Road Trip

On Monday, I packed the last of my stuff into the car…

The back of my car, packed with stuff

…which included a couple of accordions: the travel-sized Silvetta, which fits in just about every airplane’s overhead compartment, and the full-sized, full-sounding Crucianelli:

Front passenger seat of my car, with two accordions strapped in with the seatbelt.

If you’ve been following this blog for the past little while, you already know my destination: Ottawa, where I’ll be living for the summer to immerse myself in my new job as tech evangelist for the startup Shopify. The trip takes about five hours and is pretty simple — east on Highway 401, the north on Highway 416.

Map showing the route from Toronto to Ottawa

I like listening to audiobooks on long car trips. My selection for this one was Tina Fey’s Bossypants, read by Ms. Fey herself. It’s quite funny and entertaining, and it made the long, rain-soaked drive seem like a quick run around the block:

My Zune HD showing Tina Fey's Audiobook

Yup, that’s a Zune HD — I’m a former Microsoftie, after all — and that’s what I used to play Bossypants. It’s my highest-capacity portable MP3 device, so it’s the one I use for long trips. It’s the best media player you’ll never buy.

I arrived in Ottawa in the late afternoon. I don’t really know my way around the city other than bits of downtown and the Market. I’m going to be rather reliant on the Garmin when driving and on my phone while cycling or walking about. The only other time I make such heavy use of a GPS is when I’m playing Grand Theft Auto IV:

Arriving in Ottawa, as seen from the driver's seat

That’s the Garmin, which is suction-cupped to the windshield, and below it is the satellite radio. I switched to it when I pulled into town, just in time to catch a Beastie Boys special on Alt Nation — the perfect welcome to my new, if temporary, home.

My final destination was the furnished apartment where Shopify is housing me during my stay. It’s right on Sparks Street, and I’d have taken a picture if the weather wasn’t so miserable. Here’s what the area around my front door would look like if we were having a more typical spring:

Sparks street

Next: The Swank Tank.