Monday 30 April 2018

Road trippin'

I had a great weekend road trip. The back roads are dry and the snow is gone. This is the first time I took the truck out for an extended drive. Everything works as it should. I need to fix the locking tonneau cover. Other than that everything seems to be solid. The last owner has all terrain tires on it. When the time comes to replace them I may go for footwear that is more civilized since most of the time it will be driven on pavement. I suffered a bit of sticker shock filling it with gas. My car has a small tank and the truck does not and is harder on gas. That is to be expected.

I managed to get from Airdrie to Sibbald, Alberta, go a bit south into Saskatchewan to Empress, Alberta, from there to Golden Prairie, Saskatchewan and end up in Medicine Hat, Alberta for Saturday night. Sunday was the trip home.

If interested, this is at 50.748100, -110.064339 on April 28, 2018.

Better camera, better results

Road trip through rural Saskatchewan on April 28, 2018. While I was driving my travelling companion got this owl with my camera through the passenger window. This was south of Golden Prairie.

Golden Prairie, Saskatchewan grain elevator

April 28, 2018 road trip.

Sunday 29 April 2018

Dan McCharles Park

A small city park in Medicine Hat, Alberta that is hidden in plain sight. On one side of the park is a busy street with lots of traffic and on the other side an established neighbourhood. On early mornings and late evenings it is considerably quieter and quite pleasant . . . a nice place to watch sunrise or moonrise.

At one end of the long and narrow park is a mosaic tiled fountain and pond dedicated to the pioneer doctor Dan McCharles (1891-1962), while the other end is home to a modern metal sculpture. Also present in the park is a Heritage Tree, a large Dragon Spruce situated near the pond.

One of my favourite spots to sip a coffee on an early summer morning while watching the deer.

Lots of green in the photos (which were taken during the summer of 2017). Yes folks, summer is coming!

Friday 27 April 2018

A sure sign of spring

The motorcycle is out of storage and back on the road. It has gathered a few layers of dirt from sitting in a barn since October of last year. The tire pressure needs to be checked before I go any real distance on it. It could use a rinse. Nevertheless it is back on the road.

Road trip . . . ?

Trying to arrange one. The prairie is drying up and the insects have not yet appeared. The weather is supposed to be decent and the hills may be alive with the sound of music so I will attempt to take advantage.

I am looking forward to seeing some green. Some rain should fix that. This is a long abandoned house by Cessford, Alberta April 22, 2018. It would fit right in a western movie.

Thursday 26 April 2018

Abandoned Alberta

Rural County of Newell, Alberta April 22, 2018.

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Some Saskatchewan School Signs

At one time there were over five thousand school districts in the province of Saskatchewan. Many of these schools were located in what now seems like "the middle of nowhere," but at the time they were built, each of these little one-room schools would have been surrounded by several homesteads. Another school was often located just four or five miles away.

The kids' dad might drive them to school in a horse and buggy, or maybe they'd walk or ride horseback each morning while carrying a lunch their mom had packed in a tin pail. After school they'd most likely have chores to do before supper, then homework by candlelight or oil lamp followed by bedtime.

Those were different times.

Although most of the school buildings are now gone, signs have been erected at many of the former school locations. A special thanks to those who have taken the time and effort to raise these signs which I always find such a welcome sight on my back road travels.

"Thank you" for remembering the past.

The photo above is Gascoigne School and is near Burstall.

Pine Coulee School is in the Shaunavon area.

Observation School is near the ghost town of Tunstall.

Oadas School is in the Fox Valley area.

Braddock School is near the ghost town of Braddock.

Neidpath School is southwest of Neidpath.

Highfield School is north of Burnham.

Westdale School is near Lake Alma.

Sidewood School is near the ghost town of Sidewood.

Tuesday 24 April 2018


What is left of a stone house near Cessford, Alberta. The house was built about one hundred years ago and was occupied for just a few years. I have posted this before on a prior visit. This time on April 22, 2018 it is in worse shape. A few more pieces are missing. The winds in Alberta are unforgiving. Someone is trying to save what is left as there are now metal supports bracing the walls. 

It looks lonely in black and white.

Monday 23 April 2018

Check the windows

Nice to have spring finally arrive. I took a short trip on Sunday and ran across this abandoned farm near Cessford, Alberta. I am not much of a fan of taking photos of abandoned vehicles, this one did have some character.

Behind the car is an abandoned house.

I learned to check trees, old barns, and abandoned houses for owls from a friend of mine. I never really paid much attention before. Now I try to give them a look. There was a Great Horned Owl in the window. So the place is not totally abandoned, there is at least one resident.

Sunday 22 April 2018

So, it was a little damp in rural Alberta today

Flooded farm field. 

Saint Columba Anglican Church and Cemetery

A sign at the gate of Saint Columba Anglican Church and Cemetery states: "Built by the early settlers to the glory of God.Consecrated on November 2, 1898."

It was one of the earliest churches built in the district, and although regular services ceased in 1959, Saint Columba is still host to occasional weddings and baptisms and the cemetery is still in service.  The site is maintained by descendants of the early church members and was declared a Municipal Heritage Property in 1997.  This little church is near Tuxford, Saskatchewan and will have its one hundred and twentieth anniversary later this year. 

"Charming" is an understatement.

Saturday 21 April 2018

Friday 20 April 2018

McConnell, Manitoba

Most of McConnell, Manitoba in one photo
The ghost town of McConnell, Manitoba is a typical Prairie story. The town came to being with the arrival of the railway in 1911, and the town disappeared when the railway closed in 1978.

Today, there are two buildings, two grain elevators and a few small farm buildings with some cows in the area.

The town was never very large - not much more than a dozen buildings. The school building served the area until 1967, and the remaining students went to nearby towns for their education. The building served as a community centre for a short time until the town was deserted.

Former school in McConnell, Manitoba
The town church was used as a residence for some time.

Former church in McConnell, Manitoba
There are two grain elevators in McConnell, former Manitoba Pool elevators along the railway right-of-way.

Grain elevators in McConnell
More on McConnell's grain elevators.

Steve Boyko

Thursday 19 April 2018

Whiska Creek

I often make road trips during the week and that means restaurants, town offices and gas stations are open in the small towns.  I like to support the local businesses when I can and things can be pretty quiet on the weekends. On this occasion I was travelling in the R.M. of Whiska Creek on a Thursday and, as I often do, I stopped at the R.M. office in Vanguard, Saskatchewan.  Maybe there was an old school in the area... 

I talked with the secretary and as soon as she knew what I was looking for she said, "You'll want to talk to this guy," and promptly made a phone call. Within a minute I was talking to a long-time resident and R.M. employee who was not only generous with his time but even photocopied part of the municipality map, marked the locations of two old schools and the best route for the current winter conditions.

At this point I'm more than happy with my windfall and then, when we shake hands, he hands me a business card and says, "Hope you enjoy the sites and if you get stuck or have a problem, don't hesitate to call."  Well, sometimes a "thank you" just doesn't seem like quite enough. 

Did I mention that it was cold and everything had a blanket of blanket of snow?  I'd take photos for a few minutes, run to the car to warm up, then repeat. Lucky for me both schools were fairly close to the road.

Burton School is northeast of Vanguard and sits on top of a hill.

Bonus: A sign where Arnold School used to stand.

For some reason, the landowner stripped Easby School of its bricks and all that's left is a skeleton. Nice skeleton it is too.