August 10, 2007
Nerdwife took off on a Cetacean adventure. After a hectic day of final preparation we launched for Rochester to the TC to begin our journey to Vancouver, BC. We grabbed our passports and arrived at the airport 2 hours early. After a delicious dinner at the 'French Meadow Bakery' (seriously the MSP airport has in many ways finer dining that Rochester), we proceeded to our gate and awaited our flight. Our plane pulled up and being the airplane geek that I am I went to look at it...and I saw a large red splat on the nose cone and thought...that can't be good. I called Nerdwife over to see...shortly thereafter they announced the flight would be delayed because the plane had hit a bird on landing and the radardrome was damaged. After they windexed the remains off, the used a variety of methods (from tapping a quarter on the skin, to shining a flash light) and were able to outline a six inch in diameter divet in the cone and a 4-5 inch crack along a seam near the divet. Maintenance for safety purposes wouldn't allow the plane to fly and we had to wait for another to arrive. We had to wait 2.5 hours. Once the new plane arrived the rest of the flight went smoothly other than we arrived well after 1am local time. It was my first time going through customs with a passport (previously I had driven to Canada and that was a non-event, but that was 1999). The customs officer was nice and asked a lot of questions and I told her about the delay due to bird strike and she chuckled. We picked up our luggage and found the rental place was closed, so off to find a taxi we went. But first I stopped at a cash machine and picked up some loonies. Canadian money is artistic. Bills are $5, $10, $20 and up. $1 and $2 values are coins. I have yet to see any coin under $1, mainly because all our purchases rounded off to the nearest dollar. $40CAN cab ride later we arrived at the Opus Hotel and our late flight had a silver lining, as they must have given our room away because we received a complimentary upgrade to the deluxe top floor courtyard suite. It has an awesome view, but we were dead tired as it was around 4am our body time and we went to bed.