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July 9, 2016 / Jim Fenton

Great Lakes Day 0: To Toronto

Yet again (this is the seventh year!), I kept a journal on our summer vacation for publication on this blog following our return. This year the publication of the journal is delayed by 3 weeks from real time, and I intend to post one installment every day or so over the next 2 weeks or so. The recurring characters in our story are myself (Jim), my wife Kenna, and our daughter Celeste. We hope you enjoy it!


June 18, 2016

Navigation Map

Navigation Map, SFO to YYZ

Like many of our summer vacations, this year’s is the evolution of an idea. As always, we had too many ideas to begin with; we had such a great trip to Europe last year, should we go back? We had also been thinking about going up to the Canadian Maritime provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, etc.), but also had been thinking about nearby areas that we wanted to return to — my cousin’s cottage outside Toronto, upstate New York where my father grew up, and a bit of the Midwest. Soon the Maritimes dropped out entirely, and we are embarking on a circumnavigation of the eastern Great Lakes: Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

We got a very “civilized” start this time, a 11:35 AM departure from San Francisco that let us have a normal night’s sleep and time to finish packing and close the house. At the airport, we checked our bags with Air Canada and encountered one of the long TSA security lines we have been hearing about this year. Fortunately, our boarding passes were marked for TSA pre-check and we were led to the front of the long line to go through the less onerous pre-check security process. We felt like real VIPs. It was totally worth the $85 fee and even the drive to Oakland last year to get enrolled in the Trusted Traveler Program.

I have heard some less than complimentary things about Air Canada in recent years, and that did cause me to pause and consider alternatives. But convenience and cost won out, and the service on Air Canada was actually quite good. Having an AC power outlet at nearly every seat was a nice touch, and allowed me to finish the flight with a full phone battery.

We decided to drive an hour or so west, to Kitchener, to stay for the night. Even though it was late, our jet lag and the late sunset made it seem less so. We’re well positioned for our drive to Detroit tomorrow.

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