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Lake Ontario State Parkway

August 8, 2006 Leave a comment

We were in western New York for the long weekend, and came across a highway there that is just shocking to me.  Our drive right through the middle of nowhere ended at Lakeside Beach State Park, and as we pulled into the park we passed under a massive twin-span bridge that looked like it belonged to a major highway.  After checking in to the campsite, we went for an exploratory drive around the area and sure enough, those bridges belong to a four-lane divided highway with controlled access, nice solid concrete roadways and wide paved shoulders.  But where does this mystery road go?  We drove down the road for about twenty miles and it continued from the middle of nowhere to slight off center of nowhere, and I kid you not we were the only car on the road.  With visions of the jammed expressways in Ontario fresh on my mind, my only thought was “my god what a massive waste of money”. 
I consulted a map and it turns out that this highway is called th Lake Ontario State Parkway, and stretches from Rochester out to Lakeside Beach State Park.  Well I’m glad that I’m not a taxpayer in the great state of New York, or I’d be mighty angry with whoever funded this project.  I know it may not sound like much when you read about it here on my blog, but here are some other fun activities that I enjoyed on this massive highway:

  • Used it as a nice calming way to go for a drive and get the baby to go to sleep.
  • Drove from the park to the bait shop just down the road.
  • Jodie and I would have bets when were were on the highway as to how many cars we would see in any direction, the options were either one or zero
  • At one point I saw a guy on the side of the road broken down.  I pulled over to make sure he had a phone so he could call for help (wouldn’t want to be stranded out there, it’d be hours before another car might stop).  When I pulled over to talk, I simply stayed in the right-hand lane, slowed the car down and pulled up beside him.  After I knew he was okay I kept on going and thought to myself “wow, I just stopped in the middle of a four-lane highway to chat with some guy and didn’t even pull to the shoulder, that’ll get you killed anywhere else.”

Just astonishing!

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Categories: Family, Travel

Bumpy ride at YYZ

July 31, 2006 1 comment

Just because it’s shiny and new, I decided to park in the reduced rate lot at the airport today and take the new people mover over to the airport.  I had heard it was bumpy, but not sure exactly how to interpret that.  I quickly found out…
The train itself reminded me very much of the train between the Luxor, Excalibur, and Mandalay bay in Las Vegas with multiple small cabins and a few seats.  There is a station at the parking lot on Viscount, at Terminal 3 and Terminal 1 (terminal 2 is not serviced because there are plans to tear it down once T1 can handle the traffic).  The stations are very nice and the gap between the floor and the trains is miniscule, the smallest I’ve ever seen.  The train quickly accelerates and then hits the open track.  This is where the bumps start, it’s almost like they forgot to grind out the joins in the track or more probably they didn’t smooth out the transitions between track sections with bends in them.  Maybe this will get better over time as the train itself grinds down the tracks, but then again I’m not sure how comfortable I’ll be riding a train 100 feet in the air that has ground down its own track.  Something about that seems less “tight” than I would want.
I’ve ridden people movers at airports all across North America, that atrocity in Detroit, the sweet free tram in Miami, and as mentioned the trans in Las Vegas and this is by far the bumpiest I’ve been on. 

Categories: Travel

If that’s you next door, I’m mighty PO’d

July 19, 2006 1 comment

Now really, who chooses Tuesday night as the best night of the week to throw a party in the room next to me?  I’ve got my stuff packed up and just wanted to move to a different room, but apparently the hotel is completely full so I’m stuck next to “Tuesdayfest 2006” for the rest of the night.  So much for making up last night’s lost sleep… I am *not* a happy camper.

Categories: Travel

For your safety (snicker, snicker) the captain has decided to keep the seatbelt sign on

July 18, 2006 1 comment

I’ve taken notice lately of all the white lies that go on when traveling by air. Most are intended to calm nerves (ie the little light on the dashboard needs to be checked out), some for no particular reason (ie no electronics allowed), and some for the convenience of the airline personnel.
The latter really irks me, and I will tell you why… It has to do with liberal use of the “seatbelt sign” in the airplane to keep control of the cabin. Now I rarely take my seatbelt off on an airplane; once I get my oversized rear end wedged into a coach class seat I find it best not to upset the balance by moving. But there are many others who would like to get up and move, or unfortunate passengers who really have to use the restroom, or parents who would like to walk the baby around for a calming stroll. Mostly I don’t appreciate the insult to the intelligence of the common traveler. Now really, do you think that I haven’t noticed that the seatbelt sign is coincidentally lit up for the entire beverage service? And coincidentally on almost every flight, both the turbulent and the smooth, it is suddenly safe to move about the cabin once the flight attendants get a chance to sit down and read the latest issue of people magazine?
Keeping the aisles clear is a reasonable thing to do, but please just say “stay seated so that we can efficiently get everyone served” rather than pretending it’s a safety issue. I imagine this has become a courtesy now between the pilots and the flight attendants and it is so commonplace that they don’t even give it a second thought. But I’m not that and don’t appreciate being treated like a three year old. Be honest, and people will be helpful but don’t bastardize safety measures for your own personal comfort. The exaggeration of truth can get a little unnerving.
“If you pee during beverage service, the terrorists win”.

Categories: Travel

July 18, 2006 Leave a comment

Today is an odd travel day for me. I flew from buffalo today instead of toronto for reasons that I won’t go into in this post. Crossing the border at lewiston ny, my car was searched and I had to hand the keys over to us customs as they looked in the trunk and grilled me with some questions. Now I’m actually okay with extra scrutiny because in the end the intent is to keep me and others safe. But the day got weirder…
Next I checked in at the buffalo airport and was met by a massive security line the likes of which I’ve never seen at BUF.
On our approach to minneapolis we came in parallel to another flight, which was kind of cool to watch. Everyone was looking out the window at the other plane as it matched our moves heading towards the runway, and everyone was shocked to see the other plane pull up its landing gear at the last moment and gun it towards the heavens. Our plane landed normally but taxied away from the terminal. Once again the cluster of savvy travelers sitting near me on the plane all glanced at each other with a “well this isn’t right” look as we spun around and took our position in the infield for parking.
Apparently there is no gate ready for us, so we will be hanging out here for another 20-30 minutes baking in the heat wave on the tarmac.
Overall it has been an odd day and its not quite over. Luckily I can pass the time by blogging via the crackberry. 😉

Categories: Travel

You have to be kidding me – sick again?

July 18, 2006 Leave a comment

The last time I went to a north american sales meeting in Minneapolis, I wound up sick as a dog with literally a mountain of kleenex at my conference table.  It got so bad that I had to pass on the evening dinner and socializing.  I’m heading back out to Minneapolis tomorrow (technically I guess it would be today) and wouldn’t you know it I’m up at 1:45am unable to sleep due to sinus pain.  Jodie picked up a sinus cold yesterday and it would appear that she had just enough time to pass it to me so that I look like a huge tool in front of my peers again. 
Right now it’s just an annoying tingle, and I hit it with the full complement of drugs tonight so maybe I’ll head this one off.  I will however make sure that I have the front desk send up an extra box of tissues or three when I check in at the hotel… just in case

Categories: Family, Travel

Return flight from Regina went fine

July 4, 2006 Leave a comment

My doomsday prediction didn’t come true, in fact it was a fine flight.  Air Canada teased us with non-functioning video players in the back of every seat, but I watched “An Evening with Kevin Smith” on my laptop instead.  I bumped into Lorne Cardinal (aka Officer Davis) again at the Toronto airport and we chatted for a bit.  Six Nations near Brantford is where he calls home.  They shoot during the summer and come home on weekends.  Next time I’m up, he offered to give me a tour around the set.
This week it’s off to Orange County, California for some team meetings.  I’ve been there a few times and really like the area.

Categories: Travel