Got an email the other day from Stephen Roach, who's a sales coordinator at the Fairfield Inn and Suites - College Inn in Georgetown, Kentucky; just north of Lexington. Seems he was taken aback, in a nice way, with the number of folks from Toronto taking up space in his hotel on Saturday night, January 3.
"Once my curiosity was sufficiently aroused I asked a traveler why they stopped here," Roach wrote. "The response I received was simple enough, 'Because Georgetown is the halfway point to Florida.'"
Putting aside the point that it depends on WHERE you're going in Florida, it was a point that Roach found pretty interesting.
"This ... is a gold mine for us," he wrote. "Kentucky is like an oasis on an otherwise desolate journey and the Blue Grass region, especially, has a lot to offer travellers. With bourbon and race horses being the primary exports of the region, not to mention Toyota hybrids, it is no wonder why so many Canadians come through the area and, further more, it is no mystery how we feel about them."
No offence to Roach, as I like bourbon more than rye myself and find Kentucky a pretty state, but Torontonians don't stop there because of the whiskey or the race horses or the cars that are built in the region, but because of his first point - it's about halfway to the parts of Florida most of us drive to. We don't care if it's Kentucky or Tennessee or Georgia or what it's called, we just want a clean place to sleep that's close to the highway and offers a free breakfast so we don't have to eat at Waffle House.
Still, at least Roach was nice enough to notice we're not Americans and took the time to write a letter. So, next time you're on I-75, pull in and mention my name. You might get a free bowl of cereal in the morning.
Bone-headed move on my part; I wrote last week that I didn't think there were flights from Toronto to Kingston, Ontario. I thought I had checked but if I did it was a pretty lousy job, as there are Air Canada connections to Kingston from Pearson. My apologies for the sloppy work, and thanks for the folks who pointed it out.
TTC BLUES PART II
Okay, for several days last week the token-dispensing machines at the Lawrence subway station's northern entrance were busted. Both of them. That was a hassle but not the end of the world. Then, today, a traveller weary of trudging through the snow arrived to find the token machines working but both turnstiles inoperative, at least for tokens. Metropass holders were on luck but not the rest of us. One machine had an out of order sign on it and the other was jammed by someone's token. I could hear someone complaining to a TTC official but they weren't getting anywhere, so we all climbed the stairs and went south to the main station.
A woman there was complaining to the person staffing the booth, explaining that old folks having trouble with walking in the snow were being severely inconvenienced by having to walk two blocks south. But the worker was yelling at the woman and not doing anything, as far as I could tell, to help the situation.
Then we get on the train and it sits. And sits. And sits. It turns out there was a disabled train at Summerhill, so it took about 25 minutes just to get to St. Clair. The person on the intercom came on and said, "We apologize and we HOPE to have service restored as soon as possible."
WHO WRITES THESE ANNOUNCEMENTS? What do you mean you HOPE to have service back as soon as possible? OF COURSE YOU DO. The proper comment is that you WILL have service bacj as soon as possible. Or you could say you HOPE to have service back in a certain period of time. But the announcement as stated made no sense.
Anyway, I arrive at Union Station - finally - and go upstairs to wait for the Bay bus to take me to 1 Yonge Street. There's a bus shelter on Bay below Front but the side panels of glass are quite short and don't offer protection from the wind or the snow. I'm huddling along the glass but I'm still getting soaked, and then I look up and find the roof of the attractive but incredibly poorly designed shelter is maybe three feet long and offers ALMOST NO PROTECTION from the elements. This might be a city of Toronto sidewalk design issue, but it's stupid to put up a shelter if you're going to make the damn thing so small.
Could the TTC possibly be any worse? And now they want to dump a few thousand more folks onto the Yonge street line by extending into York Region? Where are those people going to sit or stand, cuz there's for sure no room on the subway in rush hour right now. They'll get crammed in like proverbial sardines, maybe with those types of subway pushers they have in Tokyo to jam everyone into a tiny spot and create zero personal space between you and Garlic Man. They'll arrive at Union Station all hot and sweaty and pissed off. But at least they'll have a nice bus stop awaiting them.