Thursday 30 April 2015

Important review

Tried this tonight. Interesting stuff, 8.2% alcohol. I think it has too much of a bourbon influence. I would prefer it to be more of a hint of bourbon. Otherwise I like it. 

Bernie the lawyer

I used to work in a financial management firm. Well, I used to work a lot of places. One of the people who I dealt with was Bernie the lawyer who did most of the legal work for the company through his law firm. Bernie is a great name for a lawyer or even an accountant. Some names just fit with some occupations.

Bernie was one of those unique types. When I knew him he was in his late fifties. He was always sharply dressed and never had a hair out of place. I was at his office once when he was boxing up his files as he was retiring and he was wearing his very first pair of blue jeans. For some reason he was immensely proud of this fact. I was amused, he was kind of a fastidious type. He always introduced himself as "Bernard", never "Bernie".

Strangely I had never spoke to him over the phone. Then one time I called him as I needed a quick answer on some documents he had sent over. I did not know that Bernie had a particular quirk when on a phone call. Every time he was finished his part of the conversation he would say “Over”. As in, “Everything should have been signed by the third party before it was sent to your office. I reviewed it personally before sending it by courier. Over.”

After a few minutes of this I thought the guy was trying to be funny. After all, we were talking on a phone, not ship-to-shore radio. I did not know that he really did this with everyone on a regular basis. He said “Over” again so for fun I responded with, “For sure, for sure good neighbour. That’s a big ten-four. You are wall to wall and treetop tall. I got your twenty and I will catch you on the flip-flop.”

Silence. Click.

It became clear that Bernie did not have a sense of humour in the traditional sense. He also took himself way too seriously. I never had another phone conversation with him again.


I was scrolling through Google Maps tracing an old rail line. The line runs north/south crossing Township Road 320. It is only about fifty-five minutes from where I live so I took a quick run there after work one day.

Not much is there. I could not find any information on this place online. The origin of the name is unknown. I imagine it was a railroad siding at one point. The tracks and ties were torn up years ago and the barest outline of what once was a rail line exists.

Looking north from Township Road 320. April 9, 2015.

Apparently this building is an old CP Rail railroad shack. The rail line is behind running along the trees. When rail lines were abandoned it really affected areas. There was more here at one time.

Wednesday 29 April 2015

I have the space, I might as well use it

I kind of started this blog with the intention of doing a bit of writing. I was reviewing the posts and doing a little blog housekeeping and noticed that I really have not done much writing. 

Time to work on that. 

Big Valley, Alberta

Less than four hundred people live here. For some reason it looks bigger until you look for a gas station and cannot find one. If there is one it is well hidden. This is one of my issues when heading out to the countryside, gas stations can be very few and very far between.

Apparently there was a coal mining operation a few miles north of town years ago. I found that out after my visit when I was doing a little research. It had snowed the day before and some of the side roads are gravel. With a little moisture sometimes they turn to mud so sometimes it pays to err on the side of caution.

Founded in 1907. Like a lot of Alberta towns, it started with ranching and then coal. The rail line has been preserved and steam train rides are offered from Big Valley to Stettler during the tourist season. The station was completed in 1912 and is the original.

Train station from the main road.

Big Valley, Alberta train station April 26, 2015 
View from the tracks. It was closed when I was there. The pros of checking out stuff at this time of year is that I usually have the place to myself. The cons are that places are usually closed.

Big Valley, Alberta  train station April 26, 2015

Big Valley, Alberta train station April 26, 2015
They made an effort to keep things authentic.

Big Valley, Alberta  train station April 26, 2015

Big Valley, Alberta  train station April 26, 2015

Big Valley, Alberta  train station April 26, 2015
Passenger trains that were not accessible until tourist season. The tracks end at the grain elevator. The original rail line extended many miles south to a number of communities. From just past the grain elevator the tracks have been ripped up and the steel salvaged.

Big Valley, Alberta old passenger cars April 26, 2015
I would like to get a view of the inside of this one.

Big Valley, Alberta old passenger cars April 26, 2015
Big Valley, Alberta grain elevator April 26, 2015

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Bleriot Ferry

I have been on this ferry before and there is a post on it. I was out and about April 26, 2015 and decided to make a side trip as I thought the ferry would be open. I was a little surprised to find out that it wasn't running, last year I believe it was operational by this time. I expect it to be going any day since the Red Deer river is clear and not running high and winter looks like it is over. I thought they would have at least taken down the flag for the winter. 

Spring has arrived

Lots of young ones are out. There are lots of farms right up against where I live. Its not the case but sometimes you get the idea cattle outnumber people around here.

Monday 27 April 2015

Elkton, Alberta

After getting sick of being sick I took the bike for a ride after work. I should mention that this was on March 26, 2015. Riding a motorcycle in March in Alberta is a little unexpected. I really should have waited until I was completely healthy but patience is not one of my virtues. In my numerous travels on Highway 22 I had seen a barely noticeable sign pointing the way to Elkton. I turned off Highway 22 west onto Township Road 312 and quickly found what was left of Elkton. I have no idea if someone is still using the school. There is a ball diamond in back. A little bit down the road is a neat looking abandoned two storey home that looks like it was part of the original town. It is also on someone's land with a mobile home in front of it that the occupant is living in. The place apparently had a post office many years ago. You find some interesting things on the back roads. From what I saw on Google Maps I thought there was only a campground in the area.

March 26, 2015

I am sure someone can figure out what this structure was for.

Sunday 26 April 2015

Beef jerky for breakfast

Got up at a decent hour, the sun was shining and the air was chilly enough to decide to ride the motorcycle another day. I borrowed my sister's dog and took a road trip. I filled the car with gas, grabbed a coffee, and Maggie the dog and I shared beef jerky from the local butcher as we hit the road. I got to strike some destinations off my list and Maggie got to explore as well. On the way back I grabbed a burger and had two plain patties cooked for her. If we weren't friends before we are now. A day well spent. 

Water Valley Church

I am not particularly religious, I just like the looks of some buildings. Churches have character and I like the look of this one. I believe it is currently a Catholic church.

April 4, 2015

Saturday 25 April 2015

Jasper, Alberta

I have been to Banff and Jasper several times. Out of the two my favourite will always be Jasper. Banff seems to get more attention and tourists. You will usually see tourists from all over the world in Banff. The Trans Canada Highway is four lanes going through Banff, it is only two lanes going by Jasper. The town of Jasper is a bit smaller and quieter which is why I love it. If you ever find yourself in Jasper make sure you check out the Jasper Park Lodge. It is a few miles out of Jasper and well worth seeing. I recommend you do not stay at the Lodge. I have stayed there a few times and you can stay overnight in Jasper itself for less money and be more comfortable. You frequently see wildlife wander through the town at just about any time of day. I misplaced the date for these, all I know for sure is it is sometime in the last ten years. 

Friday 24 April 2015

Target practice

It was probably a nice mailbox at one time

Overly ambitious road trip planned

I have traveled Highway 3 (The Crowsnest Highway) from Alberta to Hope, BC before. This time I would like to try it by motorcycle. I have never taken the ferry from the lower mainland to Vancouver Island and that is on my list as well. This is one of my favourite roads. Getting all the way to Ucluelet on Vancouver Island might be pushing it depending on the time available.

Highway 3 runs through mountains practically all the way from the Alberta border to the coast. It also runs very close to the Canada/USA border in several places. 

I would like to take this route back. Again, I have traveled this road many times by car, never by motorcycle. Less travel time, better highway with more lanes in many place. Like everything it is being able to find the time to do what you want.

Calgary, Alberta cityscape April 21, 2015

Tried my hand at a few pictures of the downtown. I parked my bike where the pin is marked.

Centre Street Bridge leading into the downtown crossing over the Bow River. Running parallel to the Bow River in the foreground is Memorial Drive.

It is getting warm enough to use the motorcycle.

Taken from the pedestrian footbridge crossing over Memorial Drive and over the Bow River into the downtown.

The start of the pedestrian footbridge looking towards downtown Calgary.

Stairway leading up to where I was parked. At the bottom is public parking and Memorial Drive.

Thursday 23 April 2015

Victoria, British Columbia

There are things you wish your parents had taught you. 

I admire highly organized people as it is a skill that I lack. I am more of a person who makes do with a "rough sort" of my stuff. I have become more organized over the years. It is a struggle. I really wish I was one of those people that can effortlessly and creatively have their stuff neatly labelled and categorized. I have got better simply over the years because some jobs over the years have imposed being organized upon me. 

Which brings me to these photos. I was in Victoria, BC and there was a seal in the harbour thar was tame enough you could hand feed it fish and even touch it. I know it was in May when I went however I cannot remember the exact year. This is what happens when you fail to label and organize things.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Somewhat interesting stuff in the middle of nowhere

I had taken a side road a week ago on a weekend and ran across a Seventh Day Adventist Church in a rural area east of where I live. There is the church built in 1949, a large building in back big enough to store farm equipment, a fair sized graveyard nearby and across the road is a very small school. There are two houses nearby and no others in the immediate vicinity. I looked up the church online and it still holds services and the grounds are extremely well kept. I could not find any information on the school. This sort of thing is not that unusual. Driving along on secondary highways you will see signs that point to turnoffs to bible institutes of differing denominations situated in the middle of nowhere. Being removed from temptation likely helps you to study. 

What did we ever do before Google Maps?

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Somewhat ambitious road trip planned

One of my goals this summer is to strike a few destinations off my list. I have three of the seven ferries in this province left to visit. I figure I may be able to get to the two most northern ones in a long weekend or stretch it into a four day weekend. Those being the La Crete Ferry and the Shaftesbury Ferry. If I had the time another 250 kilometres from the La Crete Ferry would put me in the Northwest Territories. I have flown to Yellowknife before so I have been further north. I have not been further north than Grande Prairie in Alberta by road. 

Getting the hard part of the journey out of the way is my plan. I can catch the next destination on the way back.

And off home. There aren't a lot of options when it comes to routes to take home. A large part of it will be retracing my steps on the way back.