Chewbacca (2001 – 2015)

A few weeks ago i said goodbye to an old friend. Someone i have only fond memories of. Someone that has lived so much life and contributed to the lives of others until his very last days. The only Pontiac that will ever have a place in my heart, Chewbacca.

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Chewy, as he was known to friends, got his name from an unfortunate and persistent power steering fluid leak. But Chewy continued to be reliable through that and other ailments. He had the experience and the kilometers to drive to the moon if he wanted to (True story. Over 400 000 kms) but chose to spend his life here on Earth, with us.

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The time he contained my entire life, on the move to Winnipeg.

Chewy has held and transported a lot of people and things that were important to me over the years. Shared a lot of good times. Facilitated many a camping trip, housed me for summers spent at the lake and helped us to farmer’s markets everywhere. We’ve shared crazy nights and sleepy days and coffees and sunsets and friends.

Chewy ‘s last days were trying but he did not suffer. He literally went out with a bang, I would expect nothing less from such a fiery spirit. He was worth much more to me than the $250 and the hubcap we got from the wrecker. I know he will go on to make an excellent pop can or bicycle, whatever this Earth has in store for him next he will no doubt go above and beyond the expectations. Because that’s just who he was.

Adventures were the norm.
Adventures were the norm.

Here’s to the memory of Chewbacca, a loyal minivan, anyone who was lucky enough to know him would tell you that although he had the body of a Montana, he had the spirit of a wild horse.

 

Chewbacca (2001 – 2015)

How to Drive in Canada’s Third Largest City

I’ve lived in Vancouver for 6 or 7 months now and still consider myself a new Vancouverite.  I also consider myself a decently laid-back, positive human being.  Very few things get me overly rattled, upset or angry.  I swear rarely and usually I’m good at keeping calm and going with the flow.
Unfortunately for me, one of the biggest (and most unavoidable) differences between living in a city of less than 1 million people and living in a city 4 times that size, happens to be one of the few things with the ability to get me extremely heated.  And I mean ANGRY heated, not sexy heated.

9902823That thing is traffic.

So from my own awesome experiences of driving in the city with the worst road congestion in Canada, I’ve made a list.  Because that’s what I do.

How to drive in VanCity:

    •   Forget about blinkers.  Those don’t mean shit now.  You might as well just break the signal arm right off.  Throw it.  Why should you have to tell anyone else what direction you’re going to forcefully propel your heavy metal driving machine full of flammable liquids? It’s none of their business.
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    • Remember: Your time is exponentially more valuable than anyone else’s on the road.  So drive in a way that fucking shows it.
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    • It’s always good to know how to properly formulate deep penetrating insults, should you get in a shouting match with another driver or a pedestrian, which is way more likely.  ( I have a whole thing about pedestrians just wait for it. )  ‘ Adjective – vulgar word – noun ‘ usually does the trick.  Don’t be afraid to get creative, if its good enough it’ll haunt them for years.  See chart below.

      from Reddit
      from Reddit


    • Highway 1 during rush hour = parking lot
      Highway 1 all other times = autobahn
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    • Avoid rush hour like the plague.  Not a joke.  This shit will literally make you Dave Grohl in the video for “Walk”.  Which might actually get you home faster but is still an expensive and irrational move.  But you’ll still make that move because you’re not thinking clearly due to breathing in pure exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke for the last hour.
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    • So far I’ve gathered that diamond lanes are for buses, sometimes motorcycles, people with passengers and assholes? Is that right?
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    • It makes me angry even writing about this next one.
      Pedestrians.
      These idiots are gonna run onto the streets, cross wherever they fucking feel, friggin’ slalom in between cars stopped at reds and everything short of having  a picnic on your hood.  This is 3 times worse anywhere near a beach and ESPECIALLY down East Hastings.  One time on Hastings I saw a guy so high on meth that he skateboarded into the front of an oncoming Eurovan and tried to walk away with a broken leg. Yeah. Meth: not even once.

 

    • Cyclists are a whole other thing, I could write a whole article on specifically them.  They’re gonna do whatever the f they want with complete disregard for road traffic food chain so just try not to hit them, I guess.
    • All lights more like guidelines. Greens are green. Flashing greens are also green. Yellows are greener. Reds are redish.

 
Traffic aside, Vancouver is a great city with lots to see and tons to do. This place has become my home over the last half year and I cant imagine living anywhere else. If I drove a helicopter, monster truck or a flying dragon it would be perfect.

How to Drive in Canada’s Third Largest City

Moving out of Manitoba taught me things.

Stevie in Kamloops Lookout point just outside of Kamloops BC. Hands down the most beautiful place I’ve seen in real life.

Early this year, I sold/gave away/abandoned all my belongings that wouldn’t fit in my tiny, red, Ford Focus. Keeping only my computers (necessary to work), clothes (necessary to make appearances in public) and an ungodly amount of protein bars and dried fruit. I’m proud to say that Winter 2014 was the time I finally said “FTW” (fuck this weather), left my beautiful and enormous house in the heart of Franco-Winnipeg and made the road my new home.

I can actually say that for one month (not just any month – but January) I was actually homeless. By day I would drive and by night I slept on the chesterfields of my gracious friends and family (a few times in my car as it got warmer the further west I got, my parents don’t know this). I stretched the almost 24 hour total drive into a 3-week-long depth-of-winter adventure. That’s right – I survived being homeless… in January… in Canada. It turned out to be the most defining road trip in my entire existence thus far.

I was feeling grateful the other day and made a list of the most important things this move has taught me:

– Leaving all that is familiar to you could be the best thing you’ll ever do. The world is full of opportunity and you have to get out there and take advantage. Even though it sucks to leave your friends and family. Which brings me to my next point…

– Real friends will find a way to be in your life no matter what. You’re going to lose friends when you move, that’s a fact. You’ll realize that with most of those people the only thing you really had in common was geographic location (and a soft spot for jagermeister) and to these people you are out of sight and out of mind. Real friendships know not distance. Your real friends are the ones that still text you everything about their day, you still talk on the phone to regularly, and are the first ones to offer to pick you up at the airport. They are the ones that will make an effort to be a constant presence in your life. : )

– Google maps does not always know best. Just because it’s a route on Google Maps doesn’t mean its a road. Sometimes its a fucking dirt horse trail on a cliff on the side of a mountain, mere meters away from certain death at all times. Should you find yourself in this situation, let me tell you from experience – DO NOT CRY. It will impair your vision causing you to pull over (or just stop because you’re not actually on a road) which will cause the locals to ride up to you on their horses BUT don’t be fooled! They don’t want to see if you’re okay as much as they just want to steal your hubcaps. Also no cell service for 5 hours. So if you die out there, you’re just dead. Thats it. Nobody knows.
BTW this “highway” is called the BC- 99 N. So you’ve been warned, it may say it’s 2 hours faster but it’s not worth the emotional distress and premature forehead lines.

– You learn the most about yourself and grow as a person when you are out of your comfort zone. Which leads into my next point…

– When you move to a new place nobody knows you! Take advantage of this and do things you wouldn’t normally do. If you embarrass yourself who cares! Nobody knows or gives a shit about you and this is a blessing.

– The Hills Have Eyes movie may or may not have been based on the small town of Barriere, British Columbia. (Don’t go there and definitely don’t stay at a Knights Inn there)

– Things do not make you happy. It’s a cliche, for sure, but hear me out. Materially, I have almost nothing compared to what I owned in Manitoba. I still have a car, a couple thousand dollars in computer equipment and some other things but I look at them now as a blessing, not a necessity. When you have nothing you are free.

Now, don’t worry. I’m no longer homeless. I have a place in North Vancouver, so basically I live on the side of a mountain and I’ve never been happier in my entire life.
So yeah – suck it Winnipeg.
Just kidding.
I love Manitoba, I’ll be a Manitoban all my life.
I still rock an MB license plate. Partially because my car won’t pass aircare but mostly PRIDE!
Any of my new Vancouver friends would say I’m living proof that you can take the girl out of the prairies… but your Brandon, MB roots will haunt you all your life.

: )

Moving out of Manitoba taught me things.