Richardson: A trip to Montreal after Sept. 11, 2001

On Monday 9/10/2001 I went to the airport in Charlotte to pickup two people for Cascades Paper. I got them back to the plant and everything was OK.

By Howard Richardson My Life Retold

By Howard Richardson
My Life Retold

I was to return to the plant on Tuesday 9/11/2001 to take someone to the Raleigh airport so they could go to Canada, I went to the plant and got the van went and filled it up with gas, on the way back to the plant to get the person going to the airport I stopped at Biscuitville to get me a biscuit and a coffee to eat on the way to Raleigh.

At Biscuitville the TV was on and I saw just as the plane hit the first of the World Trade Center Towers. While I was there I saw the second plane hit the other tower. I went on to the plant and on the way I heard on the radio that all air traffic in the United States had been grounded until further notice, I went on to the plant and told them that we would not be going to the airport anytime soon.

We had the two people I picked up Monday that was to be back in Montreal Canada on Sunday 9/16/2001. They called U.S. Airways to see if they could get a flight out that weekend and was told to call back on Thursday afternoon. In the main time we made plans for me to drive them back to the airport in Montreal Canada on Friday 9/14/2001.

They called U.S. Airways back on Thursday and was told to be at the airport Friday Morning before 10 a.m. and they would see if they could get them on a flight some time Friday, I took them to the airport Friday morning and when I returned to Cascades office I turned in the money they had given me for expense for the trip to Canada.

That night (Friday) I got a phone call from the men I had taken to Charlotte that morning saying they had not been able to get a flight out that day, and wanted me to come to Charlotte and get them and go to Montreal.

I had to call the plant manager and the secretary to go to the office so I could get the van and get the money back to go to Canada.

Then I had to go get gas and drive from Rockingham to Charlotte to get them and then start to Canada, I got the people and went up I-85 to Greensboro, got on Highway 220 north went through Martinsville Virginia to Rocky Mount Virginia on to Roanoke Virginia and picked up I-81 North, went on thought part of West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania into New York to Binghamton NY, got on I-88 East over to Albany NY, then onto I-87 North to The U.S. and Canadian broader.

We did not have any trouble getting into Canada; took about 15 minutes.

Then I-87 became Highway 15 north, I found out that in Canada you do not drive in the left lane unless you are passing a another car, everything stays to the right.

We got to Highway 20 into Candiac and crossed the river over to Montreal and on to The Montreal Dorval International Airport I let the men out at the airport this was on Saturday afternoon 9/15/2001.

I left the airport and headed south back to the broader and back to the US. When I got to the check point they went all over the van, under the hood, inside, under the dash board, under the seats, in the spear tire complement under the van, behind the tires inside the hub caps.

It took about 90 minutes for them to get it done. I was let back into the U.S. After I got back in the country I drove for about six hours before I found a motel that was open. I got a room about midnight Saturday. I got a shower and into bed. About 4:30 a.m. I was up and ready to leave, I had to stop across the street and fill up with gas, and get a cup of coffee.

I was back on I-87 and headed home I moved onto I-88 west going to Binghamton NY. I reached Binghamton, NY, and picked up I-81 South. As I crossed into Pennsylvania there is this truck stop. I stopped there to fill up with gas and eat breakfast. When I finished I got back on I-81 headed home. It was Sunday morning and I had not seen a car for over 75 miles, I sat the cruse control on 100 mile per hour and came on down the road, I got to where I was to leave I-81 and get on highway 220 at Roanoke Virginia, I stopped and filled up with gas and something to eat, and then on down to Greensboro and on to Rockingham and home.

I got home about 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

Then on Monday every thing was getting back to normal, I was again making two, sometime three trips to the airports, this went on for another six or seven years until Cascades started flying there own planes form Montreal Canada to Rockingham.

This was quite an experience making the trip from Rockingham to Montreal, Canada and back. This was an 18- to 22-hour drive one way. But is was not a fun thing to do especially on the weekend after 9/11/2001. But I would like to do it again just for the fun of driving.

Richmond County native Howard Richardson is author of “My Life Retold,” available on

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