Smack Talk

Cross Country 2012 - Part One.

Cross Canada 2012 – Part One

Foggy Days: Hwy 17 North, OntarioFoggy Days: Hwy 17 North, Ontario My journey started off with a bit of a jolt to my anxiety levels. When I first started the incredible van named Phoebe, a rattle unknown to me shot out from the bottom of the van that made my hair stand up. I just got it out of the shop, and was "ready" for the road, so I was somewhat concerned that this noise was now taking up my attention. With a bit of poking and checking, the issue was quickly resolved. As it turns out, it was simply a clip missing from the fan shroud. The plastic guard that prevents silly people from sticking hands and arms in the spinning fan just to see if they can stop it. It works, I have never done so. After drilling a couple of holes and zap strapping the two piece guard back in place, things were good. So, I hit the road. Heading north out of Brockville Ontario, I made my way along the back roads to Hwy 417. My destination. As far as I can get the first day without issue. With the exception of a few missed turns, and some localized traffic, things went along pretty well and I made good distance. I hit Espanola the first night, and slept on the side of the road at a truck stop that charged $5.50 for a shower. I have no idea how long it lasted. I didn't try it. Moola doesn't mind if I stink. My goal was to get out of Ontario as soon as possible, as the weather is somewhat unpredictable north of the lakes. That, and I had a ten day special trip permit to get me, my dog and my van back to British Columbia so that I could renew my vehicle insurance. Given the fact that stuff happens, and I like to be prepared for anything if something were to go wrong on the road, it would allow me time to fix it, and still get to BC within my allotted time frame. Fortunately, absolutely nothing went wrong, and I made good time.

When My World Turned Liquid

Crossing Guards - More Than Just A Fasionable Icon.

Debbie Hyland,  the Crossing GuardDebbie Hyland, the Crossing GuardDark skies filled with looming clouds, snow falling, the wind blowing and the thermometer flirting with twenty below. The roads icy and slick from the previous nights freezing rain, visibility limited. But the show must go on! Drivers carefully make their way on crazy city streets to and from work or home, in treacherous conditions

Enter, "The Crossing Guard."

Fire Season 2003 - Part Two

...continued from Fire Season 2003: Part One.

Shortly after our arrival in Kelowna the fire decided to behave itself and move in a more favorable direction, away from town. At night the contrasting ridge line of the mountains backlit by acres of fire made for some overwhelming memories. Unfortunately I did not have a camera with me to capture any of the events, but there were plenty of people who did. These can be found pretty much anywhere on the internet in a matter of moments. Type in “Kelowna Wildfires” and hit “images” on your favourite browser. It was truly shocking. Seeing the huge pile of orange light glowing across the sky, my first thought was extreme heat. It must be ridiculously hot on the front line! But that is exactly where I wanted to be. Occasionally spouts of fire would flare skyward as it raced up to the crown of a newly acquired tree. As far as you could see on the horizon, it was burning, and I really wanted to get on to the front line. Shovel, axe, backpack, sturdy boots. Lots of drinking water. The stuff my dreams are made of! My mind raced with the thought of standing on the line, fighting fire, working with a team of firefighters to fight the good fight. The smell of smoke thick in the air. Tired and bleeding at the end of the day.

Fire Season 2003 - Part one

Kelowna Wildfires from the CoastKelowna Wildfires from the Coast

My wife and I were planning a trip to Canmore Alberta to visit her family when the first call from the British Columbia Provincial Emergency Program came in to put our Fire Department on standby for the 2003 Kelowna Wildfires. Not wanting to give up a trip to Canmore, or the work in Kelowna, we set a cutoff date for my acceptance. If in two weeks this Friday the call doesn't come, I would drop the firefighting and lovingly go to Canmore on vacation. Every time the phone rang my heart would skip a beat and my hands would sweat. Time passed very slowly. At 10pm Thursday night with just hours to our cutoff date, the phone rang.

“Grab your gear, you're going to Kelowna. You need to be on the truck by 0530. Tomorrow.”