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

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 4×4 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.

Day 1 – Getting there

Did you remember the…

So it seems that a checklist is not much use unless you check it. Who knew?

During the journey to the airport we have realised that a crucial piece of (was tempted to leave the “pie crust” of auto correct there) specially purchased equipment has been left behind. To wit, the USB GPS dongle to allow the tablet to be used for navigation. Ah well, the phone may make it…

Also seems that the Chromecast is not on board, which worries me somewhat less. More disturbingly, we seem to have misplaced the airport parking. On arrival at Purple Parking, all did not seem as slick as usual. Indeed it was so far from slick that it took me 20 minutes to find someone to fill me in on the renewed status of the parking area as a development site. Can’t help but think a sign would be useful. Apparently, I had been notified – just not on any of about 6 or 7 email accounts that I use it would seem. Anyway, a frenzied drive through busy and aggressive London traffic got it sorted.

If that is all of the holiday snafus out of the way, I’ll be happy enough. Off to the airport bar for a (hopefully greater than) half full glass of something…

Now I understand Bernoulli’s principle as well as the next guy, but there is something not right about 747s. There is no way that those things should fly. Still, fly it did when it was finally allowed to after a good hour on the apron, disgorging us some 7 hours later into the humid Washington air like a couple of croutons dropped into a steaming bowl of soup. If this is what it’s like at 9pm, this is going to be a warm trip!

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