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Toronto Trip #1 June 14, 2010

Filed under: Everything — Jason Olson @ 9:23 pm
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I only wish that my trip to Toronto was for vacation, but even though I knew I would be working hard the entire time, I was thrilled to take the trip north. Beyond simply traveling internationally, I was able to visit some friends who live in the area. The trip started off with a very early morning trip to the airport, 5:30am to be exact because someone who sits at a desk actually thought it would be a good idea for international passengers to arrive 2 hours early, even for the first flight of the day. So what do I find at the airport… the security guard and one other person, not even anyone from the airline itself. It’s not for another hour before anyone from the airline shows up. So I get settled with my laptop and get a jump start on work and catching up with e-mails before I even depart. Fortunately Redding is such a small airport that the entire process was quick and easy…. Did I mention that the plane only holds 30 passengers?

I’ve always been slightly nervous of flying after I started my family, so I always throw up a little popcorn prayer for safety during travels. Of course, jokingly, when I saw that three of the pastors from Bethel Church were on-board, I was at ease… Of course God wouldn’t let three pastors from Bethel crashland? But I don’t seriously think that way, but it was a funny thought. And you know you’re on a small aircraft when they need to move people around the cabin to balance the plane properly.

After a very quick, but slightly bumpy flight up to SFO, I was all set for a 90 minute layover before the haul directly to Toronto Pearson International Airport. And I must say that Air Canada is a great airline to fly. Before takeoff, the staff was excellent and took the time to personally take care of everyone’s needs. I was particularly impressed with a flight attendant, Kirk K. The flight was smooth and pleasant, and the seatback entertainment systems were great. I brought by Dell D620 with extra batteries to watch movies, but the entertainment system met the need. I was able to watch Alice in Wonderland, which I had been wanted to see in the theatre, and also caught about half of How to Train Your Dragon – both excellent movies.

Before landing, I noticed that there was a video on international arrivals to Toronto Pearson International Airport, but for some reason I could only find the French version. Not knowing any French, I decided to at least get a visual idea of what I was in for… So I pressed the French version and I watched 8 minutes of moving pictures, trying to figure out what they were taking about. After all, if a picture it worth 1,000 words, then the video was going to speak louder then the voice over. Well, it wasn’t quite true in real life, but it did give me a good idea. Of course it wasn’t until after that I found the English version… Which I then proceeded to watch, which gave me a bit more information…

One thing I couldn’t figure out after I was in the terminal was why the moving walkways were used for departing passengers instead of arriving passengers. After all, we’re the travel weary people. However navigating the airport and finding my way through customs, and their friendly agents and to the baggage claim was simple. After a quick wait for the bags, and finding my bags were one of the first off the carousel, I was off to the rental car…

As I walked through the rental terminal, I was pleasantly surprised to find how short the line for my rental car, Avis, was… However that quickly dissipated when only 3 people in front of me ended up taking over an hour before I was in my rental car – and there was 3 agents plus a manager working. It sounded like there might have been a new person, and a lot of confusion, but it was absolutely crazy. With that behind me I was off to find the Holiday Inn Express which i was going to be staying in for the first part of my trip. It was as simple as navigating a maze to find the 401 freeway which is the busiest freeway in North America, reaching around a half-million vehicles in a single day. However once I entered the freeway I was surprised to find the following sign: “Express moving slowly; Collectors very slow; beyond next transfer“. I quickly double checked the directions I got from Google Maps to double check I wasn’t on some sort of a toll road. Nope, nothing on the directions, but what the heck is the express and collector all about? I was thinking about Toll Express Highways such as California SR 43 or even into Ontario Express Toll Route 407. After just a few kilometers, I discovered what it was all about. The highway is divided into two sections the express side and the collector side. Back to the 500,000 cars per day number, you’d expect that they’d need some sort of a better system to make traffic flow then just a bunch of lanes. Enter the express/collector system…. and the slew of roadsigns, such as below, which is common along the 401.

The green signs are for the Express lanes which basically go staight the entire time, and only periodically can you exit the express into the Collector side which is on the right and use blue signs.

The concept is that the Collector is used to “collect” people who are entering and exiting the freeway which is more prone to slowdowns, and crazy drivers who are trying to enter/exit at the last moment. While the express is basically drivers who just want to go straight. About ever 5 to 10km there is an chance to enter or exit the collector. There is excellent signage which keeps the Express drivers informed of when they need to move over to the collector. However, my flight conveniently placed me in the middle of rush hour traffic, so it took about 90 minutes to go 25km. It was madness. Fortunately anytime other than commute times, everything flows excellent. Another change from most of California is the abundance of overhead lighting for the freeway. You could almost drive without headlights at night and never notice it. Of course in California we have so many sky/star gazers, that they keep light pollution to a minimum. Apparently in Toronto they value road safety instead.

After a quick drive around, I found the Holiday Inn Express I’ll be spending my first three nights in. In the process I drove through the Jane and Finch area of North York which I was cautioned about. While I was not overly concerned it was interesting to find a Toronto Police Substation directly next door. The room was okay although it seems like they just cleaned the carpets which left all the floors with a funky smell. The room was comfortable and the internet was free and worked well. Speaking of free, they offer a free hot breakfast with eggs, sausage,  and the other typical continental breakfast items of toast, muffins, juice, coffee and rolls. And with that, it’s off to bed.

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Yaks Coffee: $0.25 Italian Sodas! March 25, 2009

Filed under: Everything — Jason Olson @ 8:39 pm
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yakspanI’m a big fan of Yaks Coffee in Redding, Ca. Here is a recent e-mail blast from them…

Watch Out! Don’t worry about what is happening at Yaks Downtown, 1715 South Street… Tomorrow Thursday March 26, 2009 from 9:30am – 10:30am all of our Italian Sodas will be only $0.25! Come and start off spring time with our fun homemade gourmet italian soda syrups… we have all kinds of fun fruity and none fruity flavors to choose from! 

 

Keep your eyes peeled for whats happening for lunch Friday!!

 

Kim Brown 

Downtown Store Manager

Redding, California

 

Yaks Coffee: 50% drinks for Friday! March 19, 2009

Filed under: Everything — Jason Olson @ 9:50 pm
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yakspanI’m a big fan of Yaks Coffee in Redding, Ca. Here is a recent e-mail blast from them…

Wow, first off I want to say from all of us here at yaks downtown… we think all of you are so great! We love getting to see all of you every week! And then…

Over here at 1715 South Street, Yaks Koffee Shop Downtown (a.k.a. your favorite place in the world!) from 9:00am-10:00am Tomorrow Friday March 20, 2009, all of our amazing DRINKS will be Half OFF their original price! The craziness is still going on down here and we are rockin’ and rollin’ with it, so join in on the excitement!

Kim Brown
Downtown Store Manager

 

Yaks Coffee: $3 Quiches March 18, 2009

Filed under: Everything — Jason Olson @ 3:31 pm
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yakspanI’m a big fan of Yaks Coffee in Redding, Ca. Here is a recent e-mail blast from them…

Don’t worry everybody, we haven’t stopped going crazy over here at the Downtown Yaks! Tomorrow March 19, 2009 at our downtown location, 1715 South Street, Redding, CA… ALL of our Quiches will be $3.00! We have 2 kinds quiches; Lorraine, Savory Ham and Bacon, and Garden Veggie Quiche, with a medley of fresh veggies! we normally price them at $5.99…. so pretty much you don’t want to miss out on this amazing special… you never know when the next one will be!?!
Thank you to all of you who came to out Green Eggs and Ham special last Saturday, we had over 500 people come and hang out with us and the Cat in the Hat!
… Also, thank you for having being easy on me, I am not the most efficient emailer… I always try to “Bcc” the contacts, and I forgot last time. My apologies, I respect all of your privacy, so thank you so much for bearing with me and my technical difficulties!
Kim Brown
Downtown Store Manager
1715 South Street
Redding, California

 

Yaks: $2 Ham and Eggs Breakfast Panini March 11, 2009

Filed under: Everything — Jason Olson @ 3:34 pm
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yakspanI’m a big fan of Yaks Coffee in Redding, Ca. Here is a recent e-mail blast from them…

Wowee! We are still going crazy and having fun with our amazing specials at the Downtown Yaks, on 1715 South Street Redding,  CA! Tomorrow, Thursday March 12, 2009 from 9:00-10:00am our amazing Ham and Eggs breakfast panini’s will be only $2!! Our Breakfast Sandwiches are some of the best in the world so you definitely don’t want to miss out on this special… especially if you haven’t had the opportunity to join in the the fun and amazing food at any of our other specials thus far! Please feel free to call in orders early, we plan on make more sandwiches then you can imagine… the earlier you call in the sooner you can guarantee you will be able to enjoy the yummy goodness!
And if you still haven’t heard of our $1.99 Green Eggs and Ham with Green pancakes and Purple Syrup Breakfast for St. Patty’s Day you better just watch out! Buy as many tickets as you want for $1.99 a piece and bring all you kids down this Saturday March 14, 2009 from 7am- 11am at our Bechelli Location at 3274 Bechelli Lane! This is going to be a city wide event and rumor has it that the Cat in the Hat will be there and just maybe Thing 1 and Thing 2…  Buy your tickets at any of our locations and We’ll see soon!
Kim Brown
Downtown Store Manager
1715 South Street
Redding, CA

 

Yaks: $3 half salads March 6, 2009

Filed under: Everything — Jason Olson @ 3:35 pm
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yakspanI’m a big fan of Yaks Coffee in Redding, Ca. Here is a recent e-mail blast from them…

Watch out everybody, we’re doing our $3 Half Salads again!!!! Today Friday March 6, 2009 at our downtown location only (1715 South Street, Redding, CA 96001) all of our half salads from 10:30am-2:30pm will be only $3.00! Tell all you friends and everyone you know! This is going to be out of this world! Everyone had a blast last time when we did this, something new that we are going to do this time though is… We won’t be making any adjustments on the salads, they will come just how they are on the menu… this way we can make sure that all of you get all the food you order so fast you won’t believe it! Feel free to call in any orders, the earlier you call it in the faster your food will be ready! Don’t worry this is the best deal in redding tomorrow!
And look around tomorrow when you come in for our flyers about our St. Patty’s Breakfast! The Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day (March 14th, 2009) we are having a $1.99 breakfast special at the Yaks Koffee on Bechelli Lane (3274 Bechelli Lane, Redding, CA 96002). We are serving Green eggs and ham with green pancakes and purple syrup! The Cat in the Hat will be there flipping pancakes so bring all the kids down and have fun chillin’ from 7am-11am…Buy your tickets today at any of our locations to pre-order your food because  we are so excited to be hanging with all of our favorite customers
Kim Brown
Downtown Store Manager
1715 South Street
Redding, Ca