Ahhh… the majesty of the open road.
Music carefully selected for a mix CD.
Four friends piled into a pick up truck, barrelling down the highway at 110KM/h heading for the big city.
Yes my friends I am talking about a road trip.
This past weekend Brent Chittenden, Ryan P, Tall Ryan and myself decided it was time to head to the Greater Toronto Area to look for some toys. Our previous road trip was for 80’s Toy Expo. That trip was a lot of fun. It was time for us to go on another tour. There are two toy shows coming up in October, unfortunately one of them doesn’t work out for our schedules. So with a burning desire to find some toys we piled in my truck and headed south.
Now you may be thinking why are we heading to the GTA (234 km round trip) to look for toys? Well the answer is simple: better selection. When you live in the Barrie area you don’t have a lot of places where you can buy toys. Sure there is the Blue Beetle (which I’ve bought quite a few lately) and another Action-Figure-Oriented store. But other than those two choices all we have is the regular retail giants in town. And since the GBA (Greater Barrie Area) doesn’t have the population density that the GTA has, some toys sit on the pegs forever. If they don’t move, new stuff can’t take their place. This is why it is fun to heading to a different town to see what’s available.
Everybody had an idea of what we were looking for on our trip. G.I. Joe is always the top of my list and Tall Ryan and I had a couple cases of new G.I. Joe figures to pick up. Marvel Universe figures were also on my list. As well was some True Heroes vehicles (True Heroes is a budget army toy, that works with G.I. Joe and were on sale for 40% this weekend). One of the True Heroes vehicles that are on sale was a C130 Hercules cargo plane. It is pretty big… actually it is big enough to be cool!
Brent had a wish list as well. Captain America figures were one of the items on his list. Ryan P always keeps an eye out for DC figures and Transformers (and we’ve corrupted him because now he has bought a couple G.I. Joe figures).
On the trip down HWY 400 we talked about what we wanted to find. This is helpful, because not only are you looking for what you want, you can look for someone else as well. It makes the trip more enjoyable.
Buying toys is fun, but the trip itself is more fun. You may have read on Brent’s last column about “Speed up, get out!”, and this trip wasn’t different. This trip we talked about making things better by “filling them with Ninja’s” or the deleted scene from Phantom Menance where Watto says “No money, no spaceship, no pizza!” (well not a real deleted scene, but it would be funny). Plus Brent’s impression of Yoda… well… I am glad we were stuck in traffic because if he did it while I was driving, this weeks column would have been an obituary for us because I was laughing so hard we would have crashed. The friendships that we have developed are the best thing about hanging out. We drive the whole day all over the city, and the last stop is just as fun as the first stop.
So what did I get? I am glad you asked.
The main goal of the trip was to pick up Tall Ryan’s and my cases of G.I. Joe figures and vehicles. I picked up the complete Wave 8 figures which include the G.I. Joe Renegades Cobra Commander, and the first two vehicles of the G.I. Joe 30th anniversary collection.
I found the Fantastic Four 4 pack at Planet Hobby. This set is everywhere right now, but I found the Future Foundations costume variant. I’m not a big fan of the F4 blue costume version of these figures, but the white version is awesome. Unfortunately I had to pay a premium price for the set. It is a variant and very difficult to find. The crazy thing about finding it at that store, the regular blue version was selling for the same price as the white FF version. Now I can’t wait until next spring when the Marvel Universe Spider-Man in FF costume comes out. It will then complete my set.
At a Toys Toys Toys store I found Thor movie figures. I picked up a light up Destroyer and a Lady Sif figure. I have been looking for the Warrior’s 3. I found Volstagg and Hogun at Fan Expo. I didn’t pick them up yet because I was waiting for Fandral. I didn’t see anything about a Lady Sif action figure yet. When I looked into it this morning, Lady Sif is a wave 2a figure. I paid a lot of money for her. I was relieved when I checked eBay this morning to see that she is selling for double of what I paid for her. Plus she is a rare figure on eBay (at time of writing, there is only one auction on eBay).
I have no doubt that our little “toy collecting alliance” will embark on more road trips in the future. It is just too much fun. Someday we may have to rent a bus to accommodate the amount of people we take with us… and the multitude of purchases we make. I urge you to grab your friends, pile into a vehicle and head to a different town to see what you can find. Whether it is looking for comics or buying toys like us, you will have lots of fun, and strengthen your friendships too.