The alarm went off and my brother didn’t flinch. Jess and I got up and started dressing quickly in the dark. I poured coffee to keep me awake for driving, then Kyle eventually was up and we loaded my car with his things for the trip and winter break. His hockey gear barely fit in my trunk with the spare cushion and the 0-degree sleeping bag that I packed in case we got stranded in a snow storm. It was a good call because the roads were isolated in many places, we encountered a lot of bad weathering, and we almost ran out of gas a few times during the whole weekend. Once everything was packed up and his dorm was ready to be locked, we hit the road and headed for I-87N into the Adirondacks.
I was trying to make Whiteface Mountain by sunrise. As I was driving, it got lighter and lighter and we realized there was never a good time to pull over and watch the sun come up. The mountains were blocking our view. We would have had to have been on a mountain to watch it come up from before actual “sunrise” time. We still made it to the mountain and saw the resort busy with people. We wound around some back roads for awhile, passing through tiny towns, racing down windy, snowy curves, and noticing the frozen lakes and lack of overlooks. The mountains were pretty, but they really weren’t big and fantastic like our ridge is back in Pennsylvania. At 5,343 feet, Mount Marcy is the highest peak in New York, Whiteface being the 5th. Compared to Pennsylvania’s Mount Davis, at 3,212 feet, New York definitely wins out, but there’s something about the length of our stouter mountains that make all of the difference when you drive through them.
We took a different route than originally intended to make our way back towards I-87 on the north side of Plattsburgh. Jess had wanted to see Lake Champlain (and had never been to Vermont), so I decided to surprise her. We wound down a road and watched as the speed limit kept dropping until we suddenly took a bend and the road ended at toll booths and the waterfront. I paid a fare at the window and drove up to the water’s edge in a line that was waiting for a Lake Champlain ferry crossing. Much to my brother’s dismay, I played “I’m on a Boat” as we sat with other cars – and a tractor trailer! – on the tiny ferry to Hero Island and environs on the other side.
Once in Vermont, we drove north and stopped at a few coastal places to photograph the mountains in Vermont and the Adirondacks visible back in New York. We crossed a drawbridge which my brother laid down on in the middle of the road (and almost got hit), then we kept driving up the icy shores until we found the large bridge crossing back into New York and Champlain. We were skimming the Quebec border as we headed back west towards I-87, deciding to cross at the larger gate so we could get currency exchanged. We made it across easily but, much to our dismay, the booth was closed and we could not exchange our money. Instead, we continued the short but boring drive north towards Mont Royal, our first stop in Montreal.
There’s the dumbo brother of mine lying across the North Hero Drawbridge! Haha – then a truck came and he ran like a chased deer.
Some ice fishers out on the lake.
It was the first time I had driven to Montreal. The last time, I flew. The only other time I drove in Quebec, I was in the eastern reaches of the province. We were anticipating a snowy weekend.