Photo archive (partial)

Buy prints, downloads, or license images from our archives:

On the way to Matheson Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Peter Ginn drives north on Highway 11 Oct. 4 en route to his home town of Matheson, Ontario.

I finally have a bit of time to start posting some of the pictures from my trip.

The trip started off fairly routinely, with me getting up at 3:55 a.m. to drive to the Hollywood MAX station and from there take the train out to PDX in time for a 6:45 flight to Toronto via Seattle. I expected to arrive about 3:45 p.m. Eastern time.

In Portland things went very smoothly. After getting my bag full of camera and audio gear through security without any hassle, I bought a scone for breakfast. We were in the air on time, and I was starting to think about what I had to do once I arrived in Toronto.

But just as we cleared 10,000 feet the pilot came over the intercom to announce that there was a problem with the fuel pressure guage. Though there were no other indications of a problem, he said, and even though we were about a third of the way to our destination (he didn't add), we would have to return to Portland.

Since I only had 45 minutes to make my connection in Seattle, I knew that any delay would preclude my being on the second airplane before takeoff. Fortunately the United Airlines ground staff reached the same conclusion and called me off the plane when we returned to the gate.

Having missed my intended ride from Seattle to Toronto, the quickest way they could get me there was through Vancouver, just 3 hours late. Though the gate staff in Portland were swamped with trying to board passengers on two other flights and simultaneously dealing with an increasing number of passengers switching off my flight, they managed to transfer my ticket to an already delayed, half-full Air Canada flight to Vancouver.

Having entered Canada, I had to clear immigration before proceeding to the next flight. A large, international airport, Vancouver has a massive customs and immigration facility with booths for about 30 officers. There were, however, only about six on duty when we arrived, which would have been more than adequate for the two dozen people arriving on our flight. But we had to wait behind full planeloads from Shanghai, Osaka, and Hong Kong before we could be processed, and that took about an hour.

I didn't have anything to declare in Customs, so that was quick, but I did have to retrieve my luggage, walk about a mile, and go through security again.

Though I had cleared Airport Security in Portland without any hassle, the folks in Vancouver were much more interested in me. Though I had no metal on my person whatsoever I managed to set off the walk-through detector, and had to be inspected by hand. And something in the vast array of electronic gear I was carrying with me caught the attention of the inspectors in Vancouver, who pulled me aside for a visual inspection and an explosives swab.

Meanwhile, I hadn't had anything to eat or visited a washroom since Portland. And the boarding time for my next flight was fast approaching. With a quick stop at a men's room about midway on the mile-long sprint to the next gate, I made it just in time to hear the pre-boarding announcement.

Knowing that I wouldn't get any decent food until I arrived in Toronto four or five hours later, I was desperate to find something quick to keep me going through the rest of the afternoon. Fortunately, there was a Tim Hortons outlet right beside the gate, and better yet, there was only one person in line. Great, I thought, I'll just pop over there for a muffin or something.

But the cashier there was chatty. As I waited, anxiously checking my watch and trying to catch her eye, she talked with the only other person there—a pilot—about the weather, how her kids were doing, how long she'd worked at the airport, and what was good about it. The PA system announced boarding for the rear section of my airplane. The cashier asked the pilot what he wanted to order, and when he had she told him about the other types of beverages they used to have, the new ones that would be coming soon, and each permutation and combination of creams, sugars, flavourings, and such that could be added.

I put on my most anxious face and looked back and forth between the pilot and the cashier as the PA announce boarding for the middle section of my flight.

Finally the cashier rang up the pilot's order (a coffee, black), and turned to me. I bought a muffin with no options, paid in exact change, made no small talk, didn't leave a tip, and walked straight onto the plane.

The fall leaves were at their peak Oct. 4 as we drove up to Northern Ontario.

From there, the trip was smoother. I arrived in Toronto at about 7 p.m., called my grandparents, found my luggage (which surprisingly made it all the way from Portland in spite of the changes in itinerary), and went to my grandparents' place where they fed me a large dinner.

Tuesday morning, my parents drove up from Kingston, stopped for a quick cup of tea, and we all headed up to my other grandparents' place in Matheson. I'll write more about that in the future, but for now, here are some pictures.
(left) Peter Ginn lights a fire. (above) Anne Ginn talks on the telephone.