Donald and I were sitting, comfortable and carefree, in the departures lounge at Ottawa International Airport this past Tuesday as we waited for our flight to Boston to attend Eclipse World 2006. Our comfortable and carefree existence was rudely interrupted by somebody (who I sure is very nice) announcing that our flight had been cancelled. No problem, I thought… I’ve had flights cancelled before. I called up the travel agent who worked very hard to arrive at the conclusion that she could not possibly get me to Boston before about noon the next day. This, of course, was a problem as I needed to be at the conference by 0830h the next morning to run a tutorial (more on this later).
In between expletive, Donald suggested that we drive to Boston. At first, I thought he was joking, but it turns out that he was quite serious. So, we collected our bags and headed to the Avis counter. We found out that they had a car with US plates and that they would be happy to let us drive it down to Boston for them; the best part is that they would only charge us $300 plus normal rental charges for the privledge of returning the car for them. We scoffed. Then we went down to the Hertz counter; they were willing to help us out for a mere $600 plus normal rental charges. Truly, it seems. Avis does try harder.
We rented the car and made our way to the highway. It turns out that Donald is a total driving machine. After a short stop for supplies, he drove the whole way himself with only a short stop (somewhere near Middlesex, Vermont) for dinner. He consumed three cans of Redbull on the way.
The trip went surprisingly fast. We had estimated nine hours, but only took seven. It rained briefly, but was otherwise ideal driving conditions. The scenery was breathtaking: Vermont at night is a beautiful mixture of charcoal gray skys meeting up with rolling hills of black (I understand that it’s quite nice when the sun’s actually up). We were pretty tired by the time the lights of Boston appeared (around 0100h) on the horizon; the tunnels of the Big Dig were mesmorizing. We dropped off the car and made our way (by taxi) to the hotel to catch a few hours of sleep before making our way to the conference.
Overall–at least for me–it was an enjoyable but tiring experience that I actually hope to repeat (some day).