Vancouver

Up, Up and Away

Finally, after a vacation that took me on a 10 day ride throughout the paradise province of Canada,  British Columbia. I am in awe, from the mountains and valley’s of Pemberton and Whistler,  to Vancouver and the hustle of Granville Island market. From the suburb of Coquitlam to the quiet coastal playground of the wealthy at Deep Cove, suddenly I’m at the amazing Vancouver airport, climbing aboard the Westjet, for the flight back home to Winnipeg.

Now I’m in a position that I’ve never been in. After 17 years of living in hotels or communal rooming houses, I’m coming home without a home.

I’m not homeless. During my holiday I had no fixed address. I moved out of my hotel room of 8.5 years which was across from a former employer and began my vacation.  During that time, I took possession of an 8th floor apartment in a quiet Winnipeg suburb. 

When I arrived back in Winnipeg, I had no keys, no furniture and no food. That was on September 3rd. Since I lived in communal homes of sorts since 1996, I had to start with nothing.  I owned the clothes on my back plus and a few possessions that I had stored in my father’s garage.

I had previously purchased all my new furniture and made arrangements to get set up and delivery for September 5th. For the first time in 40 years I was back at my childhood home with my parents who are in their 80’s, and still fully active seniors.  I spent 2 nights with them just a few blocks from my new digs until my delivery.

On the morning of September 5th,  I was dropped by the apartment block that contained the 8th floor studio suite that was to be home. The cable guy hooked me up with the  HD and Wifi.  The furniture delivery soon followed. 

Once again my life had changed for the better. Being disabled with limited mobility, I am unable to crawl on the floor to assemble the furniture kits. My 85 year old father was a godsend.  He worked with me for a few hours and without him I would still be trying to assemble that TV Stand.  Amazing man, amazing father.  We got it done.

Since I’m not driving, my father volunteered to take me to shop for all the accessories and groceries needed to call my new place a home.

It’s done. I have all the extras  and I just have one more shopping trip to tie up the loose ends. The cost was almost $4000.  Seems like a lot of loot but being disabled and on a pension at 58 years old, I have a benefit of subsidized housing that keeps my 8th floor rent at only $302 per month.  I should be able to recover my investment in 6 months just in rent savings alone.

It’s exciting to finally after all these year’s close another chapter of Leonard vs Life, and start a new chapter.  Up, Up, and Away from the transient society that I was part of since 1996.

Finally, I’m home.

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Holiday Time

This week I’ll be vacationing in the Coastal Mountains of British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada. After five days in the shadow of Mount Currie, in Pemberton with my daughter Blair and her main man Shayne, I’ll be back in Coquitlam, BC. visiting my brother and his family. Coquitlam is just south of Vancouver. I’ll be back to blog next week.

At that time, I will be reviewing my experiences with Facebook and Twitter and asking questions about types and volumes of posts. Please return next Monday.

My daughter took these pictures (the first is me on the bus to Pemberton going over the Lionsgate Bridge and the second is me on the airplane from Winnipeg to Vancouver):

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The Moving Vacation

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This week I’m stumped. I have so much on my mind that I’m having a writers block. Being in the process of moving, with the pleasant interruption of a 10 day vacation in the middle of the move, has caused me minimal stress.

Can you imagine packing up before August 25th because you are moving on September 1st but that you’ll be on a vacation until the 4th of September? Now that the plot is revealed, add a twist of 17 years of living in furnished rentals, and now we need to purchase a whole studio suite of furniture, for delivery when returning from vacation.

AND to add to that, the need for short term storage which is enough on one’s mind to interrupt your thought process on blogging.

Oh, there is MORE:  My arrival back home is at Midnight. I have no furniture, so it’s a sleep on the floor until delivery the next day.

I live in Winnipeg and I’ll be on vacation in Vancouver and the Whistler/Pemberton area with family. British Columbia is the paradise of Canada and I’m looking forward to the 10 days there with family.

Well, that’s this week’s episode and I’m sticking to it. 

pemberton

 

The Wild Ride Home

….continues from last week’s blog.

So, now the time comes to say goodbye to Vancouver.  I load up the Toyota Prius and try to make it back to Winnipeg.

With white smoke billowing from the tailpipe for the first 5 minutes, I started out on the highway with no challenges. After a couple of hours the engine was over heating, and so I pulled off the highway to top up my fluids. I carry on for another hour and again, overheating engine.

Somehow I made it to Golden, BC. At that point the gas engine blew. So, I could run the gas engine with one only cylinder and that was enough to charge the battery for the electric motor. The engine would only charge the battery 33%. That would allow me to drive 1 kilometer. Then I would repeat the process, and the next destination was Field, BC. That was a 4 hour journey of 55 kilometers. Field  is close to the Alberta border.

I pulled into a gift shop and Alberta Tourism office and attempted to revive the engine. Turns out a fan belt snapped and the overheating blew out a head gasket so the oil and coolant were mixed. That car was toast.

The gift shop allowed me to park the car on their lot. It was now evening. With nothing left I could do on June 30, 2010. I settled in for a frigid night of sleep in the mountains. That was the coldest and longest night of sleepless sleep that I ever had.

The morning came and the gift shop opened so I could grab some munchies and figure out how I was going to get back to Winnipeg. The lady in the gift shop made arrangements for me to catch a Greyhound bus back home. Luckily, her daughter worked at Greyhound in Golden. She told me to be on the highway at 4pm and the bus would stop and pick me up.

With a whole day ahead of me, I was invited to the Alberta tourist office July 1st Canada day party. Big barbecue and lots of fun and games. Good people.

The bus arrived on time and I jumped the Gerthound to Calgary with a stop in Banff, Alberta. In Calgary I had to transfer to another bus to Winnipeg. Only a 6 hour wait.

I had dinner in Calgary and at about 11pm caught the bus for the last leg of my trip home. The bus was almost empty. I slept most of the way home and wondered what would become of the Prius. I think the ride from Calgary was about 16 hours and I was back in time for supper in Winnipeg. What a wild ride home!

Welcome to Field (this is not me)

Welcome to Field (this is not me)

 

Vancouver: The Amazing

…..continued from last week.

I woke up In the motel, took back my $200 key deposit, and fired up the Prius so I could begin my adventure in Vancouver. The first task was to drive downtown and pick up my daughter from work.

Once I figured out where she was, I had some time to look around and get a feel for the city. If you have ever been in a park and in the center of a city at the same time, that would describe downtown Vancouver. Nobody is in a rush. Traffic is not heavy (Blair says it is heave). Cycling or walking is preferred. Storefronts are a full block with upper floors of condos or office’s. The downtown has hundreds of towers complied of mostly apartments, condos and offices. You can taste the ocean air from a kilometer away. The center of the city is a haven for buskers and you see no crime at all.

Touring around we walked around the beach front with it’s bars and restaurants. From the balcony of Blairs downtown apartment we could listen to the buskers at the Vancouver Art Gallery. That week it featured Spandy Andy. The nights never end and there is always action anytime of day. Once a week (on Fridays) they have a bike parade that lasts for at least 1 hour. Occasionally they ride through the downtown in the buff. No city like it.

I learned how to drink wine and coke a cola. Beats smoking coke. Every building has underground parking so the streets aren’t congested with cars. They have a super transit system both LRT and conventional. Taxis are always at the ready if needed.

Blair and I took side trips for groceries and walked around the neighborhood. Vancouver is one of the destination cities in the world. You can be in the ocean and across town take a ride up to snow covered Grouse mountain. All in one day. WOW!

With my visit with Blair complete, I started my journey be Coquitlam to visit my brother and his family. The town is one of the bedroom suburbs to access you travel cluttered freeways or if you wish the LRT. The short visit was very nice. The town is self contained and includes lots of green space and wetlands. Shopping centers, parks, and exotic oceanfront gated communities are a short ride away. That was relaxing. So suddenly the time had come to leave my family and begin.the journey home.

The Prius was not running well and even though the coolant and oil were mixing the car’s owner refused the repairs. The adventure back to Winnipeg was about to begin. What an adventure it would be. That is next week’s story. See you then.

Pic: HelloBC.com

Pic: HelloBC.com

The Trip of Trips

So, here we are in February of 2010, and I completed my final trip on crack cocaine. After over 20 years of tripping with drugs, finally the time came to plan a real trip.

Now that I deleted the daily cost of cocaine, I figured that I could save $2000 in 3 months. I planned a trip foe late June, with about $3000 of drug savings. I would be going to Vancouver to visit with my daughter Blair, my brother, Alan, and other family.

I always wanted to drive through the Canadian Rocky Mountains, but I didn’t own a car. In discussions with my employer it was decided that I would be able to rent a newer Toyota Prius. Yes, a hybrid car to drive through the mountains- to Vancouver and back. The plan was to leave in the middle of June and return on or about July 2.

It was about midnight in the middle of June that I tossed a few bags into the car, and pulled out of Winnipeg for the Trip of Trips. I started to drive with the intended 1st stop in the mountains at Banff, Alberta.

So, I drove non stop to Banff. Snuggled in the mountains, I took a 3 hour nap and then it was back on the road. Or so I thought. Just up the highway the traffic was stopped. Turns out that the closure was due to controlled landslides via dynamite. After a couple hours of blasting we were off to Vancouver.

The next stop would be Golden, BC. After that we would include stretch stops in the Okanogan valley. After 30 hours of highway #1, the end was near. I was entering Vancouver, exhausted and happy.

I did have one issue. During the drive , my back broke into what seemed like chickenpox. Open itchy sores were driving me crazy. I figured I would find a hotel room to rest and have a look at my back. I stopped at a police roadblock and got directions to a hotel on the way downtown. I found a nice $80 room on the east side of Vancouver. The key deposit was only $200. Wow! This was Vancouver.

Turns out that I had picked up “Shingles”, an adult form of chicken pox. I had a good sleep after a hot shower and it was time to find my daughter, Blair.

The fun and adventure was only beginning……

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