Riding 279k for dinner at the {Animal} & {Building}

Writing this at the Elephant & Castle (or Ermine & Vestibule, or Jaguar & Nook) in Edmonton because I took a road trip on a whim. I never do this. I never do anything on a whim. Okay, maybe “never” is too absolute a word, but damned rarely.

I really wanted to take the bike out yesterday. Really, really did. There’s just one problem: I couldn’t decide on a destination. Yes, this continues to be a problem for me. If I want to go for a long ride I can’t just jump on the bike and ride, I have to have a goal in mind. Even if I don’t care about reaching the goal, and even if I change my mind partway there and decide on somewhere else to go, I need to have a goal in mind before I set out. If I don’t then I just wind up sitting on the bike at an intersection trying to decide which way to turn.

So I didn’t go anywhere, just stayed home and played Champions Online for free. Not a bad game. It’s another MMO but it’s a super hero MMO and I enjoyed playing with the theme. I created a Brick character, which I often do when trying a new game for the first time. The tactics are easy and don’t get in the way of learning the controls. Just smash, smash, smash, and smash some more. I did start to tire of having to run around all over the place picking up little quests and whatnot, but when I leveled I got to pick a “travel” superpower and picked “superleap” to go with my character. Now she bounds whole city blocks with a single jump. Much faster.

I had fun, and even played into the wee hours a bit, but I did still kind of regret not actually getting out on the bike.

Well this morning Scott invited me to join him and his friends on a short jaunt to Cremona to check out a hardware store, of all things, for some wedding supplies.

The hardware store did not have what was required, unfortunately, but the proprietor did promise to try tracking down the items of interest for our friend.

We then stopped for a lunch that was staggering unimpressive except for one singular dish that had us all intrigued: Taco in a bag. The ingredients are so simple I fully intend on trying it out myself someday for a work lunch. It’s the perfect bachelor lunch: half a bag of Doritos, still in the bag, topped up with beef, beans, cheese, veggies, salsa, and sour cream. Fold over the top of the bag and serve. We speculated that it would be a marvelous motorcycle lunch as you could string the bag up agains the engine and let the heat melt the cheese.

Lunch was followed by a brief trip to the antique store next door where the whole group played with a couple of sword canes. One was priced ten bucks more than the other one. I finally gave in and bought the more expensive one when I realized the reason it was priced higher is because it didn’t rattle when shaken. It is solid and well built. The shaft is metal, the whole thing carries weight, and even the blade seems reasonably substantial and not merely theatrical.

Christine’s boyfriend bought the other one (sorry, I’m terrible with names) and there was some discussion of sword fights and duels that gradually shifted to the potential for motorcycle jousting.

Don’t worry, we didn’t actually try, but we did come up with some solid ideas on how to mount the canes on our bikes so they’d be handy. Now I’m prepped to go all Mad Max with my bike, although I refuse to wear the assless chaps without pants.

Everyone else was ready to head back home but I felt like I was just getting started. I decided to give in to impulse and turned north when they turned south (I’d already told them I would so they weren’t alarmed at this… yes, I plan my impulses. Don’t you?) and I took highway 2A to Red Deer.

I stopped in Red Deer to give Tammy a call to see if she would be free for coffee in Edmonton. In true Tammy and Joel tradition she was in Calgary the one and only day I would be in Edmonton. Every other time she’s been in Calgary she’s called me up to go for coffee and I’ve been in some other city entirely. It’s almost guaranteed that if I go for a trip somewhere Tammy will be in Calgary looking for someone to go to coffee with. This weekend is, of course, no different.

Were this Friday instead of Saturday I might have continued on past Edmonton to visit Connie and Colin, but I have to be back at work on Monday and my visit would consist of showing up mid-evening and leaving in the morning. Not really worth it.

In Edmonton I parked the bike just off of Whyte Ave and went in search of supper. Not having any way to secure the cane in my saddlebag I had to take it with me, making me look like the old, damaged biker, likely with a busted kneecap from some past accident. At least it didn’t feel weird.

And now I’ve had a good steak and fries with a mediocre fruit crumble and need to start on my way back to Calgary. I’d like to get back before it’s dark. Drivers seem to have a hard enough time seeing us bikers in the daylight, I get a little nervous on the highway at night.

And my little netbook works like a dream. I’m so glad I bought it.

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