Thursday, September 25, 2008

Greater Edmonton Train Show (GETS)

Our layout is the on behind the layout in the forefront of the photo.

This year for the Greater Edmonton Train Show we decided not to put a module in and only go up for Saturday since Jon had to work on Sunday afternoon and we wouldn't be there for tear down. After some thought Jon decided that we should go up on Friday instead so that he could help with setup. I told him to go without me since I really couldn't be away from work for the entire day. He headed up with Murray on Friday morning and I headed up after leaving work at 2pm. The drive was pretty uneventful, but there was lots of traffic.

For Friday night dinner Jon and I usually go to the Fantasy Grill and enjoy caesar salad made at our table. This year was no different. We were able to get away just before 8pm. When we were being seated we asked if we could be seated in Wallace's section as he is our favorite waiter there. He came to Canada from Hong Kong and out of the 15 years that he's been here he has worked at the Fantasy Grill for 14 of them. He recognized us from previous years and treated us very well. He gave us some extra service above and beyond the usual. We felt special and very well taken care of. The chef even came out to see how we were doing.

This year we chose to stay at the Super 8 at the corner of 170 Street and the Yellowhead Hwy. It was a nice clean hotel, but nothing special.

Saturday morning we headed over to the VIA station to purchase our tickets for our trip at Christmas from Toronto to Edmonton and then went to the Mayfield Inn Conference Centre to 'run" trains. The layout ran smoothly for the majority of the day and then we headed over to Fort Edmonton for playing and great food. Dan and George were the big winners in the raffles. We headed back to the Hotel for a quick sleep and up and at 'em for the next morning for a nice Sunday drive back to Calgary.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Alberta Free-Mo 2008

The model railway group we belong to has an annual event the second weekend after the long weekend in August in Big Valley, Alberta where we set up our modules and make a huge layout. Lots of different Free-mo groups join us. This year on the way back I managed to catch some great photos of lightning.

Pelican Safari

On August 3rd Julia and I went on a Pelican Safari. We had to trek over rocks and through the woods, but it was well worth it.

Stampede 2008

Julia and I went to the Calgary Stampede on Thursday for sneak a peek and on Sunday for Family day.

July 1st at the Calon's

On July 1, 2008 we headed over to Nanny and Grandad's to help move furniture and pull up the carpet in their house. By the time we got there it was all done and it was time for dinner. Good timing on our part I think.

Back to Calgary

Up and on the road again after having breakfast with Marty and Carol. We had Jon's favorite, cereal! One long drive back to Calgary. We stopped in at Golden for lunch and then continued on our way. We sure were tired by the time we got into calgary. We stopped in at Jon's Dad's restaurant for dinner. Extreme Restaurant in Bowness (area in NW Calgary). Good thing I still have a day to relax before going back to work.

To Kelowna

We headed out on the road after sharing breakfast with Larry and Lori heading for Kelowna. We took the Kokahalla highway as it was the shorter route there. After taking the long steep hills our little 90hp VW Golf TDI just didn't have the guts to handle them any more. Part way up we were severely losing power and ended up crawling up the hills at 40 kph in 2nd gear. It was a good thing the highway is twinned and that there wasn't much in the way of traffic. Finally the drive headed downhill and we headed towards Peachland to catch a ride on the KVR historic railway. It was pulled by steam and there was a good crew aboard. Another young couple riding the train asked us to take their photo since we had the same camera and knew how to use it.

After our ride on the KVR we headed into Kelowna to spend the night with Uncle Marty and Aunt Carol. They moved to Kelowna from Calgary in the past year. Their house is really nice. We enjoyed drinks and appitizers on their back patio and then retired inside for a nice salmon dinner. This time it was cooked to perfection. Jon is now so sick of fish, he won't eat any for at least another year. We had full use of the guest room and the bathroom in the basement. It was nicer than the B&B's we were staying at.

The Sunshine Coast

Up early the next morning to catch another ferry. We ate breakfast if you could call it that (cookies) while waiting for the ferry. Once on the ferry we ate a proper breakfast. It was really good food. Again we had rain, but it soon passed. We stopped in sechelt for a pit stop and a walk along the beach. There was a lot of activity. Sechelt is beautiful and one of those places I could see myself living it the opportunity ever arose. Another Ferry and then off to Gibsons, BC. We parked the car and walked around. I bought my friend a little gift and we went down to Gibson's Landing to see the location that the Beachcombers was filmed. We ate at Molly's Reach for lunch. It was really good food and I would recommend it to anyone. WE finished lunch and then headed off for one final ferry of our trip.

Finally onto mainland and off to Art Knapp to get some G-Scale stuff. We bought a passenger platform and a few trees. Now off to Chilliwack to spend the night at Larry and Lori's place. Thanks for the hospitility guys! They met us at Mr. Mike's a great restaurant and we all had dinner and then headed over to where the Chilliwack Free-mo group sets up. We helped them out with setting up the N-Scale layout before we headed back to their house. They let us park in their garage since we had so much expensive stuff in our car and they didn't want anything to happen to it. We visited and then went to bed.

Vancouver Island Adventure Day 4

Last day to enjoy. We woke up to rain oh joy. We went to another beach to see the star fish. It was raining but we didn't care as we were determined to see the star fish. We found them. There was so many and in orange and purple colours. It was low tide so it was easy to see them and touch them. They really have a good grip on the rocks. Dave tried to pull one off, but it wasn't letting go. We also saw sea annenomies in green and pink. There were also lots of muscles all over the place. We didn't stay here too long as we were getting wet with all the rain and it wasn't all that warm.

We jumped back into the car and began to head back to Port Alberni. We stopped in at Cathedral Grove where all the large red woods were. These trees are mostly only 400 years old. There was a fire that went through and burned most of the trees in the forest.

We also stopped in at Coombs and saw the goats on the roof and bought some snacks in the market. I also found the rubber stamp barn and bought some stamps. There was a really cool store with lots of hand carved statues in it. It would be a place that I would like to visit again and spend more time. Off to Nanaimo as Dave and Laura had a ferry to catch back to the main land and Jon and I picked up our car and headed to Courtney and Comox.

While waiting in Comox for the ferry we got to see some fighter jets fly over. The circled quite a few times. I believe they were doing touch and go exercises. It entertained us for a little while. While on the Ferry we looked though all the literature in the racks to find a place to spend the night. We found this great little bed and breakfast. We had our own private room with bathroom in it and a wonderful view. It was in the old area of Powell River and was worth it. They provided us with a book containing facts about the area, the hotel, and tourist information. They spoke about the unique breakwater that was set up for the pulp mill. It's affectionately known as the Giant Hulks. They are concrete barges that are attached to the sea floor with giant blocks of concrete and giant chains.

Vancouver Island Adventure Day 3

Vancouver Island Day 3:
We woke up in the morning and needed to be down for breakfast at 7:30am. It was a continental breakfast style with Yogurt, fruit, berries, cereal, granola, baked goods, and juices, coffee, and teas. Everyone was happy with the selection. We were the only ones eating at this time. After breakfast we packed up and checked out.

This day we headed out toward Ucluelet and Tofino. We stopped in at the information centre at the beginning of the park and got our park pass as well as making a pit stop. The facilities were beautiful. The drive to Uquilet was beautiful, but was very windy and the road was in bad condition. We passed this one lake and I asked Dave to stop to take photos. It was glass smooth and I was not feeling so good being in the back seat on a windy road. Even Jon said he was starting to feel the effects so it was a good thing we stopped. There was still dew on the petals of the wild roses at the side. We could see minnows in the shallows of the lake. It was quiet and peaceful.

For the remainder of the ride Laura let me take the front seat. I felt much better. We stopped in at the Rain Forest and walked along the trails. It was a beautiful sunny day. We decided to take one trail and it lead us to the Coast Guard base where the Army guys were doing some exercises. We quickly got off the property and onto the road back to the parking lots. It was a long walk, but it was beautiful.

Back in the car we headed towards our camp site which was 0.5km from being the exact centre point between Ucluelet and Tofino. We set up camp and headed to the beach. It was long and white. There were quite a few people there with their families and dogs. We walked along the shore and pulled up our pant legs to keep them from getting wet. We walked over to some rocks to see if there was any life on them. Not much there, but tomorrow we would check out another spot. We found crab parts, feathers and baby jelly fish on the shore.

After our walk we jumped into the car and headed into Tofino in search of dinner. There was a place on the outskirts that looked like it might be good. It wasn't the place we thought it was. We went inside and the decor was directly from the 1970's and hadn't been touched since. We were greeted by this real character of a person. He told us to sit at any of the tables except the front one near the TV. The pop machine didn't have any pop in it, instead the canned Co-op brand pop was stored in the milk dispensor. The water was okay in colour, but a little weird in flavour. The greeter turned into our waiter and took our orders. He didn't have some of the stuff on the menu but recommended a couple of the fish meals since he caught it fresh that morning, so he says. We place our orders, why not this could be entertaining and give us something to tell stories about. Next our waiter turns into the cook and goes into the back to prepare our orders. Poor Jon but this guy decided to pick on him because he ordered pizza and not fish like the rest of us. The guy even pulled the 'look you have a spot on your shirt' and bopped Jon on the nose. Talk about invading personal space. After dinner, we decided we should have all ordered pizza. The fish was good, but I felt it was over done. Laura liked it that way though. There was some coslaw looking thing that none of us touched and I didn't like the look of my garnish so I didn't eat that either. We paid for dinner, a decent price considering and headed back to our campsite.

Earlier we had purchased the makings for smores and decided tonight was the night to make them. The fire pit was built perfectly with a platform on top to place your cracker with the chocolate on it in order for it to melt some before making your sandwich out of it. We had the perfect fire built and lots of good coals for toasting. Now that we are adults we had a little more patience to nicely toast the marshmellow and not just burn it. We enjoyed the fire and then made sure it was out before retiring for the night. It was so dark and quiet in the campground that Jon woke up at one point and had a panic attack thinking he had gone blind.