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Chasing Rabbits And Ilanaaq In The Nissan 370Z

by Peter Dushenski @carenvy

August Long Weekend was coming up and I didn’t have plans. The firstest of first world problems, this was.

Spontaneous if nothing else, I booked flights to Vancouver, about 75 minutes west of my home base by air. Such impromptu weekend excursions benefit naturally from road trips, so I called the nice people at Nissan and they offered me a 2013 370Z with spangly LEDs. I took it.

From Vancouver’s English Bay, it would be about an hour of walking and Skytraining just to get to the car, waiting for me in a residential car port in the southeast corner of Greater Vancouver. I was up early that Sunday morning for no particular reason, other than perhaps the coily old hydabed on the 22nd floor of our hotel. Every hotel in the city was booked solid so I couldn’t really complain. It was Pride Week in Vancouver and today was the Parade.

As I walked through the still-tranquil streets towards the Skytrain, I smiled politely at the uniformed officers blocking off roads along the parade route. The big coastal sun shot rays of warmth between the forest of skyscrapers as I ducked into the Burrard Street Station. Leaving the West End, the train floated past glass-clad condos of decreasing size.

I’d been to Vancouver maybe a dozen times before, but I’d never explored it widely. When the most beautiful markets, restaurants, parks, and real estate are all centrally located and within walking distance, why bother? Because adventure! From three storeys up on the train, the badminton training centres, schools, and industrial-looking malls of Vancouver’s edges were like unplugged, uncut bonus tracks hidden 20 minutes past the end of your favourite high school CD. Kinda raw, but integral to the story.

Ten stops later, eyes wide with a new appreciation for the host city of the 2010 Olympic Games, I hopped off the train. Walking down to ground level, I listened to the quiet suburb as it woke up. Some people were gardening, others jogging in colourful groups, other yet standing on the curb waiting for a ride to what could have only been Church.

I followed my directions for about 800m and voila! There, under an open-air awning, was the mysteriously coloured Nissan that I’d reserved for the weekend. It wasn’t quite brown, but probably not purple either. All I could say for certain was that it was sparkly and all mine. I unlocked it, remarked at the plethora of interior upgrades since my 350Z, and set off towards I knew not what.

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Travel Diary: Over The Mountains And Through The Woods

by David Little @dlittle21

My inattention was pulled upwards.

Across the tracks at the Trento, Italy train station, two black eyes locked into mine. She peered for three seconds longer than it is suitable for strangers, so I shyly returned to the safety of my book. The pages glowed and my back was warmed by the mid-afternoon sun high above blue mountains behind me. A breeze carelessly flipped my place backwards.

I looked again: she was chewing gum and bouncing her white Adidas on the shadowed cement. A small backpack occupied the spot beside her. She was playing the role of Bored Teenager better than any Pizza Hut commercial portraying a stilted family dinner I’ve ever seen. Schoolmates milled about the platform, sharing earbuds, and laughing sarcastically. Her apathetic gaze returned, this time more curious. She reminded me of when zoo animals inexplicably change their attention from immediate surroundings to those on the other side of the glass: the gawkers, the tourists. I immediately understood why, as I stuffed my too-large novel back into my pack; I didn’t fit in. No, it wasn’t so much my clothing that gave me away (on this trip I made sure not to bring the usual tourists ware: wide brimmed hat, fanny pack, last year’s running shoes). It was simply my expression—perhaps punctuated by a Tolstoy beard. I have, after all, been told that I’m no good at hiding my thoughts.

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2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Highline: The Best Kind Of Devil

by Peter Dushenski @carenvy

The Devil is Christianity’s disincentive manifest.

For followers of the infinitely compassionate Jesus, lusting after your neighbour’s new Cayman S is punished with an eternity of soot and sweat in your eyes. It’s that severe. For followers of Gautama Buddha, the shadowy tempter Mara provides a similar embodiment of evil action. He’s also not very nice. Judaism and Hinduism lack such a manifestation of poor behaviour, perhaps because they both prefer to trade in intangibles, but the notion of the Devil has now permeated global culture. Transcending boundaries, Satan, Lucifer, and The Prince of Darkness are synonyms for the absolute pinnacle of perversion.

If you’ve ever watched Top Gear, you were probably appalled when Jeremy, James, and Richard referred to diesel as the “Devil’s Fuel”. Could they have been talking about the same torquey elixir that motivates our trailer-pulling trucks up the steepest of slopes? Wasn’t diesel a fun way of being efficient? Not for European folk, it seems. For them, regardless of religious background, diesel is the devil.

Ironically, we Canadians hold it in the highest of regards. Our finest and most capable trucks, plastered with iconic nameplates like “Cummins”, “PowerStroke”, and “Duramax”, all swill the stuff. And that’s just the domestics, the German companies that sell diesels here can’t import them fast enough. Mercedes Canada could stop selling their gas-powered SUVs tomorrow and their salesmen wouldn’t even notice. And we all have a friend with a diesel-powered Golf or Jetta who drove cross-country on 3 tanks, making the kind of history he won’t shut up about.

Jean jacket-wearing Canucks look at the efficiency figures, feel the rich kick of torque, and book summer flights to Europe just for the chance to see the bloody things. Compared to granola-pounding Prii, diesel cars offer an unmatched sense of Eurochicness and pump-hopping pride. Surprise, surprise, we can’t get enough!

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2011 GMC Sierra Denali 2500 HD – Road Trip To Winnipeg Avoids Poker Tables

It started off tongue-in-cheek.

It was a joke between Dave and I. “We should go on a trip”, he demurely proposed at one of the High Holidays this past fall. It sounded like a reasonable enough idea; Dave and I, once bosom pals, hadn’t seen much of each other since he moved to Saskatoon for a job 9 months earlier.

His pitch: Fly to Vegas. “Uhhh, I’m not convinced…” I replied. I figured that Vegas was the last place in the world that two former poker addicts, who supported each others’ habits for a destructive number of years, should travel. It would be like giving Charlie Sheen a pound of fluffy Colombian snow and telling him to use it responsibly.

Plan B: I would drive 600 km from Edmonton to Saskatoon, sleep on Dave’s couch, we’d drive 800 km to Winnipeg the next day, sleep on his friend Jess’ couch for 3 nights, then back to Saskatoon for a visit with Dave’s couch, before heading back to Edmonton the following morning. This pie-in-the-sky idea was supposedly a way for us to relive our glory days, minus the poker.

And then it actually happened.

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2011 Buick Regal – Built for Autobahn, Tested on QE2 [REVIEW]

Take away the tri-shield badge on the grille and trunk, and we’re left with a German car by any other name.

It’s German car to rival the perennial near-lux champ, the Volkswagen Passat. A German car built for the limitless speeds of the Autobahn. A German car… from GM.

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