Getting a New Phone Shouldn’t Be This Hard

I made a mistake – I pre-ordered a Samsung Galaxy s8 Plus phone on April 3rd, with a projected delivery date of April 17th.  THAT was not the mistake, where I chose to have it delivered to was.  Fraser Valley Wireless in Maple Ridge, BC  The mistake wasn’t apparent at the onset.  My phone arrived on the 20th, I picked it up and all “was” fine …. then.

The next day after work, I went to try out the selfie camera and the video filters and guess what? The screen changed colours several times, went fuzzy and then black and that was it, no more front camera.  The rear camera was still working …. then.

I got onto the chat online at http://www.Rogers.com and then with DM via Twitter, trying to get this figured out.  While doing this, after a couple of hours, I discovered that the rear camera had also ceased to work.  Rogers has deemed the phone a dud and it’s declared DOA.  I’m told I need to go back to the store where I picked it up from (paid for the early upgrade there too) and get it exchanged.  Boooooooo…..  Oh well, I’ll return it tomorrow, since I have nothing else to do on my day off.

It’s Saturday morning, my day off and I’m heading off to Fraser Valley Wireless.  I relate my story of the DOA phone to the fellow in the store, who says they don’t have any extra phones to exchange and then tells me that if they did, they wouldn’t part with them, as they would be “on hold” for someone – no names, no payment, just on hold.  Hmmm….  He is interrupted by someone who comes in with another brand of phone that isn’t working and is told they don’t do loaner phones.  I tell the fellow I need a phone and he says he can try some other stores and will get back to me.  I asked if I can get my money back and go to another dealer and he says no, that’s not how it works.  I decided to leave there before I lost my cool and head back home to get online again.

Going online with the chat really hasn’t helped much, but Twitter has.  I’m told to call tech support and see what can be done, so I take their advice.  I got a tech who helped and said that a new phone should be delivered by Monday, it was be a swap.  Awesome!!!

Well, it’s Tuesday and still no replacement phone.  In the meantime, sometimes the rear camera works and sometimes it doesn’t.  The front camera is toast and I tested more apps with it and it actually froze the phone completely.  That was scarey – I thought it might heat up and catch fire like the Note 7 did.  It did not.  I eventually got it to turn off and rebooted it.  Okay, no more trying to see if the selfie camera started working.

It’s my day off.  As per usual when I buy something, it invariably has something missing, doesn’t work or is broken, so the phone thing isn’t surprising, neither is the lack of a delivery.  I’m back on social media and phoning again and they’ve escalated the case now and I’m told I should go back to the dealer and tell them I want a loaner (which they don’t do), get my money back (not happening) or get an exchange straight across (I phoned to see if they had any in stock, as they don’t know me or my number), which isn’t happening.  This is because the order for the phone replacement was processed Saturday, but as my luck would have it, there are no black Galaxy s8 plus’s in stock at Rogers.  Seriously?  They didn’t get enough phones?  Crazy.  They can’t tell me when they can get one in either, so I’m stuck.  I say goodbye and that’s it.  A phone that’s dying, that I’ve paid for and am paying for on the new improved premium plan.  Cool.  I’m happy.

I decided to call Rogers once more and find out when I could expect a phone, as I really don’t want to deal with Fraser Valley Wireless anymore.  I’d already called BestBuy and they have none either.  I talked to a tech who put me through to sales management and spoke to a fellow named Greg, who asked me a question nobody else did – did I have to have the black version of the phone, because there are grey ones available.  I could care less about the colour, I just want a phone that works.  He says he has to get the original order changed from black to grey, so he’ll call me back.  I’m not getting my hopes up.  Too many hours online and on the phone have done me in.

Greg phoned back and all is good, they have grey ones in stock and the order form is done and the phone will ship tomorrow and I should have it by Thursday or Friday. Yahoooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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R.I.P. Mike Hall

Today, ultra endurance cyclist Mike Hall was killed by a driver in Australia. We don’t know the details or circumstances, yet.  Hopefully, this wasn’t another case of distracted driving.  I’m really tired of reading how cyclists should have millions or lights and wear hi-viz (which I do) and that’ll “save” them from getting hit by a car driven by a bad driver.  Let me say this – a distracted driver, whose eyes are off the road, does not see millions of lights or hi-viz – they see only what is distracting them.

I first heard of Mike Hall by watching the documentary Inspired To Ride on Netflix.  Juliana Buhring is another ultra endurance cyclist I discovered in the same movie.  An awesome movie that has inspired me to ride my bike more and get better at it.  I’ll never race like they do, but through watching them ride, I have learned how to stand and pedal.  Sounds stupid?  Not really.  I’ve always been a seated cyclist, but decided standing to pedal helps in the long hours sitting.  I can stand without having to stop riding.  They make it look easy and fluid, I’m kind of choppy, but that’s okay.  I’m working at it.

I often wonder if the ultra endurance cyclists don’t push themselves beyond their physical thresholds and can get into trouble doing that?  I know it’s tough riding long distances and can only compare my piddly 100km+ rides and how I feel during and after them.  I cannot imagine doing what they do, but I really admire them.

R.I.P. Mike – you died doing what you love to do. Condolences to your family and friends.

To Victoria and Back (from east Maple Ridge)

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March 19, 2017

Today, is the day I leave for a bike tour to Victoria, BC.  I’m getting a ride to the south side of the Golden Ears Bridge, as roads in east Maple Ridge for cycling are atrocious, plus many of the drivers tend to be quite ignorant and dangerous when it comes to cycling (some think it’s okay to “gently” hit you while you’re riding a bike – to prove some sort of point? for example), so I’m going to bypass this aggravation.

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I should’ve known the weather as going to be “off” – this is hail/snow on the windshield just before we left home.

I’m dropped off at the beginning of the Golden Ears Way MUP (multiple use path) and head out, just as it starts to rain.  Luckily, I have raingear on and new waterproof Shimano boots.  I’m set!

As I head out, it doesn’t take long before the rain gets heavy, clouds are black and low and the winds are kicking up.  Oh yah, there’s also snow – a lot of snow and hail and I’m having fun pedaling along, going as quick as the weather conditions will allow and I’m not giving up and turning around.  I admit I did think about turning around as I got close to Tynehead Provincial Park, but the rain seems to have let up a bit and I see some blue skies off to the south and north.  I’m thinking the weather’s going to improve, hopefully.  There is, however, a big black storm cloud with snow coming from it straight ahead and I’m hoping it stays there and I can go around it once I’m out on the SFPR (South Fraser Perimeter Road), because there’s literally no turning back once you’re on that road.

I headed out through Tynehead, down 168th to 104th and down to the SFPR and headed west.  The bike lanes are nice and wide on the SFPR and that’s the only nice thing I can say this trip.  There is gravel, large rocks, bolts, glass and other assorted tire flattening, crash into crap on the road, plus the usual grates (deep) and metal plates (sometimes 3 together) that are hard to see when it’s raining this hard.

I’m sweating somewhat due to my raingear, but it’s raining, snowing and hailing so hard that I’ve decided some sweat is better than getting drenched completely.  My shoes are starting to fill up with water – waterproof they are, but not to water getting on the inside.  I played it smart and wore my Woolie Boolie merino wool socks, because even when wet, they stay warm.  Riding my bike means I can’t feel the water in my shoes, until I have to stop and walk.

I have the odd trucker or delivery guy actually drive into the bike lane – not paying attention? distracted? whatever, they’re dangerous.  Lucky for me, I use a helmet mirror and won’t ride without one – would you drive your vehicle without a rearview mirror?

Riding along and it’s not too bad now, I’m into Delta now and the blue sky is getting much closer.  Unfortunately, the big black cloud is still above me and it’s puking out freezing rain, hail and snow and it’s almost impossible to see.  My bike is leaving tracks in it.  I’ve taken to yelling at Mother Nature and asking her what the fuck she thinks she’s doing – winter’s over and it’s time to let up.  She’s not listening.  The snow, freezing rain, hail mix is continuing and it’s almost an inch deep now and getting slippery.  I look in my mirror and notice my wheel tracks and shitballs, the ice is deeper than I thought and it’s sticking and the fields to my right are white.  Nice, really really nice.  As I carry on, I see some vehicle tracks directly in front of me, crossing over to the right and I look over to my right and see a car in the ditch.  That happened so fast, I didn’t even see it.  I see more vehicles in the ditch and more on the other side of the SFPR and now there are sirens, RCMP, Firetrucks and Ambulances on both sides of the road and I’ve decided it’s best to walk as my bike is sliding a bit.  People are driving like idiots still.  That’s how these cars ended up where they were – the weather made many slow down to about 20 kph and these ones apparently didn’t like that, so they chose to pull into the left lane and pass the slow ones and look where they ended up.  Luckily for me, nobody hit me.  Idiots.  Idiots driving cars – now, that’s a dangerous combination.

As I walk 2 or 3 blocks through the mess, the RCMP and Firemen tell me to take it easy and be safe.  That’s why I’m walking.  It doesn’t take too long before the freak storm has passed and where I’ve walked to has no more ice, so it’s time to stop walking and ride on, to the ferry, which isn’t that far away.

It’s starting to get sunny now and the wind is picking up a bit, but it’s still cold, so I’m guessing I won’t be dried off by the time I get to the ferry.  I was right.

I waited in the sunshine, basking in it’s warmth while waiting to board the ferry.  There were several other cyclists waiting – a couple of commuters and a couple of tourers, with full compliments of panniers and gear on each bike.  We all got on and went to hook up on the bike rack and I forgot a big bag to put the framebag stuff into it.  It takes me a few minutes to get everything off and/or out of bags and the top bar bag, frame bag are soaked inside. Luckily, they’re on angles, so they did drain.  My new Revelate Designs Terrapin Rear Bag and front handlebar Sweetroll bags are completely dry inside.  That was a deluge of rain, snow, freezing rain and hail – almost like a blizzard at times, yet both bags’ content remained dry.  The inside of my new boots filled up with water and when I walked, it squished out around the tops of the boots.  That made me laugh, along with others who noticed.  They’ll dry out I’m sure.  Leaving the wet gear on means I’ll stay fairly warm from my own body heat combined with the merino wool, albeit somewhat squishy.

I got upstairs in the ferry and there were huge lineups for food. All I wanted was something hot to drink and couldn’t get near it, or so I thought, so I found a chair where I could put my wet gear and sit my wet arse down and relax for a bit.  A few people asked me about my bike, helmet cam and bikepacking gear, so I yakked a bit, but was tired and cold and had lost my urge to speak much.  I ate an energy bar and had some water and headed off to the bathroom before heading back down to my bike.

It took awhile to put everything back where I wanted it, as my hands/fingers were cold from the wet and the inside of the non-heated car deck.  I’m hoping the sun is still out and I’ll have a nice ride into Victoria and be dry (technical fabrics do that) by the time I got to the Hotel Zed.

I waited at the exit doors along with quite a few other people and when they opened, sunshine was revealed!!  Awesome!  The directions to get to the Lochside Trail off of the ferry are a little vague, so I eventually found the way (wrong, but continued until I found the right one).  The sun was nice, really nice.  It didn’t take long and I was dried out and having a really nice ride.

I got to the gravel portions of the trail and luckily my bike (Cannondale Synapse with carbon fork) and new saddle are very comfortable and the gravel is very well packed.  I’m running Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires, which are highly puncture resistant, but slow going.  Not as slow as my fatbike, so that’s a plus?  It’s nice, really nice.  The rain didn’t come back, which made the ride even nicer.

I found the Galloping Goose after the Lochside Trail and my GPS told me I wasn’t far from the Hotel Zed and once I got there, there was a gentleman trying to check in, but there was some sort of delay.  I thought I would have to wait, but he said for me to go ahead and get checked in, as he may be awhile.  I found out my room was on the 2nd floor – my instructions to Booking.com was for a ground floor room as I bring my bike inside.  The girl said that wasn’t happening, as rooms via Booking.com were tiny and always 2nd or 3rd floor and cheaper.  She was right.  I lugged my loaded bike up the stairs, not noticing that the other end of the walkway was the same steps but in 2 portions.  I’ll take those when I come and go with my bike.  Luckily, bikepacking means carrying less stuff. LOL  Tomorrow is a walkabout day, so Marvin will be staying inside.

The room is cute and tiny.  I like that the shower is huge and don’t miss a tub at all and the toilet is in it’s own room.  The walking around is tight, but doable. Nice TV, but very limited TV to watch (they do the minimal Shaw deal) and no PPV to order either.  A little fridge is in there.  I didn’t ask for a microwave, as the power wasn’t the best.  No coffee pots allowed, I suspect again, that it’s due to the age of the building and old wiring.  Some of my stuff didn’t charge up when plugged in, so I had to use a battery charger I brought with me that came with numerous USB charging cables and a variable power battery pack.  Good thing too or my phone, smart watch and GoPro’s wouldn’t be charged.

I met 2 nice ladies who were also staying at the Hotel. They were having dinner and saw me and invited me over.  They told me they saw me riding in Delta near the storm, then on the ferry and now here.  They asked me all sorts of questions.  Really nice and funny they were.  I was tired, so I ate dinner and went back to my room and checked on the charging of devices and all was good.  I had a shower, which felt awesome.  My clothes are hanging up and I’m wearing some bike gear to bed, as I chose not to bring pajamas and pick some cheapies up at Walmart tomorrow.

It’s my walkabout day, but first a walk to Walmart after going to Starbucks.  It’s quite windy out and cool, but nice.  Found some pajamas and picked up some other small things and headed back to the Hotel Zed to drop them off and head off to the bus stop and ride into town.  It was a short ride, but nice.  I bought a day pass, costing $5.00.

I walked around downtown Victoria and it was nice, but windy.  I noticed that traffic is driving slowly, much slower than when I was there in 2012.  It’s nice.  I remember reading something about them slowly down the speed in areas downtown and I’m surprised how nice that makes it.  Lots of people walking about too this fine Spring Break.  I went to MEC and picked up a couple of dry bags for gear in the framebag for the trip back.  I went to the Royal Museum and I’m definitely going back, it’s really nice.  The town, aboriginal village and artifacts are amazing!  I walked around the waterfront, the Empress and the Parliament Buildings.  They wouldn’t let me in to speak to Christy Clark and give her a piece of my mind.  Shit.

It’s super windy down at the waterfront, so I’m headed back to walk more and then head back to the Hotel Zed.  I had planned on walking to the Fisherman’s Wharf, but the wind is too much.  I took the bus back and grabbed some chicken from KFC (bad choice) and a coffee from Starbucks and back to my room.  Still no rain, so that’s nice.

March 21st, 2017

Another good night’s sleep (bed and pillows are very comfortable), although one leg of the Walmart cheap pajamas was cut on the bias, so it’s twisted around nicely.  Today, I’m on a bike exploration tour to Craigdarroch Castle, Mile Zero, etc.  I had my GPS turned on so the heading just followed north, so I ended lost going to Mile Zero and ended up at the furthest portion of island in Saanich to the west.  I found a lovely subdivision called Gordon Head and rode all the way to the bottom of the steep hills, only to find there was no way out, except to go back up, so I did that.

I saw many deer in people’s yards, on the roads and such.  I stayed away, because you don’t know if they’ll go after you.  I got my GPS reprogrammed properly and headed off to Mile Zero and made it!!  Craigdarroch Castle was awesome and I wanted to go in, but the bike racks were full and when I was leaving a tour of cyclists came in, so it was good to head out.  I rode around quite a bit and then headed back to the Hotel.  This time, I chose to get some food at Denny’s – an omelette.  Omelette was okay.  Cold, old rewarmed over and over hashbrown potatoes and toast was stone cold with next to no butter.  Waitress was nice.  Took a long long time to get my food.  It hit the spot and I didn’t get sick, so that’s okay?

Back to the hotel and get everything plugged in and ready to go for tomorrow morning.  I want to leave between 7:30-8:30 am, so checking out at 7:30 am is my plan.

March 22nd, 2017

I left on time (7:30 am) and no rain on the ride to the ferry, which was nice.  A really nice ride and man oh man were there ever a lot of cyclists using the Galloping Goose and Lochside Trails for commuting.  Was just packed with cyclists.  That was awesome to see!!  I continued on and stopped in Sydney to take a few photos.  What a nice and pretty place this is.  So far, I have missed the rain wherever I’ve gone – it’s been there and passed.  I made it to the ferry in really good time and didn’t have to wait too long to get on the ferry.  This time, I’m not soaked and unpacking the framebag is much easier now that I have a little bag for the stuff to go into.  Upstairs I go and I need a coffee!!

This time, the food area was packed with people waiting in line and I’m thinking, shit, I really want a coffee (none today yet) and then I asked the guy in front of me if he knew if there was a station that served coffee and he tells me that there is, take the line to the left.  Lickety split I had a coffee and a muffin in about 5 minutes and then it took awhile to find a seat.  I did notice that wearing a helmet with a camera on top gets some really odd looks from people – smiles, anger in some cases and people hiding their faces (criminals? hmmm… LOL).  Camera is off though.  It’s to log my trips while riding a bike and as a safety precaution.

Was amazing when I got to the Tsawwassen and the rain had just stopped – the ground was soaked, but the sun was coming out.  Quite windy though, which is normal for this area.  One cyclist wanted to know all about my bike and the bikepacking gear as she’s a tourer, but wants to go lighter and have no racks.  She was very nice.  My neck got sore talking to her as she was about 6’6″ tall.

I headed out, the weather stayed nice, but the wind didn’t.  Once I got onto the SFPR there were many instances where delivery van or 5-ton trucks or dump trucks came into my lane.  One idiot came so close to hitting me, I would be dead if I hadn’t noticed him in my rearview mirror.  It was on a corner and I was hoping he would just drive off into the ditch, but he straightened out and almost hit the vehicles beside him.  I do notice that people are going way over the 80 kph – closer to 100 or 120 kph.  The wind is just terrible, blowing sideways or a full on headwind and the trucks passing close don’t help as they’re backwash is pulling me in and the wind is trying to push me in.  Hard to stay up, but once on the SFPR, that’s where you stay and I persevered and continued on.

I finally made it to Tynehead and was I ever glad to see that path.  MUP’s are the best – we need more of those, not just for cycling, but people running, walking, pushing strollers, using wheelchairs, etc., use them.  It’s so nice to be separated from idiot dangerous distracted entitled drivers.  The good ones are out there, but it’s the bad ones that come to the forefront (way more of them than us).

Rob picked me up where he dropped me off and we headed home.  It started to rain again, glad I’m in a nice warm truck.

I’ll be going back for sure, it was too much fun and I missed more tourist areas.