Your Travel Disaster Stories

Tell your tales of bygone days and rank historical things here.
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Lighthouse Expert Elinor DeWire
Posts: 797
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2010 8:46 pm
Location: Farhaven, Ontario

Re: Your Travel Disaster Stories

Post by Lighthouse Expert Elinor DeWire »

My five hour train ride from Montreal to Toronto has turned what could be up to a ten to eleven hour ride. It's not actually that bad though, with nobody sitting beside me, free wifi, and the attendants coming around with free food after around hour seven. Good thing the tournament starts at 10 tomor--well, today technically now. Still stopped now, but once we start to move, it'll be around 2 hours before we pull into Toronto Union Station.

EDIT: At this point I almost wish we could be delayed until 8 or 9 am so I don't have to wake Patrick up as I stumble onto his couch. No wait what am I saying of course I want Patrick to have a bad sleep so my team can beat him tomorrow.
Joe Su
Lisgar 2012, McGill 2015, McGill 20--


Posts: 160
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:32 am
Location: Waterloo/Toronto, Ontario

Re: Your Travel Disaster Stories

Post by cruzeiro »

Two stories for this thread, now that I have a functional car:

The Friday before SCT 2013 there was a massive snowstorm across Ontario and into the Northeastern US. For whatever reason, there were two SCT sites that year within range of Ottawa - at McMaster in Hamilton, and at Buffalo. Being Canadian, we went to the Hamilton site. As mentioned, there was a massive snowstorm the day before the tournament which led to the Buffalo site being run a week later because Western New York was buried (the same happened at MIT). McMaster marched on.

We left Ottawa at about 12 noon on Friday, with Jordan Palmer driving the car I was in - we had a second car going as well. Jay Misuk, bless his soul, told us not to kill ourselves making it there...well, it probably would have been safer to have gone to Buffalo. Leaving the UO campus, Jordan couldn't figure out how to defog the windshield, which meant there was some scrubbing with paper towels happening so he could see. Once we hit the highway, things didn't get much better - if I recall, something like 40 km/h was about as good as it got for the first few hours of the trip. On Highway 401 (the main artery for Canadian quizbowl traffic), east of Kingston there was a long stretch of the highway closed off due to a crash - so we had to divert onto the Thousand Islands Parkway - ordinarily, the scenic route, but not exactly a nice drive in the middle of a snowstorm. At some point, we stopped for dinner at an OnRoute (service centre) - and had to push the car out when we left, because it was stuck in the snow. The second half of the trip was less eventful, except we again got stuck in the snow turning onto my street in Waterloo. Jordan, bless his heart, after dropping two of our number in Guelph and another two in Waterloo, then drove on to Hamilton (an hour's drive, normally, from Waterloo) where he was for the night. Bright side - we won D1 SCT, had fun, and had a safe trip back.

Second story is from a few months ago - I moved in September from Ottawa to Queen's University in Kingston. I signed up to play This Tournament is a Crime in March in Toronto. Kingston to Toronto is about 260 km, and it was a Sunday tournament - Saturday was trash that I care not for, and I had nobody else from Queen's coming - so I figured I'd just drive there for the day and come back. So I woke up at 5:00 AM to drive to Toronto, and left around 5:30 AM. Because Daylight Savings had kicked in overnight, this was even less sleep than it seemed. I should here note that I drive an old Smart, diesel powered. Diesel doesn't do well in the very cold weather, but you can plug it in to fix the problem. Where I have a parking spot in Kingston is outside in the open - I had only taken the car back the weekend before, as the weather seemed like it wouldn't be cold. I woke up to -17 Celsius, and prayed the car would start. It did. Highway 401 between Kingston and the Greater Toronto Area doesn't have much on it - it's mostly barren road without much else. One of the few landmarks is a Big Apple ( just off the highway. So I passed that and before the next exit, saw a car pulled over to the side of the road. I promptly crested a little hill and thunk - hit a deer carcass immediately after the crest. The car I had just seen had already hit the poor beast. The deer was decidedly not okay. In the amount of time it took to deal with the police accident reporting, my battery died. So much for quizbowl - I had to get towed back to Kingston. My car took some damage, I didn't see it for a few months, but it has lived to fight another day. I got one heck of a fright, a big jolt, and an airbag deployment for the first time in my life. The other car? Totalled. It could have been a lot worse.
Dennis Beeby
Waterloo Collegiate Institute, 2011
University of Ottawa, 2016
Queen's University, 2017, 2019

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