Friday, May 24, 2019

Pipe Mountain Coaster

Waiting to ride the Pipe Mountain Coaster...
Thunderbirds are go!
The Pipe Mountain Coaster at Revelstoke, BC is described on their website as an "exhilarating ride...4 km of twists and turns across ski runs, between glades and through a tunnel while traveling up to 42km/hour."

We camped in the area during our summer 2018 road trip for the express purpose of trying it out.

We ended up doing it three times. The first time we went down, the goof in front of us kept his brakes on for the entire ride. He was completely oblivious to the backed up riders behind him who wanted to do it the way it should be done... fast!

The staff at the bottom acknowledged our frustration and disappointment and gave us a another free ride.






Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Wind runner



During our recent surfin' safari at Tofino on Vancouver Island we saw this fun little landsurfer cruising up and down the beach at Cox Bay.


Friday, May 17, 2019

Everybody's gone surfing...


Tofino is ground zero for the surf culture on Vancouver Island.

Surfing is as much an attitude as it is a sport it seems. Harcore surfers tend to live a minimalist lifestyle. Owning stuff would tie them down to one spot and all the hardcore surfers I have talked to were transients, following the big waves around the globe. Also, owning stuff requires a job to buy stuff and these people work as little as they need to. Not because they are lazy -- far from it -- but because time spent working is less time spent on a beach.

In Tofino, it's common to see young adults cycling to the local beaches first thing in the morning with their boards strapped to the side of the bike. A lot of them have this almost Buddha-like expression of contentment and satisfaction of their faces. To steal a phrase: "The worst day surfing is better than the best day working."


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Authentic vintage

Abandoned gas station in Oregon...
The remains of an old gas station in Oregon...
Unlike the previous post, this gas station on an Oregon roadside is less vintage and more derelict.

I wonder: Did the driver of the last car to fill up here realize  that the pumps would forever fall silent behind them?

Old gas pumps long stopped running...
Forlorn and forgotten...


Monday, May 13, 2019

Vintage

A Texaco gas station circa 1965...
A gas station out of time...
All shiny and new looking this classic Texaco gas station looks like it slipped through a time warp to arrive in 2019 from the year 1965.

In reality, it's a 'set' outside Coombs in BC. It's actually the storefront for an auto restoration business that specializes in classic cars.

Friday, May 10, 2019

A flurry of flamingos

A stand of flamingos at the Calgary Zoo...
Flamingos on display at the zoo in Calgary AB...
Although a group of birds is known as a flock, many gatherings of birds have more specific names. For example, a flock of crows is known as a murder while a flock of owls is known as a parliament.

Which is weird since owls are solitary birds not known for flocking.

I think a group of flamingos should be known as a 'flurry'. It has a nice alliteration. However, to find out what a group of flamingos is really called just hover your mouse icon over the image above.


Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Human racing...

Life is a stroll not a sprint...
Don't be too quick to race through life...
In the First World, we are obsessed with setting goals and then chasing them with single-minded determination. That finish line beckons us to run faster, to beat everyone else in the race to reach it... and as soon as we sprint past the line what do we see? Another finish line in the distance. And so we race onward with grim determination.

When you are chasing a never-ending succession of finish lines, you can lose sight of the beautiful things -- big and small -- that are passing by you. Sometimes it's okay to slow down, leave the track, take your shoes off and enjoy the feeling of cool grass tickling your toes and warm sun on your face.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Knotty Owls

Brian of Ladysmith with his knotty owl...
A magic owl works its stuff...
This is Brian of Ladysmith with one of his carved wood creations. We ran into each other on a somewhat remote stretch of a local river. I was going to try a paddleboard experiment which had the potential for major failure.

Brian offered me one of his handmade good luck charms which I gratefully took. He carves them from assorted beach wood that he gathers and hands them out to strangers that he encounters during his travels.

My experiment was a complete disaster. It ended with me nearly getting swept downstream and losing all my gear.

Brian's carving must have worked its voodoo since things didn't turn out as bad as they could have.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Grass naps

Best of friends share a patch of grass to catch some ZZZs.
Dogs have so much to teach us...
Grass and sun... made for snoozin'...

Snoozin' in Tofino, BC...
Splendor in the grass...

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Bonneville

A classic Pontiac Bonneville...
That's a L-O-N-G car!
On a recent trip to Oceanside on Vancouver Island, I came across this classic Pontiac Bonneville, probably from the mid-1960s.

Just look at the size of that trunk! You could put a swimming pool in there. Or a half dozen dead bodies. Just sayin'...

Monday, April 29, 2019

Elkhorn Johnny

The unofficial mayor of Elkhorn Montana...
The mayor is in session...
While meandering the dusty streets of the ghost town of Elkhorn Montana we had the pleasure to meet Elkhorn Johnny as he referred to himself, the unofficial 'mayor'.

Originally living the surfer lifestyle in southern California, he moved back to a long-held family property in Elkhorn following the 911 attacks. He has lived there ever since eking out a living selling curios,crafts, rocks and collected herbs.

The mayor's residence...
Living life off the grid in Montana...



Friday, April 26, 2019

She's sees sea stacks by the seashore

A sea stack near Botanical Beach on Vancouver Island...
A small forest grows out of a sea stack near Botanical Beach...
She would see this particular sea stack near Port Renfrew, BC...

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Elkhorn

Elkhorn's original saloon and dance hall...
The original saloon of Elkhorn...
Elkhorn Montana is a ghost town located about forty minutes off the nearest major roadway. At one time it was home to 2500 people when it was the centre of the local silver mines.

It's unusual for the fact that alongside the decrepit and decaying 150-year-old buildings is a smattering of modern ranch homes and trailers that are home to a handful of inhabitants.

It must be an odd experience to walk down the dusty streets among the ruins of the past from two centuries ago...

Living with the ghosts of the past...

Monday, April 22, 2019

Wasting Away

A wreck bakes in the Montana sun...
A relic from decades ago slowly succumbs to the Montana elements...
A weathered rusted car on a Montana backroad...

Friday, April 19, 2019

Make time for the big rocks first...

A cairn of beach rocks on a Vancouver Island beach...
Have u got the stones to fully live your life?
Motivational speaker Stephen Covey is often credited with the parable of The Big Rocks... the idea that the key to productivity and success is dealing with your 'big rocks' first.

I came across the cairn above while hiking a Vancouver Island west coast beach. It's a perfect metaphor for the same concept. To find balance in your life, you need to start with the big rocks first. 

The small rocks should come after that. Take care not to pile on so many small rocks though that the whole thing comes tumbling down.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Jellyfish

Jellyfish exude serenity at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea...
Ethereal...
Aside from being relaxing to watch, jellyfish are plain weird.

They don't have a brain.

They don't have a heart.

No brains and no heart... somewhere in there is a political joke, but far be it from me to take the easy out.

Drifting with the currents...
A jellyfish drifts wherever the tide takes it...

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Washoe Theatre: Part 2

The main hall of the Washoe Theatre...
Interior details of the Washoe Theatre...
The interior details of the Washoe Theater in Anaconda, Montana are beautiful to behold. You won't see lush artwork and finely crafted details like this in today's antiseptic cineplexes.

According to Wikipedia:

The interior design and furnishings were done by Hollywood theater designer Nat Smythe. The exterior doors are etched glass. Each joint and trim work is carved in complicated relief patterns with much use of ornamental ironwork.
Use of copper is especially prevalent, as Anaconda was a company town for the Anaconda Copper Mining Company. Silver and gold leaf supplement the accent work.
Carved rams heads line the walls. Every flat surface, including the domed ceiling, is a painted mural done by Colville Smythe.
The silk curtain is a piece of art in itself, though seldom seen. Its age presents a problem for curators who are afraid that taking it down, even to try and restore it, would cause it to fall apart. It has a painting of deer stags.

Beautiful murals on the walls of the Washoe Theatre...
Lush murals adorn the walls...

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Washoe Theatre

Anaconda, Montana's Washoe Theatre...
The Washoe Theatre... since 1936...

During our road trip last year, we made a special side trip to visit the small bucolic town of Anaconda, Montana.

There you will find the Washoe Theatre. It was built during the Great Depression, the last theatre to be built in the style of Nuevo Deco, a form of Art Deco

The Smithsonian rates the Washoe as a national treasure due to the lavish interior which we'll see in the next post.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Not all who paint are talented...

Graffiti in Jordan River...
Practical wisdom and ???
This graffiti can be found on the walls of an abandoned house near Jordan River on Vancouver Island.

On the left it reads:
"Not all who wander are lost. Most are though."

They're not wrong.

I have no clue with the sign on the right means. I recognize the letter 'a' and that's all. Is there a point to tagging a landmark if no one can actually decipher your tag?

Monday, April 8, 2019

Beach Jenga

A tower of driftwood...
Sea serpent... or ???
A cairn of driftwood sits on the beach near Campbell River on Vancouver Island.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Out of time

Site of an ancient tragedy...

In a valley beside a road on Salt Spring Island, my wife and I came across this car wreck several years ago.

At first I was puzzled by the fact that it was surrounded by a forest of mature trees. There was no way that a car could have slid off the road and down the hill to this point.

Then we saw the front fenders on the car, giving a hint as to how old this car really was. So old that it was likely on of the first cars ever on Salt Spring Island. Over the decades that it has rested here, an entire forest has filled in around it.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Develop a nostalgia for the future...


The secret to long life according to a long-lived acquaintance...

Monday, April 1, 2019

Very pun-ny!

My wife takes a rest at the Calgary Zoo...
A big chair for the lady...
After walking around the Calgary Zoo for hours last summer my wife stopped to sit for awhile.

She was a little tired.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Colourful swimmer

One fish, blue fish...
One fish, blue fish...
Many species of tropical fish are brightly coloured, but some of our local species are just as colourful, albeit in a more monochromatic way.

This gal/guy is one of the inmates at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea in Sidney, BC.

The Centre is a popular attraction with kids and adults alike. The steampunk-inspired entrance simulates a dive to the bottom of the ocean in a faux-submarine.

The entrance to the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea...
Calling Jules Verne...

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Deep

Not so fearsome wolf eel...
Not as scary as s/he looks...
Wolf eels in our local oceans are typically five or six feet long. They have some nasty-looking teeth in a face that looks like some sort of Muppet nightmare.

Despite their appearance though they are shy and docile creatures, preferring to hide among rocks like this one at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea in nearby Sidney, BC.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Burgoyne Bay

A float home bobs on the water of Burgoyne Bay off Salt Spring Island.
Home, home on the bay...
In the middle of Burgoyne Bay off Salt Spring Island on the east coast of the larger Vancouver Island sits this float home.

I can't imagine living this kind of lifestyle. Initially, it might see romantic or adventurous. Then I think of all the conveniences and comforts that I would have to do without and I realize that it's not for me.

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Sentinals

Silent guardians...
Placid sculptures keep watch over the water...
A pair of native sculptures keep silent vigil over the boats and float homes of Saltspring Island's Burgoyne Bay

Native sculptures stand guard...
Weathered watchers...

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Oh rats!!

A plump Norway rat raids the bird feeder...
Making a play for the bird seed...

Here in Victoria BC we are normally snow free, but this year was an exception. For much of February we were under a foot of snow.

The result was that some animals, such as this plump female Norway rat, were forced to raid bird feeders to find food. Personally, rats don't bother me as long as they stay outside my house. I don't see them as any different from squirrels or voles. Honestly, both my wife and I find them kind of cute.

Monday, March 18, 2019

The eyes of a killer

Ugly... and deadly...
You DO NOT want to mess with them...
One of the most popular exhibits at the Calgary Zoo -- particularly with the children -- was the hippopotamus that peered at them from his pool on the other side of the glass.

Although hippos fall into the category of "so homely they are cute" they are actually pretty dangerous animals. National Geographic has identified them as one of the most aggressive animals on earth. Each year they kill about 500 people in African countries.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Prehistoric AND outdated

An inaccurate rendering of a T-Rex meandering through the forest...
"Damn these useless little girl hands!"
Moving on from Vulcan during our summer 2018 trip we spent a few days in Calgary AB. During a day trip to the Calgary zoo there we were surprised and underwhelmed to see this statue of a T-Rex in the dinosaur exhibit.

Aside from the fact that many of the fiberglass creatures in this portion of the zoo were cracked and sun-faded, this depiction of a T-Rex is decades out of date. We know now that they didn't walk upright but more like birds with their bodies horizontal.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Waterfront

Interesting architectural details of Victoria's harbour waterfront...
Curvy condos...
The West Bay walkway is a pleasant way to walk from downtown Victoria to the adjacent town of Esquimalt. It offers great views of the working harbour. You might see float planes, cruise ships, tourist harbour ferries, float homes and even the periodic wild life.

You'll also see some eye-catching architecture such as these curved condos that always remind me of something you might see in Florida, or maybe California.

You'll also see the new marina for super-yachts that is nearly completion. As nice as it looks, it's somewhat hypocritical for a city to build something like this while trying to establish its commitment to fighting climate change.

Victoria's soon-to-open marina for big-ass yachts...
A place to park your ostentatious boats...

Monday, March 11, 2019

Vallarta after dark

Vallarta lights glow along the waterfront...
Resort lights glow along the beaches of Puerto Vallarta...
The view from our resort balcony in Puerto Vallarta...

We stayed at Secrets. Looking straight down the beach, the lights of the other resorts were magical.

Secrets Resort at sunset...
The sun sets over the bay at Puerto Vallarta...



Friday, March 8, 2019

BAR

This massive rock in Campbell River has rested here for decades...
How long has it been here?
This big ass rock has been a fixture on the Campbell River waterfront for decades. The rock endures even as the graffiti and artwork evolves with the times.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Live long... and prosper

Boldly going where no man has gone before...
A Federation starship sticks the landing in Vulcan, Alberta...
The title of today's post was the philosophy of Mr. Spock, the half-human / half-Vulcan sidekick to Captain Kirk on television's Star Trek.

Vulcan was the name of his home planet, a name also shared by the small town of Vulcan in southern Alberta. The Canadian town was named in the early 20th century, long before the television series.

However, the town took advantage of its fortuitous name to re-brand itself as the official 'Star Trek capital of Canada'. Leonard Nimoy -- the actor who originated the role -- even paid a visit at one time as part of a publicity push by the town.

A scale-model starship is mounted outside the tourist centre. At the base of it, three plaques greet visitors in the official languages of English, Vulcan and Klingon.

Greetings from space...
Saying hello to the citizens of Earth...

Monday, March 4, 2019

Super Snow Moon

Super snow moon over the Kingfisher Resort...
Like-a big pizza pie...
While we were up at the Kingfisher Resort in Campbell River, we were treated to the sight of the super snow moon.

From a CNN article:

Why is it called the snow moon?

Each month, the full moon carries a different name signifying what is most associated with that time. This is because centuries ago, lunar months were associated with the changing seasons rather than the solar year. 

Native Americans and Europeans gave February the "snow moon" title because it was the month associated with heavy snowfall, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac. 

The supermoon will occur during this full moon because it will be closest in its orbit to Earth.

The moon looking deceptively large is known as a "Moon illusion," which occurs when the moon is close to the horizon and objects such as buildings or trees are in front of it for scale, which tricks our brains into thinking the moon is closer to the objects than it really is.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Electric Garden

LED shrubbery at the Kingfisher Lodge...
The Kingfisher Lodge garden aglow with colourful lights...
My wife and I recently celebrated a combine Valentines Day and anniversary at the Kingfisher Lodge in Courtenay north of us on Vancouver Island.

The central courtyard was illuminated by these colourful trees and shrubs made from LED lights.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Big Sky Country... up for sale

Mermaids entertain the patrons at the Sip'n'Dip lounge.
Mermaids in motion behind the bar...
A recent online petition in the United States called for Montana to be sold to Canada for the sum of one trillion dollars.

For the remaining United States, that would enable them to pay down a tiny bit of their massive national debt. In return Canada would get to own the recently mentioned Our Lady of the Rockies, the Bleu Horses and the Berkley Pit.

We would also get the very retro-cool and award-winning Sip'n'Dip tiki lounge in Great Falls, Montana which features live mermaids swimming behind the bar. The lovely ladies will also play tricks with bubbles if you leave them a tip.

You've been warned...
You've been warned!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Sign of the times

Social engineering at work...
Special parking for special cars...
This was just too much!

At our local mall I was looking for a parking spot when I came across three spots marked like you see above. Exclusive parking for low emission vehicles only?!

Special parking for the disabled... I can get on board with that. Special parking for pregnant women... I can sorta get onboard with that. (Our grand-mother and great-grandmothers were made of sterner stuff... pregnancies didn't slow them down.)

Special parking for families with small children? Uhm, why? Kids have legs and more energy to burn than most adults.

But special parking just because you happen to own a politically-correct type of vehicle. Nope, I wasn't having that. I took my cue from the dual-exhaust Nissan parked in one of the spaces and parked my seven-passenger van in the space next to it in an shared act of defiance.