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

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.

Self Storage Solutions

I had most of my possessions taken care of – majority went to the garbage bin while the rest was donated as a merchandise donation to One Child’s Village. However there were still some items I had left that I couldn’t get rid of. They were either legally important, or personally inseparable with. I had to find the way to store these while I was on the road so I started looking into self storage solutions in Edmonton. The items I could not get rid of included the following:

  • Bookkeeping – Revenue Canada can audit your books from up to 7 years back
  • Software – instead of just sticking with downloads, I used to buy boxed versions of each software… bad idea!
  • DVD Collection – it’s quite vast. I had some precious, hard to find titles there, especially the ones from Asian Extreme Cinema or old Italian horror movies
  • Photo Albums – I have a small collection of photos from the past, many irreplaceable, taken long before the age of digital cameras
  • Medieval Weaponry – I’m into all things medieval big time and my collection of swords and armor grew overtime. Could not find the strength to part with it
  • Photography Studio Equipment – I closed down the shop long time ago, but I still did a lot of studio photography as a hobbyist
  • Mountain Bike – my precious Specialized bike, the sole means of transport for over two years
  • Desktop Computer – I still had a whole pile of data on the 1TB hard drive on my desktop
  • Guitar – I have a custom made Ibanez JS Model – it’s a copy of Joe Satriani’s electric guitar in beautiful read made to fit in my hands. So awesome…

The only feasible solution to the storage problem I was facing seemed to be the self storage facilities located throughout the city. So I started my hunt for the best priced and best located one. I’ve done thorough web search for self storage solutions in Edmonton and also proceeded to search through the Yellow Pages and contacted the rest by phone. I’ve then personally paid the ones that were close to me a visit to see what was going on, yet none made me feel confident that this was the right path to take. The biggest deterrent was the price.

Self storage solutions are extremely expensive. Given the size of the room you get, the price per square meter is almost as high, or higher as for the room where you people live. This was simply way too much. There were rooms priced at under $100 a month, but these were so small I wouldn’t fit my mountain bike in there. The rest of the stuff I needed to store wasn’t that much. It was compacted in boxes so I could easily fit it in a miniature room, however my mountain bike required a room that’s at least 2 meters long or wide. Rooms like that typically run at more than $100 a month – crazy. You could get whole apartment for $500 with living room, kitchen, and bathroom.

Trouble with on line research was that you couldn’t get a sense of the price from their websites. They treat it like it’s a top secret. You have to go through painful process of enquiring via email or phone. I went though Sentinel Self Storage Edmonton, Instant Storage Edmonton, Storage King Edmonton, U Store It Edmonton, Affordable Storage Edmonton, Minerva Mini Storage Edmonton, etc – but they were all either very inconveniently located or way overpriced.

I went to the most conveniently located one in person. It was the Sentinel Self Storage one in NW Edmonton, but was strongly discouraged the moment I stepped my foot in. The woman who owns it smokes non stop so the office is full of cigarette smoke to the point that it’s beyond disgusting. When she starts talking to you, she sounds like the witch with burnt out vocal cords which is without doubt the result of her heavy smoking. She’s not very friendly either and just beat me off by saying that summer is a busy season for them and she doesn’t have time to talk to me unless I’m already ready to buy my self storage with them. The most conveniently located or not, this was no longer an option.

So I went to the second most conveniently located facility with which I made an appointment via phone, because they were not open during convenient hours. Someone was supposed to meet me there on a weekend day. Their facility is in one of the hangars at Edmonton City Airport not far from Kingsway Mall. I sat on my bike and rode all the way there. It was very tricky to find as those hangars are at oddly placed, unmarked streets, but I have eventually found it only to learn that their office was closed and there was nobody there. I waited around for 20 minutes but nobody showed up which was my cue to get the hell out of there and forget this facility.

Given high prices of self storage solutions in Edmonton, I didn’t see the point in checking out the facilities located at the opposite end of the city. It would take me an hour to drive there so what’s the point? Taking a few turns with a small car I’d be renting would end up being a pain. I was stuck with one last option I really didn’t want to consider, but as my last resort, I had to give it a try.