The ski season was over. It had been a healthy routine of exercise and good times all winter long. The only problem was the fact that it was a routine. Nothing new really happens when you snowboard the same mountain everyday. I wasn’t learning much, and my gypsy soul was calling for something new. After 90 days of being on the hill and living in a comfortable basement suite, I decided to set sail and try a different style of living.
It was time for a change. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, or where I was going to go. I would give myself goals along the way and keep myself open to whatever new experience that would land in my path. My plan was to have no plan. I’d start by drifting east and see what happens. All that I knew was that I had ten weeks before I needed to be back home.
My first goal was to snowboard Lake Lousie and Banff.
Sleeping in your truck can be difficult because the quiet spot you pick to park at 11:30pm the night before, may not be so peaceful at 7:00am the next day. The first night in Kamloops I chose the disc golf course parking lot. It’s out of the way and I wouldn’t be bothering anyone. Who could have guessed a crew of about a dozen landscapers would show up with power tools and turn my bedroom into a work site.
The next day I got a juicy ass from driving for hours in my sweat pants. When I made it to Revelstoke, I pulled the usual move and douched myself in the river that ran through town. Two chicks who were out walking their dogs came by and laughed at me, but I’m pretty sure they couldn’t see what I was actually doing. It was a really good decision. That water tightens ya up in more ways then one.
Next I made it to Golden where I chose the rec centre for my sleep. That should be quiet. I didn’t plan that job very well, because it was next to an elementary school. So I got a wake up call from a few hundred screaming kids at 8am the next day.
It was hard to be mad because I was only an hour away from Lake Lousie.
I drove straight there, pulled into the parking lot and started to gear up. The sun was blasting down on my ginger face and I was caught with no protection.
I wonder if I’m the first guy to ever think of applying lip gloss to my face instead of sun screen? It worked pretty good too, except it left a light greasy film. On the plus side, I smelt like peppermint.
I hurried through the lift line and managed to trap a chick in the gondola with me. There was no escape for her. I asked her if she was skiing by herself, and if she maybe wanted to show me around the mountain.
She asked me if I had Vasoline on my face.
When I told her it was peppermint lip gloss, she did not laugh. She simply turned away and looked out the window. This was going to be a long ride. Almost like I farted and the smell stuck with us all the way up.
The front half of the mountain was closed for half the day because a grizzly bear was out on the slopes. Finally, at about 1pm they chased him off and opened the area which included the snowboard park. My day got a whole lot better when that happened. Fun slushy snow and endless sunshine. I worked hard all afternoon but couldn’t stop.
When the day was over, I had a stinky taint again surprise, surprise. Not sure what to do, I jumped in Lake Lousie itself. It was a little awkward because there was 20 something tourists standing around taking in the scenery.
My shampoo bottle and I immediately became the centre of attention as they gawked with their phones and cameras. I was going to have to figure out a better method of personal hygiene if I was going to stay off the internet. #shrinkdink, #whitemeat
I drove to Banff and found a look out over the town. Finally, I got a good night sleep and slept in until 9:30. When I woke up I headed straight for the hill. I was excited because I had been chatting with a hottie that I met on-line. She was a competitive skier with a beautiful smile. We had agreed to meet for some shredding.
Since she was from the area, she was supposed to be my tour guide, but when she found out I was unemployed, living out of my truck, and douching myself in mountain streams and lakes, I think she must have got nervous and pulled the pin. Too bad.
It was for the best I didn’t have her to slow me down anyway. I was shredding with the teenagers again. 11-4 with no breaks. No major wipe outs and some fine snowboarding.
I’m really getting the rails down. I’m super comfy going backwards on them and pressing while I’m doing it. I’m constantly throwing extra taps in to finish them off. I pulled my usual hand plant and got cheered by a dude. He passed me and chucked a huge front flip. I guess he’s not bad either.
When the day was done I walked around Banff in my shorts and flip flops. It was hot, and dispite the lip gloss, my goggle tan was in full effect. It seemed like everyone was on long board skateboards. It made me jealous I didn’t have one.
The next day I went on a walk/hike. The forest is a little different than what I’m used to. Instead of one trail trough the timber it’s a super highway of paths. It’s like being at the mall.
I saw 4 hot chicks, someone doing yoga, a scattered herd of Japanese teenagers, and an elk. All within 10 min of each other. They all just appeared in the forest. You think you’re all alone in nature then things just quietly show up. Strange place this Banff.
Speaking of things that just show up in front of you…I think it’s stupid that you can look at all the wildlife you want with binoculars but as soon as you look at one women (blonde with loo loo lemons, and black tank top) waiting for a bus, all of a sudden you get angry looks and negative energy from everyone.
Just outside Calgary I visited the Canadian Sports Hall of fame. They had some really cool sports memorabilia and some neat interactive display’s where you get to shoot pucks on a life size video screen goalie and catch fast balls from a digital pitcher.
I wanted to make a suggestion of how to make the museum better, so I filled out a comment card. I noticed that the women’s gymnastic leotard was enclosed in a glass case. The problem with this, of course, is that anyone who wanted to give them a sniff could never do so through the glass.
I recommended that they make the leotard exhibit more interactive by simply putting the ladies work out gear out in the open so anyone could have a wif.
The girl at the desk must have been a feminist or something because she did not like my idea. She called security, and before I could explain further I was being escorted off the property.
It was time to get organized if I was serious about living out of my truck. So I did what any smart guy would do and bought a canopy off Craigslist.
The guy selling it was an interesting fellow. I shouldn’t say he was a crackhead, but he was really itchy and cross eyed. He also asked if I had any crack for sale. For real. I made the deal and got rid of my last bit of drugs. Then I got the hell out of there. Stat.
Next, I went to the mattress king and picked up a custom piece of foam that fit perfectly in the box. I made a full size bed with blankets and pillows all under cover in the back of my truck. I now had a breeding ground.
I noticed that my dash indicated a warning. “Batteries not charging” showed up highly visible in red lights. Half of the stuff on my dash doesn’t work. I can’t tell how fast I’m going because the speedometer is pinned at 0 km/h.
I can’t tell what gear I’m in because the display is out. The tachometer is opposite to the speedo, instead of being pinned at zero it’s pinned at the max, so it always looks like my revs are just over 5,000 RPM. It’s constantly telling me to check the engine and replace my brakes.
When my truck gives me a warning, I don’t believe it for a second. Nothing can stop me now. Not even herpes.
As a kid my dad always told me the best hockey players come from the Parries. Whenever I met someone from the flat lands I expected them to be gifted at the sport, and I always dreamed about playing there.
Growing up playing hockey, I always had major respect for the Canadian cities of Medicine Hat, Swift Current, Moose Jaw, Regina, and Brandon. I was excited to visit them for the first time to try and soak up some hockey culture. I wanted to see all the rinks and interview the locals.
The first stop was Medicine Hat. I stumbled in on a regular night in their ball hockey league. I was looking to see some heads up play with tight checking and dandy stick handling.
The worst ball hockey in Kamloops was still better than what I was seeing. I was in disbelief. These guys where terrible. Both teams. Had my dad filled my head with lies all those years ago?
After talking to the timekeepers I found out that this was the “C” league.
That made a lot of sense. I was relieved, and still hopeful that I would find some real hockey out in big sky country.
I chatted with 3 different chicks on-line. None of them were interested in coming to sleep with me at the rink parking lot.
0-4 with the ladies so far in Alberta. I’d have to shake it off. There’s always more chances down the road.
As the trip got going, I quickly realized that I could introduce myself to a brand new pool of women with each new city. What an amazing opportunity for someone who has been tied to the same market of ladies for the last five years. My soul mate was out there, we just needed to cross paths.
I heard on the radio that the Brandon Wheat Kings where still in the WHL playoffs. I immediately checked my phone. In 2 days they had a home game directly in my path.
I instantly cancelled my plan to attend a wine festival in Winnipeg. I bought a ticket for $27, and with that, a chance to bring my childhood dreams of Prairie hockey to life. I just needed to make it through Saskatchewan.
Some say junior hockey is the purest because it’s not about the money. The players are kids who play for the love of the game and a dream of the big leagues. They may not have the skill of the professionals but they defiantly have the heart. They will struggle and fight with everything they have for a shot. The style of play has a sense of desperation to it that would only be rivalled by Olympic or Stanley Cup Hockey.
I pulled into the gas pumps in Moose Jaw and grabbed some fuel. When I tried to start the truck back up, nothing happened. I was dead in the water.
I guess the batteries really weren’t being charged. I slowly pushed the old girl out of the way of the pumps. I had a pair of jumper cables so I hooked one end up to the dead batteries and the other end to my nipples. Still nothing.
I was out of ideas, so I gave up and called a professional. The tow truck driver took me for $60 then dropped me off at his friend’s shop 2 minutes down the road.
More bad news. The women at the desk told me she couldn’t get the vehicle in to get looked at until the afternoon the following day. This was not good for my time line.
I talked about my trip and spoke of the hockey dream that died with my truck. The ears perked up around the desk as I started to form an audience. They laughed along with my story and when I was done, these strangers in Moose Jaw changed gears. The boys must have been able to relate, because they became dedicated to getting me on the road.
The mechanic offered to stay late and change the part. He got the batteries on the charger right away.
The boss started looking all over town for the piece that we needed. After 20 min on the phone he finally found a re-built alternator. He had it brought over right away.
He simply asked that I give him a back rub with his shirt off while we waited. I wasn’t so sure about back rubs being a custom on the Parries but I thought I better go along with it if I ever wanted to get out of there.
It was only awkward for the first five minutes or so, after that I really got into it. The boss must have been happy with his massage because within two hours of breaking down, I was back on the move.
I pushed on to Regina, chatted with several chicks on-line and then slept by myself on the bald prairie outside of town.
A day later I had made it to Brandon early on game day. I Went to the YMCA and realized that at every location they offer your first visit no charge. Lots of gyms do this so you can have the opportunity to check out the facility. With this in mind, from now on, I’ll be jumping from city to city using the Y for a free workout and spa.
I was getting more organized all the time, what a great feeling.
Evidence of the teams success was all over town. Flags hung on buildings and shop windows. Signs that were normally used for business purposes were changed to give a different message. “Go Wheaties Go.”
In Brandon before every home game they have a huge pre-game party with hundreds of folk. They fill a room with banquet tables and eat a roast beef dinner. The event is used to have a drink, socialize and talk about the game. We don’t have anything like this back home.
Since I wanted the full experience, I bought my ticket and sat with some farmers. The man next to me predicted a hard hitting, fast paced game. He told me to watch #19 Nolan Patrick. He said “He was a star that would lead the team.”
It was a huge game for the Wheat Kings. A win would close out the series against Red Deer and put them in the final round against Seattle. The Memorial Cup was calling the players and fans alike.
After dinner, the crowds flowed to ice level for the warm up. The seats started to fill like a swarming hive of bees, growing larger and larger with each minute that passed.
By the time the game started the barn was packed. The arena was clearly sold out. Every seat was full and crowds formed in the standing sections and press boxes. The environment buzzed with energy and climaxed with a roar as the home boys charged the ice to face off.
The game was excellent. Red Deer lead twice silencing the fans and imposing a sense of pressure. Each time the visitors pulled ahead the home team fought back and scored. Lifting the spirit of over 5,000 people at once.
The Wheaties kept their swagger going and pulled ahead. Leading the way was Patrick. He scored a hat trick and even though I was wearing my expensive favourite hat, it was time to see it go.
As the ice was littered with ball caps, I shook my head thinking about the farmer at dinner who predicted this happening. “I’ll be dammed” I thought as I tossed my hat.
I texted my buddy Dave Boychuk to brag. He loves hockey and would appreciate what was happening. He responded right away and said that his little cousin was the assistant captain for the Kings, John Quenneville. I was happy to text back when John scored late in the third to take a strangle hold on the game and get the party started.
When the game was over the fans basically blew the roof off the building. My seat was close to the bench so I jumped up on the glass and yelled down to Quenneville. “Hey John!”
He looked up at me and said “Yeah what?”
“I’m on the phone with your cousin Dave….He says good luck in the next round” I shouted down.
His face lit up and he pumped his fist like he just scored.
After the players left the ice, the building slowly emptied. I headed across the street to meet up with a hot mom that I had been talking to on-line. We had agreed to meet up for drinks and I had continually texted with her during the game. I was excited because judging from the pictures it looked like she was a little out of my league.
Sadly she was no longer at the pub we agreed to meet at. She texted back and said that she was calling it for the night. She no longer wanted to meet up.
After receiving the news I went back to my truck in the rink parking lot. I found an old pizza box, opened it like a lab top computer, and beat off into it. When I was done I just closed it up.
I was angry, but I just had an awesome night at the game, and discovered a great new tool for the road trip. This pizza box was going to be worth it’s weight in gold as I moved across North America getting stood up by women in every major city I visited.
I hit Winnipeg the following day. I reconnected with an old friend and made some new ones. We had drinks all afternoon on a sunny patio then headed out to comedy club. One of the new friends had a 2013 Ford Mustang with a 5 litre engine.
Basically a pimped out sports car.
After the show, we drove around doing burnouts and racing through traffic. It had been a while since I was in a fast car, and it reminded me of being an impressionable young teenager in my cousin’s Mustang. It was a thrill back then, and it was a thrill again, this time in friendly Manitoba.
Kenora was next. A beautiful lake town in Ontario cottage country. It was easy to see that the community loved to spend time on the water. There was a huge marina that ran along the length of downtown only a block away.
Everyone’s driveway had a boat in it. The Safeway grocery store was located right on the water and housed a place to park your watercraft. A long warf with plenty of room and a ramp that rolled right up to the doors of the store. The credit union had a similar set up.
The jail was also located right on the lake. Prime real estate. The prisoners just get to chill all day and look at the ducks. Must be tough.
5 Hours down the road was Thunder Bay. This was a hard town. It’s located in the middle of nowhere. A city of 100,000 people and they all seemed to be down on their luck.
I toured the city and felt like I was in the movie 8 Mile. I’ve seen some rough neighbourhoods but those may have been the worst. Every person that I came across looked like they wanted to rob me, even the girl who took my order at A and W. I actually gave her my order with my hands up, and reached for my wallet nice and slow so she knew it wasn’t a weapon.
Rows and rows of houses in disrepair. Slums and ghettos. Sections of the downtown core where filled with completely abandoned store fronts on both sides of the street. The biggest building in town? You guessed it, the courthouse. I asked if there was a YMCA around and was told it got torn down and replaced with a Dollarama.
Another sign of trouble. Adults on BMX bikes, tons of them, everywhere you looked, a dodgy character in track pants on two wheels.
After driving around for an hour looking for a place to park and sleep, I gave up. I could not find a spot where I felt safe. I dove out of town by a half an hour and parked in the bush. A 30 min drive by car is a hell of a long ride on a BMX if you wanna mess with somebody.
I had looked on the internet and figured that I could watch more junior hockey. The Quebec league was starting their championship round in a city only 10 hours away. I bought tickets to the first two games and gave myself a new goal.
After two days of driving, I arrived in western Quebec just in time for the game. I was instantly challenged by the language shift. I tried hard to recall my high school French class, but I must admit, I was lost. My senses heightened as I eves dropped every conversation, listening for anything familiar.
Although I couldn’t understand a thing anyone was saying, the game was still a lot of fun. The first thing that I noticed was that the players warmed up to the song “A New Day Has Come” by Celine Dion.
Soft rock… not exactly what I expected, but I guess they really love Celine in French Canada.
They followed that up with un-edited gangster rap full of “N” and “F” bombs. I was stunned. I looked around to see if anyone else was noticing the profanity, after all there was kids everywhere. Nobody seemed to mind, so neither did I.
The arena was smaller in Rouyn-Noranda and only held 3,200. It was really old and had a very interesting layout with large grandstands on either end and only a few rows in the middle. I didn’t expect the environment to be as good in Quebec but my hockey experience turned out better than Brandon, with one minor hick up.
The home team placed noise makers on every seat in the house, and then used them in unity. It frequently hurt my ears when the entire arena crashed a thunderous “BOOM” with their clappers.
The cheering began 5 minutes before you even saw a player hit the ice. It continued right through the singing of “Oh Canada.” They completely drown out the beautiful teenage girl who I’m sure had a wonderful singing voice. I couldn’t hear a word.
The game was dramatic. It had been low scoring and the home team was down a goal with only 5 minutes left.
Things looked bleek for the young stars of town.
When they scored late in the game to tie it up, naturally the building went crazy. The boys feed off the energy and poured it on attacking the visitors goal. With only one minute left, they scored again.
The foundation shook as everyone jumped up and down in their seats. The guy next to me gave me a huge hug and said a bunch of stuff in French that I couldn’t understand. Following his que, I turned my focus on to the two women behind me. I thought “what the hell” as I went in for a kiss.
They must have been feminist too, because they did not want to be kissed. The first girl tried to push me away, but I grabbed her tight in a bear hug. As she struggled, I held on grinding our bodies together awkwardly.
Her friend tried to pry us apart by clawing me in the face. When that didn’t work she reached in her handbag and pulled out a small can of mace. I saw it coming and turned my head away but she covered me with the poisonous mist anyway.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been sprayed before, but you don’t actually have to get the person in the eyes for it to work. Half blinded and stunned, I released her from my grasp, and fell back into my seat.
I could hardly see, but it looked like the girls left to go find help. I decided to get outta there before any more trouble showed up, so I joined the flow of happy people and made my way out of the building.
I wasn’t about to let another bad experience with pepper spray get in the way of a good time, so I joined in the after party.
It happened across the street at the poutine joint. Naturally, I took in this part of the French culture. The fries and gravy came with cheese and pork. The meal went really well with the mace I was still breathing in off my clothes…kinda left a nice mint aftertaste, kinda like the lip gloss.
Another amazing hockey experience, this time in Quebec.
The next day to kill some time, I bought a long board just like the kids in Banff. I met a chick for a roller blade around the park. It’s true some French chicks not all…but some…don’t shave their pits.
I hung around and watched another game without incident and then drove all through the night south towards the next hockey city.
Shawinigan had a much larger arena but the fans were less intense. The games were all fun to take in but sadly, I was not able to watch the series close out. The teams returned North for game five and I pushed East eager to explore every new city with my skateboard.
Quebec City was really cool, but it was big and I was chomping at the bit to get out of there, until I heard of an awesome event coming to the city in two days. As I bought my ticket I couldn’t stop laughing to myself. This was going to be hilarious.
The next day I skated all through the 400 year old city on some amazing bike paths stocked with athletic chicks on bikes and roller blades. I gave myself a large blister on my foot but proudly covered 20 km in one day.
I was able to catch the last game of the Junior series on T.V. by going to a biker bar. It was a real friendly crowd in there but I kept my eyes on the game and away from anyone’s girlfriend.
The way it worked out I had actually got to watch 3 out of the 4 teams that will be playing at this years Memorial Cup. Kinda cool I thought.
The next day was worth the wait. Do you know what’s not busy at a Justin Bieber concert?
The men’s room.
When your mission is to find a girlfriend, you go to the source. The arena held 21 thousand people, almost all female.
At first I saw a group of school girls and thought “I shouldn’t be here” but then I saw a group of beautiful women dressed to the nines and thought “Never mind…I should be here.”
The show got started and it was really good. The highlights were of course his sexy dancers, but he kind of ruined that for me when he laid claim and dry humped them on stage in front of everyone.
He also had a cool floating trampoline stage that came down from the ceiling. There was a bunch of dancers throwing flips and bouncing around on it, so it was kind of like Bieber Cirque du Soleil. I’m big on dance, so I really enjoyed it.
As the arena emptied, I went to work.
I sat at the stadium bar totally surrounded by groups of women at every table. I watched like a hawk and listened for anything English.
My optimism slowly faded as I faced my reality. How was I going to pick up if I couldn’t talk to anybody? I didn’t want to give up so I drank beers until the room was all but empty.
Finally, when security asked me to leave, I knew there was only one thing left to do.
I went out to my truck and beat off into the pizza box.
The next day I took a dump in the rink at Rimouski. Sydney Crosby played 2 years of junior there. He would have spent a lot of time at that rink and it dawned on me that he probably used the exact toilet I was using. Everyday something amazing was happening to me. What a special trip.
New Brunswick was really cool because it’s completely bi-lingual. The language is both. People speaking French at one table and English at the next. The waitress made a point of speaking half the conversation in French and then switching to English for a while and then back to French. Everyone was doing it everywhere you went. Very cool.
I headed through Nova Scotia next. I was pushing for the Ferry to Newfoundland. I was excited to tell stories with the Newfies. I practised by talking to some ladies at Tim Horton’s.
It was cool how it unfolded. I basically started by telling them one funny thing about my trip, and let them pry the rest out of me with a 30 min question and answer period. I still got to tell all the funny parts, I just let them participate by interviewing me.
This is one of my favourite ways to tell a story. I have carefully prepared all the parts to tell, and know them well enough that I can tell them in any order, after all, it’s my story.
At the end of it, the women were delighted. They wished me all the best, and recommended I go to every kitchen party I can. I thought that was a pretty good idea.
I had a few hours to kill while I waited for the ferry, so I hit Sydney up with my long board. I struggled all through the city full of cracked bumpy sidewalks and finally found the park with the bike paths. It was great to get on some beautiful smooth blacktop trails.
I had just glided through a few kilometers out towards the waterfront when I got pulled over by a park ranger in a golf cart. He told me that the paths were for bikes and roller blades only. NO SKATEBOARDING. He asked me to take my board and go back to the parking area.
I told him that was “The most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” I pointed to a lady on roller blades that could hardly stand up. “So what…she’s allowed to enjoy the paths but I’m not.”
I asked him how it felt to throw a person out of a park who is just trying to exercise and get some sun. He gave me some week excuse about teenage skateboard gangs being a problem.
I told him that if I worked at the park, I would simply look the other way. He said “There was nothing he could do.”
I could have spent the next twenty minuets going up one side of this guy and down the other, but instead, I tried to keep it short and sweet. I asked one simple question before I pulled away.
So what… Are washrooms in this park for “Whites Only” too then?
This was discrimination. It felt exactly like the time I couldn’t get a job at Hooters, even though I had tons of serving experience.
As I waited for the ferry, it dawned on me. I was going to explore the rest of Canada and have amazing experiences, and the guy on the golf cart was probably going to go clean public toilets.
Looks like I win this round.
It’s true the people in Newfoundland talk differently in their region of Canada. The women are easier to understand, but when the men speak to each other…Good luck following that. They go really fast and say “Boy” a lot.
On the ferry ride over a man sleeping in my section had several night terrors. Every ten minutes or so, he would yell something in Newfie as he slept.
It was of course very disturbing to all the other passengers. A strange thing to witness. Sleep talk on it’s own is interesting but when it’s a 300lb sailor speaking in a different dialect, it’s eye opening to say the least.
Pulling into Newfoundland was like pulling into the Arctic. The climate was harsh, cold and wet. The houses sat right out on the barren landscape. There where no beautiful lawns or gardens in front of any of them. Foggy and raining, I could see right away why they call this place “The Rock.”
It took me a couple of days to cross the large island, but I finally arrived in St. John’s. The end of the line.
The weather had cleared for my arrival almost as if to welcome me personally. The locals said it was the nicest day of the year so far. Even though there was still snow on the ground, it was sunny and warm enough for shorts.
I sat and looked out over the big pond towards England and reflected on my trip. Everything from snowboarding to hockey to on-line dating. I thought about what it means to be a Canadian. The words are right there in our anthem. The true north strong and free.
More than anything I felt the free. I thought about all the war memorials in every town across the country. Not that long ago, Canadians came together as one nation. They fought and died to give us that freedom. I felt so unbelievably thankful of their sacrifice.
I also thought long and hard about feminism and how to stop it.
As I sat on the rocks with the sun on my face, I realized something. I can’t stop it. The exact same freedom that I value in my life, is what the feminist are using in theirs. As long as I am free to move, explore, and grow… Women are going to be free to reject me in whatever way they want.
Better not throw out that pizza box.
To be continued…(The Long Trip Home)
The Breeding Ground
Big Sky Country on the Canadian Parries
Waiting for the game to start in Brandon
Waiting for the game to start in Rouyn Noranda
Waiting for the game to start in Shawinigan
Justin Bieber Shreds the Drums in Quebec City
Maybe They Should Take Down That Flag and Change the Name to “Closed to Skateboarding Hearth Park”
The Apartment on Wheels Arrives Safe at Signal Point Newfoundland