Yeah, it rained on Monday.
But we can be ever thankful that we weren't in Calgary, Medicine Hat, or the appropriately-named High River Alberta.
Or more recently, the benighted town of Lac-Mégantic Québec.
We never really got all that much rain out here at Kenzie World Headquarters. Usually, the first sparrow that lands on a power line puts our hydro out.
This time it was The Big Smoke that got - well, smoked.
GO Trains and subways flooded.
If ever "TTC" stood for "Take The Car", this was it.
Yeah, some highways were flooded for a while too.
But the car was, as usual, "The Better Way".
We were trying to take a test car back to Courtesy Chevrolet at The Queensway and 427 that afternoon.
Lady Leadfoot had the car and actually managed to get it there. I was to met her there and ferry (ha ha ha... ) her home.
I knew 427 was FUBAR, so I thought I'd try the older Highway 27, forgetting that south of Dixon Road, it simply merges IN to 427.
After sitting there stationary for maybe 45 minutes, I figured - this is nuts.
During the interim moments of cell availability - the network was overloaded for most of that time - she and I were able to communicate.
She said the dealership was closed because their power was out, so we agreed she'd work her way back home, I'd do the same, and we'd figure something out for the test car later.
A gentleman who had dropped his car off for service at Courtesy while he went to the Caribbean for a week or so was planning on taking a taxi from the dealership to the airport.
Not gonna happen. Even taxis couldn't get there.
So Lady Leadfoot gave him a ride to Pearson. Probably saved his vacation. I thought that was awfully kind of her...
So: how do I get home?
Still southbound but stopped on 427, I three-point turned, and four-way-flashed my way northbound on the inner southbound shoulder back to Dixon Road.
Double advantage of driving a huge Porsche Cayenne Turbo S at the time; with massive ground clearance and four-wheel drive, it would wade through pretty much anything.
And if I was driving the wrong way on a shoulder - well, it's a Porsche! What would anyone else expect?
(My apologies to Porsche owners everywhere who do drive politely. But you do know the stereotype you labour under. Difference between a Porsche and a porcupine...).
There were no traffic lights working anywhere, but everyone was behaving fairly well.
I even tried to score a few Brownie points for the badge by letting people go ahead of me.
I know a short cut on an access road that runs along the southern boundary of the airport. I figured that would get me at least as far as Dixie Road reasonably quickly.
So I turned down Carlingview, then right on Renforth, then right again.
A lake had formed to the south of that access road; a car was already submerged therein, water running over the hood - and the headlights were still on!
You'd have thought that when the driver 'abandoned car' he'd have shut the electrics off.
Wouldn't want to see the repair bill for that one.
That plan was foiled - someone (the airport authority, maybe?) had blocked that road off.
So, back onto Renforth, then westward on the 401, expecting another long slow slog home.
Hardly a soul on the highway.
I guess people were still stuck within the city limits and couldn't get that far.
There must be a fine line between taking advantage of others' misfortune, and making the best of a bad situation.
But a lightly-travelled highway, a very powerful car, and the near-certain knowledge that the police would be otherwise engaged?
Let's just say I hit the speed limit twice - once on the way up...
There were at least two cars on the highway with only their Daytime Running Lights on - no taillights. I rail against this all the time - with only DRL (hence only front lights working for the vast majority of cars, but with dashboard lights on) there's no indication that you are nearly invisible to those approaching from behind, especially in inclement weather like this.
I high-beam-flashed and honked at the first guy; he figured it out and switched on.
The other was still on the highway as I took my exit. I thought about chasing him down, but I just wanted to get home.
I know how easily you can be fooled by DRL. A couple of weeks ago, Lady Leadfoot was following me on another car swap adventure. She had to honk and wave at me because I had forgotten to switch my real lights on. Very unusual for me because that's part of my drill.
When is Transport Canada going to do something about this? Either force DRL to also include taillights, or at least require that DRL NOT allow dash lighting, so as to give drivers a hint that they are in danger?
Even the 'AUTO' setting you find on many newer cars isn't sufficient, because the sensors aren't always sensitive enough.
Until car makers fix this, or the government mandates this, you should make a point of always using all your lights, all the time.
Except of course, your fog lights. But that's another story...
The heaviest rain I encountered - indeed, maybe the heaviest rain I have ever encountered anywhere - was on the last 1.5 km to my house along my sideroad. Just a brief burst. I now have an 'infinity' pool...
But our lights were on, so all was good.
Lady Leadfoot got home about 20 minutes later. It had taken her a while to get to the airport from The Queensway, but once on the 401, it was clear, um, sailing for her too.
And while the Porsche officials responsible for making the Cayenne will still burn in hell for eternity for putting their sacred badge on a 6,000 pound Volkswagen truck, I could have been a lot worse off...
We finally got the Chevy test car back to Courtesy on Tuesday.
Their power was still out, as were all the traffic lights within Etobicoke.
Got to thinking - I wonder how many fender-benders there were during this period? I wonder if maybe with no traffic control measures at all, did we actually drive better?
That would confirm the theory of the late Dutch urban planner Hans Monderman, who found that removing all signs, stop lights, lane markings, crosswalks, etc., and forcing everyone to just get along and figure it all out, that safety actually improved.
There was no doubt whatsoever though, that if all those intersections had been roundabouts, traffic would have moved much more freely, even with the power out.
Hydro down? No traffic lights?
Another reason (as if more were needed) that we should be converting every intersection into a roundabout as soon as possible.
We took The Queensway west into Mister-and-Mississauga. Once across the border into Hazelland, the traffic lights were working again.
Don't think she can take credit for that.
Just past Hurontario I think it was, the black Audi to my left with a dealer plate on it (presumably from the nearby Audi dealer) started to slow down quite markedly. As a firm believer in local knowledge, I figured he knew something I didn't.
I scanned way down the road, and sure enough - there was a Peel Regional police officer with a laser gun.
We've just gone through the storm of the century (so far anyway), your colleagues are out saving people's lives and property - and you're running a speed trap?
Glad he wasn't out on the 401 the evening before...
My sympathies to those who suffered on this rough day.
But there was at least one bright moment.
I heard on the radio of one woman who was trapped in her car - I think it was on Simcoe Street near Front.
A not-so-sanitary sewer had backed up, and she was stuck inside with stinking raw sewage lapping at the rocker panels.
Her husband must have been nearby, because he waded through the muck, pulled her out through the window, and carried her to dry land.
"I think I earned about five passes out of the doghouse today!''