallon gas can containing about 4 gallons of gas. It must have been for the lawn mower.
I poured about a half-gallon of gas into the car. It started right up. Saved!!! Was that serendipitous???
We went to breakfast, unloaded bikes and gear, ate and made plans. Lynn, Lisa and I decided to ride until about 3 o'clock. Priscilla, Joan and Larry were on route. (Oh yeah. Roma got gas right away.)
We rode through more, beautiful countryside. Lots of broadleaf trees. Occasional conifer trees. Beautiful, blue skies dotted with bright, white, puffy clouds. We passed through many, interesting small towns, stopping occasionally to admire the views of rivers, lakes, old bridges, and old buildings.
We stopped in Jasper, a very small town, and asked two, white-haired ladies for a recommendation for lunch. They said the (very, very small) grocery store/deli across the street had the best pizza around. (It was the ONLY pizza around but it WAS very good.)
We continued on through the beautiful countryside to Merrickville. There we had a GOOD cup of coffee and some pleasant conversation with Al and Steve Tarkington.
Down the road a bit we came to a lock on the Rideau Canal. It is a part of the Rideau River and Canal System. The canal is 126 mi. long. It stretches from Kingston on Lake Ontario to the Ottawa River in Ottawa. Construction was begun just after the war of 1812, and what was intended as a supply route if the Americans attempted another invasion is now an elaborate set of 47 locks and 24 dams used mainly by recreational boaters. This 19th century engineering feat raises boats 275 feet from the Ottawa River, over the rocky Canadian Shield. Then it lowers them 160 feet to Lack Ontario.
Further on down the country road we came upon a gothic style Christian church that is more than 170 years old.
Our beds for the evening are in a two-person dormitory room that is part of a seven room suite at the Carleton University in Ottawa. The suite has two 2-person rooms, two 1-person rooms, a living room, a shower-tub-sink-toilet room and a sink-toilet room. We'll be here for two nights.
Love to all, David and Lisa
On this layover day, Lisa and I started the day with a 5 mile jog into town on a multi-use path along the Rideau Canal. Ottawa has developed multi-use paths along both sides of the canal from the Carlton University to the Parliament Building next to the Ottawa River. It's really beautiful, and a great place to walk, jog, or bike. In fact, Ottawa has a whole system of these paths along the canal, two rivers, and a park. We were really impressed with how well designed they were. It struck us that we hadn't really heard much about Ottawa before coming here, but it really is a beautiful, lively city. Maybe they should hold an Olympics or World's Fair here to get some recognition!
Arriving downtown, we strolled through the Market area. Along the way, we stopped for lunch at a nice, friendly sidewalk cafe.
We walked to and around the three parliament buildings, then caught a bus back to the Carton campus. At the campus, we showered, did laundry and had dinner. Then we talked, read, packed, oiled the bike, and talked some more.
The bad news of the day is that three bikes were stolen from downtown. Ed and Wilma Lang's were together. Both were stolen. And David Porterfield's was also stolen. Yes, David is the guy who broke a hip just days before the start in Pasadena, and who just joined the trip in Washington, DC Sad!
Love to all, David and Lisa
|05/31||Ottawa to Chute-a-Blondeau (e/o Hawkesbury)
The beautiful clear blue skies of yesterday were replaced with gray overcast this morning. Nevertheless, we set out for a ride in the light morning rain. We first road upstream along the Rideau Canal (the opposite direction from what we ran yesterday.)
Then we crossed the canal and rode downstream to the Parliament Buildings. We rode around the attractive old Gothic buildings with green, copper roofs that made up the Parliament Building complex. The trail had many scenic vistas where we stopped and took pictures.
We then rode upstream along the Ottawa River. The water is at a high level (I believe the flow is controlled), and has many islands. Very picturesque.
After riding upstream a few miles, we crossed the river into Quebec Province. Then we rode downstream several miles. We passed some very fancy buildings containing museums. Lisa pointed out that one of them looked like it was leftover from a world's fair.
Then we again crossed the Ottawa River and followed the Rideau River upstream for about 10 miles. We passed through some VERY rural parks and forestlands. It's hard to believe we were inside a big city.
Eventually we crossed the river on the Banks Street Bridge, followed Banks Street to Sunnyside Avenue, then followed Sunnyside to the parking lot where the car was.
We loaded up, hopped in the car, and followed the route to pick up Lynn and Roma. The route followed the Ottawa River all the way to the campground 90 miles away. Almost totally flat. A soft tail wind most of the way. Lilacs in full bloom with their aroma staying close to the ground due to the heavy skies. All in all, an absolutely beautiful riding day.
We found Lynn at about 70 miles. Since the route was so nice, and the weather was cloudy and cool but not rainy, she said she'd ride in.
At about 75 miles we found Joan and Larry. We stopped to give them info about the hotel. While we were stopped it started raining, so we went back to offer Lynn one last chance for a ride. When we got there, it was raining hard. She took the ride.
We continued on toward camp looking for Roma. We passed Larry and Joan huddled on a doorway sheltered from the rain. By the time we found Roma, it had stopped raining and she was only about two miles from camp, so she opted to ride in.
The camp was a very nice, provincial park (same as a state park in California) right on a quiet part of the river. A very pretty camping spot -- but wet and full of mosquitos.
We got to camp, dropped Lynn, got our gear and found Priscilla. Then Roma arrived. By the time we got Priscilla's gear and locked the bikes up, Larry and Joan rode in. We told them we were ready to leave for the motel and if they got their gear right away, we'd give them a ride.
When they didn't return for awhile, I went to find them to see is I could help. Not surprisingly, I found them in the gear tent, talking to other riders.
Karen-Ann asked if she could follow us to our hotel because she didn't know where one was. We said sure. So we all drove the 10 miles back to the motel in Hawkesbury.
We unloaded our gear, took showers, and headed out for dinner. (We had all agreed that we didn't want to drive back to camp for the catered dinner in the woods.)
Larry, Joan, Lisa and I walked to a local restaurant called Memories that was recommended by the hotel manager. They had a large and varied menu. We were ably served by Heidee, a very personable waitress of German heritage. We finished dinner and were back in our room by 8:30.
I should note that our car-mate Lynn loves to camp, so she never joins us at motels. Tonight, Roma and Priscilla shared the room next to ours.
Love to all, David and Lisa
|06/01||Canada, Chute-a-Blondeau to Montreal
Today was another beautiful route -- generally following the river again -- and a short day -- only 60 miles. Again we rode through lots of countryside and small towns. We had a short ferry ride across the Ottawa River into Quebec Province, then miles more of country roads.
A big change was the signing. In Ontario Province, signs were in English, English/French and occasionally French/English. Immediately after entering Quebec Province, ALL signs were in FRENCH ONLY. Great for Lisa. Tough for me, but not impossible.
Finally we got into the suburbs. They were just like typical USA (but not Californian) suburbs of big cities. Houses fairly close together but with decent-size yards. Small parks. Small churches (mostly Catholic). Small schools. Lots of students on the streets.
Then we crossed the "Riviere Prairies" into Montreal proper. The streets and traffic were also typical of big cities in the USA -- with the exception that drivers were unusually courteous. We rode several miles on the Boulevard de la Cote-Vertu -- a street remarkably similar to the El Camino Real in San Mateo County.
We arrived at McGill University about 2 p.m. Considering that we were the LAST riders to leave camp this morning (between 8:30 and 9:00), we felt pretty good about this day. To us, this was about what we expected on the ride.
At McGill, ALL of the rooms were singles. Very nice for single student dorms, but . . . . Each floor of the dorms were coed, but they were set up for having the men at one end of the building and the women at the other -- which meant there was one men's bathroom/shower in the men's wing on each floor and one for the women in their wing. In our case, the men's was across the hall from our rooms. (Lots of women in this wing. I think it will become coed at night.)
We were hungry so we walked downtown (about half a mile, downhill all the way) and got a bite to eat.
When we came back, we heard about "Le Tour de l'Ile" -- a 42 mile bike ride that is scheduled for Sunday. It's billed as the largest bike ride in the world. (The Cape Argus ride we did in Capetown was billed as the largest bike RACE in the world.) We thought we would like to stay over and do the ride. We talked to Lynn and Roma and they both thought that was a GREAT idea. So, we're going to do it. We'll stay in Montreal an extra night, do the ride Sunday morning, then drive to Quebec City Sunday evening.
Having decided that, we heard about a bike shop nearby where we could register. We drove over, albeit, with one wrong turn, "nearby" became a pretty long drive. Anyway, when we got there, the Cafe Bicyclette was anything but a normal bike shop. It was a cafe, a bicycle paraphernalia shop par excellence, and a bicycle book store. We bought two "Tour de l'Ile" bike jerseys and registered for the ride.
We all returned to McGill for dinner, then retired to our rooms to read.
Love to all, David and Lisa
|06/02||Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Busy day today -- but not particularly productive.
The car had to be returned by 12:44 latest. Plenty of time.
First, ran down to the gate to get our parking permit renewed between 6 and 8 a.m. so we wouldn't get a ticket.
Then ate breakfast and showered.
Then worked on adjusting the disc brakes. (They were dragging.) Ran through the procedures twice, both by the book. They still dragged.
Called Randy DeVoto at CSDA re our potential partnership on the Phoenix Sky Harbor Residential Sound Assistance Program. I still had not received the package he had FEDEX'd on Wednesday. Got the tracking number. Arranged to call back Saturday after I received and reviewed the package.
Called FEDEX to see where the package was. Found that it was in the FEDEX Office in Montreal. I told them it should be delivered here, to McGill College, where it was addresses. They said they couldn't do that because the sender had indicated it should be held at their office. I couldn't convince them to deliver it so I got the address of their office.
Tried to call Santana regarding the brake dragging. Didn't have their number. Tried information. Was left on hold for five minutes. Hung up. Tried again. Got connected to information in LaVerne, South Carolina. Finally got to the right state. Got the right number.
Called Santana. Talked to Tony. He thought the brakes needed bleeding. He said to follow the brake bleeding procedure in the pamphlet. I don't have the pamphlet. He will fax it to me, but I'm on a pay phone in the lobby of the dorm and don't know the fax number of the office. Told him I would get the number and call him back.
Went to the office. Got the fax number. Went to call him back. The phones were in use. Waited. Finally got a phone and got through.
It was 12:10. Ran up to get Lisa to navigate for-me as we returned the car to Dorval Airport.
We went the shortest way. But, of course, got stuck in traffic through some construction that had closed two of the three lanes.
Got to the airport 30 minutes late. Got hit with a $35 late fee. Protested. They forgave it.
Headed back to Montreal. Looking for Saint Dennis Street where we had seen blocks and blocks of sidewalk cafes yesterday. Couldn't find it on the map. Followed the signs to "Centreville." Finally got downtown. Had to wind around one-way streets to finally get to Saint Dennis St.
Found it. Parked. Finally relaxed over a delicious lunch of homemade soup, a goat cheese and tomato salad, and a veggie crepe at a very cozy sidewalk cafe.
Headed over to the FedEX office to get the package. Wound around one-way streets again. (Of course, they were all one way the WRONG way.)
Finally got back to the dorms. We had decided to move into a double room at a motel for Saturday night. The price is only a few dollars more and the facilities will be much nicer. Lynn and Roma would, also if Lynn can cancel her reservation here. Turned out she cannot so Lisa canceled the extra room she had reserved and we made plans to meet here at 3 after the ride Saturday.
We decided to go to a movie. Found a movie. Walked to the theater. Got two large popcorns and drinks. The movie got good reviews but was not very good. It was a poorly done documentary about a girl growing up and getting into the porn movie business.
Oh well, the popcorn was good.
We walked around one of the many underground malls on our way back to the dorm. Interesting. These malls are under both the buildings and the streets in the downtown area. I guess they avoid harsh, winter weather that way.
Finally we got back to the dorm. Lisa read some. I worked on the brakes some more. (I think I finally got them working good. We'll find out on the ride Sunday.)
Love to all, David and Lisa
While the riders head for Nicolet, 88 miles away, we laid over in Montreal so we can do the Le Tour de L'Ile with 60,000 other riders tomorrow.
We had a leisurely breakfast. Then Lisa spent about an hour on the free computer internet connections at the University while I reviewed the RFP package from CSDA.
We packed our gear to move to a hotel (because we wanted to be in one room, not two) that Lisa had set up. It was less expensive than two single rooms at the university and, a serendipity -- it's a block from the start of tomorrow's ride!
After checking in to the very European hotel, we drove down to "Vieux Montreal" or old Montreal and walked around for a few hours. There were a few narrow, cobblestone, European type streets. Unfortunately, they were mostly filled with souvenir shops. There were LOTS of restaurants -- mostly sidewalk cafes. (We had a delicious lunch at one that overlooked the old harbor.)
On the way out, we stopped by the Catedral de Notre Dame. It is a big, beautiful, Gothic style, cathedral. The inside is very beautiful, as one would expect. We saw four brides in various stages of getting married. All were dressed in long, full white gowns.
Of course, the streets were lined with a variety of horse and buggy rigs -- the traditional tourist symbol of Montreal.
We headed back to our hotel to take a scheduled call from Randy and Debra about the Phoenix program proposal. We got a tentative schedule for my flight to Phoenix (early June 6) and for my return flight to Paris (late June 8).
Then we picked up Roma and Lynn and went back to Saint Denise Street for dinner. After checking out several restaurants, we went back to the same restaurant that Lisa and I had gone to earlier.
After dinner, we dropped Lynn and Roma at McGill University. On the way back we had to drive around a big park because du Parc, the main street back, was closed in preparation for the ride tomorrow. We stopped at an overlook where we watched the lights come on in the city. Then we headed back to our room.
Love to all, David and Lisa
|06/04||Canada, Montreal to Quebec
While most of the Odyssey riders are bicycling from Nicolette to Quebec, we (Lisa, Roma, Lynn and I) stayed in Quebec to ride in the Le Tour de L'ille. We joined about 20 Odyssey riders and about 60,000 other bicyclists at 8 in the morning to ride 70 kilometers around Montreal.
We stayed in a hotel that was within a block of the start line. That was a mixed blessing. The downside was, we got up later. As a result, we didn't have time for breakfast, so we had a Clif Bar.
I talked to CSDA again this morning. They faxed my outgoing flight information and said they'd send the info on the hotel in Phoenix and information about my return flight to Paris in the morning. (I leave Quebec on a 6 A.M. flight on the 6th.)
By sheer coincidence, we ran into Lynn and Roma right at the start. We rode together for a short while, but it was too congested to stay close.
The route followed the two rivers most of the way. It went through some boring, ugly industrial areas and many interesting, middle-class residential areas.
One note of special interest was a contest that the ride organizers had promoted. Homes were invited to spruce up and decorate for the day. Each participating home displayed a number. The riders were invited to vote for the home decoration they liked the best.
As a result of the contest, we saw many homes decorated in honor of the ride. A lot had dummies on bikes set up in the yard. One had a very elaborate front yard decorated with balloons, pompoms and crepe paper. Many had music -- either electronic or live. All in all, it was a very festive atmosphere in the residential neighborhoods.
The ride did not measure up to the level achieved at the Cape Argus Race though. While they had five very nice rest stops in large parks, the only things provided free were bathrooms, water, and message centers. And, they had plenty of personal and bicycle first aide people along the route -- both on bicycles and at the rest stops. (I noticed they were even fixing flats for riders.)
We ran into several Odyssey riders at the finish. We also crossed paths with Lynn and Roma again. The four of us decided to forego showers (since the ride was both cool and easy), and head right out to Quebec.
We went first to have lunch at the restaurant near our hotel, which was just a block away. Then we all went to our hotel while Lisa and I got our gear packed and into the car. We loaded the bikes on and went over to McGill to pick up Lynn and Roma's gear, then we headed for Quebec.
We arrived about 6 at Laval University. We checked the white board right away. It said dinner was from 5 to 6:30, and that bikes could be stored in the basement "at 6:30" and "after dinner." We thought that "after dinner" probably meant until about 7:30, so we went right to dinner.
After dinner we rushed back to store our bikes, only to find the storeroom was not accessible. We asked Tim about getting it opened up for the hundred or so bikes of the riders who had just finished dinner. We pointed out that the White Board said both "6:30" and "after dinner" as the time for access to the store room. He said it was 6:30 ONLY, and that we should put our bikes in our rooms. Larry pointed out that the bikes would not fit in the rooms. He just shrugged his shoulders and walked away. That was somewhat of a surprise since, lately, Tim has been more responsive to the riders. Unfortunately, that was another show of the old TK&A way of having complete disdain for the needs of the riders.
Larry, Joan and I locked our bikes in the hallway for the night.
The four of us met later to discuss the situation in Paris -- the car, my arrival there on the 9th, and Lisa's staying over until I get there. The decision was that Larry would pick up the car and leave it in Paris with Lisa. Then we could use it to catch up with the Odyssey. Lisa may even get someone to share it with her and then ride with us to catch up.
We'll finalize the plans when I get my return flight info tomorrow.
Love to all, David and Lisa
EARLY A.M. MOMDAY -- There was final hurray to the bike storage situation.
About midnight, Karen-Ann ran up and down the halls banging on doors and shouting that the bicycles can't be left in the halls -- we had to move them. So everyone had to get up and move their bikes.
We lucked out, so to speak. While we had to meet Larry in the hall downstairs to unlock the three bikes, for some reason the security guard took Joans bike and led the three of us with our bikes to the basement storage area. For some reason (probably because of the tandem) they opened the storage area just for our bikes. We didn't know why, but we accepted it.
At breakfast this morning we discussed my departure and Lisa's needs with Larry and Joan. As always, they were very magnanimous with their promise of support.
Next we cleaned out the car and prepared it for return. Then we drove to the airport, about 12 Km's, returned the car and took a taxi into Quebec.
We spent the rest of the day exploring the Vieux-Quebec, the walled section of the city. Our first stop was the main Place d'Armas, or plaza, where we ran into Pierre (of the Odyssey staff) and quite a few lemonheads. Since Pierre was quite familiar with Quebec, we asked for his recommendations on restaurants and not-to-be-missed sights.
Next we went to Le Chateau Frontenac, an 1893 hotel built in the medieval French style, with numerous turrets and green, copper roofs. Since it sits atop the cap Diamente, the highest point on the high cliffs overlooking the St. Lawrence River, it is the focal point of Vieux-Quebec. It is a beautiful, lavish, grand old hotel designed in 19th century Canadian Pacific Railroad architectural style. We talked with a lot of Lemonheads in the luxurious public areas as we walked through.
Next we walked along the Terrace Dufferin, a boardwalk that stretches a couple thousand meters along the top of the cliffs in front of Le Chateau Frontenac. There are beautiful views of the river and the town below from the terrace.
Then we continued along La Promenade des Gouveneurs, a walkway/stairway that also runs along the river but leads up the face of the cliff between the boardwalk and the Citadel. The promenade provides more grand vistas of the river and the shore on the other side. We ran into Ken and Emily on the way up.
The promenade led to the front of the Citadel which also sits atop the cliffs overlooking the St. Lawrence river. Even grander vistas can be had from there.
The Citadel is the largest manned garrison on North America. It is the location of the primary defense of Quebec Province. It was here, and on the plains of Abraham just west of here, that the French were finally defeated by British troops in 1759. After attempting many frontal attacks over a period of years, the British troops finally prevailed when General Montgomery had his troops scale the cliffs beneath the Citadel in a sneak attack. They completely surprised the French and the battle was over in 20 minutes. That signaled the end of French occupation of Quebec.
We were surprised to learn that the Americans had attacked both Ottawa and Quebec in about 1745. They were always defeated.
We walked the complete perimeter of the Citadel, which provided varying views of the entire city of Quebec.
From that high vantage point we walked all the way down to Place-Royale and Quartier Petit-Champlain, next to he river. These are neighborhoods in the oldest parts of Quebec, right next to the port. Both have been developed with many quaint shops and appetizing restaurants to serve the large tourist population. In addition, the buildings in the Place-Royale have been restored to look like the originals.
We had a delicious and inexpensive Table de Hote lunch at a charming restaurant in a very old building. It was located at the foot of the stairs leading to the Place-Royale, where the two main streets intersection. Our table put us in a perfect position to "people watch" as they came and went.
For lunch Lisa had a plate of mussels steamed in white wine and coated with a delicious orange sauce. I had a beautifully presented plate of mixed greens with salmon pate that was out of this world.
There is a small, old church in the Place de Paris of Place-Royale. With the exception of the fancy alter with lots of gold trim, the sanctuary is beautiful in it's simplicity.
An unusual feature of the church is a large model of a three-masted ship that hangs from the ceiling in the middle of the sanctuary. We read that the model had been severely damaged during the siege of 1752 and had since been restored, but we could find no other history on it.
From there we walked around the inside of the perimeter wall, then through the center of Vieux-Quebec. We saw a lot of green area, some middle class homes and apartments, and a commercial area that could well have been in one of the many neighborhoods in San Francisco. We even passed a store named "San Francisco."
We caught the bus in town that took us right to the Laval campus. We were just in time for dinner.
I spent the evening sorting and packing in preparation for my early morning departure for Phoenix. Lisa and I discussed what she will do when I'm gone, how and when we will reconnect when I get back, and how we might handle the car in Paris.
Lisa thinks she will borrow a single and ride, the first day or two. She may even offer the tandem to Brian and Theresa, Odyssey friends from Canada and ex-tandem riders, to use for a few days.
Re the car, we decided, subject to Larry and Joan's agreement, that Larry will pick up the car, leave it at their hotel in Paris, and leave the key in an envelope at the desk. When I arrive, I'll go to the hotel, get the key and the car, and drive to where ever Lisa is.
Last thing, call and arrange for a taxi pickup at 4:45.
Love to all, David and Lisa
David headed for Phoenix via Toronto. Lisa headed for Paris, France.
FROM DAVID --
I got up at 4:15 this morning, met my taxi at 4:45 and headed for the airport. I arrived in plenty of time for the flight and, unfortunately, too early for the ground personnel at the airport. Nothing stirred until about 5:30.
Finally, at 5:30, I was able to get cup of coffee and a roll. About the same time I was able to get my ticket and go to the gate.
The flight was uneventful. We arrived in Toronto on time. I had more than an hour to catch my flight to Phoenix. Should be plenty of time, right?
The first challenge was getting to -- and through -- US customs. I received instructions to "just walk down that hall and follow the blue signs with the US flag to customs." Little did I know that the walk was about a mile and a half. Then, when I got there, there was a huge crowd waiting in line. Fortunately, about the time I arrived, an agent was calling for anyone going to Phoenix to follow her. That got me past the crowd and through customs quickly.
Next, I had another long walk to a shorter line to go through security. When I got to security, I was told that the bag that I carried on the first flight was not acceptable on this flight.
So, gather my stuff that had already gone through x-ray and head back to customs to have the now oversize bag checked. Then back in line to go through security. Finally made it.
Now to the gate. It must be close, right?
Wrong again. It was halfway back to my arrival gate. Bottom line, I made it to the gate just five minutes before flight time. Fortunately, it was still open. I got on.
But, all is not well yet. On the flight I received a message that my luggage did not make it on board.
When I stepped off the plane in Phoenix I thought I stepped into an oven. It felt like it was at least 100 degrees (later I found out that it was 110 degrees at the airport) -- and I was still dressed for the cool 5 a.m. weather in Quebec. What a shock! I was told that this is normal weather for July and August. A little warm for June.
Well, my goal for today was to get a dress outfit for the presentation Thursday. So I picked up the rental car, checked into the Hampton Inn, and headed to the stores.
My first stop was a Mens Wearhouse in Phoenix. They had only two suits that met my size and color desires but they were both pretty low quality and didn't fit well. The manager there called a sister store in neighboring Scotsdale. She said they might have what I need.
On the way over to Scotsdale, I came upon a Nordstrom. I decided to stop and see if they would have something. It turned out that they were too expensive but they recommended two other stores in the mall, Robinson-May and Dillards.
I went to Robinson-May and found a suit that I liked. They could do the minor alterations by tomorrow afternoon so I was in business. I completed the outfit with shirt, tie, shoes and socks, and headed back to the Hampton.
Before leaving the mall, I checked out three possible places to get a haircut. No luck. One did very fancy womens styles, one did very wild cuts and styles for young folks, and the other was part of a quick-cut chain. But, on the drive back I spotted a small neighborhood shop called Paul's Custom Cuts. I went in and talked to Paul. He seemed to understand my needs and had some good ideas. So I got a haircut.
Later in the evening my lost bag was delivered. Tomorrow I'll pick up my suit after 2 and be all set.
FROM LISA --
After saying goodbye to David before the crack of dawn, I went back to sleep for a few hours. Later, as I was on my way down the hall for breakfast, I saw a gaggle of riders, apparently very upset. "What now?" I thought.
Well, it turned out that Stan, one of the most well-liked and hard-working staff members, was fired! So he and his wife Shirley (another staff member) were leaving that day. Stan said even he couldn't figure out exactly what happened.
Later, I talked to another staff member (who I like and is usually level-headed) who wouldn't provide any details, but said, "Just keep in mind t there are two sides to every story." I know that's true, but in this case it's just so hard to imagine what it is.
There wasn't really time to go to downtown Quebec again, so Larry, Joan and I took a walk to -- believe it or not -- the local shopping mall. Had lunch, picked up a couple of little things.
Then more drama. When we arrived at the airport, we found out that the airline had been instructed (by Tim) NOT to give Matt a boarding pass, and to take his bike and gear off the plane. Matt is the guy who set up the infamous Odyssey2003.com website. This was Tim's way of throwing him off the trip. Although I personally think the website is childish and unproductive,(not to mentioned he quoted some stuff out-of-context from OUR website, which really infuriated me) this maneuver by Tim was equally vindictive, and really stooping to the same level. I mean, he could have at least given the guy some warning. (Although as I think about it, who knows the real story....) Anyway, many riders were talking about not getting on the plane unless Matt did. And Matt was talking about calling the American Embassy. It was all getting pretty ugly. When Tim showed up, about 50 riders met with him in support of Matt. I wasn't there and don't know exactly what happened, but Matt did end up on the plane.
All this stuff basically makes me sick. It's bad enough to have to put up with this kind of junk at your job, but on a trip around the world that's supposed to be getting away from all that?! It's just too bad.
Uneventful plane ride. Just 5-1/2 hours, but because of time difference, landed in Paris about 7:30 a.m., and missed a night of sleep. Oh well. We're in Paris!
Love to all,
David and Lisa
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