Early start this morning and another meeting and discussion about my broken headlight with an even higher hotel manager. Nobody wants to take responsibility so I left with a lot of promises but no guarantees. The Fairmont hotel in Quebec seems world famous for it’s building but its run like a Novotel and even a Novotel would settle such an incident quietly without any hassle.
So we started from the hotel for a day with a lot of distance to cover. But first after about 100 km outside Quebec there was a racing circuit to tackle. We received a map of the circuit with directions. Two laps in two different configurations including a small high-speed banking.
Target lap time 2 m. 30. With our Mercedes this is heaven.
We took off like a rocket, hit the banking at high speed slalomed around 4 pylons into a smaller complex out on the track again and then another lap with an astride stop. We were flying and just before getting to the pylon chicane I managed to out brake another competitor in a Mercedes who started a minute ahead of me.
Result a fifth best time on the circuit.
Then onto along run on a motorway where we kissed the outskirts of Montreal. There were several passage controls by the rally organizers to make sure that we are all still there.
Then a hundred kilometers on a two-lane road through nice country site to a small Canadian – US border post. After some confusion about the car paperwork of our cars on the Canadian site the US customs and immigration at this border post were very friendly and efficient. With all the rally cars passing they said they had not been so busy for the last ten years. We did however see heavily armed police at the other side of the border checking every car going out of the US into Canada. This was our first warning as what was to come.
After we all passed the border the rally regrouped a few miles later. There we were told that the route to Old Forge our destination for the night had many roadblocks and there would be delays. We were given alterations to our route books and an indication where the roadblock would be.
Tow days ago I had seen a TV news bulletin about two murder convicts who had broken out of a high security jail in NY State. The news said that they might try and go to Canada…
Forty kms further into the US the first roadblock diversion appeared at a junction. There was a lot of state police with a lot of weaponry but was was more amazing was that at this point both sides of the road were filled with satellite transmission trucks from almost every TV news channel that the US knows. CBS, ABC, Fox there were at least 40 of these satellite vans parked on either side of the road. All with reporters chatting away into cameras.
It looked like a movie set in the middle of the country site and at first I thought they came for us the mad motorists.
We were diverted from the main road, which was obviously closed off and were led for 4 kms on a parallel road after which we could join the main road again. Then another roadblock with heavily armed guards checking all traffic. Five km further we came to a small town called Candyville where there was another roadblock and both traffic lanes – our and the oncoming traffic were thoroughly searched.
While we were waiting in line a helicopter circled overhead close by. Our top was off so we could see it very well. When it was our turn to be checked (open the boot) the officer told me that the two escaped murders were spotted within a mile of where we stood…
After passing the check we fantasized about the convicts jumping into the road in front of us and claiming our car.
Just like the movies, but real.
The positive side of all this was that the police was too busy to check our speed so we started moving fast because we had lost a lot of time and we were still on a time clock. It took another 85 km driving through truly beautiful country site passing lakes and forests before we got to Old Forge.
The Waters Edge Inn on a Lake. What a change of scenery and how nice to be in the US of A.
The night was spend with a BBQ dinner offered to us by the fire brigade of Old Forge.
More of that tomorrow,
Oh and by the way, that result on the circuit this morning moved us back into 12th place overall.
Mick and Grace