Trip Report of our vacation in Quebec, Canada
December, 2009

In short, it was cold and snowy!  We had a relaxing time, but only skied one day.

We planned to leave on Saturday, December 19, but we received about 24 inches of snow the night before, so we put off our departure until Sunday the 20th.  The worst snow we encountered on our drive north was within 10 miles of home!  When we were just north of Route 32, a car started to skid across the snow that accumulated in the middle of Route 95.  The snow between the lanes was about a foot deep and about two to three feet wide at that point.  The vehicle was headed into our lane, but was perpendicular to the lane.  Blair moved left to avoid the skidding car, and an idiot driving a small sedan tried to pass Blair on the left.  He almost made it, but fish-tailed at the last moment, and his right rear fender hit our left front bumper,  on the left  front side.  See the photo on Blair’s Flickr page at

We could not even pull off the highway for several more miles because there was so much snow on the exit ramps.  When we finally pulled off and inspected the damage, and realized it was not too bad, we continued our drive.  The rest of the drive was uneventful by tiring.  Once we got north of Baltimore, there was very little snow around and almost none on the road.  We finally arrived at Nate and Julie’s house in Lake George at about 10:30 PM.  One the way we pick up a car we rented so that we would not have to drive the Highlander in very cold and snowy conditions!

On Monday morning, Gail and Blair packed up their car, and Nate, Julie, Josh and his friend Jamie pack up Nate’s Subaru, and we drove the two cars in convoy to Quebec.  We stopped at a good Indian restaurant in Plattsburgh, NY on the way.  During the trip into Quebec it started snowing, and really did not stop for more than a few hours the entire time we were in Canada.  We probably got four feet or more of snow that week. 

One of the highlights for Blair was the trip into Quebec city to visit the Musee de la Civilisation  (  ) and dinner at the Ancient Canadian restaurant (  )  The museum was very interesting and the meal was excellent. 

On Christmas Day Blair and Nate went skiing at Mt Saint Anne (  ).  Gail was unable to join us because of her broken foot.  It is mending well from the biking accident last April, but is still sore and Gail did not want to risk another injury or the pain of wearing ski boots.  So Julie and Gail did their thing while we skied.  Later that evening we had a great dinner at Auberge Chez Baker restaurant  ( ).  The decorations were very festive and the restaurant is very quaint and beautiful.

The next day Julie and Nate did go snowshoeing, while Gail and Blair stayed in the Chalet and watched movies on Blair’s new lap top.  Blair also got a chance to play with his new eeePC netbook (see )

One of the highlights of the trip for Nate and for Gail was boxing day shopping.  We went to the Galleria shopping mall in Quebec city.  We actually got into Quebec city at about 11:00, but the stores did not open until 1:00!  We hung out in a local Burger King until the stores opened.  Well, we were told they would not open until 1:00, but when we get to the first store it was very  crowded.  Nate bought a new pair of ski boots, the rest of us shopped.  When we got to the mall it was packed!  Blair dropped Gail off at the door, and had to cruise several isles before stalking people to their car. Blair watched Planet Earth on his new netbook while the others shopped.  Gail did not buy anything, but had fun shopping.

By Sunday, December 27, the car was almost completely buried in snow.  And we didn’t even have a decent shovel!  Blair went to the office to borrow a shovel, but instead a couple of 20-something folks came out with Canadian snow moving shovel/toboggans (see ).  They were quickly able to dig the car out with these shovel/toboggans.  I don’t think they would work with the minimal yet heavy snow we get in Maryland, but they were really able to move a large quantity of snow quickly.  The following day we packed up and drove to Lake George, NY.

The trip home was also grueling because of the snow.  The driving conditions were very bad, and the Quebecois are very aggressive drivers, even in the snow.  Even finding directions would have been difficult without Blair’s new Garmin Nuvi 255W GPS with moving map display (see  )  It worked very well, even in Canada!  It has a computer voice that will read the names of streets and exits.  It will even tell you if the exit is on the right or the left.  Like all modern GPS devices it has a built in database of points of interest like gas stations, restaurants, hotels, and much more.  Very cool – I won’t leave home without it!  We had some pretty icy road conditions in upstate New York.  They are generally very good at clearing the roads, but they were pretty icy on our drive to Lake George.  Luckily we made it unscathed.  The following morning they had predicted more snow, but the weather was fine, so Gail and Blair headed for home.  Traffic was heavy and Gail was catching a cold.  We checked the New Jersey Turnpike traffic and thought we hear of a 13 mile back-up at the merge where the six lane divided highway merges down to three lanes (just south of exit 8), so we decided to stop for the night in New Jersey.  The next morning we got a leisurely start, and took Route 295 – avoiding the New Jersey Turnpike completely.  After a detour to Blair’s office in Baltimore, only to find that he left the key to his office at home, we finally made it home, safe and sound.  Unfortunately, Gail did catch a bad cold with a nasty cough and she is still trying to recover.