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#OGT14 – Week 7 Update

Nature’s Seashell
Washed ashore, in from the sea
A seashell joins the sand
Danger threatens innocence
For man is on this land

Tossed aside at journey’s end
The seashell finds no peace
Once man was a trusted friend
But now he kills the seas

Stolen from its’ peaceful start
The shell lets forth a moan
Ignorance has torn its’ heart
And turned its’ life to stone

Extinction near, the seashell cries
Yet slaughter has to be
For man cares not if nature dies
As long as he is free

How foolish all mankind must be
For blindness cannot see
That nature’s all in unity
To set all nature free.

-Lory Jamieson

An unsual intro to my weekly update, but there is a reason and I will get to that in a few moments.

So, this past week has been insane. And by insane, I mean all over the place giving credence to the saying “The good, the bad, and the ugly.” So much so that instead of a long-winded, chronological account of my week, I think it is easier to write a series of short blurbs and hit through the rollercoaster that has been week 7.

My Couchsurfing Hosts

The only reason I was able to make it through this week is thanks to my couchsurfing hosts in Winnipeg, Regina (Suzanne Huggins, a friend of the #W2P!), Piet & Ina at Ye Olde Jar Bar in Medicine Hat, James Swansburg of the Wasa Lake Bed & Breakfast (Kimberley), and my Uncle Lory in Oliver, BC.

They were so flexible and understanding of my situation. I would be calling them up with last minute changes, special requests, and everything you can imagine under the rainbow. Not only were they incredibly accommodating, but each time I was treated to new or fun experiences…

1) In Winnipeg, my host brought me to a classic car show AND to the Winnipeg Folklorama where we watched Andean, Indian, and Celtic cultural shows, music, and dances.

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2) In Regina, a lively conversation with a sci-fi geek about the current state of the bureaucracy and Star Wars / Star Trek Worlds. The perfect combination for a Fanboy, such as myself.

3) Ye Olde Jar Bar. Man, this was by far my most awesome stay at a Couchsurfing Host. This is a retired couple who turned their garage and home into a kind of concert hall for rising musicians. They call it, Ye Old Jar Bar. They are some of the friendliest people you will meet with the kind of creative, “I can do it myself,” attitude that you rarely find. While there, I even learned how to lay interlock bricks!

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4) The Travelodge in Lethbridge was so understanding of my situation! Allowing me to check in early, leave my bags at their venue when I checked out the following morning (because my bike wasn’t ready and I didn’t feel like paying for another night), and generally being awesome. So awesome that I felt it necessary to recognize their efforts in this post.

5) James Swansburg at his Wasa Lake Bed & Breakfast was having a huge family reunion and welcomed me with open arms into his home. I got to do some boating, talk shop with James, hike in a provincial park, and even ride a tandem bike for the first time! James is also an Open Data technologist working on a pretty daunting project that could change Real Estate.

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6) Finally, arriving in Oliver, BC where I got see a stable of seven racing thoroughbreds, reminisce on old memories, and did my share to bring a little more beauty in this world via a 40-year-old, undiscovered poem.

…and all the while, my motorcycle was hanging by a thread and consistently faced with bad news and additional costs.

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Memories from my Teenage Years

This past Sunday evening, I stayed in Oliver, BC with my Uncle Lory. He’s not really my uncle, but a family friend whose name (in my head) is “Uncle Lory” lol. Anywho, back in the 90s, my Uncle Lory had a fruit orchard in the Okanagan Valley and I was lucky enough to work there one summer. While working for him, he told me he used to write poetry as a teenager and (at the time) I asked him if he could recite such one of his poems.

…when I saw him this past Sunday, I asked if he still had the poem he recited to me back in the 90s; a poem that had something to do with seashells.

#OGT14 Winnipeg Event

Kyle Geske, Ken Harasym, Jody Gillis, Andrew Burton, Tessa Vanderhart, and Noah Erenberg were the folks that brought the #OGT14 Winnipeg event together…and man, they couldn’t have been more awesome, and for so many different reason.

First, we had the perfect venue, awesome invited guests, lots of food, a dedicated person live tweeting the event, PLUS two cameramen capturing the event. The event ran like clockwork and afterwards the organizers told me their group had never organized an event before! If that’s the case, I can’t wait to see how good their events become once they become seasoned veterans lol.

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Now, this person who live-tweeted the event also created a Storify of the event, and I invite you to click here to check it out.

Motorcycle Problems (Back Story)

As some of you may remember, I dropped my bike in Mont Laurier (about 10 days ago) and thought the only damage on the bike was to the engine guards and scratches on the fairing and right saddlebag.

…more wrong, I could not be.

But before I go into details, let me roll back a little. While in Mont Laurier, I had to make arrangements to buy myself new engine guards. Thing is, the Yamaha Dealers in Timmins / Winnipeg were being extraordinarily difficult in making those arrangements stating the guards I wanted were no longer in stock and would take several weeks to order.

Instead, I opted to order my own guards via that thing called the Internet and ship it express to a location in Winnipeg. Problem is, I don’t know anyone in Winnipeg and only had 30min to make the cut-off time for the order (that would guarantee arrival by X date). That’s when I called Ken Harasym.

Ken was the designated “backup” City Champion for Winnipeg while Kyle Geske (the official City Champion) was away on vacation. I had only shared a couple of emails and tweets with Ken in the past, and here I was asking for this favour. Not only that, but this was also when I kinda broke away from my otherwise chill demeanour (some of you may remember the Eggs in the Club Sandwich incident).

So, here I am, speaking with a relative stranger, who is as calm as a coma, helping me through this whole process. I have thanked Ken on a number of occasions, but I still feel as though I haven’t thanked him enough.

Motorcycle problems (the Winnipeg curveball)
So, on the Monday morning before the Winnipeg event, me, Ken, and Kyle drop-off my bike at Wildwood Yamaha along with the engine guards at Wildwood Yamaha.

Here’s where things get even more convoluted.

The dealership thought it might be possible to install the guards before noon, but couldn’t make that promise. Why is this an important fact? Because I was scheduled to do a radio interview with Dahlia Kurtz on CJOB Winnipeg at 1250pm…and without a bike, it is hard for me to get there.

That’s when Kyle suggested that he chauffeur me around: From Wildwood to my Couchsurfing Host, to the radio station, and back again to the Host (like I said, this group of people rock!). But, here’s the fun part about all this…since Kyle drove me to the radio station, he was able to get in the on the interview with Dahlia as well!

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If the bike had been ready in time, then Kyle would have never had that opportunity. Talk about turning lemons into lemonade, eh?

After the interview, Kyle drops me off at my couchsurfing host and would walk to the dealership when my bike would be ready (saving Kyle the burden of chauffeuring me around some more). We would then all huddle up at 5pm at the #OGT14 event.

So, I get to the dealership around 3pm to pick up the bike. As I’m leaving, I notice that my fairing is shaking like mad. I turn the bike around and ask the dealership what the heck happened. This is where we learned that the fairing phalanges that attach the lower half of the fairing to the forks of the bike had been fractured when I dropped the bike.

…ugh.

As soon as I realize I had to leave the bike at the dealership so that they can splint the phalanges, I call up Kyle and ask him if he could pick me up at the dealership because there was no way I was gonna make it in time to the event. Without losing a beat, Kyle is like “sure, no problem.”

Motorcycle Problems (Finding a New Assembly for hte Fairing)

So, it is now Tuesday morning and I pick up my bike where I get the low-down on what I need to buy, and what needs replacing. After calling about five Yamaha dealers in Saskatchewan and Alberta (because I wanted the fairing replaced BEFORE I rode through the Rockies), I finally land on New Way Motorsports in Lethbridge who seem to know what they are talking about.

I told them if it was possible to order the fairing assembly today and get the part by Thursday morning so that I could get to my next couchsurfing host in Kimberley, BC on Thursday evening. They said they could do it, but it would cost extra to air-freight the part.

Thursday morning arrives and I’m in Lethbridge, but the fairing assembly is not. It appears as though Yamaha Motors Canada sent the part from Ontario via ground shipping even though I paid extra for air AND the order was labelled as an emergency order by New Way Motorsports.

…I am now “stranded” in Lethbridge, Alberta and here’s the plan suggested by Christie/Hayley from New Way Motorsport:

1) Christie (parts rep) would keep an eye on the shipment and hassle Purolator to rush it out, even rushing out of the store should she see the truck roll by!
2) Haley (service mgr) suggested that I drop the bike off Thursday afternoon so that they could prep the bike for when the part does arrive, in addition to servicing the bike (oil change, plus new air/fuel filter)

It wasn’t until Friday around 130pm that the part arrived (~30hrs later)…and it wasn’t till about 4pm that I took off for Kimberley.

However, during that 30 hours I visited the Galt Museum, completed my Open Government on the Open Road video, took a brisk 1 hour walk, and crashed wedding in a Japanese Garden.

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Once again, talk about turning lemons into lemonade!

I now find myself resting in Vancouver where I’ve been invited to a Bitcoin event to talk Open Government; where I will conduct my Fantasy Football Draft (I’m in a Keeper League); and where my best friend will drive up to Sacramento so that we can spend a few days camping and being tourists on Vancouver Island.

The fun never stops