Canadian Buffoon's Back to Front Vacation - Update! 02/18 - Is This Kansas?

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by pkondz, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. pkondz

    pkondz . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky

    Mar 9, 2007
    Canadian Buffoon's Back to Front Vacation

    What in the World?
    (Or, that comes later.)

    Well, hi there! :wave:
    Welcome to another installment
    of a Canadian Buffoon's Vacation.
    If you're a regular reader,
    welcome back!
    Nice to see you again!
    And if you're new around here,
    welcome to you too!
    Pull up a chair and set a spell.
    We're all fairly harmless
    and generally friendly.
    Drop a line and say "hi"! :)

    I've got some 'splaining to do.
    It's been almost a year ago now
    since I went to Disney World.

    I wasn't going to write about it.
    And it's gonna be a while before I do.
    A few folks want the story,
    and after I thought about it,
    I realized that I had a few things
    that I wanted to say about it.
    But, you know, life moves on.

    Since then I have done two road trips.
    One West to the PNWMM
    (Pacific North West Mouse Meet.)
    And one East to Toronto.
    And while I was doing that,
    I might as well include South
    in that and meet...
    a whole bunch of really nice folks.

    Now normally, people write these things
    in chronological order.
    "I did this, then this, then this..."
    And I will... sort of.
    Except I'm going to first write
    about my latest trip,
    because I know I've got a whole
    lot of folks who want to know about it.
    Then I'll add in the West trip,
    which happened in the middle,
    and finish up with Disney,
    which actually happened first.
    (This allows me to post this
    and not run afoul of the DISboards police...
    I think.)

    Actually, the entire report, from
    East to West to South involves
    Disney or DISers, so... it all counts.

    So this report will be back to front.
    Hence the title.

    A brief recap for those of you who
    are fortunate enough not to know me.


    That's me.
    (The much more good looking
    one in the background is not me.
    sorry to disappoint.)

    Annnnnd.... I just lost 90% of
    the people reading this.

    I really know how to scare
    people off, don't I?

    What do babies and women
    have in common?
    They both run away screaming
    when they see me.

    It's just a fact. I always tell nothing
    but the slightly stretched and
    exaggerated truth in my TRs.

    I live in Winnipeg, Canada.
    I do have a wife and kids
    and do travel with one or all of them
    from time to time.
    Except DW is more of a homebody
    and the kids are growing up, so...
    I've been taking more solo trips lately.
    I'm a shift worker, so my hours tend
    to be all over the map.
    But that does allow me time
    to take the occasional vacation.
    I do have a penchant for throwing
    my back out at all the wrong times.
    And, of course, like you,
    I have a love for Disney.
    Unlike you (most likely)
    I have a penchant for collecting
    Harley Davidson poker chips
    by visiting Harley stores.

    And just in case you think to yourself
    "Hey! I'll send him one from ____!"
    1. Thank you very much for the thought, but;
    2. I only collect chips from places I've been.
    This way I can point to my ever growing
    collection and say "I was there."

    And for those of you who do know me.

    I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry.
    You deserve better.
    I tried to hire a stand in,
    but no one wanted the job.
    "What? Go through all that ridicule? No thanks!"


    So you're stuck with me.
    Or you could simply close this
    window and move onto another TR.

    Still here?

    Well, then.
    For those hardy or masochistic
    readers, still here...

    Let's get this thing started, shall we?

    Fall 2018

    I was about to hit the road. Again.
    I like driving.
    But... I think this time around
    I bit off more than I could chew.
    I had some slightly long days...
    But I'm getting ahead of myself.
    Let's go back in time first, shall we?
    Exactly ten years, in fact.
    In September 2008, I had bought a
    pair of tickets to see Elton John
    in concert in Winnipeg.
    Due to circumstances beyond my control,
    I had to give up those tickets and skip
    the concert.

    For the next ten years, Ruby,
    my DW, had to listen to me
    whine about that.
    It was not pretty.

    And then Sir Elton announced
    a Farewell Tour.
    He was going to perform in Toronto.
    My sister lives there.
    She's as big a fan as I am.
    Ruby bought me a ticket.
    "Here." She said. "Stop whining. Just go already."

    Or something like that.

    I decided to drive instead of fly.
    I mean, given the choice between
    a two hour flight or a 24 hour drive,
    which would you pick???

    Yeah.... okay, so it's just me.

    I never claimed to be the
    brightest bulb.
    But I like driving, so...
    And... it allowed me to add in
    a stop or two along the way
    to see some folks.

    The funny part?
    About a day or two before I left,
    when all the planning and preparing
    was all done...
    Elton John announced that he would
    also be performing in Winnipeg.


    Well... if I'd known that ahead of time,
    I wouldn't have gone to Toronto to see him
    and wouldn't have met or re-met so many
    nice people.

    So, I'm kinda glad the Winnipeg stop
    wasn't announced until much later.

    Okay, back to the recent past.
    Let's get this road trip started!

    Not so fast!
    We need to do some preparing first.

    The first thing I did was pick up these:


    My wipers were doing an okay job,
    but... they were getting up there
    in age and I figured new ones were in order.
    That turned out to be a smart move.
    More on that later.

    Okay. Wipers bought and installed,
    bags packed.
    Miscellaneous junk packed.
    Maps and hotel confirmations printed...

    Time to go!

    And then, about two days before I left,
    I threw my back out.
    Not completely... not as bad as I have in the past...

    But bad enough.
    I could still walk, with some difficulty.
    So that was a plus.
    Much better than being bed ridden
    for a few days.
    (Yes, that happens.)

    I needed to do something quick, though.
    I had miles ahead of me.
    I ain't got time for paralysis!

    I called up and made an
    appointment for a massage.
    Just lying on the table on my stomach
    turned out to be an adventure in itself.
    It hurt like the Dickens, but...
    after a minute or so, the pain eased off.
    The masseuse..... was massive.

    I asked him what he did for a hobby
    and he said he was a body builder
    and had recently won the local championship.

    And then he put his arm on my lower back
    and pressed down.

    I think the screaming caused him to ease up a bit.

    I could be wrong.

    Eventually, the excruciating pain eased off
    and I actually started to relax.
    Maybe this was a good idea after all!

    Forty five minutes later he was done
    and told me to take my time getting up.

    Apparently, that was a good suggestion,
    because when I tried to move,
    I found that I couldn't.
    Any movement brought waves of pain
    crashing from my lower back and radiating
    outward from there.

    I eventually got one leg off the table.
    The masseuse came back in and asked
    if I was okay.
    I suspect the grunting, screaming and cursing
    may have alerted him that all was not quite well.

    I assured him that, given some more time,
    that I would eventually crawl out of the room.
    He seemed satisfied with that.
    He didn't stick around.
    I suspect the tears sent him running.
    Mine, not his.

    Left to my own devices, I eventually got
    a second leg off the bed and tried to stand.
    I didn't quite pass out.

    I kept trying to stand,
    and on the fourth or fifth try
    I was finally able to maintain
    a vertical position with only
    some teeth gritting, sweating
    and a couple of comments
    (sotto voce, the dude was strong)
    on the masseuse's lineage.
    After a few more seconds, I was able
    to shuffle over to the chair where my shirt lay.

    I looked down on it forlornly, thinking
    that perhaps I might have to abandon it.

    I finally managed to do a deep knee bend
    and retrieve it.
    (You didn't really think I could just bend
    over and pick it up, did you???)

    As I shuffled out the door to my car,
    the masseuse called out to "have a nice day".
    I think it's maybe a good thing that Canada
    has strict gun laws.

    I mean, I was certainly in no condition
    to punch him in the mouth.

    Ever heard the expression
    "The cure is worse than the disease"?
    I think this may have been one of those cases.
    While I just about died from the massage,
    I think in the long run it did me some good.
    I do know that by the next day,
    I was feeling much better.
    I'm pretty sure that when I had
    my first DISmeet three or four days later,
    she didn't even notice anything awry.
    Well.... at least not as far as my back
    was concerned.

    What do you think, @Chrystmasangel ,
    did you notice?

    Feeling somewhat more human,
    it was time to get this show on the road.
    One last gas up of the car...

    I don't know about you.
    But I have a system when I fuel up my car.
    I put my card in the machine,
    and while it decides whether or not
    I am worthy of receiving it's liquid gold,
    I unscrew the gas cap.
    Once it's deemed me worthy,
    I fill up, and while I wait for my receipt,
    I screw back the gas cap.

    I suspect you are similarly inclined,
    unless you don't pump your own gas.
    Or are prohibited from doing so.

    Why am I telling you this?


    Okay! Car filled with bags and fuel.
    New wipers on.
    Let's go!

    I set out and had a minor issue right off the hop.

    My GPS, lovingly nicknamed "Itchin' Betty"...
    Except it's not "itchin'"...
    her name's an alliteration. Figure it out.
    Anyway, Betty told me to turn right.
    But I wanted to go left.
    She wanted me to take the main highway,
    and I wanted to take a less traveled one,
    that I knew would be shorter.
    It was really odd.
    She kept telling me to "Turn right".
    "At the next intersection, turn right."
    "In one mile, take the road, on right."
    "Why won't you turn right?"
    "There's just no turning you isn't there."
    "Don't you love me anymore?"
    But I didn't want to.
    Turn that is.
    I'll think about the love part
    if she gets me through this
    trip safe and sound.

    She kept trying though, telling me my
    arrival time in Duluth, MN would be 4:20pm.
    Eventually, she stopped trying,
    (it would be a good 90 minutes before she stopped)
    recalculated and finally agreed with my direction.
    And then told me that my time of arrival was 4pm!
    By ignoring her I'd saved twenty minutes!

    An hour out of town, I came up to
    the US/Canada border.
    Because I had taken the "road less traveled",
    there was no one else there.
    It's a small station. Only one customs agent.
    I pulled up and was busy fishing out my passport
    and taking off my sunglasses and replacing them
    with my regular spectacles.

    Word of advice. Customs agents do not
    want to see you with your designer sunglasses on.
    I made that mistake once.


    I absentmindedly handed the passport to the
    border guard and he asked where I was going.
    "Toronto." I said.
    "Why?" He asked.
    "To visit my sister and see Elton John." I replied.
    Probably more info than he needed, but I wasn't
    quite as prepared as I like to be.
    I expected a line of cars!
    He handed me back my passport,
    and told me to have a good day.

    I need to come this way more often.

    It was a few minutes later, as I drove on,
    that I realized I hadn't had time to put
    on my "innocent and not-a-terrorist" face.

    Huh. Guess my clueless face was good enough.

    I proceeded onwards and upwards...
    uh... southeastwards.

    After a few minutes,
    I noticed that my car
    seemed to be making
    an odd sound.
    At first I thought it was
    just tires on pavement.
    Nope... not that.
    Not a good thing if I'm
    having car troubles
    right out of the gate.

    I checked the RPMs...
    Too high.
    I glanced down and...
    I was doing about 70mph...
    in fourth gear.

    Good way to burn through
    a tank of gas.
    I flicked it into 5th
    and was gratified both
    the RPMs went down
    and the engine noise
    dropped an octave.

    I arrived in Duluth
    around 4pm.
    This would easily be my shortest
    drive of the trip.
    A mere six and a half hours,
    three hundred and seventy miles.
    I popped into Harley Davidson Sport Center
    and picked up my first poker chip of the trip.
    I won't bore you with all my Harley
    stops unless there's something
    slightly less than dull to say.

    Of course, that applies to this
    entire TR, doesn't it?
    Slightly less than dull.
    At least that's the goal.
    Time will see if I succeed.

    I checked into the hotel.
    The Country Inn & Suites, Duluth.
    I tend to stay at those all the time.
    I get points and they're always clean.

    Well... that opinion will change
    later on in the trip.


    I checked in and was given
    a couple of drink tickets.
    I dumped my bag in my room
    and enjoyed a glass of wine
    outdoors by the fire pit.
    After a bit, I decided to
    take a soak in the hot tub
    to help ease the muscles
    in my back.
    I planned to do this at every stop.
    Little did I know that this was
    the last time I'd get wet.

    Well.... I'd get wet one other time,
    but that would be completely different.
    And knock a major item off
    my personal bucket list.


    In my TRs, I'll almost always include
    a "did you see it" photo.
    There'll be either a hidden Marvin the Martian
    (my avatar)
    or there'll be something with my name on it.
    Obviously, I didn't bother with this
    photo scarce chapter.
    But you can expect them from
    here on out.
    And more photos too, of course.
    (and far fewer of me...)


    Wanna come along for the ride?

    Coming up: First DISmeet of many.

    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
  2. pkondz

    pkondz . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky

    Mar 9, 2007
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019 at 6:19 PM
  3. Avatar


  4. juniorbugman

    juniorbugman <font color=blue>New car vs another cruise?? THAT

    Aug 22, 2001
    Yea can't wait to read about your journey. Next time we can meet up when you come back to Toronto.
  5. pkondz

    pkondz . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky

    Mar 9, 2007
    :welcome: to the TR!

    Sorry we missed each other.
    Next time for sure! :goodvibes
  6. QueenJen

    QueenJen Mouseketeer

    Sep 2, 2012

    I'm already confused.

    Like that will help. You'll still whine about that one time you didn't get to see him way back when.......

    :lmao: This sounds like something that would happen to me.

    Sorry your back was out......but you have a way of writing that really paints a picture....:rotfl2:

    Nope - no gas cap - just press the cover to pop open and pump.....had to do it this morning....the horror. I am usually spoiled and dh refuels my car. At least it was a nice mid 60's this morning with a slight breeze.
  7. MeghanEmily

    MeghanEmily DIS Veteran

    Apr 21, 2016

    You're off to another good start! I'm curious about some of your little teasers/foreshadowing. I guess I'll just have to be patient. Looking forward to hearing about your trips! I'll do my best to keep up and make some comments as time allows. :goodvibes
  8. pkondz

    pkondz . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky

    Mar 9, 2007
    Hi, yourself Jen! :welcome: to the TR!

    No more than I am, I bet.

    No, I'm good now.
    Well, I might mention it.

    Okay. I'll keep whining.



    As long as I can stand
    or lie down while I paint.

    Wait, I don't have to bend
    to reach the palette, do I?

    Ah. That's like Ruby's car.
    Must admit I do like that.

    I would laugh, but...
    I see where gas prices are.

    That's a good man.
    You should keep him.

    A little part of me died
    as I huddle from the cold and snow.
  9. pkondz

    pkondz . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky

    Mar 9, 2007
    :welcome: to the TR, Meghan!


    Yep, you'll have to be patient
    while I doctor up some more
    updates. I'll just keep nursing
    it along until I can deliver.

    Thanks for taking the time
    to say hi.
    I know how busy you are.

    MeghanEmily likes this.
  10. Terra Nova guy

    Terra Nova guy DIS Dad #811 Newfoundland, Canada

    Nov 11, 2014
    Happy to be here and looking forward to it, as always.

    Hmmm...I can envision this happening to me as well in the not too distant future.
    I would really like a solo trip to WDW someday.

    I like the idea of road trips. Growing up my family always did them, usually towing a trailer around the province or up on the mainland. I enjoyed seeing all the places along the way. My problem now is that I get terribly sleepy when I drive. My in-laws is about an hour and a half drive. After I do that, I am ready for a nap.

    I know what store website that is!
    I suppose if you're Canadian and ever bought a Tire it helps figuring that out.

    I have tried massage a few times. Not because I had any major back problem, but just to see what the fuss was about. It hurt a bit during the massage, and I was sore the next day. But immediately after the massage I felt very relaxed, and I had no problems in the days following.

    Shoot for the moon. If you fail, at least you'll land among the stars.
  11. Captain_Oblivious

    Captain_Oblivious DIS Dad #257

    Nov 10, 2008
    Speak for yourself. I'll just sit over here in the corner.

    You sure do, mister!

    Just to stay consistent, maybe you should write these chapters to be read from the bottom up.

    Eh...Ok, we'll allow it.

    I'm just here for the free food. Where's the buffet table, anyway?

    You would think, after all of these years, that you would learn to throw it out at the right times.

    Acknowledgement is the first step.

    I remember looking at your map and thinking, "Wow, that's ambitious."

    Ten years? Talk about the patience of a saint.

    Best money she ever spent!



    D'oh! That's definitely the wrong time.

    This sounds like a scene from a movie.

    So glad you stopped in for treatment! What a great idea!

    Are you just saying that in case he's reading this?

    I need more patience when pumping my own gas?

    :rotfl2::rotfl2: The White Zone is for loading and unloading only. There is no parking in the Red Zone.

    Does it make you look less constipated?

    Wow. Clearly you're not very intimidating.

    Slightly. Ever so slightly...


    Sure, I guess. Beats doing work.

    I mean, uh, absolutely! Wouldn't miss it!:thumbsup2
  12. Pluto0809

    Pluto0809 DIS Veteran

    Jan 25, 2012
    I'm here!!

    Sorry about your back. I didn't notice anything when you were in Atlanta but I think I was on the tail end of the trip so hopefully you were completely healed by then.

    Can't wait to read all about this epic trip.
  13. pkondz

    pkondz . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky

    Mar 9, 2007
    Thanks, Jeff.
    :welcome: to the TR!
    Hope I don't disappoint.

    You get to set your own agenda
    and go at your own pace.

    I'm trying to figure out
    if I can go diving again
    when I go in May (with DD).

    Probably not.

    That's really not a good thing.
    I can still drive for 13-14 hours
    without feeling like I'm going
    to nod off.

    But after that.... I am wiped.

    But you're not quite right.
    That's a screen shot
    from the parts finder screen
    at the store.

    I think that's pretty common.
    Next day "ouch"
    Day after "ahhh".

    I tend to land amongst the sty
    more than the stars.
  14. tinkbell13

    tinkbell13 Mouseketeer

    Oct 11, 2011
    Hi pkondz! :wave:
    I just read one of your previous reports, and well, I ended up here. Figured I should say hello this time as I am joining in at the beginning.

    Since you started this one by heading to Duluth, MN, you probably eventually passed right by my hometown (London) on your way to Toronto. Depending on when you passed by we likely weren't here though as we were out road tripping ourselves. DH, DS, DS's GF and I spend most of our weekends from May to October travelling around southern Ontario, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa and New York in our motorhome visiting dirt race tracks (mostly racing and sometimes watching) and theme parks. If you ever see a long haired German Shepherd sitting in the driver's seat of a Holiday Rambler Neptune while it is parked somewhere, we are around there somewhere.

    Looking forward to hearing about your road trips and Disney. I probably won't post much, but I will be following along.
  15. pkondz

    pkondz . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky

    Mar 9, 2007
    Preferably with your back turned.

    :welcome: to the TR, Mark!


    Bottom's up!


    It's over in the corner.
    The opposite corner where you are.

    Hey. You made your choices
    now you have to live with them.

    That would be a trick.
    Hmmm.... I guess that's what I have.
    A trick back.

    Still better than a Nickelback.

    Hi. My name is pkondz.
    You deserve better.

    Overly so.

    She's put up with me for much longer.
    Not sure why.



    Could've been worse.
    A lot worse.
    Could've been more disabling
    (as it has in the past)
    and could have happened
    during the trip.
    That's happened too.

    Comedy or horror?

    Well, like I mentioned,
    I think it was... eventually.

    He was really strong, Mark.

    Stop yelling at the machine
    and the attendants.

    Word gets around.

    You picked up on that!

    Was wondering if anyone
    would mention that. :laughing:

    You've met me.
    I'm just about the opposite
    of intimidating.

    Unless I'm on my bike.
    Then I am.


    Not by much.
    But then again,
    watching paint dry
    beats work.

  16. pkondz

    pkondz . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky

    Mar 9, 2007
    :welcome: to the TR, Ariana!

    No, it wasn't.
    (still isn't)
    You probably didn't notice,
    but I was being very careful
    each time I leaned over
    to take a shot.

    It's epic because you're in it! :goodvibes
  17. pkondz

    pkondz . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky

    Mar 9, 2007
    :welcome: to the TR!

    And you still came here?
    You must've gotten lost.

    Seriously, thanks for following along. :)

    Not this time.
    I took a slightly more
    circuitous route.

    You'll see.

    How cool is that!
    Have a picture of your racer?

    I'll be sure to keep my eyes
    open for this:


    Yes... I had to Google.
    I had no clue what you meant.

    Much more to come. :)
  18. MeghanEmily

    MeghanEmily DIS Veteran

    Apr 21, 2016
    I know you understand busy more than most people do! It seems that every time you're here, it's between long shifts or family things. ::yes:: Thanks for the understanding :goodvibes
  19. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes If it’s still here tomorrow… I may ignore it again

    Jan 20, 2007
    Hummm, What!

    Did you say something?

    Is that all?


    So long as you stay off my lawn…

    …em ot esnes sekaM

    (wonk ‘ay ,nemo doog a ton yllausu si hcihw)

    No one expects the Spanish Inquis…
    The DISboards Police!

    Ehhh… who cares about them?
    They’ll share our disappointment soon enough.

    Everyone needs a talent.

    Well, TR is an acronymization© of the common phrase: “Truth Redacted”.

    Isn’t it?


    And yet, they haven’t disavowed any knowledge of your existence.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah…

    Or, is it that you’re stuck with us?

    Which option is actually more potentially frightening?
    The world wonders…

    Driving with your mouth full…

    Well that’ll certainly interfere with your notion of writing about this trip backwards.

    I suspect it was exactly like that.

    Well, I generally can’t afford to fly, so…

    Or even a lit candle.

    He does that.
    We acquired tickets for this same tour, but the evening will also include a little bit of driving.
    Only after paying for them did he announce that they’d be stopping at the local venue as well…

    Typical… but it truth, where we’ve got tickets is a smaller facility (and less expensive) so I’m good with that.

    You really need to stop doing that.

    This guy?

    Always go left.

    Meaning that this was the first time you weren’t asked about constipation.

    I’m sure it better matches up with the photo on your passport.

    Translation: Down-Over

    But will this one beat out the “Quality Inn, Petersburg, VA”?
    That remains to be seen.

    Roast Minstrel
  20. pkondz

    pkondz . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky

    Mar 9, 2007
    Well, let's see...
    This is my fourth shift
    I've worked
    my three days off... :rolleyes1
    MeghanEmily likes this.
  21. pkondz

    pkondz . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky

    Mar 9, 2007

    Nope. Nothing to see here.

    :welcome: to the TR, Rob!

    There ya go.
    Much better off reading this
    with your eyes closed.



    .gnaD .that fo thguoht d'I hsiW

    :laughing: Love that skit.


    You know me so well.

    Actually... you know what my one
    big regret from this trip is?

    Missing meeting you.
    I've been telling a lot
    of people that.

    So... I'm sorry that you're
    kinda one of the folks
    that don't know me.


    This one's God given.
    I revel in it.

    Of course it is.
    What else could it possibly be?

    If you have a burr in your
    sweater, just take it out.


    That you know of.

    Hmm... valid question.

    ...explains all the random
    weaving across all lanes
    of traffic.

    I should have said
    I'm getting behind myself.

    No one else is, so...


    Flying would've been cheaper.
    I have points.
    But this was more fun.

    Sort of.

    Or even an extinguished one...

    After it's melted into an unsightly puddle.

    Nice! When are you going?

    I really do.

    I really, really do.

    That's him!!!

    Ya know...
    Where is that from?
    I've heard it forever, but...


    Another one who knows
    where I was going with that!



    Yep. That's me.


    or... er... incorrect?

    You'll see.
    Judge for yourself.


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