Tagged with " Calgary"
Jun 4, 2012 -

Getting Around Without a Car in Alberta Isn’t Easy!

After searching the car rentals, I decided that I was best off to take the bus to Edmonton. The Greyhound fare was $30, but the hotel here warned me that the only way to get there without walking in unsavoury neighbourhoods is by cab for about $40.

I decided to check out Via Rail and discovered Red Arrow, a charter bus service. It’ll wind up being pricier than doing the Greyhound plus taxi thing, but it sounds like a much nicer experience. I’ll take a taxi to their location and then again in Edmonton from the arrival point to the dealership. This trip is costing me an arm and a leg and I’m kicking myself for making reservations ahead of time. Live and learn.

My insurance company says that if my registration had still been valid on the car, I would have had two weeks to get everything transferred over. But since it’s not, I have till 6PM to make a deal on the car and get to the registry in Edmonton before it closes. If I succeed, and there’s no reason I can’t because I am ready to pay the full $3,0o0 for the truck (although I’m hoping they’ll settled for $2,000…), then I will be spending the night at Donna and Ken‘s in Stettler, tomorrow at my property in Saskatchewan, and Wednesday I will be well on the road back to Quebec a full day earlier than my best case scenario.

Because I’ll be gaining a day, I am considering ordering my towing system parts for me to pick up somewhere along the way in the States, provided I can find a safe place to have them delivered. If I order tonight or first thing in the morning, and have them delivered in the vicinity of Duluth or even Minneapolis, there is a chance we’d arrive at the same time. Any suggestions? Would a post office hold big metal parts sent General Delivery?

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Alberta, Canada, Finances, Shopping, Technical, Towing and Toad, Travel    6 Comments
May 29, 2012 -

Surprise: You Can Get Travel Deals in Canada!

Whew. My flight, hotel for three nights, and rental car for two days in Calgary are booked!

There are no deals on flights in Canada. I went to all the deals sites and they came up with the same prices as Westjet and Air Canada. I don’t know why I even bother; I go through this exercise every time I look for flights and end up booking directly with the airline. It’s going to cost me $450 to fly to Calgary on Sunday. Had I been willing to wait till Tuesday, I would have saved $100, but lost two full week days.

Next, I had to find a hotel. I went to my favourite hotel booking site, priceline.com. Since I like to live on the wild side, I put in a bid for a one-star hotel at $40 a night near the airport. Priceline told me to increase my bid to $57, which I did, and I got a room worth $90 a night for $57. Now, the reviews for it are concerning, but it was the same thing when I went to Savannah. There, I got $35 a night room in a $150 a night area (off season travel rocks) with a bus stop right in front that took me to the historic part of town in 10 minutes for $1. The reviews for that hotel were worse than the ones for the Calgary hotel and I ended up in a nice, newly renovated, second floor room at the back of the motel. So I’m remaining optimistic. I like that I will arrive in Calgary at about 7:30PM and that a free shuttle will take me to my hotel within minutes. I’ll reveal the hotel when I get there and am ready to review it.

Finally, I needed a car. If The Plan goes off without a hitch (can you hear me laughing?), I will only need the car Monday and Tuesday. Going straight to a couple of car rental agency sites, I got prices of $120 at the airport location and $90 for in town locations, so $60 or $45 a day. I went on a couple of deals sites and finally scored on orbitz.com with a rate of $25 a day! I’ve never been with this company, so I look forward to reviewing it. I don’t know if they would pick me up at the hotel the way that Enterprise does. If not, I checked the Calgary transit site and learned that I can get to the car rental place in about a half hour on the bus with one transfer. This was  very acceptable so I booked the car.

Of course, if I have to extend my stay, I will most likely not get these same rates for subsequent nights and days. But since none of these deals are refundable, I decided to be conservative in how many nights and days I booked.

I also sent out a couple of feelers on some trucks tonight, but I don’t know if they will amount to anything. I’ll need to get on the phone at some point. There is one truck that is calling my name, but I am shying away from it because it is a 1993 with more than 300,000KM, a bit scary for a daily driver. But for the right price, it could be a serious contender.

Another candidate doesn’t have a topper, but otherwise fits all the criteria. It’s a 1994, which is also a little older than I’d like, but it only has about 150,000KM. It’s being sold by a dealership that wants $4,000 for it. Ha ha ha ha ha. That truck is worth $2,500 max. I still scheduled a test drive on Monday since I found a matching (in terms of size, not colour) canopy for it so if it works out and I can get a decent price for it, it’d be a good contender. I like the idea of buying from a dealership since I’d be able to get a warranty and might be able to skip the super thorough inspection. I don’t have a problem with salesman pressure when I go into dealerships since I walk in knowing that I want and what it’s worth, so I’m not easily swayed.

You know you’re getting old when you see an ad for a nice-looking 1989 truck and you think, “It’s not that old, I remember 1989” and then you do the math and realise that 1989 was 23 years ago!

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Canada, Technical, Towing and Toad, Travel    2 Comments
Sep 14, 2011 -

Playing Hooky

I’ve worked every day since the last Monday in August, so I decided to take a day off once things quieted down. When Jody mentioned she had an appointment in Calgary today, I decided to not go in today so I could join her and Gary. I love taking Wednesdays off; it makes the week seem so short! Oh, and before anyone gets any ideas, I did not call in sick or use some other immature tactic to get off of work. I just let the office know last week that things had quieted down and that I was taking today off for myself.

We left at 9 and had breakfast on the way into the city. Our first stop was Ikea where we wandered around for about an hour. Jody had said that Gary wanted to go there and that he had something else he wanted to do after her appointment. So on the way to said appointment, I asked Gary what it was he planned to do after. He smiled and said, “I’m taking you gals out to dinner.”

I bet my eyes lit up because I knew where we were going! “The first part starts with R and the second with L, right?” Yup. Red Lobster! Gary had had that in mind for some time and a commercial last night did him in. Dinner was his contribution to the celebration of my three years on the road. Awwwww.

It was coming onto one when we got back in the van after Ikea, so I put an order in to the Roving Delicatessen for half a chicken sandwich with some cheese and tomatoes. The whole concept of turning around to the guy in the backseat to put in an order for lunch never ceases to amuse me.

Jody’s appointment was by a giant mall and I estimated (correctly) that there would be about two hours to kill, so I decided to do some shopping for things I haven’t been able to find in Lethbridge. Gary handed me his cell phone so Jody could call me when they were done and the van keys just in case. “But I’m not giving you my wallet!”

My shopping didn’t take any time at all! I just wanted some cotton tops and some deeply discounted sandals for finishing off the summer and for next year. I had no trouble finding either. I did some window shopping after, picked up a piña colada Julius, and sat down on a bench to check my email and read a bit. The time passed quickly and before long I was hanging up on Jody since I hit the wrong button on Gary’s phone. 🙂

We headed straight to Red Lobster after. It was early, but we hadn’t really had lunch and there would be no crowds. After perusing the menu we all decided that the endless shrimp promotion was the most appealing offer so the parade of plump pink goodness began. They had so many different varieties to choose from! I tried their shrimp Alfredo linguini, the garlic shrimp with cheese topping, and the grilled sweet and spicy shrimp skewers, but there was also plain garlic, fried, and more! The Alfredo and skewers were my favourite; I actually had two skewers. Add to that biscuits, salad, and the carb of your choice (rice for me), and we rolled out of there!

There is so much I could have done at home today, but it was lovely to get out and shake up the routine a little.

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Alberta, Canada, Finances, Nice Folks, Restaurants, Shopping, Social, Travel, Work    1 Comment