Day 1 - The Era of the Smart Journey Meets the Mind of the Dumb Traveller

Four hours. Four hours! That's how long it took to get from Nottingham to the airport parking at Heathrow. An unusual amount of congestion even for a Friday on the M1 as well as constantly changing speed directives from the "Smart" motorway. It may be my imagination but I'm pretty sure that traffic flow has deteriorated since the motorways have been imbued with intelligence.

I can only think that this is either because we are being used to train the machine learning algorithms, or because the motorways are the vanguard (the phone autocorrected this to "baguette" which makes it a lot less threatening) of Skynet and they are just messing with us for fun. I can see an apocalypse scenario were the constant tinkering engenders so much road rage that people will just wipe each other out and save the machines the bother. If only we had listened to Stephen Hawking.

Anyway, at least I have 9 hours in a virus filled flying death tube to calm down before the not of driving into a strange city...

Phew, made it. Obviously had to have the obligatory gouging from the hire car company to upsell the insurance before I could drive into Calgary. Given what I have been told of omnipresent cracked windscreens in Canada, a few extra dollars a day to avoid the excess seemed sensible, but I was holding firm on the additional 'premier' roadside assistance even in my sleep deprived state. Sad to say though, I caved when she brought out the big guns: "You'll need this when you hit a deer ... and you will hit a deer, everyone hits a deer". What sort of a country is this? Smacks of poor organization to me.

Well at least they gave me a free upgrade to a nice 4x4 having taken pity at the thought of me driving into the mountains in what I had booked.

Should be an entertaining few weeks. Have already gotten my first turning right onto the wrong side of the road incident out of the way. Luckily the oncoming traffic was stopped at a traffic light, but they looked a tad surprised. How we chuckled... To be fair, it was about 4:30 in the morning on my personal timeline. Could probably have done without cryptographic conundrums to get into the AirBnB.

Calgary is currently shrouded in smoke from a wild fire, with air quality on a par with Delhi and Bejing - not the crisp mountain air I was expecting. We are assured that normal service will be resumed tomorrow. Ah well, time to go off and readjust that body clock and see what tomorrow brings.