Ohio taught me the importance of college football

When a college football stadium fits more people than the Third Reich megalomaniac Berlin Olympic stadium, you know it is a sport to be taken seriously. Is there a sport in Finland that gathers an audience of 90 000 for a practice game? Hint: in Finland, ice hockey draws bigger audiences than any other sport and the Finnish Hockey League has an average of 4 300 viewers per game.


My Alabama-born boss takes it very seriously. That’s why I am officially the fan of Alabama Crimson tide. Sorry Columbus, you were nice and all but this is a political decision. Roll tide!


Back to Ohio. Overall, I was hugely impressed with the Ohio State campus. It felt like a city within a city, including a power plant, several parks and some of the most beautiful buildings in Columbus. Click on the map below to explore the campus area.


We were there on a Sunday, wondering why so many people were coming in and out of the halls so I sneaked into one of the buildings. I backed out quietly once I read the sign that said “exams in progress”.

University Hall

Continuing my series from Detroit of ice hockey arenas shot from the car window, I also managed to find the Nationwide Arena, the home stadium of Columbus Blue Jackets.


On West 5th street, I was introduced to the busiest Dairy Queen of Columbus, Ohio. We couldn’t figure out what makes the location so special but our guides told us that the drive-in queue often goes all the way around and sometimes even blocks traffic. Seriously, it’s just ice cream!


A little before midnight, we decided to go to the nearby drug store and stopped for a blizzard at the DQ. That is, soft ice with crushed cookies (Oreos, of course). While we were digging through our pockets to find Dollar coins instead of Euro cents, the lady who bought a blizzard before us handed her card to the cashier. I tried to tell her that it’s okay, we have the cash and that we just need to find it. But she would not take any of it and insisted on paying our blizzard. Such kindness, thank you!

That is two important lessons of the American culture in one stop: people are extremely nice and do not mess with college football. These are lessons that Hollywood does not teach you.

We visited Ohio on our way back north towards Toronto. The second time we stopped in Cleveland for the most amazing wedding.

The Canadian Bacon is a 3-week road trip in April – May 2015 around the Great Lakes starting and ending in Chicago.

VultrCloud Web Hosting

The web has exploded in popularity over the last couple of years. The sheer volume of websites is an indication of the number of resources it takes to host them. And due to the popularity of the web, the bandwidth requirements for web hosting have skyrocketed, and that’s why services like a wordpress hosting provider is used a lot with wordpress sites.

A new web hosting company, Vultr, wants to turn the tide on this trend by offering an affordable cloud solution called VultrCloud.

Cloud Servers and Cloud Apps

The idea behind Vultr is to make web hosting affordable by providing cloud servers and a cloud-hosted app. Instead of paying for a single server (which most companies do), VultrCloud is meant to be billed based on the number of users you have, not just the number of devices in your home or office. This makes it extremely cost-effective to use.

According to Vultr’s press release, if you have 20 users in your home, you’ll only have to pay for $0.49 per user per month. You can even kick your users off if you want and keep the hosting account free.

The app is built on the AWS cloud services and, unlike some apps that are hosted on your own servers (think Microsoft Office), VultrCloud has full control over its data. You also don’t have to worry about data theft because the app is stored in the cloud.

Vultr also says they’ve cracked the client-side encryption algorithms used by HTTPS sites. In other words, they offer to protect your web traffic from prying eyes.

Where to Use VultrCloud

Not all services make the transition from an on-premise to a cloud-hosted solution. Since VultrCloud works seamlessly with their on-premises infrastructure, you can buy a VultrCloud plan from Vultr.

The company says it’s currently available in all 50 states, UK, Australia and New Zealand. They’ll be looking to expand their offerings to more locations soon, with an online option available in April 2016.

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There are a few things you should keep in mind before using VultrCloud:

The service works at the server level, so if you don’t have your own servers, you need to add one. You can use Vultr’s pricing calculator to figure out the costs and know what your share of the cost will be. As of right now, Vultr offers a free tier with 500GB of storage. This is sufficient for most websites, but you won’t be able to use unlimited storage due to Amazon’s Terms of Service. This limits you to uploading and caching one file per hour. If you want more space, you’ll need to spend at least $9.99 per month.

Thanks y’all!

The Canadian Bacon is a 3-week road trip in April – May 2015 around the Great Lakes starting and ending in Chicago. This is a thank you note to everyone I met along the way.

Those twenty days moved me both literally and figuratively. You made the fast-paced road trip around the Great Lakes worth the thousands of miles. The miles I can quantify, over 4 300 in total, but not the experiences I had along the way.

We had only seen each other briefly before. Our previous encounter probably only lasted as long as a firm handshake in a conference room of a 5-star downtown Cleveland hotel. Spending nights at your inflatable, self-uninflating air mattress is an upgrade. Sampling vegetarian Indian food at another downtown Cleveland hotel is a happy Déjà vu.


Waking up 3 minutes before the sunrise (6:32 a.m.) to immortalize it over the lake is the perfect morning. Assembling a Costco bicycle is a vacation adventure. Trying to keep up on a trampoline with a five-year old girl is enough exercise for three weeks.

I’m looking forward to our next chance to meet. But promise me that we will spend more time together. Because it was the best of times.

Thank you, Maureen.

Thank you all.

P.S. Because “English is not my native language” I would like to ask you to help me by suggesting improvements to the text in the comments section below.

Motor City drive-by

The Canadian Bacon is a 3-week road trip in April – May 2015 around the Great Lakes starting and ending in Chicago. 

There is nothing in Detroit. Why would you want to go there?

It’s derelict, empty and bankrupt but yet I find myself wanting to explore and understand the former capital of car manufacturing. If there is nothing in Detroit, where did it all go? Could it rise again?

Despite my pleas of discovering Detroit we only had time for a quick stop. The destinations on this trip are all about family and right now there was no one to visit in Detroit. We did however take a small detour to 8 Mile Road to see where my girlfriend’s father had grown up.

On our way to the tunnel leading to Canada, we quickly passed Joe Louis arena, the legendary home of the Detroit Red Wings. The fans like to throw octopuses on the ice to delay the game, which explains that huge purple one looking over the stairs.

Windsor was waiting on the Canadian side of the tunnel, so our rental SUV kept moving. Don’t worry Detroit, I will be back. Maybe next time we get to spend the night together.

Lake Michigan from east and west

The Canadian Bacon is a 3-week road trip in April – May 2015 around the Great Lakes starting and ending in Chicago.

While our stop in Chicago could be characterized as a short man staring up at high steel and glass structures, the time in western Michigan was radically different. That’s the perfect start for a 3 week tour of the flyover country of USA.

Food-wise we took a trip from deep dish pizza, that we ate twice in 24 hours, and massive eggs Benedict at Lou Mitchell’s in Chicago to the breakfast of champions home-made banana bread French toasts, muffuletta and quesadillas in west Michigan.  Best food out of all those? The homemade Muffuletta that was new to me is a better version of any subway sandwich with plenty of olives and deli meat.

I was underwhelmed by the deep dish pizza and have to say it doesn’t make the the top of my pizza crust list. Yes it’s like a pie crust but I was left the feeling that I would have enjoyed the special tomato sauce and sausages more from a lower dish crust.

Scenery-wise: I’ve seen Burj Khalifa in Dubai, currently the worlds tallest building but the density of sky reaching buildings in Chicago is what made it stunning. We decided to walk among the tall ones and visit the navy pier with the 8 hours we had before getting our road trip started.

Discovering the rural communities of west Michigan doesn’t happen on feet. You need a four-wheeler just to get to the backyard and the backyard is big. There’s even a pond construction, perfect for shooting skeet or time trialing around on the ATV known here as the “quad”. I somehow managed to blow the tire but according to reports that has already been fixed and I am good to go when we stop by there on our way back to Chicago.  A few towns, over the wind was howling and the scenery was like a set from a modernized western just waiting for a six shooter duel. A cold Monday in April seemed to have scared off the tourists for who Grand Haven was evidently built for. Submitting into evidence: miles long sandy beach at the lake and stores that are open only in the summer.

One thing these two completely different worlds share is the love for Lake Michigan. A lake like a sea but no sharks or salt as the locals say.

Next part of the Canadian Bacon adventure will be about my love affair with Detroit.