The adventure began with a trip to Perry, NY to visit the Letchworth Art and Crafts show. It was quite a large art festival, and there was no on site parking. All visitors had to park at remote lots and there were shuttle buses running to the show. Read more
Another weekend, another adventure. My mate was super curious to attend the Holland Speedway's Crash-o-rama event on September 9th 2023. It had been ages since I had been to a race / demo derby myself, so I was also very interested in this event. The event was full of good old boys and gals, and indeed a lot of 'Fuck Joe Biden', or 'Let's go brandon' kind of mindset was taking place. It was excellent. A good patriotic vibe through and through. Indeed a lot of people are very upset with how this corrupt administration is destroying this great country, but that isn't a topic for this post.
The 2023 Labor Day weekend started off kind of crappy. Saturday I discovered that my sewage lines were backing up in my basement. I attempted to snake them and got covered in poop, but was unable to get it un clogged. I called a good plumber I know, but he was swampped with work. Luckily the apartment's bathroom was draining downstream from the blockage, so we were able to use that shower and toilet. On Sunday I was able to get the drains unclogged after purchasing a 90 degree elbow for an electrical conduit, which I was able to slide into the pipe and used it to help guide the snake down the correct path. It isn't much fun playing in shit, so that was kind of a bummer for the day. But I only spent $9 on the elbow which is what ended up unclogging the drain. So I was able to fix the issue and save money.
I also traded in my old phone this weekend, and got myself a OnePlus Nord N300 for 'free'. It is a surprisingly good phone for the money. The camera is a huge upgrade from my old HTC U11, and the audio is great. I also do like the Wi-Fi Hotspot feature and how it actually gives you live stats on how much data you are using. The phone also uses Oxygen OS which is a little different from a standard Android build, and allows you to use apps in windowed modes. Kind of neat. The main thing is that now I have a functional phone. The HTC U11 was getting old and unreliable when it came to using the phone aspect of it. Read more
July 30th was a wonderful adventure. After mass and a quick stop at my work, we headed out towards Golden Hill. We finally made it to the Golden Hill State Park's Lighthouse when it was open for tours. The kids were a little sad that it wasn't what they thought was a super high light house, but after climbing the 60 steps they seemed to understand that it wasn't exactly small either. We could see Toronto from the top, and spotted a young Bald Eagle flying past. Little Matthew had his first experience up on a Lighthouse. Read more
This massive Christmas Storm that spread across the country and was massively hyped, seemed to pass by most places with less concern than the hype seemed to warrant. But Buffalo, NY was not one of those places. For Buffalo, the Christmas Eve Blizzard of '22 will be remembered for centuries. And I am one of those 'essential' workers who decided to go against the grain, and come into work on this fateful Friday.
We were all very well aware of the predictions. And directives from the higher up's regarding if we were to report to work or not was speculative at best. Most of management had Friday off anyhow, so for those on the ground, who didn't have Friday off, it was a little confusing. For me though, I knew I always have the option to come into work and do my part. Even if my part is just sitting on standby and making sure systems stay up and running. So my plan was always to try to make it into work for this specific storm. I prepared blankets, food, and fueled up in preparation for being stuck at work for a while. However, I really had no clue what I was signing up for.
Now, I am 'Roadwolf' after all. I earned that nick name from tow truck drivers up in Toronto, as being a 'lone wolf' who patrolled the roads helping people out who were stranded in winter storms. So yes, I grew up driving in winter storms. It is something which actually I find exciting and strangely relaxing at times. And yes I do understand the danger inherit in some winter situations and do my best to avoid putting myself in such dangerous situations. That being said, most Buffalo snow events that I experience, save for the somewhat 'normal' 6ft snow dumping's that sometimes hit the Southtowns, I usually pass off as big nothing burgers. Unimpressive or at least just a little tricky to handle, but not horrible.
This however. This Blizzard was like nothing I have ever experienced. 70+ mph winds!
My day started off with a fairly normal commute in on the I-190 along the Niagara River. It was 40 degrees, and rainy. But the wind hadn't started yet. I clocked in at a location which is right beside the Buffalo River. And proceeded to my shop location which is a little further inland, in the downtown Core.
I went about my morning routine, but the storm began to brew. I was pleasantly surprised that eCafe was open. Krystal (or Crystal?) who owns it was shocked to see someone come through the door I think. But she was very happy to make me some fresh yummy food. The eCafe by Seneca is a great place, and I do enjoy frequenting it when I can. I ended up helping out a little bit by shuttling someone around the city, and also responded to a call for some faulty equipment up near Amherst, NY. But since I was going to head out that far, in the already growing wind and snowy conditions, my supervisor asked if I could bring a plow truck out there to see what I could do while I was up there. Sure, I said.
I loaded up with Salt and headed up that way. But as I got farther and Farther North the weather got worse and worse. I was able to accomplish my task, but conditions became dangerous. My windshield was icing up and on top of that visibility was between 20ft and 0ft. Slowly I crept back downtown along Main Street, watching for blobs through the icey window, assuming they were stuck cars. I sometimes found myself well on the other side of the road, only noticing that because I saw street lights a lot closer to my drivers side window than they should of been. There was no way to gauge where in the road one was. Let alone where one was. A coworker actually ended up on the incorrect road. You really couldn't tell. And intersections became like Russian Roulette. Sometimes being completely unable to see the signal light or even realize you were entering an intersection until you were already in it.
Supervisors made the right call and called everyone back. Told us to shelter. And so I did. I am lucky to have a good shop in the depths of an official dispatch center of sorts. Police, and other agencies have a presence in the building, and therefore it is well protected, has a solid backup power system, and most of the comforts of home.
I was working on some radio repairs and monitoring and programming some two-way radio communications devices much of the rest of the day. It was astounding to hear just how bad it was out there. So many stranded and abandoned vehicles all through the city. People still in them. Hours later! I suppose some people aren't really too bright. There was more than enough warning for this storm. I knew having seen what I saw that there was no way I would get into my personal vehicle and attempt to drive anywhere, let alone home in this weather. There is really no excuse for anyone else to be out. And uber or lyft drivers, shame on you.
The conditions are so bad that indeed all plows have been pulled off of the roads. No roads are able to be plowed until visibility on the roads improves. Now with all of the abandoned or stranded vehicles (some of which will likely have dead people in them by the time the visibility improves), these roads likely won't be plowed until well into Christmas Day or beyond.
In any case, a lot of those people got stuck in gridlock or snow, and stranded. Which in turn made it impossible for Buffalo Fire to respond to many calls. But eventually the snow got high enough that even on clear roads, the fire trucks got stuck. Engine 1 ended up getting stuck not far from my location. As seen in the photo, my car is parked in the parking lot and Engine 1 struggles in deep snow a few hundred feet beyond. I trudged out to them a couple times to offer them a warm place to come and warm up if they had to wait it out, but luckily they were able to have another truck come by to rescue them. But they did end up abandoning the Engine right where it was, and it remains there as I write this.
I am going to call it a night now, and get some shuteye. I have food and supplies for about 24 more hours. But I could likely stretch that a little. I am being very frugal with my eating. But the howling of that wind grows into the night. Even as deep inside the building as I am, I still hear the deep rumble of that Tropical Storm force wind. That is for sure a different sensation.
This is a continuation of the May 2022 adventure known as the Eyelash adventure. Part 1 includes the entry to Canada, and a little venture around Toronto. This is Part 5:
After a dinner in Buck Horn, we headed to Bobcaygeon, Ontario. On the way, I began playing The Tragically Hip's song Bobcaygeon. Terri listened and found it interesting that we were listening to a song, about a 'town' we were about to enter. Bobcaygeon is technically not a 'town' or 'city' however, so entering it, isn't always apparent. In the year 2000, the municipalities within the old Victoria county, including the Village of Bobcaygeon, joined to become one large, spread out City called Kawartha Lakes. It is a very odd political situation, which really doesn't do any justice to the individual communities within the former County. Never the less, Bobcaygeon is now technically just a 'Community' within the City of Kawartha Lakes. Damn Politics!
After stopping to get Ice Cream at the Kawartha Dairy on the North side of Bobcaygeon, we circled around to the South side and checked in at our Motel for the night. The New Rockland Motel. The manager seemed pretty chill, and somewhat comical. I found him very down to earth and fun to talk to. After settling in, Terri and I went out for a little walk through town. However, neither of us were wearing a leash... (notice the unintentionally captured leash sign in the photo).
The Trent-Severn Waterway Locks were right beside the Motel, and was our first walking destination. It was always neat to see the old Pontoon House Boats which are common along the Trent Severn system. I really haven't seen them anywhere else in the world to be honest. But then again, I am not super well traveled or experienced in the boating culture. A Houseboat is essentially a trailer park trailer, with pontoons. They were all the rage in the 80'tys.
It was a lovely Saturday night in Bobcaygeon. People were out enjoying the evening. There were several bars along the main, Bolton Street section of town. Many of them were buzzing with activity. A local Pizza place called Godfather's Pizza seemed busy. And it appeared that a family name of Bigley's was somewhat important in the area as they seemed to own many stores. That being said, the one place that seemed to be drawing us in was a place called Graz. We heard Tragically Hip music emanating from the place, and sure enough there was a Tragically Hip tribute band playing.
The band, The Acoustically Hip, were indeed very good. So good in fact that Terri believed it was The Tragically Hip (the real band) at first. I explained that Gord Downie had passed away. Indeed, The Tragically Hip were a cultural icon for many Canadians. Their music was so deeply rooted in our culture that their last concert was almost a national holiday. The video below shows the playing of the final song in the last concert. A concert, I might add that the CBC broadcasted and live streamed, uninterrupted by advertisements, which was watched by 11.7 million people (roughly one-third of the Canadian population). ALL at the same time. It is fair to say that pretty much everyone in Canada was watching that concert unless they lived under a rock. We are unlikely to ever again see a single band unite so many people. Interestingly enough, these photos were from the very street that was featured in the video link below (scenes shot in Bobcaygeon).
Tragically Hip's Last Song - Played Live across a Nation!
It actually does bring tears to my eyes to know just how much this band meant to me, and also to so many people. Not just Canadians. I know many of my American co-workers were deeply rocked by Gord's passing and the end of The Tragically Hip. Buffalo, NY does share a lot in common with it's Northern border of Canada, so that isn't too surprising. But yeah, if you are unaware of The Tragically Hip, perhaps you should look into them. I will admit that I cried several times writing these last couple paragraphs and watching videos to decide which ones to include in this post.
The Acoustically Hip are indeed very authentic sounding however. For a two piece band, they do a great job replicating the songs. They interact well with the audience too. I very much enjoyed sitting down and watching their whole set. I did toss them a $20 after their act. I was also very impressed that Terri wanted to sit and watch too. I honestly wasn't sure if she would like the loud band, but she did. She wanted to move closer. So very cool! Bonus points for her. :P
This evening was super fun. I haven't had such a great time out in years. The fun part was that I didn't really plan this. And also that I had unintentionally preluded this by playing Bobcaygeon for Terri as we drove into Bobcaygeon. Everything was perfect. Even the sunset was super cool, over the Lock, with the beam of sunlight shining up as the sun set.
After the final song we walked around the corner to the Motel and called it a night. The next day, we stopped at a local place for a lovely Breakfast. The Daylight Diner was a typical small town diner, and had some good food and friendly staff. We then headed out. Since I kind of messed up the original attempt at Monck Road, I attempted it again. We headed back towards Lake Simcoe and I indeed found Monck Road. It was a neat road, and I can see it's charm. It was for sure one of the original roads in the area just based on how windy it was. It was interesting in that it skirted along the southern edge of the Canadian Shield, where it meets the glacial deposits which is now mostly farmland.
It was for sure interesting to explore a road I had never really understood the history of until now. It was a road which was put in place to encourage Eastward expansion and farming and settlement from Orillia. In any case, we carried on. I ended up seeing a pretty cool float plane on Lake Simcoe on the way back. And soon I was on the 404, headed down towards the 401. The plan was to meet my Father at a Breakfast chain restaurant down in Toronto. We were running a little late but not too bad.
Traffic was nuts on the DVP so I avoided it and took the 401. Highway 401 is the Busiest Highway in North America! It was a fun drive, and brought back some memories. These were the highways I used to work on, assisting at accidents and such. It is where I earned my Roadwolf moniker. This is also the highway that a TV documentary series was made about. Heavy Rescue: 401. There is a huge difference between working the roads in Toronto, and working up in the wilderness.
I met with my father and mother in law. They were doing alright all things considered. It was a lovely little lunch, but it was cut short by the restaurant wanting to close. So not too much longer, we were on our way back to the USA. We had a good view of Stelco in Hamilton on the way back. I will admit that Canada does a lot of things right. It is a fairly self sufficient country. A lot of product used in Canada is made in Canada. It is a shame that a powerhouse like the USA, can't have a steel plant which rivals Stelco in Hamilton, or even it's other location near Nanticoke.
For a while now, I suspect that the Climate Change push is all part of the plan for a global communist takeover of the world. Personally I believe that many of those in power see the waste of a capitalist society, and that adds more of a reason to slash needless spending and waste of resources. I also believe that those who are in power, dislike the free market and the ability for anyone to just rise up and create a name for themselves. New money types tend to complicate the ranks. So in a way, I do believe that carbon credits, and companies that buy into the climate crisis, are doing so, in a bit of a scheme to position themselves to still have a say in the game and remain in a position of power once the full socialist system kicks in. But this is just a theory of mine.
In Canada, such a socialist system does tend to exist. Big companies essentially hold a monopoly over specific trades or commodities, and they sub contract smaller companies to help them, or push other non related work off to. This is the case in some industries. Specifically Communications, and any sort of industry that deals with government grants and infrastructure. Consumer goods, arts and food don't specifically fall into this system.
It wasn't long before we were crossing back to the US. It was an amazing little trip, and was very refreshing to visit my homeland again after so long. I hope to travel back again soon enough. I also hope you enjoyed this little 5 part posting on my silly little journey. I hope to have many more adventures to write about on here. Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any comments, corrections or questions. Read more