Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
Polar Bear Sow & 2 cubs walking across a frozen lake.
“Leave only footprints, take only memories” (…and maybe some pictures)

Day 8

October 30, 2016 6:00am Alarm goes off and time to get going. 6:50am A couple of photos of the soap from the hotel that Barbara liked along with an interesting tile in the shower area. 7:00am Another nice breakfast at the Fort Garry Hotel.  The most crowded we have seen it. 8:20am A few sunrise photos from our room window. 8:30am Suitcases staged outside our hotel room door. 8:40am The suitcases are gone and hopefully will be on the same bus as us. 8:50am We are all ready.  We have some time before our bus is scheduled to pick us up but we are going to head to the lobby and wait there. 10:05am We are at the Winnipeg airport and thru security and they are about to start boarding. 10:35am We are on the plane.  Looks like it is filled to capacity.  We are about to push back from the terminal. 12:40pm In the air heading for Toronto Airport. 1:50pm Landed in Toronto. 3:30pm We are stuck.  Very bad setup.  We had to go thru customs (for the US) in Toronto.  Once we went thru security, which we usually do early just to be ready, we hit a door and they won’t open it until we are close to the flight time.  So now we are stuck, no place to eat or shop.  Just wait. 4:45pm We are now on the plane waiting to push back from the terminal. 5:15pm Okay.  Everyone is on board the plane.  We left the terminal and taxied.  But… we didn’t taxi down the runway to take off.  We taxied to a runway that is not in use at the moment and we are waiting.  The Captain announced that there is a major storm of rain and hail going thru Newark, NJ and they won’t assign our flight a landing time.  I guess we can’t take off until we know we will be allowed to land and when.  So now we sit on the tarmac. 7:10pm Our flight has been delayed until at least a 9pm take off time.  We were just told that there are many flights waiting to land or take off from Newark.  There is such a backlog that we are delayed until at least 9pm.  Captain announced that there is a law that passengers cannot sit on a plane on the tarmac for more than 4 hours so we are in the process of taxiing back to the terminal. ???? Because of how hectic it was for us I did not manage to keep up the recordings. Just as we were about to deplane they announced that this flight has been cancelled, not delayed, so now everyone has to go thru customs again (officially we left the country because we left the terminal) and pick up our luggage. After clearing customs and re-entering Canada, we had a tough time figuring out what luggage belt our suitcases would be on.  Once we figured it out we were told to go to the Canadian Airline help counter. Once at the counter we got in line.  Some people were being given rooms at local hotels.  Once the plane leaves the terminal it is the airline’s problem.  Eventually we get to the counter and the airline Rep wasn’t very nice.  We had no idea what was going on and he really didn’t want to explain anything.  But for some reason, instead of getting a room, we were given tickets and told to go to the check in counter across the airport. Keep in mind that it is almost 9pm and our last meal was breakfast in Winnipeg because this stupid airport locked us into a small area away from the restaurants and shops before boarding the plane. We ran as fast as we could to the check in counter.  They were very surprised to see us.  The woman behind the counter was newish and couldn’t get the computer to check us in.  Plus she thought we were too late to make the plane.  She called over a manager that could get past the blocks and check us in.  Then there was a problem with printing the boarding passes. After all that, now we had to go thru US customs again.  How stupid to have to do that in Canada.  Luckily for us there were no lines and we ran thru customs, made it past security.  ~8:30pm We got to the gate just after boarding had started.  We got on the plane and made it to our seats.  Every seat was taken and after a few minutes we pushed back and taxied away from the terminal.  Since the plane is full and just got two seats we are not sitting anywhere near each other (Barbara was 12D and John was 31D). I did find out something pretty annoying.  Towards the back of the plane many of the overhead compartments (where you expect to be able to put your carryon) is already full of airplane supplies like paper cups, napkins…  You would think there would be other places to store that so the paying customer would have a place for their luggage. As we are taxiing they announce that we are going to have to sit on the tarmac for at least an hour because Newark won’t give them a landing time.  You have to be kidding me. While all this is going on we are trying to figure out some way to contact our car service.  We have been using Majestic Limo for our vacations to get us to and from the airports. Neither of us thought it would be useful to have international service so our cell phones were useless.  I did try to turn mine on but I couldn’t get any service.  We were supposed to land in Newark at about 5:30pm and at 9pm we still haven’t left Toronto. So now we are, once again, sitting on the tarmac in Toronto waiting to take off.  At some point Barbara walks past my seat and I can hear her talking with the flight attendants.  I hear her saying that our last meal was breakfast in Winnipeg and they should provide some type of food.  The next thing I know she is handing me a couple small bags of pretzels.  Yum, lunch and dinner.  A little while later they come thru with drinks and more pretzels.  Dessert. Eventually the plane takes off and we are finally headed for Newark.  Hours late. Land in Newark.  Get our suitcases.  I can finally contact the car service.  I see that I have a few text messages from the driver that he was at the airport and at 9pm they released him.  I call and get a service.  She tells me she will contact the company to see if they can come get us.  Pretty quick she calls back and says that there is nothing they can do until tomorrow afternoon sometime.  If needed call back tomorrow to make arrangements. We are scrambling trying to figure out what to do.  We try to use the hotel phones in the airport to make a reservation but they don’t seem to work.  Figures.  Eventually Barbara manages to find out that the closest motel is full and she makes us a reservation for a Holiday Inn near the airport. But… Another terrible idea, the hotel shuttles are not allowed to go to all the terminals.  They are only allowed to pickup and drop off at one spot in the airport.  Of course it is on the other side of the airport and the only way there is another bad idea, a monorail or AirTrain.  An elevated train system for inside the airport. Of course, being so late at night, they are not running all the trains to all the stops.  If it hadn’t been for a very friendly flight crew that was heading to the same place we were I think we could still be looking.  First we had to find our way to the AirTrain stop at terminal A.  Wait for a train and get on.  It only went to another terminal and we had to get off the train at terminal C.  Then we had to wait some more for another train.  Make sure it was the correct train and get on at terminal C and off at P4 Parking area 4.  Just getting from terminal A to the parking area took almost an hour. By the time we got to the Holiday Inn and checked in it was almost 2am.  We asked about food and there was a Chinese takeout that would deliver but they were closing soon.  That didn’t sound like a good idea so we hit the vending machines in the hotel.  We mixed a of bag of trail mix with a bag of peanuts and that was our dinner.  We had a couple of sodas to go with it and cookies for dessert. What a day!!!
Polar Bear Adventure, October 23 - 31, 2016
Pics 1 - 2 Pics 1 - 2 Pics 1 - 3 Pics 1 - 3