River Day

Today my boss took myself and a coworker out in his boat. We were going to attempt to do some white sturgeon fishing. We left at 9am to hit the Mighty Fraser River. Once on the River, we weighed anchor about a half dozen times in hopes to catch something.

The first spot we stopped at had plenty of harbor seals swimming around. We were sure it would be the best spot. No such luck. So we set off to find another location.

Even with a sonar and some fresh bait- the fish weren’t biting. About three hours into our day- we decided to have some lunch and a couple of beers. Why not enjoy the afternoon on the water?

We couldn’t really avoid work. The Fraser River is lined with train tracks as well as a rail bridge that crosses it. Naturally our conversations would resort back to talking trains. We had some good laughs and shared stories of our careers thus far.

We ended our day with no fish caught. We did enjoy our day of rest and relaxation though. At our last spot of the day, the seals were back to greet us. Which was nice. It was a good Sunday to be had.

Mountain Driving

Driving through the Rocky Mountains is always a beautiful drive. Last weekend was no different. We were lucky enough to drive home from Alberta and see the sunset over the mountains.

We travelled back the same way we came in- through Jasper National Park. Both Jasper and Banff are beautiful drives. In fact, both towns are nice to take a quick stop in to look around.

This time of year was neat because the rivers, lakes and waterfalls were starting to thaw. The mix of ice and water made it seem like there was life trickling back into existence.

I would recommend the drive any time instead of flying. Take your time and view the natural wonder this world has to offer.

Initial Thoughts on Grande Prairie

We rolled into Grande Prairie in the late evening after A Day of Driving. We checked into our hotel and the front desk clerk asked us questions about why we were here in town. “Are you visiting family? Is it for work?… No one comes here for vacation.” Even though he was friendly about it- it got me thinking, what is it that this town has to offer? Besides a liquor store on every corner instead of a Starbucks.

We have arrived at the tail end of winter, so there really isn’t much, um, greenery. All the sand and salt from the roads are off to the sides. At least I can see the roads now which is good because there are a ton of potholes and no visible street lines. So if you think it’s a double lane, it may only be a shoulder. Seems everyone drives in the middle.

The cars on the roads are super filthy. And there is a dust haze that floats at eye level. So I stare out at the gorgeous blue skies. Grande Prairie has that. Blues skies that go on forever with little fluffy clouds in them. Just like the song by ORB only this is Alberta not Arizona.

So first impressions of Grande Prairie are fairly unimpressive. But I’m still excited to be here for our son. Which makes my brain hurt. Best of luck to him and the rest of the BC Team at the CANWEST Speed Skating competition!

Driving Day

Today we embarked on a 12 hour road trip from our home to Grande Prairie, Alberta. It started off with us being an hour behind schedule. No big deal- I was able to... ahem... make up the time while driving.

We whipped through Kamloops with a quick stop for gas. Then off to Jasper for a late lunch and of course- trains. Plus amazing beer and food! We had nachos and Wild Boar Steam Buns all at the Jasper Brewing. I highly recommend the Boar and “Jasper the Bear Ale”.

It was a beautiful day to drive through the mountains from British Columbia to Alberta. We watched the sun set and the sky change colours. Absolutely stunning.

Now it’s time to unwind in the hotel room and mentally prepare for the next couple of days. A quick dip in the pool and finish my blog is a great way to end a 12 hour drive.

Winter Won’t End

It seems winter isn’t over quite yet. At least here it isn’t. I’m really happy about it as well.

What is funny was our oldest daughter wanted to shovel the driveway after this afternoon’s snowfall. I didn’t want to stop her, so I didn’t. This snow may last only a day or two before thawing into spring. For my family though- this winter will continue for another couple of weeks. We just received some good news.

Our son has earned a spot at the Canada West Speed Skating Championship in Grand Prairie, Alberta in mid-March. He successfully competed in Prince George last weekend to earn this spot. This time, I’ll be taking our son. My wife is thinking she may join me in order to avoid Airport Goodbyes. This is really exciting for us. Our son has worked hard towards this.

So it seems winter will be lasting a bit longer- and I couldn’t be happier.

Airport Goodbyes

Rarely have my wife or I traveled by plane without the other. In fact today is only the third time since we met in the year 2000 that this is occurring. The first time was about fifteen years ago when I had to travel to Toronto for work and be away for two weeks. The second was my wife taking our middle daughter for a cheerleading competition in Los Angeles a few years ago.

This weekend is also for one of our kids- our son. He is competing in a speed skating competition in Northern BC. My wife has chosen to take him this weekend, and if he is successful- I’ll be taking him to the next one in a couple of weeks.

Today was a quick drop off at the airport. I had barely stopped the car and the two of them had jumped out and were on their way. A quick hug for me and that was it. Their short flight had them flying off in a small plane. They even landed before I had a chance to finish driving home and writing this blog.

I wish I had a longer goodbye, but it wasn’t necessary this time around. They’ll be back home by Sunday. But I’ll still miss them. Wishing I could be there to show support to our son. I can’t wait to hear the results of his meet.

Taking This City for Granted

I’m always excited to travel to other countries, states, provinces, and visit different cities. I enjoy driving around certain cities such as Los Angeles or Calgary. Some of my favorite cities to walk around are Seattle, Tokyo, and San Jose. As well as the beaches of California and Hawaii. And of course, Disneyland.

Our adventures over the years have taken us to see some beautiful cities and picturesque landscapes. From unique architecture to forests to parks to beaches. But I forget that Vancouver is unique and beautiful in its own way. With many of the things I have experienced elsewhere.

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to work downtown Vancouver. It made me want to come down to this city more often. I’ve begun to take the time and just wander around Vancouver as well as take in a Hockey Game with my son. Vancouver has parks and architecture that you can only find here.

The outskirts of Vancouver boast beautiful trails located in many municipalities; and White Rock’s beaches aren’t crowded. This year, we aren’t planning any big trips or vacations. I’m going to plan more daily explorations of our current stomping grounds. Let’s share what the Lower Mainland has to offer.

By all means, give me some ideas of places to visit and things to do. No need to keep secrets about this exquisite locale we call home.

Lex Stays at Home

When we used to go to conventions or go on vacation out of the country, we can’t take our beloved dog with us. In the past we’ve had friends and family look after him. But we’ve also come to rely on a local kennel.

Birch Bark Kennels is the place we have been taking Lex (and our previous dog, Chuppy) for many years. The price is great, and our dog runs in excitedly. The staff are pretty darned good at their jobs as well. We get him back healthy and clean every time.

The kennel has been recognized in our community as well over the years. That makes me really happy to know that they care for animals in such a great manner. I’m always happy to leave our furry family member in their hands.

That being said, he is also really happy to see us again after our vacations. He could barely keep still in the car ride home and wanted to lick me constantly. The first thing he did when he entered our home was run to his bed. He landed in it so fast that it slid further under our piano.

I wish we could take him on some of these trips, but it would also take away from our travels. Spending sixteen hours in Disneyland each day was already tough on us. I couldn’t imagine how it would be for him in an unfamiliar room for that length of time.

I’m really happy to see him again that’s for sure. Absence does make the heart grow stronger.

Land, Air, and Sea

Flying home from Los Angeles I chose to sit by the window. I took advantage of this and enjoyed the scenery below.

Flying over California was neat. The change in landscapes was quick paced. Almost immediately leaving Los Angeles there were mountains and farmland. Lots of earthy tones of brown and green.

As we approached the Vancouver airport, the view changed drastically to more lush green and the blue of the water surrounding the outskirts.

Flying over both was surreal to me. In California- I could see below us all of the many roads we have driven in the past to get to Disneyland. Arriving at Vancouver, I could see the many locations that my work services. Rail cars and train tracks that I have been on numerous times. Plus many local roads that I have driven.

Once you’re in the air- flying is neat. The other stuff at airports, check in, paperwork, delays, etc… sucks. I prefer a good old fashioned road trip.

More Than Just Rides

Disneyland is great fun. Over the course of three days, we hit probably 90% of the rides. Which is a big portion of our trip usually. We utilize the FastPass option frequently. Disneyland has a MaxPass option for an additional $10/day per person. We didn’t feel that was of any value to our trip. A few extra steps to go get a pass won’t hurt me.

Besides the rides, we love meeting the characters. Our first trip, the girls met all the princesses as they dressed as princesses. We’ve also met numerous Disney characters over the years as well.

This year is no different. We took the time to meet a few characters (not including the cockroach from Wall-E). Each and every moment so far has been filled with jokes and laughs.

Another great aspect of Disneyland and California Adventure is the shows. We stop pretty often for the short side shows on the streets.

We also like taking in some stage shows. Disneyland goes all out and is a leader in how to create these entertainment experiences. This year we enjoyed “Frozen.”

Of course fireworks, parades and other nighttime shows are wonderful to watch.

We find some great moments by trying to experience everything. We have become a true “Disney Family” and love each and every moment in the parks.