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Published: June 17th 2018
Well it has been almost 2 years since our last big trip, so we started planning this trip at Christmas and our objective was to maximise what we could accomplish whilst Elise was having her mid-year University break.
For those who have been following our previous road trips we are trying to see all 50 states of the USA so we mapped out a road trip, and decided to try something different this time by using a travel agent. The rationale was that we were getting a little bored going via LAX again for a one-night stop over which we like to do to overcome the big haul journey. Hence we used Flight Centre who suggested going via Vancouver on Air Canada.
I was not a fan of this suggestion at first because I am set in my ways sometimes but Kerry was quite excited at the idea if visiting somewhere different and Canada in particular. The problem really came about because we agreed to book using their Captains Premium Package which costs $99.00 each gut gave us $150.00 each to spend on accommodation. Seemed like a good idea but we then found out we needed to spend a
certain amount on accommodation to use this and we had to use their hotels and their prices.
We went crazy with searching on google for accommodation for a few weeks and eventually the itinerary was done. We had lots of trouble getting flight centre to use hotels we wanted to stay at and for them to price match what we had found, so it felt like we were doing all he work, and they were not real helpful so we won’t be using them again.
So here we go on our next Road trip for 3 weeks. Just Kerry, Elise and me as Luke has ditched us and gone to Russia with the Fanatics to watch the Socceroos at the World Cup ! Muffin has a new home for the next few weeks as the lady who used to look after her for us no longer does dog house sitting so she is staying a special hotel for dogs.
So the itinerary will be Brisbane to Vancouver, then after staying one night to get over the long haul flight, we will fly to Chicago, where we start the road trip and return back to Chicago before flying
home again via Vancouver.
Our research on the Brisbane to Vancouver route using Air Canada gave some mixed reviews as we had always used Qantas or Virgin Australia before, but is a lot cheaper so we thought let’s give it a go. Our flight leaves at 10.40am which is quite civilised and we again decided to hire a car from Hertz in Tweed Heads and just drop it off at Brisbane Airport.
Well we set the alarms for 5.45am on the basis we leave by 6.30am for the drive to BNE. We figured this would allow time for any traffic incidents on the M1 and still get there at around 8.30am. I had picked up the Toyota Camry hire car from Hertz yesterday so we left home at 7.00am after checking Google Maps to go confirm no traffic delays. We had a good run and the only drama was that my e-tag for the road toll did not work going over the gateway bridge. Went to the Shell petrol station near the International Terminal which was pretty tricky to actually find the entrance for some strange reason and decided to fill up the tank and put $10.00 in and found the fuel gauge afterwards was a lot higher than when I started so Hertz did not actually give me a full tank in the first place (tricky buggers!). No big deal, but we pulled straight into the Hertz drop off bay at the airport right on 8.30am as planned. Such an easy way to get to the airport, grab the bags and literally a 20 metre walk and you are inside the terminal building!
The first thing we heard when we walked inside was an announcement over the PA saying that the fire alarms on Level 5 have been confirmed as a false alarm. Lucky we were not there when they went off! Check in was easy although I’m not convinced these self-serve kiosks to get your boarding passes and baggage tags is such a good idea as everyone including us had to ask for assistance anyway. We got through security and had time for what we expect will be our final decent cup of coffee for 3 weeks!
Boarding was a breeze and everyone was onboard so fast we were on our way 15 minutes early on AC036. Only 13 hours and 30 minutes to go! We had paid a little extra for Exit Row seats which we find gives you more leg room.
We had seats 32 ABC which were on the left-hand side of the plane. I had the window (which didn’t actually have a window, and Kerry in the middle and Elise on the aisle. The thing we like about exit rows is you can stretch your legs out, you can get up and walk around without climbing over anyone and easy to swap seats if you want to. Also you don’t have anyone in front of you making their seat recline. The downsides are no windows, you need to store everything away in overhead luggage for take-off and landings, and onboard this aircraft we were right next to the toilets so at times people are hanging around the area.
They served us 3 meals which was pretty neat. The butter on rolls was device (Ballantyne butter made in Australia). The water they provided was labelled “Eau” so I’m guessing that might be a French touch or maybe is was not water!
Our plane is one of the new Boeing Dreamliner’s with a 3 x 3 x 3 seating configuration. Pretty light and airy on board. The only problem I had on the window seat was the exit door actually came out into the cabin a little forward of my seat so I had a bit of trouble with my knees hitting this door occasionally (they actually put some extra padding here so it looks like a design fault issue).
I always like watching movies to occupy the time, and I had missed quite a few movies in recent months that I wanted to see as they only seem to stay at the movies now for a couple of weeks, so I was hoping to see something I had missed. I checked the Air Canada entertainment schedule a few weeks ago and it looked like I was going to be disappointed!
But onboard once I checked what was available I was quite excited at the options. After taking a bit of time getting our Bose Noise Reduction headphones activated my first choice was Molly’s game. This was a pretty good movie, but I think I would have enjoyed it more in a cinema as it went a bit long on the plane. I them watched Dunkirk, and it was a real struggle to watch. I think I dozed off a few times, and it was so boring. I had noticed Kerry was watching iTonya so I gave that a try and although it was the longest movie I watched on the flight it was the best. A real different style of movie done very well with excellent acting. I knew the storyline but not the story if that makes sense. I finished off by watching a Denzel Washington movie called Roman J Israel. He is such a good actor and in this movie he plays a really strange but genuine character who works as a lawyer. So there it is 4 movies which took up about 9 hours of the flight.
As the flight approached YVR (Vancouver Airport) I could see we flew over what I figured was Vancouver Island with lots of snow covered mountain peaks. I had no idea this island had mountains that high. It was impressive. Soon we had touched down. It was now about 7.00am on Saturday 16th
June 2018 which was exactly the same date and time we left home! That is awesome to know time had stood still but you know that the opposite occurs on the way home!
Welcome to Canada.
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