Life of Dave

Life of Dave

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Day Two of Leg Two (Mackenzie)

Once I was safety off the clock, I did some more exploring. I asked at the hotel front desk for some suggestions regarding where to find attractions of interest rather than following roads that led to lumber/pulp mills. Apparently all the interesting stuff is north of town.

Williston Lake.

At first I thought there was a bird of some sort in the trees, but it turned out
to be artistically placed deadfall.
I decided that since I'd received a free upgrade to an all-wheel-drive SUV, I might as well take advantage of it to traverse a few roads that a car may find uncomfortable; hence the mountain view site at Morfee Mountain Trail. I took the wrong turn-off the first time and drove through a gravel pit; definitely not it. The second time produced the ski-doo ramp I'd been told about, so I knew I was on the right road.
An abstract explosion of berries noticed en route to a mountaintop viewing spot.

Two communications towers on two distant peaks (centre; the right side tower
is hard to see in the photo). That's where we're going!

The view from close to the top. Again, looking like a Nissan commercial.

Not sure what these two metallic items are, located on a steep slope. They
look like remains of a UFO crash site, but more realistically they're likely
related to the communications tower higher up the slope.

There's Mackenzie with Williston Lake behind it.

A rainsquall near the northern end of Williston Lake.

Parts of the mountaintop appear somewhat lunar.

I watched a truck crawl up the moon-like far slope. From my perspective it
looked like bug. I would have compared it to a toy, but it was even far too
tiny for that. I've had to crop the photo even to be able to identify it.

A splash of rainbow appeared over the east mountains, although I have to
admit, it looked more impressive in person; more intense colours.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Mackenzie Minute

Leg Two of my northern BC trip is in Mackenzie. Never been here before. It's a pretty small place. I kept thinking there must be another portion of town as there seems to only be about 6 restaurants here. But nope. I did some driving around before dinner (which turned out to lessen my dinner choices as some eateries had already closed) but all I found were lumber and pulp mills at the ends of every road I drove down.

One bonus however was that I finally got a chance to photograph a pair of deer at the low sun angle of early evening. I'd encountered two instances of deer crossing the road today on the highway linking Dawson Creek and Mackenzie, but of course I was driving and couldn't get their picture.

These two were dining on roadside plants.

We mostly seem to have wasps at home in Vancouver, so it was an
opportunity for celebration to have a bee on my bumper. The magnification
 of the dust on my bumper make it look almost like pollen.
I drove the Rogue rental to Morfee Lake and discovered it's rained here
pretty recently. Those aren't my tire tracks BTW.

Last evening I took a drive south of Dawson Creek to Swan Lake where
I indulged in abstract photography of a mushroom.

Traveling backwards in time, this on the way to Mackenzie yesterday.
Looks to me like it should be part of Nissan's advertising campaign.

I couldn't resist this (near) sunrise shot in Dawson Creek this morning
adjacent to Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway.

I look a lot more fatigued than I really was at Mile 0. It's not like I'd just
jogged in from Alaska; it was only a morning 5K.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Whitehorse Epic Summer Solstice

Late last year, in December I think, we received a commission to conduct a PCA in Whitehorse. The weather wasn’t ideal, but I still wanted to see the city, considering I’d visited Yellowknife for similar business in the summer of 2015. I thought perhaps I’d witness the majestic northern lights, which is definitely on my bucket list.

But the trip kept getting postponed month after month after month. For good reason I suppose. After all, a winter assessment would mean plenty of snow cover, and since a Property Condition Assessment encompasses the roof and site features it’s almost like doing half a job if those items are obscured by a blanket of snow. Not exactly good value for the money.

Finally however, the job was approved to proceed. I like to think I played a small part in landing this job by initiating some good karma in the form of displaying a talisman of sorts in my office cubicle in about March; a “Yukon – Land of the Midnight Sun” license plate (you know, the one with the prospector panning for gold).

However, it’s already been seven weeks now since my trip to Whitehorse, a trip I’d anticipated for over half a year, and I have yet to blog about it. And there’s lots to blog about.

First off, before I left, a colleague recommended a restaurant that I should definitely check out for dinner. “Klondike Rib and Salmon” is apparently quite a bit deal. It was certainly my intention to partake in its culinary delights, but, interestingly enough, I struck up a conversation with a fellow traveler on the plane who gave me another recommendation, “Epic Pizza”, whose main attraction was an open mic night, which would occur on my first night in town. I figured I’d leave “Klondike” for night two. Unfortunately, a report deadline cut in to my leisure time and I ended up spending 8+ hours in the library, leaving me with time only for a quick sub sandwich dinner on the way to the airport.

Open mic night was hit or miss, which is fine. That’s probably quite common for its genre. But there sure was a wide range of talent. A couple members of a band called “Whiskey Epiphany” was in da house. Folky, but quite good. My musical tastes cover a wide range. A couple more acts followed, then a few guys were urged to get on stage and jam. The lead guitarist had an eastern European accent and really seemed to know some licks, and after a short discussion it was decided they’d play a Black Sabbath classic. All they needed was a vocalist…from Whiskey Epiphany. Folk meets metal (Molk? Fettle?). It was indeed “epic”.

Spur-of-the-moment iPhone video (video to be fixed later).

Good thing I did my sight-seeing on my first evening or I likely wouldn’t have seen much. I’d heard about a suspension bridge near town and just happened to see a sign for it while driving around. It was already well past 10 pm and I was intending to stay up late anyway to witness the almost-midnight-sun that Whitehorse experiences, being located slightly south of the 24-hour-sun zone. Also, I’d brought along a small prop; a 1962 Yukon license plate that I bought about 20 years ago at a Lone Butte garage sale. It had adorned the interior of my Mom’s cabin at Horse Lake for a decade or so until she sold the place. I was looking for a scene in which to place my rental car, complete with the vintage “Prospector”. At the Miles Canyon suspension bridge parking lot I discovered just such an opportunity; the Whitehorse Parks sign.

Malibu time travel.

Miles Canyon suspension bridge.

The Yukon River flowing through Miles Canyon.

Sunset at 11:37 p.m., one day past the summer solstice.

Whitehorse geodesic dome yard art.

Jogging past the "Klondike" river boat.

A "fixer-upper" parked outside my hotel.

Friday, August 11, 2017


Somebody must've paid the ransom on the North Shore mountains. They're back! I detected the faintest of mountain outlines at dinnertime tonight; the forest fire smoke is thinning. Then just now as I was taking Tannah on her evening neighbourhood rounds I noticed the lights atop Mount Seymour. It's been 10 days under this smoke blanket. Hopefully the air quality index will be more favourable tomorrow for our weekly 5K run.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Sunset Moonrise

Moon photos have been my obsession this summer. When we were in Europe in July we experienced a full moon, and I could not get a clear distinct photo no matter what I tried. It was especially frustrating as I have gotten a few good moon shots in the past, but either they were complete flukes, or I’ve simply forgotten the procedure. In service to that end the local enveloping forest fire smoke has actually been of benefit to me. It spurred me forward to research and practice moon photography.

A couple of nights ago I finally overcame my last technical stumbling block and produced a good clear image that I was satisfied with. Then yesterday I looked up sunset and moonrise times online and realized they were forecast to be literally minutes apart. I figured I could check off multiple boxes at once by going to Spanish Banks near sunset to see how filtered the sun would be as it approached the horizon (because from my deck the trees of QE Park prevent me seeing the sun’s final descent), the smoke blanket hiding the north shore mountains, and the rise of the moon through the smoke layer.

The vanishing setting sun.
It was surprising how high above the horizon the sun faded from view and how high the moon had to climb before it was visible to photograph. The moon wasn’t visible at all as it cleared the trees south of Spanish Banks. The official moonrise time for August 7 was 8:45 pm, but my camera sensor wouldn’t even register the lunar orb for about another 25 minutes. Similarly with the sun, there was virtually nothing for my camera’s sensor to detect as the sun dropped towards the mountains on Vancouver Island. It gave me time to pack up early to hike my gear from the off-leash dog beach to the east beach concession stand area.

Full-moon rise near the east concession stand at Spanish Banks.

Monday, August 7, 2017

August Long Weekend

This weekend I gave myself an assignment to teach myself a few new tricks on a couple of my cameras. One of them was to take a good shot of the moon, which is shown in a recent previous post. I'd taken a decent shot a few years ago of the moon, but recently I've been having great difficulty producing another one I'm satisfied with. Last night I had some success. The next task is committing the process to memory. Or iPhone notes. :-)

This weekend was a dedicated Staycation. Still recovering from our European vacation (we've been home for almost a month already! Where did the time go?).

Tannah found an ice cream sandwich store on Main
Street that she thinks she wants to try. I think she may
have to settle on sampling the water.

We had friends over for dinner last night, and, sitting on the deck, since we
could smell smoke anyway, we decided to evoke a campfire-ish environment
with a circle of candles. Our glass tabletop plays the role of a lake reflecting
campfire flames. There's ways around them campfire bans!

Our friends brought us fresh Chilliwack (domesticated)
blackberries and bright summer flowers.

Just can't seem to get away from these Citroens this summer. Not that
I mind, of course. A reminder of our vacation is always a good thing.

Our Little Hole in the Wall

Our accommodation in Beaune sounded quite intriguing as described by Jacquie. She told us it was built into part of the rampart wall surrounding the village and that Darren would have quite a challenge maneuvering the car into its assigned slot a short distance away. One of the main reasons they'd rented it for all of us was that it features a cellar, perfect for keeping Darren's wine purchases cool. Also, it has two bedrooms to help us keep our rental costs reasonable.

Here's the narrow alley approaching our modest abode on the left (where the
low roof is, beside the shingled portion).

A view from our deck looking back down the alley from whence we arrived.

The view of the main floor.
Here's Darren stashing his wine in the cellar.

Us in the cool, damp wine cellar. 

The is the access to our secluded deck.

Nothing but rooftops...

The neighbour apparently needs a new roof.

The last night of our stay produced an impressive lightning storm. I watched it completely illuminate the deck as if it was daylight. To look at these last two photos it would be difficult to discern which one was not a daytime lighting condition.