Storing Bike at Dave’s

The last possession I had to store was my mountain bike. I loved my Specialized Hard Rock Pro. I paid top dollars for it, but it was my main means of transportation for two years and the only means for almost a year. Very reliable bike and a pleasure to ride.

Photo: Specialized Hard Rock Pro Mountain Bike
Photo: Specialized Hard Rock Pro Mountain Bike

I phoned Dave on Sunday to see if he was at home so I can ride the bike to his place. I got a message back that he’d be around till about 5pm as he had to go see his cousin afterwards. I sent him a text back that I was jumping on the bike ride away to head to his place.

It took me almost an hour to get there – Dave lives that far. It was a nice ride for the most part, except from Fort Road which had construction on it with traffic lights not working and car traffic restricted to one lane. It gave me no chance to cross the road. I was stuck there for good 15 minutes before there was a gap big enough between cars to quickly squeeze through.

Dave gave me lift in his car back home, I filled up his tank with gas. I had been meaning to do that all along as small thanks for storing my items while I was abroad. I was glad I got the opportunity to take care of it while I was still in Canada. It was my last day there, so it worked out last minute, but I did it, which is all that counts.

The picture of Specialized Hard Rock Pro mountain bike taken from

Bald Eagles at Big Lake Near Edmonton, Alberta

My blood was boiling with excitement and anticipation. I was mere two days away from my big departure and had almost everything necessary taken care of. There were only a few minor things to still do – things that would ultimately end the “pre-departure preparations” and set me ready to board a plane to Vancouver. I was still physically present in Edmonton, Alberta but my mind was already in Cambodia. Last weekend’s road trip through the Rocky Mountains put me in the right mind set of a dedicated traveller. And that mood kept growing exponentially.

My plane was leaving on Monday early in the morning. I was half way through my last weekend in Edmonton when I found out that Big Lake – large lake North West of Edmonton is home to many pairs of Bald Eagles that nest in tall trees on its west bank during summer months. I knew my life from this point on would be all about exploring amazing corners of this planet so I thought that while I’m still here, maybe I should sit on my bike and ride there with my camera to get some amazing shots of these majestic birds of prey just before I take off for South East Asia.

The premise of this idea seemed very tempting and I was determined to do my best not to pass on this opportunity. I have lived in Edmonton for so many years and I didn’t even know that Bald Eagles can be seen in their natural habitat only few kilometres from the city. It would have been amazing if I got a chance to photograph some of those birds.

The trick was the Big Lake is just as the name suggests – big. I no longer had a car, only my awesome bike. It looked like I would have to cover about 40 kilometres each way in order to get to the west side of the lake. That’s all merely because of the size of the lake. It’s south east corner starts right at the north west end of Edmonton, but the lake spreads on for quite a bit so in order to make it all the way to the west side on a bike, I’d be pedalling for more than two hours. And then I’d have at least two hours to pedal all the way back home so riding itself would eat up a better chunk of the day.

This part itself was making the Bald Eagle spotting adventure difficult to arrange. But the trickiest part was that even if I was able to get there swiftly, I didn’t know where exactly the nests of Bald Eagles were. In order to truly have a nice spotting of Bald Eagle adventure happening, I’d need to dedicate whole unrushed day to the exploration of the forest on the west bank of Big Lake. If I only had a couple of hours, I’d be under pressure, rushing it through the forest to quickly find a nesting place of Bald Eagles which would likely prove contra productive and bring no results.

But that was not it. Sunday was also my last day to ride my bike to Dave’s. I needed to keep my bike with me until the last minute because it was my sole means of transportation. Besides, I would never fit it in the Toyota Corolla I had rented so riding it all the way to Dave’s was the only option. That meant I had to be at home in the afternoon not to keep Dave up waiting for me needlessly. He was doing me hell of a favour already. As tempting as the idea of riding a bicycle to the Big Lake to photograph Bald Eagles seemed, it was just not realistically doable.

Instead, I did last minute shopping, made last minute arrangements with Matthew – apartment’s on site manager to come do an inspection in the evening and left to take my bike to Dave’s as it was an hour long ride across Edmonton. I needed to do some packing as well and find the best way to get to the airport the following so I don’t have to take expensive cabs (Edmonton International Airport is an hour drive away from Inglewoods in NW Edmonton where I lived – it would be a mighty charge if I were to take this route).

Donating Pet Supplies to Edmonton Humane Society

I knew that Edmonton Humane Society was a pet shelter that accepted stray animals in, but I wasn’t sure whether they would also accept donations in form of pet supplies. The only way to find out was to get in touch with them so I called and was told by surprised lady on the other end that they absolutely accepted merchandise donations but they never get anything because people automatically assume that all they accept are live animals. I was told that they would much appreciate any of the items I had mentioned because they were in dire need for fish tanks and always short of cat food.

I had most of my stuff stored at Dave’s and only had one more load to take on Thursday evening. I thought of combining it with a drop off of pet supplies since office of Edmonton Humane Society was on the way to Dave’s. Since I only had a few more items I needed take to Dave’s, most of my car was available for fish tanks and other pet supplies and I had no problem fitting it in. The only challenging thing was one of the fish tanks – it rather large and heavy so it was extremely difficult for one guy to move it out of the apartment and fit it in the car. Despite of all the difficulties, I’ve gone through the struggle and somehow got it all done without help the previous night. I was gonna drive in a car to work and take off immediately after so I get to the Edmonton Humane Society before they close at 5pm and then I’d have the rest of the evening to drop the rest of the stuff at Dave’s.

The day after my intended drop off was the day I had to return my rented car so I wouldn’t be able to get anything done. I had to be at work until 4pm and car had to be back at Hertz by 5pm otherwise I’d get charged for an extra day. Given crazy traffic that hits Edmonton at rush hour (4pm), not only would I not be able to do anything with my rented car on my last day, I would actually have to rush it to make sure I get all the way downtown by 5pm to avoid extra charges. It was gonna be tight, but I have previously done some overtimes so I had hoped my supervisor would let me leave 15 minutes early to get to Hertz before 5pm.

But this wasn’t until the day after. Today I still had one last drop off to do. First at Edmonton Humane Society where I was going to donate all of my pet supplies and then the rest of my items at Dave’s. I left work exactly at 4pm to make sure I get all the way to 50 Street and Yellowhead Trail where Edmonton Humane Society was located by 5pm so I don’t miss people at the shelter with whom I made arrangements anticipate me. I drove swiftly but roads were congested so it took a while. I got to 50 Street just minutes before 5pm and pulled over by the door only to find it shut locked with a sign on it that Edmonton Humane Society had moved.

Their new location was at the opposite end of town. It would take me an hour to get there from where I was. They must have moved just recently as I have been at their original location only a few months prior. I could not believe the lady I spoke with about donations on the phone has never hinted me that they were at a new location to make sure I don’t needlessly drive to the wrong spot which is too far away.

Needless to say, I would never make it to their new location from where I was before everybody is gone. Giving it a try never the less was making no sense especially since by the sound of it, it would take a while to find it (that area isn’t very easy to navigate through). Plus I had Dave expecting me with my last load and I really needed to get to him before it’s too late so I don’t needlessly keep him up.

I was in a pretty tight spot there. I struggled the night before to get all of the pet supplies, including that giant fish tank into the car all by myself. Now it looked like I was gonna have to get it out of the car all by myself because the following day I had to return the car right after work which wouldn’t give me enough time to drop the items off. I was definitely not happy that I wasn’t hinted about shelter’s new location. Afterall, I was doing them a favor – I was intending to donate, give them some of my possessions for free and cover the cost of driving to get it all to their location. Was it really that hard to let me know that they had just moved so I don’t drive to their old location which puts me at the opposite end of the city?

The premise of removing that massive fish tank from the car was not very appealing, but there was no chance I would make it to their new location from work and still make it to Hertz by 5pm. But I was having hard time simply dumping all the hassle I went through when I moved that fish tank into the car all by myself in the first place. Seeing how all that struggle would have been in vain if I gave up on donating was not an easy thing to accept. So I’ve decided to keep it in the car and see if I can pull off some magic.

I drove to work on Friday, my last day at work before the departure to Siem Reap with all of the pet supplies still in my car. It was a beautiful summer day. I spent my day at work committed to my duties but had asked my supervisor if he would dismiss me an hour early stating that I had an urgent matter to attend to. I have never asked for early dismissal before but have gladly stayed longer when we needed to catch up with things so I didn’t expect it to be an issue and in fact it wasn’t. I was allowed to leave early which gave me hope that I would eventually put my pet supplies to good use instead of just dumping them.

I phoned the Humane Society during the day explaining why they never saw me come the day before as I had promised and insisted that I was gonna give it one last try but they better be expecting me so unloading goes quickly because I had to rush from there through heavy traffic to get to Hertz downtown before 5pm. I was promised that someone would wait for me but as it goes with larger operations, it wasn’t the case.

I got to the new Edmonton Humane Society location, quickly walked in and told the receptionist who I was believing she would be aware of me and have staff ready to move the items from my car. She had no damn clue so I asked to point me at the office of a lady I spoke with over the phone but she wasn’t there. I started walking around aimlessly, desperately trying to find someone who would know what needs to be done but since there was no one and I was running out of time, I simply told the receptionist that I was gonna take the items I am meaning to donate and leave them right there on the street for them to pick up when they get a chance. When lady who spoke with me over the phone shows up, she can then take care of it but I needed to act.

This was overheard by an elderly gentleman who was sitting nearby. He followed me outside and offered a helping hand which was great because that big fish tank was a difficult task for one person to handle, but not a big deal for two. We moved everything out of the car and just as we were done, the lady I spoke with over the phone walked up to greet me. I told her I needed to go but all of the items I wished to donate were right there on the street so they could do whatever they wanted with it.

I sat in a car and only just about made it to Hertz in time. Luckily Hertz is a professional company that deals with their clients on a professional level so the return of my weekly rental went smoothly and without headache. This has concluded my necessary preparations for the big trip. I only needed to pack up and be ready to board a plane on Monday. However I still had my bicycle which was too big to fit in a Toyota Corolla but since days were beautiful (whole summer of 2009 was beautiful in Alberta), I had no fears. I knew I could easily ride to Dave’s on Saturday and catch a bus back home for my last two days in Edmonton.

Emergency Storage Solution

I was back from an absolutely fabulous road trip through the Rockies and still had four extra days with the car I’d rented for a week. I was less than a week away from my departure to Cambodia yet I still had a pile of things I needed to store while I’m traveling and could not afford to get rid of. I took a last resort option – asking my friend Dave if he was gonna be my emergency storage solution.

Despite my sincere dedication to find a paid self storage solution and have it taken care of without involvement of others, I wasn’t able to get this arranged. So I went to pay Dave a visit and asked him if I could shove the rest of my stuff in his basement. There wasn’t that much of it. I didn’t have any furniture or otherwise large items so it could easily fit under the staircase. I’ve explained to him that I’ve tried everything else and it just didn’t work out and he was my last resort given the time left.

Dave is a good buddy of mine. We occasionally have a cigar together. I stocked up on a bunch of quality ones during my trips to Cuba and the Dominican Republic and Dave hooked me up with a great humidor where they were stored so we can enjoy them when we felt like having one. Granted, I still had about a hundred of them in my rather large humidor, mostly Cohibas (Robustos and Esplendidos) and Monte Christos so I told Dave that the humidor would also need to be stored and he could smoke even all of them if he wanted to while I was gone.

Dave is a good guy and was open to the idea of helping me out as an emergency storage solution. I had a car for additional four days and was gonna use it over the period of the following three evenings. I had to go to work until the very last day so after work I’d head straight home, load the car up and head to Dave’s to unload it there. It went smoothly except from an incident with pet supplies.