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Sunday, September 10, 2006
The next morning I went on from London. I drove out towards Detroit again due to some bad advice from the guy at DR Horton's. After righting myself I went on to Niagara. I was trying to decide between Niagara and Toronto, I was due for a recreation day after all that driving so I was going to stop at a casino. I didn't want to spend a whole week of vacation doing nothing but driving from A to B. A and B being a long way apart notwithstanding.
I was worried about the border crossing again, the line was a lot longer to get into the US than to get into Canada on the other side, it was probably because it was about noon which would have been shortly after checkout at all the hotels. I waited in the long line, I was getting a little stressed because I was almost out of gas and had no idea how far the nearest station was on the US side. I needn't have worried, Niagara was a decent sized town.
I saw the holy grail that I had read about, the Casino Niagara. It was time to stop and play a little poker. I put the car into valet parking and went into the casino and enjoyed some of the best poker I've played in a while. I got trips three times and had made over $150 in a couple hours. I decided that I would make it a short day and stay the night here. I checked into an expensive room, it was $195 with the tax but it was so nice. HDTV flat screen and beautiful marble everywhere. Besides that I'd already paid for most of it in the poker room.
I played about 8 more hours of poker downstairs and made another couple of hundred. I had more cash on me than when I had left! All that I'd paid for was my hotel rooms for three of the nights (I'd paid for the one in Canada in cash), I had paid for gas and meals in cash so the whole trip was about $300.00 total in expenses so far thanks to the good folks at the casino Niagara.
After breakfast I went to my car and packed up the stuff. I'm was so sick of taking the boxes in every night but I wasn't going to have a $300.00 window in my van broken so that someone could steal my $120 PlayStation. The guy who I saw at breakfast was outside and looking at my plates, he said another hello and then we both drove off. As I was getting onto the freeway he passed me and I saw his plates, he was from Utah too and had a big BYU plate holder on his car. He was a Mormon after all.
I drove on through Illinois, more farmland but lots of industrial stuff too. You can tell that Illinois is where the grain gets processed and stored. Illinois had a busy feel to it, it wasn't at all like the rest of the mid-west where you felt like you could sit on your porch and watch the corn grow for days upon end. In Illinois you felt like you should be doing something.
I went on through Chicago, they had some bad construction and on the route I was on there wasn't any city stuff to see I guess I can say I've been to Chicago but I don't really feel like I've been. North of Chicago I went into Michigan, Michigan is very different from what I expected being full of trees and hills. I thought it would be a state full of industrial crap, I guess I thought Detroit was the whole state. I don't remember much from Michigan, I stopped at a couple of gas stations. Everywhere I stopped it looked like the bad part of town, I'd have no problem going to the places I stopped now but it's different being somewhere when you don't have a home and everything you own is in your car.
I got to Detroit and it was pouring rain, It was hard to see the cars around me as I drove through the city. It was about 5 Eastern, rush hour and as I went through the traffic jams toward Canada I realized that about every car on the road had a dent in their fender. When you want to change lanes in Detroit you just go and sometimes you make it and sometimes you don't. Fortunately I made it through without a dent.
At the Canadian border I was questioned harshly by the border guard. I was worried about this part because if I was denied entry it was backtracking about 500 miles and would have added an extra day or two to my trip. Not to mention by the time I got to the border was ready to never see Detroit again. They did agree to let me through and I've never been so happy to see someone else's country. It was my first time out of the United States and it was cool.
I loved how everything was marked in kilometers, everything seemed closer that way, 100 kilometers is only an hour instead of an hour and a half with miles. I stopped at a gas station about a hundred kilometers in and filled up with petrol, paid for by the liter. Somehow it was cooler than buying gas by the gallon.
I drove on to London and decided I had better stop and get a hotel, it was getting kind of late and I was tired. I found a roadside motel, motels sounded better than hotels because I had to unload that half ton of crap every night for fear it would get stolen. The place was a total dump, the owners were from Fiji, they had a velvet map of New Zealand on the wall and I asked if they were from there, they had been on a trip there last winter. I paid in American dollars and got my change back and learned the difference betwoon a loony and a twony. I went to the room and unloaded my stuff, it was a super old motel. Some dudes where hanging outside a corner room enjoying a beer and the sunset, most of the rooms had bicycles in front of them chained to the posts.
I went on the lookout for a restaurant and a six pack to while the night away. I found a Chinese place that had a bar. Three people were getting drunk in the place but otherwise it was empty. I ordered a special and asked if they could take American dollars. They said yes and gave me a price higher than the Canadian one! I thought the exchange rate went the other way, at least it had everywhere else I had been. I said whatever to myself and paid up, I was too tired to be arguing over a couple of bucks. I had no luck on the six pack though, I drove to several convenience stores and there was no beer to be found there. I guess wherever Canadians get their beer it isn't at the gas station. I still have no idea what kind of store I should have been looking for to get a drink.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
The road is made of some sparkly material. It makes me imagine I'm traveling in Oz. The green fields and hills made me feel the awesome power of this country. It's not in the cityscapes that tower above the landscape but in the fields that create food year after year. I wondered as I was driving how much field it takes to feed me.
One thing I didn't really get into in Nebraska was the double heaping helping of Jesus that surrounds you when you're there. Every truck-stop has a chapel. At one point I was getting tailgated by a truck, I was scared for my life it was about two feet behind me. I finally passed the van in the right land and moved over. The truck had a sign on the back that said "transport for Christ, in the name of the lord." I always wondered what Jesus would do, now I know he would do his best to kill me if I dared to pass at less than 90 miles an hour.
Iowa was more of the same. The great plains really are great. Someday I'd like to live there. Nebraska is where you go if you like to farm and love Jesus. Iowa is where you go if you love to farm and love poker. There were casinos all across the state. Ironic that the bastard representative that's trying to ban gambling online is from this state. Probably he's just protecting his own casino interests.
I finally stopped in a small town in Illinois. I got a hotel room and went to the Greek restaurant across the way. I was served by a girl that looked 19. Before I was done she had to leave, babysitter was done watching the "kids". She was pregnant too. I thought I left Utah behind but I guess having three kids as a teenager is a universal phenomenon.
Sunday, July 9, 2006
I left my family to go to New Hampshire on July 25th at about 8AM. This was going to be my longest cross country drive and the biggest life change I've experienced since my marriage and the birth of my children.
I was scared to death and excited. The part of getting the job I was most excited about was the trip across the country but as the day got closer I got more afraid then I've been for quite a while. Anything can happen to you when you're out on the road and don't have a place to call home, on top of it every valuable possession I own was going to be out there with me. If I didn't make it it would be a catastrophe.
My first day started out easily enough, driving up through park city and through Wyoming. My first stop was at the Little America on the west side of Wyoming. I'd been there long long ago with my parents. I worked for Mr. Holding at Sun Valley years ago it's hard to believe that this was the place that started him on the road to becoming a billionaire. Anything can happen in America.
Driving and driving, Wyoming is the most barren sad place I've ever seen. There's just not much to say about it because on the stretch of I-80 I went through there just isn't much there.
The picture is of the end of Wyoming, this is the first place I've ever been where there wasn't a mountain in sight, I took pictures in all four directions to commemorate the occasion. It was the beginning of the great plains and I had no idea how great they are
Nebraska is green, when I thought places in Utah were green I'm ashamed that I thought I knew what green was. I was seriously in awe of the plains. Fields everywhere, mostly it looked like alfalfa, it was rolled up into bales but only one out of every 10 fields had cows in it. I'm wondering if cows just eat so much that it takes 10 fields of alfalfa to feed one field of cows or does it just make sense to grow the feed in Nebraska and ship it to cows in less prosperous country.
I made it to a town called North Platte and found a Howard Johnson's with rooms with individual doors on them. This was important because I planned on unloading all the stuff from the car every night. I didn't want to take a chance on someone breaking a window to get my dell or a huge file box of PlayStation games.
I had dinner at a local restaurant, the staff was very friendly, the waitress sat at my table to take my order and recommended the roasted chicken with stuffing. It sucked, the chicken was dry, the stuffing was pasty but the mashed potatoes were nice and I liked the gravy. Either the tastes of the locals are off or they were trying to get rid of it, the cook came up to say I got the last one. Lucky me.
I finished up the night by calling my dear wife and drinking a six pack of Fat Tire Ale. I forgot about this tasty treat. I hadn't had any Fat Tire since Lake Powell. It brought back memories of the Martinez brothers from Pueblo and how they brought a couple six packs with them when they arrived. Four white boys named Martinez working in the dining room that summer, what are the odds of that?
Friday, April 21, 2006
I won't retire on the $35 but I've beaten the rake and I am ahead. According to my poker tracker I've won $163.18 on ring games and lost $178.30 on tournaments. The math doesn't quite add up because there is a tournament or two missing that I couldn't get a summary for and because included there are a couple of bonuses from Party Poker that I lost quickly because I couldn't fold middle pair.
Friday, April 7, 2006
Friday, March 3, 2006
I played some online tournaments on pokerstars. Three 180 person $20 sit and gos, I finished ninth in one and out of the money in the rest, I also played one $10 tournament with 1379 players and was no where near the top.
Altogether I was up about $11 for the day. Not good but I feel better about the poker I'm playing. I don't go on tilt after a beat at all and I'm able to not get bored halfway through and try to throw away the chips or double up.