Getting Gassed at the Pumps

oregon-woman-pump-gasHas anyone figured out the method to the madness of gas pricing across the Province of Ontario? It surely doesn’t have much to do with the price of a barrel of oil anymore. I used to think greedy petroleum companies jacked their prices up on the weekends and then slowly lowered them during the week, but there seems to be no master plan.

Driving through the eastern states and provinces this summer I noticed fairly consistent prices in each area. In Ontario prices can vary up to fifteen cents a liter between Windsor and Toronto. Where we used to hate having to gas up on the 401, now the prices along the route can be cheaper than in the city.

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The People We Meet

IMG_0398When Cathryn and I travel it’s not all about the journey or the destination, or even the food and drink. Granted, those are all good reasons as to why we travel, but we also love to meet new people and share in their culture. People are one of the reasons you’ll see us perched on stools at the bar instead of sitting at a table by ourselves.

It’s not that we don’t enjoy each other’s company, we do, and we travel well together. Spending days or weeks together 24/7 can be trying for any couple or even close friends. Consider yourself lucky if you can get along with your travel partner.

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The Country of Quebec

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Look closely at this picture and you’ll see one of the very few Canadian flags hanging limp, in the province of Quebec. The lovable red maple leaf is notably missing from government buildings, businesses, and homes across the French section of Canada. Are separatists still at work there, trying to divide our country.

Cathryn and I spent twelve days on the road, motorcycling from Windsor to Quebec City, and back. We spent the Canada Day weekend in the Kingston/Gananoque area, where civic and country pride were evident everywhere. Red and white banners, Canadian flags, and the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary flag were everywhere.

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Unintended Adventures

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            What exactly is an adventure and where do you find one? Touring companies offer them all the time—they must know. Usually, for a tidy sum of money, they promise unique adventures that anyone can go on. Is that being adventurous—going where everyone else has gone before? Sure it is, but we don’t need to spend our hard earned money to have someone else show us something different, off the beaten path.

            We call ourselves tourists, when we venture off to discover something new and different from the norm. Unfortunately, many of us become sheep, using travel agents and guide services to tell us how and where to find what we seek. For hard working individuals who need to get away from it all, there is nothing wrong with that.

            For real travelers, or adventurers, we know what is required. We know that you have to get off that beaten path, peek over that fence, look around the next corner, and drive down that next road to see where it leads. It’s not rocket science, it’s a yearning, curiosity, and desire to enrich ourselves and learn something new. It’s enlightenment.

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The Men of Melaque

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Who are the elusive men of Mexico? To us Gringos who flock south for the winter, if we pay attention, we might just catch a glimpse of the homosapien species. Our first exposure was at the Puerto Vallarta airport, where throngs of eager males threw themselves at arriving snowbirds in the hopes of snagging fares for the taxis and shuttles that were stacked up out front.

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Favorites – Venice

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I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked where’s my favorite place I’ve visited. And, for those of you who know me personally, I don’t really do favorites. So why, you ask, am I posting Venice as one of my favorite places? Well, I must shyly admit that it is. Right now it’s the number one tourist destination in the world. That’s big.

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Eddie Murphy & The Golden Girls

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This story appears in my book,  A Casual Traveler

Kananchuburi Provence, Thailand 

      I booked a no-brainer trip from Pataya Beach to the Kananchuburi province in Thailand, near the Burma border. It is home to the Bridge on the River Kwai, that was made famous by the movie of the same name.  For those unaware, it’s where the Japanese used allied prisoners of war to build a railway bridge over the river, and through the mountain pass into Burma.

      The shuttle bus picked me up at my hotel at 5:30 a.m. sharp, a despicable time of the day. The birds weren’t up yet, but there were still a couple people drinking at the bar across the street. Not unusual in Pataya. I’d behaved the previous evening, opting for a movie at the local cinema, instead of being one of those people at the bar.

     I climbed into the van and saw with my one open eye that there were other people on the bus. Three older black women had nabbed the best seats. The looked like a darker version of the Golden Girls. I wedged myself in and didn’t pay the driver much attention, until he got lost two blocks from my hotel.

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The Two Bill’s – Part 2

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This story appears in my first book, A Casual Traveler

 The Way Back 

            Usually, going somewhere is more fun than coming back. Whenever I plan a trip I try to take that into account. I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I hate covering the same ground twice. I’d much rather make a loop and go out of my way, than drive down the same road more than once. Unless something is worth seeing again, from a different perspective.

            Cathryn and I had a great ride getting to Vancouver, but I knew I had my work cut out for me, trying to find an eventful and scenic way back home. The whole idea of the trip was to cover new ground, since both of us had been out west before. Seattle came to mind. Although I’d been there twice, I never had time to see more than a few token attractions on the waterfront.

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