Fort St. John

We are in Fort St. John for a Speed Skating camp that our two youngest are attending. My wife and I are free for the whole day while the kids workout and train. Which now begs the question- “What does one do while in Fort St. John, BC?”

For starters I took a nap while my wife played video games. Not too shabby a start.

Seriously though. The city’s slogan is “The Energetic City” so there best be something behind this. Only… I think the slogan isn’t about the nightlife. We decided to do the “Number 3 Tourist Attraction” which I found in Google.

We ended up at the Site C Dam visiting a lovely chainlink fence. Actually the telescopes opened up the ability to see more of the construction going on. There were plenty of information kiosks in the parking lot explaining the history of the land and the plans to keep the project environmentally friendly.

Afterwards we stopped at Beards Brewing for some of the best beer I’ve tried in quite some time. This stop is a must if you end up in Fort St. John.

We are hoping that today the weather clears up after raining all night. We brought our kayaks and are looking forward to exploring some local waters.

Safe Travel Day

As I mentioned yesterday in my blog- Off To Fort St. John– we had a road trip taking us fairly far North in British Columbia. We left our home at 6am and made it into Fort St. John by 8pm. we made it in one word:

Safely.

That’s the key that I want to mention about this road trip that I always overlook when talking about driving. I love taking the roads through the mountains, deserts, countrysides and cities. Road trips are a good way to bond with my family on these vacations. But the journey needs to always be taken safely.

We left before the sun came out. But we stopped twice before even hitting the freeway. That’s because I was uncertain about one of the front straps on the kayaks I had mounted to the roof. Because of my anal retentiveness- this prevented any possible issues during our drive. Every time we stopped for gas- I rechecked the tie downs. All was good.

After about eight hours of my hand at driving, I realized I was becoming extremely tired and had my wife take over. I hopped into the back seat with our son, while our daughter sat up front and played “DJ”.

After a couple of hours driving on the single lane roadways- my wife was behind a slow moving vehicle. When an opportunity arose for her to pass the RV, she signaled and began to pull around. At which point the truck behind her also decided he wanted to pass both our car and the RV. He had no signal and a lead foot. My wife had to jerk back into our lane narrowly avoiding hitting the front side of the truck and the rear bumper of the car in front. There was no reason for the guy behind us to try and run us off the road. But he felt he was more important.

My wife remained calm and then passed the RV. The other truck was now barreling down the road ahead of us at close to twice the posted speed limit. Oh well.

About an hour before we were to get to our destination- there was the remnants of a bad accident. It looked as though a train had collided with a semi trailer at the only train crossing around. The flag people were in position alternating the flow of traffic. We weren’t held up for very long.

Needless to say, we encountered a few indiscretions during our fourteen hour drive. Road trips are long and can be tedious. But keeping your occupants and fellow drivers around you safe should always be number one. We preach safety at my work, and I take that home every day as well. I’d much rather get to our destination safely than in a hurry.

So we made it to Fort St. John safely.

Off To Fort St. John

Today we are driving North. This will be the furthest North I have ever driven. Prior to this was back in Grade Eight in 1988 when I went on a band trip to Prince George. That was memorable because we stayed at the host homes of one of the schools up there.

But today we are driving for about another four hours past Prince George. Driving North. I can’t get over how far this is from our home.

But it’s not the furthest we’ve driven from our home. We drove South one time almost all the way to the Mexican border. Driving South usually means warmer weather and a more fun destination.

Earlier this year we headed East. Not quite out of Alberta. But getting pretty close. The distance is almost as far as our travels today. But the time to get there is quicker. Most likely due to the route and my tendency to get a speeding ticket in Alberta…

As for driving West- Gold River On Vancouver Island was the furthest so far. Can’t overly drive through the Pacific Ocean. The ferry only gets to the islands nearby.

Do you enjoy roadtrips as much as we do?

What’s the furthest you’ve driven?

Any sights you’d recommend on the drive North through British Columbia?

Let me know in the comments!

Time Off

I’m about to enjoy 17 days off. It seems like I always have vacation time off from work. I kind of do I guess. Five weeks of regular vacation every year. I try and set aside a week every couple of months. This year was a bit different. I have been enjoying summer a lot and still have more to come!

As I’ve mentioned, most of my time off this year is to support our son. First was a week in March for a Speed Skating competition. Then was June so that I could chaperone with Grade 7 Camp. A week in July in order for him to skate on the Olympic Oval. And next week is another Speed Skating camp in Northern BC.

The last week of August will be a summer wind down. With some camping and R+R to slow down our busy lives before returning to a September schedule. Taking a week in June, a week in July, and two weeks in August is a great way to keep the summer vacation going. Even if we aren’t traveling to exotic locations- the time spent with family and friends is extraordinarily worthwhile.

How are you planning on ending August? Let me know in the comments.

Summer Chills

Looks like our road trip next week will be a chilly one.

Leaving our home behind us also means leaving the warmer weather.

That’s kind of disappointing. But I guess the chill up North is great for our kid’s speed skating. Right?

Right…

Camping is Planned

British Columbia has some of the most beautiful forests and lakes in the world. People love to go camping as well. Getting away from the busy life and enjoying nature is revitalizing. Many of the popular campsites book up quickly in the Spring for the entire Summer. These are the easy access sites with full amenities.

For the past few years, we go camping at a spot that’s a bit further out at a place called Twenty Mile Bay. It requires about an hour drive down a logging road. Not the kind of drive that most small cars could do which makes it more secluded and private. It’s also the kind of place where you pack in/pack out all trash thus keeping the campsite pristine.

The only downside is that we can’t book a spot that far in advance for this camp ground. We only get 30 days ahead of time to book a spot. The other day we missed our opportunity to get our first choice spot. However, we did get to book our favorite double site spot. We are looking forward to our regular summer break on the lake. This time we may have a friend join us with his family adding to the adventure.

Have you enjoyed camping in BC? Any favorite spots? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to explore more of this beautiful province.

Fastest Ice In The World

Calgary’s Olympic Oval is the reason we came out here this week. Our son attended a Speed Skating Camp at the Oval. He has his own ambitions and my wife and I want to see him succeed. I’m most impressed by how serious he is wanting to take his training.

Calgary’s Olympic Oval has the world’s fastest ice. Usually our son skates Short Track at our local ice rink and at similar meets in other ice rinks. He decided that he really wanted to get into Long Track Skating, so we got him out to Calgary to try it out. The first four days he wore his Short Track skates and dominated his own abilities.

Sadly, my wife and I ended up buying him his first pair of Long Track boots and blades. I say sadly more for our pocketbook. First these skates cost over $1000 and also the fact that we will be doing more traveling to other Long Track ice rinks in the coming years. There is also a new learning curve for him. But I think it’ll work out.

Our son wants to stand on the podium one day. He has set some lofty goals for himself. If my wife and I can help in any way, then we will. Next month- off to another Long Track for some more practice. In the mean time, lots of workouts and sideline cheering to keep him going.

Unassuming Funday

My day yesterday was filled with meeting up with friends while in Calgary. It was fun and magical in many ways.

First was a lunch with a friend of ours we originally met at the Calgary Expo eight years ago. He and I shared stories of our kids, work and caught up on life. It was different this time around because we weren’t at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo having a weekend of laughs in between sales. It was a condensed, pleasurable, laugh riot meal.

Before dinner, we went to the Skyline Luge again. This time we brought my wife and met up with some other Speed Skaters from Langley. It was a laugh riot, again! My wife really enjoyed it and in the end was upset that I had already done this earlier in the week without her.

Afterwards, we went to visit our other friends again (these were the ones we met up with earlier in the week at Gorilla Whale). This time we met up at the their home. We were introduced to a large stuffed shark that tried the devour two of my kids. Later we fooled around with the Occulus Quest. The first quality VR to not need a big computer or extra wiring. It has a life span of 2hrs, which we fully used up.

It was also great to see my wife immerse herself into the game system. My wife hadn’t tried any VR like the rest of us did three years ago when we went to Silcon Valley (read about it here: Button Mashing). Unfortunately, now she wants one. We’ll see what happens in the future- maybe the excitement will wear off.

Or maybe she’ll be escaping into a whole new environment.

Wandering Calgary

I took our daughters out for the day as we wandered around Calgary. First was a stop at the Olympic Oval to check in on my son’s speed skating camp. (The whole reason we are here in Calgary). Then we went for lunch at an amazing Ramen restaurant that I had been to a couple years ago.

The ramen place we went to was Shiki Menya. Still just as delicious as always. Still just as busy as well. We had to wait outside until a table came available. But worth the wait. So tasty.

Afterwards, we walked into the central part of Calgary. We were hoping to go into the Calgary Tower, but due to a mishap last Friday- (read here: Calgary Tower Elevator ), that means unfortunately for our visit to Calgary- the Tower is shut down for an investigation.

But we saw a really neat sculpture just up the road called the Wonderland Sculpture. It is a fantastically large piece. Looking like a human head made out of metal mesh.

Calgary is a neat city that feels big and small at the same time. Besides the weather changing every 15 minutes, it also seems that driving everywhere takes only 15 minutes. Or there is the public transportation that seems to be widely used. A lot of the ideas and designs should be implemented in Vancouver and its surrounding suburbs that’s for sure.

We only have a couple days left here and a few friends left to visit.

Skyline Luge

Tuesday was originally going to be a write off. The weather in Calgary was so unpredictable- first was rain, then sun, then rain, then sun. All within a few hours. I wasn’t going to let Mother Nature beat me! So at 3pm we headed out in hopes that the rumor of “Don’t like the weather- just wait 15 minutes.”

It worked. The sun began to come out. So we were on our way to a fun filled destination.

Skyline Luge!

Much like the Mountain Pipeline Coaster that we experienced last week in Revelstoke, this was a downhill experience that we had to try.

Like the Skyline Luge slogan says- “Once is never enough.” We had to go down a second time. I will also say, this was a better value and more fun than the Mountain Pipeline Coaster. Though not as fast.

Afterwards, we checked out some of the sights from the Calgary Olympics back in 1988. Calgary has kept the venues as being very useful decades later. Besides the Kart Luge, they’ve made Mountain bike paths and a zip line for use in the summer. As well as keeping the outdoor winter sports active. It’s the sort of thing that many other countries should look at and benefit from. I was thoroughly impressed.

Calgary keeps on beating my expectations of what I think a city should be.