Thoughts From the Road Less Travelled

I was in Mississauga last week for an ECOO Conference planning meeting.  It was driving on the way home that got me thinking.  First, you hit the 401 and, of course, the volume of traffic can be predicted and I wasn’t let down.  The volume never seems to let up west-bound until you hit Kitchener or Woodstock.  By the time I reached London, I was ready for a change of pace.

I know from many trips to the Forest City that there are a number of ways to continue the trip west on a more leisurely pace so I headed south on Highway 4 and then west on a county road.  Rhubarb has been available here for a couple of weeks and so I thought that I would take a drive through Shedden, which I’m sure everyone knows is the Rhubarb Capital of Ontario, and annually has the Rosy Rhubarb Festival.  I didn’t know, off hand, what days it was on but if it was on during my trip, I’d stop to make some purchases.  Alas, the festival is next week so I kept on driving.

Elgin County is very scenic and I remembered that one of my son‘s episodes from the Canadian Pickers’ show (he’s an editor) was shot here.  In the particular episode, the pickers found a bell that might have been on the train that hit and killed Jumbo the Elephant.  I had a conversation with Andy once and asked “Who buys the stuff that these guys pick?”  “Dad, you wouldn’t believe how popular this stuff is!”  

So, it becomes no surprise that I drive by a place with a huge collection of gas products including one of these…

A little further down the road, I saw this big collection.

I had to stop and turn around to take this picture.  Even from the road, it was an interesting looking collection.  After I took the picture, I wondered if this farm had been on the show.  Then, I previewed the picture to make sure that it was good – I’d have to do some cropping to get rid of the car window but that’s OK.  Finally, I noticed that my cellphone had picked up a wireless internet access point.  Very cool.  Old meets new.

I wonder if these people watch Canadian Pickers.  Sure, it’s on a Cable Channel  (History Channel and OLN) but that doesn’t mean much anymore.  In fact, History puts so much of its original content online for viewing.  You can just pick an episode and watch it anywhere that you’re connected, provided you have a good enough internet connection.

I continued my drive … and continued to think.

Over the past week, I had read a couple of articles somewhere about 10 Things Our Children Won’t Experience.  One of the things that is on the list should be VCRs.  As I’m driving and thinking, I’m wondering how long it would be before we add DVD players to that list.

After all, when services like the History Channel put their shows online, and internet access is available everywhere, where’s the need?  You can start to envision the internet as the biggest PVR on the planet.  The writing is on the wall.  How many of your favourite (or formerly favourite) VCR rental places are still in business?  How many DVD rental places?  When was the last time you used a VCR?  DVD?

The speed of technological change can make one dizzy at times and yet it’s a reality.  I suppose it’s sad but there will come a time when many things that we use regularly will be “picked” by someone because it’s a collectable from days gone by.

Maybe we should all periodically get off the high speed freeways every now and again and just enjoy.

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