Browsing "Canada"
Mar 24, 2013 -

Mexican License Plates

I cannot believe I have spent so much time near Mexico and yesterday was the first time I saw a Mexico-registered vehicle on this side of the border. I saw a second one today, too.

Along the Canadian/U.S. border, I’m used to seeing tons of license plates from either side so I find it rather peculiar how few Mexican vehicles I see here. Then again, I don’t get the impression that U.S. customs is as welcoming to Mexicans in general as they are to this particular RVer…

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Canada, Law and Government, Mexico, Travel, USA    No Comments
Feb 27, 2013 -

Thinking About Saskatchewan

It’s hard to believe that I will be back in Canada in about 10 weeks. I don’t really want to think about that, but the fact is that I’m heading for rural territory with no idea of what services, if any, will be available to me. As things stand, I have no internet options whatsoever besides public wifi for Canada since I broke my ties with Telus. I’ve conceded that the only decent Canada-wide plan that would work for me is that offered by Bell with its Turbo Hub, so that’s what I’m looking at getting. I did email SaskTel to see what my hard wired options are and got a stock reply that had nothing to do with my question, as expected. I’d rather stick with a nationwide provider and mobile internet anyway.

When I bought my property, there was zero cell service in the village and for miles around. Now, I’m seeing coverage up to the limits of the community. This gives me hope that a booster would work. I contacted a company that puts together booster systems for folks in rural municipalities to see what they have to offer for my situation and at what cost. At this point, I’m looking at $300 for the Turbo Hub, plus about $70 a month for 10GB (remember I got FIVE GB for that price from Telus), so even if I end up forking out an extra $500 for a booster, I’m still well ahead of what it would cost to get a hard wired connection, if one is even possible.

I want to avoid landing without having a solid plan for getting online even if it takes a week or two to execute that plan. The loose ideaat this point is to get to my property and take a few days to meet the neighbours and establish a good enough relationship to determine if a summer there will be feasible. Who knows, the neighbours could end up being great and offer to sell me power, hard wired internet, water, and access to a toilet for dumping with a macerator, or they could all be horrible people who decide to run me out of town. I just won’t know till I get there.

It is encouraging to see that cell phone coverage map expand exponentially. I’m still seeing a big dead spot around my old homestead in the Gatineau Hills, but that’s no surprise. Saskatchewan is the second to last frontier in Canada (much more so than even Yukon, the NWT, or Nunavut, and just ahead of Quebec outside of the Montreal-QC City corridor)), so I’m gratified to see them moving ahead quickly, with their coverage map jumping in leaps and bounds.

I’m not looking forward to going back to Canada, but I’m slowly taking my head out of the sand about the notion of it. 🙂

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Canada, Cell Phone, Communications & Electronics, Countries, Internet, Saskatchewan, Technical, Travel    3 Comments
Nov 11, 2012 -

Broken Promises of the Driving in Montreal Sort

All summer, I managed to avoid any serious driving in Montreal. Today, I made up for that in spades!

I had a lunch date with one cousin and a dinner date with another. Lunch was on the east side of town and dinner on the west side of town. The west side drive wasn’t scary; I barely consider Lasalle to be in Montreal even if it’s on the island and officially part of the city. But the east side drive was a little worrisome as I would be taking the Jacques-Cartier bridge and going into the heart of the city to the Plateau sector, an artsy and bustling part of Montreal with lots of narrow one-way streets that is one of the mostly densely populated neighbourhoods in Canada. Great place to live. Horrible place to drive and park!

Surprisingly, my GPS cooperated and took me straight to my cousin’s. Her street had cars parked on both sides. The road was so narrow that a delivery truck the width of my RV could not squeeze through and ended up having to back out. My truck had about a foot clearance on each side. I was kicking myself for not having looked for municipal parking on a busier street when I found a nice clear section of open street that looked very tempting. I tucked myself along the curb and then went to read every single parking sign on the block. They were confusing, but it looked like I was clear to park where I was till 3:00PM, which was ample time. Great! I found parking, I was early, and now I just had to find my cousin’s building. I glanced at the address in front of which I was parked to get my bearings. Oh! This was her building! I had found parking right at her door! Something had to be wrong and I reread the parking signs one more time to be sure. I was fine! Talk about good luck!

It was nice to catch up and meet my cousin’s daughters. They have a menagerie of animals and I found myself accosted by one of their friendly cats before having a ginormous bunny plopped into my lap! I had rabbits when I was really, really young, so I couldn’t remember what they were like. Basically cats with giant ears and back paws. Very cute!

Our visit done, I carefully navigated my way out of my suddenly tight parking spot as someone had parked behind me, then I almost painlessly drove out of the neighbourhood and onto the autoroute to cross town. Almost because it’s illegal to turn right on a red light on the island of Montreal and people behind me were adamant that I risk a ticket to save them a few minutes. *shakes head*

I was a little early for my dinner engagement, so I stopped at the Angrignon Walmart to pick up some cat litter and salad fixings for dinner. Lasalle is now part of Montreal, but it feels more like suburbia, so driving around there is a non-issue. Parking on her street was another matter, however, as both sides were crammed with cars. I squeezed into a gap then had a glance at yet another confusing parking sign. It looked like I was clear. Great, now find the address, which surely had to be the only one with a lit porch that just happened to be across from my truck! I must owe the parking gods a goat by now!

Dinner with this cousin and her son was another lovely catching up affair. She does something I find very interesting; hosting foreign exchange students. I wouldn’t have the personality for that if I had a settled life, but it seems like a nice fit for her and she gets to meet students from all over the world.

I thought that getting home from her place would be a cinch as she is very near the Mercier bridge and I could get to my mother’s from that bridge with my eyes closed, but I forgot about that wonderful Montreal construction. The bridge had only one lane open in each direction and there was a detour to access the open lane. I missed one of the detour signs, but in trying to inexplicably reroute me to the Champlain bridge, my GPS got me back on the detour route. It might be slightly longer in mileage to take Mercier than Champlain from that area, but it’s an easier drive and generally quicker timewise.

It’s been a rich full day. Now that I have seen just about everyone I wanted to see on this trip, it’s time to get into packing mode. The plan is to pull out with Miranda tomorrow and then park her on the street. My truck goes into the shop in the afternoon. Things are going so smoothly, but I’m not waiting for the other shoes to drop. I think I’ve earned an easy pull out…

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Canada, Nice Folks, Preparations for Departure, Quebec, Social, Travel    1 Comment