John & Anne Wiley

2011/05/20

World Away

We spent a lot of time looking at weather this morning, and even into mid-afternoon, and finally decided to fly around the top of Maine into Quebec. That route both avoids the hassle with U.S. Customs and puts us near roads as an extra safety measure. We had a list of airports where we could stop if weather didn’t cooperate, starting in New Brunswick and extending South along the St. Lawrence. After ensuring that Tripp had plenty of fuel for any contingency we took off. We started off quite high, to stay above several layers of broken clouds while gaining some speed and fuel economy (it’s quite expensive most places in Canada).

0378 Nearing Maine Border

0378 Nearing Maine Border

I was a little surprised that we got clear to the northern tip of Maine with relatively clear skies. Just enough fluffy little wispy stuffed animal shapes to add dimension and interest to the slightly hazy terrain unfolding below. Several places we’ve flown in North America have a place named Great Falls, but most have been tamed with dams and reduced flow rates. The one in NB seems to me really lives up to the name.

0382 Great Falls, NB

0382 Great Falls, NB

I like it when farmers get creative with their crops, and this enigmatic expression seems intended for people flying small planes into Canada.

0388 Greeting?

0388 Greeting?

After clearing Maine while dodging areas of thicker clouds and even light rain we turned more southerly along the St. Lawrence where even more storms tried to block our way. With help from ATC, good luck, and planning we managed to detour slightly and keep going while well clear of clouds. Imagine our excitement and surprise when the skies cleared nearing Quebec City!

0391 Quebec City Margin

0391 Quebec City Margin

This was one of the places in Quebec I’d hoped to see, so I was glad to find it clear. We thought about stopping, but my uninformed image of a quiet town with maple trees and erudite farmers gave way to the reality of a sprawling industrial city. The air was now getting progressively more smoky, but we were also flying ever lower so we still got good views when to our delight the suburbs of Montreal came into view.

0396 Bon Burbs

0396 Bon Burbs

We chose the ‘burb of Ste. Hubert for Tripp’s airport, and as we turned to land I snapped this hazy photo into the sun that still for me conveys some of the magic. The downtown core is nestled in the shadow of the hill across the river, and we rode a cab across the bridge that crosses the small island where there are many amusements we can explore tomorrow.

0405 Montreal Setting

0405 Montreal Setting

It’s still amazing to me how far we can easily go in a few hours’ flying!  Completely different worlds so near by air. Even many pilots don’t seem to experience this. At the airport this evening a flight instructor expressed surprise that we had been in Moncton, NB this morning. Several have treated us to wide-eyed surprise when they learn we’ve flown here from California. If we stay here for a few nights, maybe our own minds can make the adjustment to being in the thriving heart of a province that carries itself like an independent nation a world away from Moncton and the other worlds we’ve visited since leaving peaceful PEI.

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