About Us

The Open Road Project exists to spread kindness and meet the needs of strangers. We travel in a 1979 GMC Vanguard named Lily. These are our stories.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

An Ode to Ikea

IKEA is a place to cherish. For whats not to love?- Neat furniture, children occupying ball-pits, neat scandinavian vocabulary, and a bigger double-bunk-bed selection than any kid could dream of. But perhaps the most enticing factor of this superstore is its menu. where else can you walk in slap down a $5, order 4 hotdogs, 1 soda, 1 soft serve ice cream and a bag of Swedish candies for you and your friends. Get some change back too boot. That's why we have proposed IKEAfoods ® to be located in and around every University and college in the province. Pending trademark, corporate and legal concerns.

At least for now mention our names or blog address and redeem free refills on any-size beverage at the Burlington store location.
(not valid with the already free offer of refillable drinks at all IKEA store)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fun Run.

Jamie here. Just so ya know, in a foot-race between Josh Willms and myself, we both think we would win. Obviously we can only think of one possible resolve.

we are going to have to race. ...as fast as we can.

This all started tonight on this fine thursday, walking down the pier. Wilms ran fast, I thought that I could run faster, so I said "Wilm, I can run faster". Now, If this was just some measly, insignificant difference of opinions, it could have been settled right there on the spot. however, for a victor to be named without proper footwear available, and insufficient prep time or race materials, yadda yadda yadda... the race is set for one week from today. Thursday the 30th of June. mark that day down, history will be made. and luckily for you if you care (or at least use our blog to soothe your boredom bored) This event will be fully covered on this here blog. I have signed the agreement making it even so if I lose.

With the location TBD, this event will include timed scores. A cap gun start. a finish line ribbon. pre-race bets. photo finish. loser buys beer. and a whole lotta foot in the mouth for one of us. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, June 20, 2011

To Each His Own.

In response to jer's eScoot post to which you may note I was visibly not a part of, I have a brief story I would like to share.

A few days ago I was driving out to Niagara On The Lake to hang with the boys until I was forced to wait at the canal bridge. In no particular rush, I wasn't too inconvenienced. But my attention was drawn behind me to a ROARING noise that made me question otherwise. My astute knowledge for Motorcycles indicated to me that this boisterous roaring noise was coming from none other than an 1800cc CVO softtail Harley Davidson. Seated in direct view of my left side review, I had full view of the culprit. Imagine now the most classic biker you can picture. Old tough guy, long hair, handlebar moustache and so much leather you feel bad for cows. Just as I was observing this rather macho specimen, my attention was diverted when around the corner zipped two men (if you can call them that) sitting very poshly, knees together on their very own bright blue scooters. Tooting their horns as they puttered past us, almost tangibly my gaze was pulled back to my side mirror as I witnessed our friend on the hog shutter the most disapproving and insulted expression. as the bridge came down, i'm just glad the two scooter dudes didn't try and give our friend the biker wave, for I fear that could have gotten ugly.

PS. I am not criticizing electric scooters out of jealously, nor do I think they are lame, I just think this event was funny and the timing perfect. Heck, these scooters are pretty dang awesome. So are old men who ride Harley's. After all, to each his own.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Electric Scooters: A friendlier way to travel.

The other weekend was, well, to put it literally: beautiful. I have a neighbour who recently started a business in Old Town Niagara on the Lake renting and selling E-bikes. As a business student I wanted to see what this new venture was all about so Willms, Adam and I went and rented some. Well let me tell you, this electric scooter things is a great time. Wanna hit up some bike paths? Sure! How about rip down the road? Why not! Wanna race? Bring it on baby. These bad boys have some pretty good pick up and max out at a whopping 43 km/h. How awesome is that? I cannot describe the freedom experienced while cruising on one of these, dreads blowing in the wind, spirit free. Also, everyone in Old Town seemed to be jealous of us, pointing, smiling and laughing along with us. Here are a few pics.So if you are looking for something nice to do on a Sunday afternoon with your girlfriend or with your best mates, give eSkoot a call. We highly recommend it. Look how cool.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chapel Time.

We mentioned way back in December when we visited The Ol Stomping Grounds of our plans to re-visit Eden and run some presentations about life after High School. Today was that day. Jer and I were in bright and early to present in the morning Chapel about our individual adventures over the past few years. We talked a lot about what God has done through our experiences, and what He means today in our lives. We told stories and lessons we've learned based around pictures from different worldwide destinations, we'll include those pictures now and if you care to, ask us about any of them- We are always more than happy to share.

Our presentation followed the common theme: "From Eden to _____" because we felt it portrayed our similar starting position to the hundred of kids sitting in the seats in front of us. After all, our whole goal was to inspire and encourage similar experiences for those who were listening.

From Eden To New Orleans (staring years ago)

From Eden To Isreal

From Eden To Egypt

From Eden To Australia

From Eden to Africa

From Eden To Laurier (Our house next year)

From Eden To Bolivia

From Eden To the Open Road (future plans)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Business Juniors.

I have this friend who has this saying. His name was Vidar Gunderson and he is from Norway. During the time we lived in Australia, we became pretty good friends and he would always preface things he said to me with his one favourite phrase. He would say:
"Hey, From Business man, to Business Junior, Listen to what i say... and then he would say what ever it was he was going to say. It might have been about football or money... Thing is, despite his pretty good english- his thick Norwegian accent made whatever he was going to say pretty funny, despite how smart it actually was.

I loved this saying. It reminds me of good times. And today, I had the perfect opportunity to use it.

Just about an hour ago, I was walking home from work, talking on the phone with Willms, when I see down a side street off Lakeshore, to my delight 3 young boys hosting a lemonade sale. I of course took the little detour to assess their operation. I must say i was quite impressed. They were offering: popcorn bags: 50¢, Freezees: $1, and of course Lemonade 50¢.

I walked over anticipating I would be able to give them a few tricks of the trade from my days years ago as a Roadside Refreshment Associate. Remarkably, they needed no mentoring whatsoever. Their operation seemed to be running at maximum efficiency and I must say i was very impressed. I poured out around 6 dollars in change from my shifts tips, so I could purchase one freezee.. plus tip. One thing I do remember from my lemonade stand days is... I made more money from tips than I actually did sales (lemonade sales in kind of a niche market kept afloat by generosity).

As I spilled the coins on the table, and told them they could keep it all, despite only being my pocket change less than 6$- the one kid said "WOW, thanks mister!" as the other kid counted it aloud ...twice.

it was an awesome purchase. A freezee never tasted better, and I was revelling in the good old days where my brother and i actually used to use orange pilons to block our road and cause cars to detour slowly past our stand at the end of the driveway. (great for business- terrible for neighbours and car accidents)

But today the customer service was impeccable. They served me a freezee with a napkin and cut it for me with scissors. Their advertising was well done with handmade signs all along the street, and they had already even incorporate my favourite trick, the bundle sell where they offered lemonade, popcorn and a freezee for $1.50 at a discount of $0.50.

They had covered every area I thought I might help them with. (despite the construction cone trick, which i thought i would keep to myself). Also I noticed hockey sticks, a net and skateboard strewn in the driveway and I realized that they have solved the one problem that I had always struggled with... bordem. They realized that at any given time only one of them had to wait at the booth while the other two played, until someone came along to which they would drop what they were doing and all run over. Genius.

I thought about asking to take a picture of them for the purposes of this blog, but I had chatted with the boys long enough and I could see the mom unmistakably watching through the window. I obviously meant no harm and was totally supportive, but thanks to Dateline, she was getting suspicious.

So i decided to walk away but before i did I told them some wise words. From business man- to business Juniors; Have fun with the lemonade sale. BUT remember don't eat all your merchandise. I could see they had gotten into the popcorn and freezes, which was also mike and my biggest problem.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Meet The Boys Part 2/5: James Grantis

Birth Name: James Anthony Grantis
Credentials: Honours BBA, Wilfrid Laurier; Sandwich Maker Extraordinaire
Bio: If you’ve been following this blog frequently or know me rather well- much of the information that I am about to disclose will likely come as little surprise to you. However, if you do not; Nice to meet you, this is who I am: I live in a great part of the city of St. Catharines, and despite living only a 5 minutes walk from the lake, I am the city kid of this crew. I've slave tirelessly to prove my self to my fellow countrymen, and despite the fact that I rode in a stroller, not a tractor or combine when I was young- they have accepted me as one of their own. I love sports, and competition of any sorts will just about do. I have one brother and I compete with him in some sort of skilled or athletic activity daily. Over the next 5 weeks, I expect no less from my boys. I have lived for at least a few months on three continents, but plan to add to that very soon. Travelling for me is right up there with playing basketball, climbing mountains, exploring cool places, and brushing with danger. One of my favorite writers wrote this quote in my favorite book Into the Wild. He wrote:

“The core of a mans’ spirit comes from his new experiences…with the best joys in life found in one’s passion for adventure.”

- John Krakauer

And despite the very strong spirit adventure that resides in my heart, it has become pretty clear to me that my mind has decided I am a businessman.

So right now I am just living my life. and pretty much figuring it out as I go.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Ancient Stomping Grounds: Col. John Butler

After reading the last post, thankfully, you know that I am safe and that Jamies mission although in vain, produced a fun time for all involved. Now I will inform each of you to the goings on of Wednesday the 1st. A few months ago, Jamie and I wrote about our Old Stomping Gound, Eden High. Last post, Jamie eluded to an elementary school crisis and Col. John Butler, was in the midst of a serious one.

I heard that my old primary school is shutting down.

Naturally, I drop everything, including my cellular device and race off to the rescue. How I expect to save a school from shut down is not important as I think very well on my feet. When I arrived, there were approximately 100 cars parked in the lot, well over capacity. It seemed that many other people had heard the news and were waiting for me to give instructions on how to rescue the place. Before I go any further, let me give you some history, mainly on the name of the school. Colonel John Butler was a dude who fought in a war a long time ago. Ok, continuing on. As I approached the building, I started to hear an orchestra of drums. Good. The battle drums were here. I also heard cheering. Good. People were ready to save my school. However, to my dismay, when I reached the back yard of the school, what I thought was protesting appeared to be a party! I had walked into the final celebration of the school, which when I thought about it, really put me at ease because I literally had no plan. I rather enjoyed seeing some old teachers, chatting about life, telling them that although I look like a rufian, I have half a business degree and reliving the memories of the old school yard. There were musical performances, speeches, a wicked jazz band and best of all: rows and rows of goodies. Mmmm! One of my most memorable interactions from the night was when my little sister and I spoke with our Kindergarten teacher. I went up to Mrs. Scott (who is now much older of course) and quickly told her I had just finished second year. She seemed to ignore me, or not hear, and quickly sparked up conversation with my sister. Julieanne is also going to Laurier next year (awesomeeee!) and told Mrs. Scott she would be entering first year. We then had to leave and as we were walking away, she says to me, "Don't worry Jeremy, you will get to university one day too!" While there is so much wrong with how that makes me feel (why does she think Juls is older than me? I just told her I was in uni, etc etc) I decided just to let it go and have my little sister laugh at me the whole way home.

At the end of the day, it was great to walk the halls of CJB for one last time. Many great memories were had at that school. I got to take home the old jersey I wore when I was a star point gaurd and setter for the school teams. Looks at that dude. You look great little buddy.

So after I realized that the crisis had been averted, not thanks to great planning on the part of the staff at CJB, I headed over to Baergens to watch the game, catch up with my friends and hear about the nice time that they had at the Gorge. I will always remember the secret meet up location in case a similar situation arises in the future. Jamie, your head is on straight and I like that. Keep it up.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Secret secret of a Gorge-ous Day.

Today was a day like any other. It was however, exceptionally beautiful out. I had a rare, but well appreciated day off work, so naturally i waited until 5- (when Jer would be off) and I intended to come down and hangout. (maybe we would root together for the Vancouver Canucks in tonight's hockey game) when 5 rolled around and my texts remained un-responded, I decided to take definitive action and boldly call his house phone. I came to the sad sad conclusion that nobody in today's day and age should be so foolish as to be OUT of their home....and without a cellular device. this is simply a fact. A way of life. It rung, and rung, and I got no response. I immediately (and justifiably so) feared for the worst.

***Pause Story***
Let me take you all back to a different day, with similarly beautiful weather. A day filled with some adventure as well. Jer, Willms and I, about a month ago, did just a little bit of Trail Blazin that you may remember because we blogged about the highlights that same day. What we DIDNT blog about during that fateful day in April was our mundane safety plans. We didn't mention a fact, that I surely intend to mention now. Any safety/adventure expert will tell you (Jer and I included) that it is absolutely crucial to have a meet-up point or safe spot discussed when travelling in a party. If God forbid you get separated during your adventure, both parties will then know where to go. On April 25th, we heeded that warning and the the three of us concurred on a location. A location that could one day be responsible for our very rescue.
***Resume Story***

That day flashed back to me vividly in my panic as I dreaded all the possible things that could have happened to my dear friend Jeremy. I could not stand idly by while he could be hurt, lost or lonely. I had to take action.

I gathered an emergency task force, but alas I could not alarm them with the heavy news that our dear friend may be in peril. So the trip was disguised as a happy hike down to the Gorge, I kept the burden to myself, and prepared the best I could. Lisa came over bringing only the most necessary survival rations: Watermelon, and Strawberries. Adding to that we prepared some PB&J Sandwiches, a few litres of Apple juice, and we were ready to take on whatever came our way.
Nature Survival Tip #1: Bring tasty rations.

Lisa and I met up with Natasha, Steph, Berg, Adam, and Krugs in a parking lot near the gorge, and finally our leisurely hike-disguised-Rescue, could begin. Initially
we thought it necessary to increase our altitude to get a better vantage point from which we could obtain our position. scaffolding unavailable, we utilize what we had around us and scaled a nearby tree.
Nature Survival Tip #2: climb everything climbable.

I discretely determined our coordinates, but it was as I had feared. Our position was to the east of west, and south of north. we certainly had a journey ahead of us, and we set off for our nice picnic... and to save Jer of course.

Upon our decent into the gorge we were instantly thrown into a death-defying situation as our dear friend Adam fell into grave danger as a causal slip had him hanging for his life. Josh Baergen immediately responded and just in the nick of time too. fortunately for his
heroics Adam's life was saved and we could continue on our hike.... err, ... rescue mission.
Nature Survival Tip #3: Save your friends lives.

We continued along the river, until we were startled by the undeniable sounds of a rock slide. Normally, the advice in this situation would be to remain clear of this dangerous location entirely. However, in the moment Tash and I notice a rather large boulder tumbling in the very direction of a cute family of chipmunks dwelling next to two small children, and an elderly lady. As it would just so happen, this assembly was right next to the last remaining herb containing the potential cure for cancer! The hurling rock was gathering speed and Tash and I only had a split second to act if we to prevent the pending disaster. Again, we were just quick enough and innocent lives were spared.

(Note: The small children, cute chipmunks, and nice old lady had to all be removed from the scene prior to the taken photo due to obvious safety concerns. The cancer-curring plant is that mossy plant there to the right, but regrettably could not be removed due to Bylaw 237 under the Cancer Cure vs. Pharmaceutical Profits Act that was legislated by Pfizer during its foundation in 1849.)

As we continued on, we decided to stop for nourishment on the rocks by the river, (The location however, I knew to be conveniently close to our predetermined meeting place- and all the while I was hoping that the sent of our cucumber, Mini-eggs and PB&J would attract all hungry-lonely young men from the woods, and re-unite us with our dear friend.
That was not that case however, but we did occupy the time with delicious snacks, hilarious conversation and the good ol' past time of seeing from how far you can throw one hunk a watermelon to be caught in another persons mouth. The game was an instant classic. but still no Jer.
Nature Survival Tip #4: Never underestimate the life saving skill of mouth-reception. One can not rule out the possibility that both your hands and feet will be occupied at the exact time that your only remaining piece of survival food is coming at you. Without the keen ability to catch it in your mouth, you may starve and die.

Having little luck with the reconnaissance and the 8 o'clock puck drop of the Vancouver game soon taking priority of my time, We decided it time to pack it in and hike back. With one last surge of hope, and in co ordinance with the fifth survival tip, We mastered some cliffs but again were unsuccessful at locating Jer.

With not even a whiff of his dreads the entire time, I thought all hope was lost...

We headed to the Baergen's to watch the game, where to my relief and thrill we were met by a fully nourished, and fully unharmed Jer himself! As it turns out he had some elementary school crisis he had to attend, and all my worrying had been unwarranted. we watched the game together and celebrated a 1-0 victory. To this day, 1 day(s) later, i have carried this secret with me. I now share it with you.

For more Nature tips, Check out Lenn and his must-see and informative video: Click Here