(1) I thought I knew rural. I thought I knew big sky. Not so much.
(2) I had absolutely no concept of how reliant I have become to always being connected to the network … to having my smartphone be an extension of my brain. When faced with extremely limited cellular data (more on that in a moment) and inadequate public wifi … this realization came like a sledgehammer. (It also made me grouchy.)
(3) Fortunately, both Mike and I have the same philosophy about travel: it is the journey (the ride) that is important not the destination. We’ll either make it to Fairbanks/Arctic Circle or we won’t … it doesn’t really matter. It’s the ride, the experience, that matters. This is the closest that I come to being able to live in the moment.
(4) Things you do automatically at home that require thought here: pre-pay for gas.
- In the US, you put the CC in the pump slot and remove it quickly.
- Here, you put it in and wait until you’re told to remove it. Then pick the dollar amount to authorized. Then the clock starts ticking –
- so have everything ready to put the nozzle in the tank Right Then.
- Oh, and the card goes in bloody backwards, stripe-wise. And sometimes it requires that you walk in (e.g., Chevron, according to a helpful clerk, will only allow one pre-pay from the pump per 24 hours).
- And I have yet to have one of the pumps give me a receipt (despite pressing the “give me a receipt” button).
(5) Things you do automatically at home that require thought here: use a credit or debit card in a retail establishment.
- Some cards have a chip (my MX) and some don’t (everything else). The MX goes into the “mouth” of the portable unit. Everything else “slides” (with the stripe on the wrong side
- Sometimes it works (Visa, MC // debit and credit cards). Sometimes it doesn’t. Today at the drug store (getting cold meds for Mike), my PP debit card did not work on one register but did work on the other one. Weird, huh?
(6) As much as I like to bash WalMart … for the out-of-town (-country) traveler, it’s akin to the Good Housekeeping Seal: a known quantity. I had to admit this back in 2004 when I drove the Mercedes from GA to WA and needed tires in the middle of Kansas. Ditto here in British Columbia.
(7) We should have bought a pre-paid Canadian phone for talk/text/data. Holy crap. AT&T International: $60 for 300MB of data ($0.50/minute phone) sounds “good” except that there is a two-month minimum purchase. (W.T.F.?) And we’ll be in Canada for only a couple more days, plus one day on the return. And where I need it (to talk to the office on Tuesday) there probably won’t be any service (between Fort Nelson and Watson Lake). It’s insurance but expensive insurance.