So here I am again out west, although I'm not AS west as I was 3 weeks ago...
I've been sent on a business mission again. Typically every year (or even a few times a year) I'm to tour the Manitoba and Saskatchewan territory to make sure all our customers have been taken care of and all new opportunities have been sought after. I do my best to save the company money by staying at the shadiest places possible. I have to say, last week I learned that there are just some places that are way too shady.
The Knights Inn in Regina, Saskatchewan turned out to be much more ghetto than the pictures online and the reviews that were posted. Upon arrival it was the kind of 2-level motel where people die in movies and tv shows. In fact, right when I walked into my room I think I could count about 7 ways to die:
1) The wall lamp that was screwed so loosely to the wall it was ready to drop at any moment and knock me out
2) The exposed wire clusters where I plugged my iPhone in to charge
3) The rusty nail sticking out of the doorway between the bathroom and the room carpet
4) The bathroom light switches that were practically IN the shower
5) The fumes and smells coming out of the ventilation system definitely did not appear to be the same stuff you'd find in a Glade scent plug
6) The front door that didn't even seal the cold properly and the dinky little chain that was apparently my security system to keep murderers out
7) The gigantic fridge standing at the base of my bed looking like it was a gateway from hell (I refused to open the fridge during the first night of my stay, in case there was actually a body inside)
When I left Regina and arrived in Winnipeg, Manitoba I decided maybe I ought to spend slightly more and get myself into something a little nicer. Considering I was going to be in Winnipeg for about 5 nights, I decided that a Holiday Inn would have been a good fit. The price was still under a $100 per night and yet it was a palace compared to the last place!
So as my luck would have it, I was woken up by a 2:30am fire alarm on the morning of my only day off. The entire hotel had to evacuate, and before I knew it I spent the next couple hours standing around in the parking lot outside the lobby in my pajamas. Apparently the sprinklers on the 6th floor had been running for so long that the entire floor had flooded. Conveniently my room was on the 5th floor and not 7 or above. Did I mention there were about 11 floors and so I had a 50% chance I could have been unaffected? Of course I had to be on the shittiest end of the stick. I mean it wouldn't have made sense any other way.
From the lobby entrance, you could see the water pouring down the elevator chutes and out into the lobby like it was some indoor rain phenomenon. On top of that, I heard that in room 506, the ceiling had caved in and collapsed. Well it's a good thing I'm in room 507.
A few hours later when the firefighters deemed it to be safe and free from any flames, we were allowed to go back to our rooms. Fortunately for me my room was actually dry. Although I was offered to swap to another room, I decided to say fuck it and just keep this one. I was so tired and I wanted to sleep so badly I was willing to die.
The good news is that I lived!
Although I still have a few more days left, I think I'm ready to go home. Minus the few days I was home in between the west coast trip and this trip, I feel like I've been away for almost 5 weeks now. For some reason, I just thought that stories only occur on vacations and not on business trips.
Today I learned that although cheaping out and saving money may not always be a good thing, to the contrary, spending more also does not ensure a better living experience. Life is all about probability, and with me I need to start reminding myself that my numbers are usually much shittier than the average person.
At this point, all I'm hoping for is that nothing else is going to happen before this trip is over. My fingers are crossed so that I won't have to update this place with another entry before I'm home.
See you all soon!
Captain's Log: British Columbia is the most beautiful place on Earth.
So it finally happened. I completed my Canada Road Trip that I had started about 5 years ago. Due to certain events that had taken place (please refer to a few journal entries back for East Coast Road Trip), it took quite a number of years to build back the confidence (and scramble together vacation days) to finish up the drive West to have driven across the entire country. I can finally proudly say that I have driven across the entire country!
I must say that of this entire drive, the most entertaining was through all of British Columbia. There were always twists, turns, elevation changes, and tunnels within an abundance of greens as well as rockies to keep a driver alert and entertained.
I may have to think hard about what route to take heading home. Of course, I have about 10 days to not think about this...
In fact, I will need to think of great ways to keep myself entertained for the drive back...
Thanks for reading and enjoy your days! After this, I won't need to enter new entries (at least until August 17th or 18th - when I start the drive home). I am excited to see as many friends as possible and old spots to reminisce about.
You're welcome to check back periodically to see if my photos show up! Thanks!
No Captain's Log for the day. I decided not to continue my journey west.
You see, today has been a special day. As awesome as everything else has been, hanging with Han and meeting his girl, something really amazing happened today.
I was born in Hong Kong. It wasn't until I was about 5 or 6 that I had come to North Vancouver, BC. We were there for only a few years before we moved to West Vancouver, BC, and shortly after, Toronto, ON. And the saddest part out of all that, was losing my friends.
Since I was older when we moved to West Van, I was able to retain more of my friends there, but it was the North Vancouver friends whom I had a hard time keeping in touch with. Before I knew it, they were scattered and long gone. I always dreamed of finding them all again, but even with Facebook search results, there were a lot of results and I couldn't really tell which ones were my lost friends.
One fateful day while I was on business, I was traveling with the Vancouver sales rep and we pitstopped for gas. The attendant working that day looked like he could have been a couple years yonge than myself. It was a long shot but I asked anyways, about where he went to school. Turns out it was the same elementary school as me. So that was when I decided to name-drop. It was that moment I realized, he actually had some of my old friends I've been searching years for on his Facebook page.
Ever since that day, James Clarke has been one of the buddies I dug up, but it wasn't until THIS VERY DAY that I had not actually seen him and reconnected with, since we moved.
That was pretty much the highlight of my trip. Thanks for reading!
Captain's Log: Speed limit laws apply outside of Ontario as well, and just because a speed posted is "suggested", does not make 211 km/h OK. In fact, NOWHERE in Canada is 211 km/h OK.
So the day began with a good start. I woke up really early, had a small breakfast, and jumped right onto the road. I was hoping for a quiet day like yesterday, but my judgment got the best of me.
I made pretty good time crossing through all of Saskatchewan before 3pm because I found a car heading in the same direction as me to drive with. In fact, he was going a little too fast. In trying to keep up, I eventually got a little ahead of myself with all the excessive speeding, and by the time I got somewhere between the Saskatchewan/Alberta border and Medicine Hat, AB, it was already too late. That was when I discovered why having the wing on my trunk is actually a big detriment.
I was driving with this guy for a good hour or so clearing a good part of my route, when shortly after the provincial border, as I was catching up to him, he suddenly pulled to the right lane and slowed down significantly. That was when I realized my wing was blocking the view of someone on my tail. Holy shit.
A very kind Alberta police officer was nice enough to catch up to tell me on paper how fine my car was. In fact, $124 worth of fineness, but no bonus points for all my hard work. In retrospect, it was really quite stupid of me. I totally deserved it. I mean even if it wasn't wrong of me to speed like that, I'm still an idiot. Who did I expect them to nail, given the choice between a low-key, unsuspecting plain black Chevy Cavalier, or the loud, modified Mercedes-Benz sports car with all the stickers and decals?
Now my next step is to figure out how this affects my insurance.
I guess this gave me something to write about...
When I got back to my route, I totally forgot all about a car's limitation running on a finite amount of fuel. In fact, it wasn't until I got to a crazy-long stretch of nothingness that I realized my gas light had come on already. That was when I started to panic. I had roughly 50-60 km worth of fuel left (based on my calculation), and according to the GPS, the nearest gas station to me at that point was 55 km away. I was praying to dear god that it wasn't another phantom gas station that didn't really exist.
I have to say that felt like one of the longest 30 or so minutes of my life, jamming on the clutch pedal at every downhill and saving gas only to get me up hills. After 10-15 minutes had gone by, I was already sweating like a pig, not just because I shut off all the AC and closed all the windows to maximize my fuel and aerodynamics. All I needed to do was get as close to this - hopefully real - gas station as possible. Even just within 5 km from it. I already had it planned out. It's either a 20 minute run, or I jump on the back of one of those horses I saw in the fields along the way.
I finally made it to the gas station, with the needle already lying flat. Thanks to the huge downhill stretch just before civilization, I probably would have made it even if I ran out of fuel slightly before pulling in. Fortunately for me, my Visa didn't work, most likely due to the tape holding the cracked part of the card together. Thankfully I didn't spend my entire paycheck yet and there was still a little dough left in my debit.
I was finally on my way into Calgary when my asshole of a buddy told me the address I entered didn't show up properly because he was actually in Edmonton.
I almost passed out.
...but he was just playing. He just bought himself a piece of poop in his fridge when he goes to work.
So we just grabbed some food and called it a night, and now here I am Kelvin Cheong - Keyboard Warrior.
I will probably skip tomorrow's entry because I've decided to stay an extra day here in Calgary. Aside from Han and my family friend Janice, I have a 3rd friend living here. My friend James Clarke is a friend of mine that I met in elementary school. I'm talking 6 year-old Kelvin. I actually lost contact with him for years! I haven't seen him in 22 years and I'm gonna be meeting up with him tomorrow (well technically today)!!
That is probably gonna be the highlight of my day, or even my trip!
Anyways, thanks for reading! If not tomorrow (well, today...), then I shall be back here on August 8th, 2012. Take care for now!
Captain's Log: Excited to say I have nothing to report.
Is it a little ironic that I'm excited to report that nothing crazy happened today? Woke up and went through my day according to plan for once! At one point I almost shafted myself trying to make a run without filling up, but after the last two days' events, I convinced myself to turn around and drive 10-15 minutes to the last gas station I saw. Had I not done that, I might have been caught in this long stretch of forest where no gas stations were around for the next 200km. Yay for not risking it. In fact, I even got to Brandon, MB a little earlier than I had anticipated. Despite the one-hour time change, there was still daylight to spare!
Though I did discover yesterday that the wing on my car actually came handy in blocking the high beams of vehicles (trucks) tailing me.
Anyways, day 3 was a success. Let's hope tomorrow runs smooth as well! I think at this point I've driven over 3,000km already, and tomorrow I will be adding another 1,100km to that list, driving from here to Calgary, AB.
Once I fight off my urges to run to the McDonald's next door, I'm heading to bed so I can be completely certain nothing crazy can get added to tonight's entry.
Thank you for reading!