My wife and I had been married for over a year, when we decided to move to California (she was from California herself). We had lived in Toronto (where I grew up) for two years while she finished her BA at the University of Toronto. But with our son due by early December, she wanted to be closer to her family...and I, as always, welcomed a new adventure!
Over the course of 2005, we went through the U.S. immigration procedures so that I could enter as a temporary resident. Most of it was through mailed forms, but in early October we travelled to Montreal for a final interview at the American Consolate. With a visa in hand, we arrived at YYZ on Wednesday, October 19 2005.
I was really excited about the upcoming trip. I'd be travelling for the first time on one of Air Canada's brand-new Embraer 175's, and also taking my first flight on the Boeing 777. We'd also be transitting through ORD, which I was excited about (it would be my first time there during daylight hours with a camera).
Anyone who remembers Toronto's old Terminal 2 (it's was demolished to make way for the new Terminal 1) knows how useless it was for plane pics. The gate area was separated from the terminal windows by a corridor that arriving passengers walked along to Canada customs. So, it was never possible to get decent photographs of your aircraft unless you happened to be at one of just a few gates that were in a particular spot. I didn't end up getting a photo of the plane until we arrived in Chicago.
Flight 1 of 2
- Wednesday, October 19, 2005
- Toronto Pearson International Airport (CYYZ) – Chicago O'Hare International Airport (KORD)
- Air Canada, Embraer 175
(this graphic is a result of boredom and Adobe Illustrator – I really like making aviation posters, so I worked on-and-off for about 10 months creating all of the commercial aircraft I have flown in, and putting them together into a poster which is hanging on my wall.)
Photo © Mathieu Pouliot
After boarding, we settled down in our seats, and I grabbed my camera for a quick snapshot of the A319 parked beside us. I was greeted with a message that made my stomach drop – no memory card found. I couldn't believe it, but I had packed my one-gigabyte memory card with the rest of our belongings that we had shipped separately. What a disheartening mistake, considering how much I was looking forward to snapping tons of photos during these flights.
Luckily, I had another memory card that came with my camera tucked away in the pocket of my camera bag. It was only a 64 megabyte card, but with lowering the resolution of the 5mp camera to 1600 pixels wide, it would fit about 30 photos. Well, I guess I had to be a little more picky. Ultimately, I ended up deleting photos that weren't that interesting. In any case, here's what I walked away with...hope you like.
The views weren't great taxiing and taking off from YYZ many times in the past having grown up there. So I kept my camera off for most of the flight.
It was pretty exciting being on an almost brand-new aircraft! It had that 'new airplane' smell. There was a single drink service, and no entertainment – the IFE screens weren't up and running at the time, even though they were installed. All we saw on the screens was a message saying that they were 'coming soon.' The seats had a great pitch for short-haul economy: about 33 inches.
The flight to Chicago was a little less than an hour, and before we knew it, we were arriving at ORD (I forget which runway).
You're going to love this – after landing, I got one photo taken before we reached the gate. Take a careful look at the following photo:
Now compare it to this photo in the Airliners.net database:
Photo © Botterman Bram - AirTeamImages
That photo was taken of our aircraft, probably about 10 seconds after I took my photo! Now that...is pretty cool.
We got off the aircraft, took a snap...
...and then we were off into the labrynth that is Chicago O'Hare. To put it mildly, it's big. Except for the international Terminal 5, all of the terminals are connected by walkways. We walked from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1, where our next flight was to depart from. We still had two hours or so, so my wife sat at the gate and read while I walked around taking photos.
Finally it was time to regroup with my wife and get ready for our next flight, on to San Francisco.
Flight 2 of 2
- Wednesday, October 19, 2005
- Chicago O'Hare International Airport (KORD) – San Francisco International Airport (KSFO)
- United Airlines, Boeing 777-200
Photo © Anne Deus
This particular 777 was one of United's domestically-configured widebodies. It took a while to get everyone boarded. I was so excited to be here on a triple-seven (the largest aircraft I had ever flown on), and we finally got going and started to head out to the runway.
We entered what seemed to be a lineup for one of the runways. We were stopped for a good solid five minutes on one of the taxiways. It was fine for me, because the lighting was perfect, and aircraft would slowly taxi by, one-by-one, for my camera!
That was about it. We started moving, took off, and the flight was very uneventful. I enjoyed being on such a large aircraft though. When we started our descent into San Francisco, I was actually hit with the worst ear pressure problem I had ever had. No matter what I did, I couldn't clear my ears. I was in agony through the whole descent...it was terrible!
As we were leaving, I was finally able to clear my ears and the experience of arriving here in San Fran was finally something I could enjoy. We caught a shuttle van into the city, where my mother-in-law had booked a surprise for us – two nights in a suite at the Parc 55 hotel. Wow! Here are some photos from the room (and also a few taken on the other side of the building).
After a couple of days in San Francisco, we were picked up by my in-laws, and we headed towards the Central Valley, and then up into the foothills near Yosemite where our new rental home was waiting. Our belongings came about a week after that, and I was happy to get my full-sized memory card back.
So, I know it was a fairly milk-run trip, but I hope you all enjoyed the photos, and heck – it was five-and-a-half years ago – some would even say it's historic.
As a special bonus for reading this trip report, I'm going to add some spotting photos from Toronto and Los Angeles (we travelled down to SoCal for a wedding about 2 weeks after arriving). Just scroll down to the next post. Cheers y'all!
I hope you enjoyed my 10th trip report! Links to my other 9 are below in case you missed them.
2003 – FR/EZ LGW-DUB-EDI-LGW (and Spotting)
2004 (June-July) – Continental & NWA YYZ
2006 (August) – United & Air Canada SFO-DEN-(picture link)
2007 (September) – US Airways FAT-LAS-MCE :: (picture link)
2007 (September) – United SFO-IAD-BUF-ORD-SFO
2008 (May) – US Airways FAT-LAS-LAX-LAS-FAT
2009 (January) – Toronto Aerial Tour w/story of my crash in 2000
2009 (May) – Northwest & Continental PDX-MSP-DTW-BUF-EWR-IAH-PDX
2010 (April) – The Trip Of No Point – PDX-SEA-DFW-TPA-ATL-PDX
[Edited 2012-02-12 18:03:51]
[Edited 2012-02-12 18:05:30]
[Edited 2012-02-12 18:13:24]