Sunday, August 30, 2015

Late Summer Wind Storm

A different category of extreme weather hit us this weekend. After the driest summer (and probably hottest) on record we got hammered this past weekend by the most severe wind and rain storm since the "Big One" in 2006 when a vast amount of trees fell in Stanley Park.

We drove from Vancouver to Abbotsford on Saturday afternoon and witnessed first hand the tree debris littering the roadside. In fact, if it hadn't been for the traffic station on the radio we probably wouldn't have made it to Abbottsford in any reasonable amount of time.

Strangely enough, even considering all the power outages on our neighbourhood, I didn't discover the tree damage until this afternoon.

Fortunately this tree missed the house.
There's really not much left of this tree.
Three streets south of us.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


This past weekend was dedicated to cars. I’d been anticipating a Volkswagen show on Sunday for some time, but another car show, this time hotrods, street rods and muscle cars was brought to my attention on Saturday, so we took in that one too.
One interesting trend that seemed to have affected different realms of car nuts is the Phantom. This particular niche has been around for a while and it is distinguished by creating a model that the factory never mass produced. The first one I saw was at the Abbotsford show held in the east end of town near Essendene. It was a late 50s Chevy pickup that had been stretched into an extra cab truck. They’re very popular now but they didn’t exist when these 50s models were initially produced. Phantoms require extensive fabrication and usually at least two vehicles are needed in order to produce the desired effect.
A 1955, 56 or 57 (I can'tell) phantom pickup.
The second one was observed at the Great Canadian Volkswagen Show held adjacent to Science World in Vancouver on Sunday. Strangely enough this truck wasn’t entered in the show. I happened across it as I was leaving. It’s a habit of mine to always check out the parking lot as well as the show vehicles. It’s almost always worth it.
This time it was a truck I’d seen advertised for sale some time ago on The Samba, an air-cooled VW enthusiast website. It’s an early 60s model initially (I’m pretty sure) made to look a lot older with the addition of a barndoor roof clip and dashboard (the ”barndoor” nick-name came from the huge engine lid which lasted until the middle of 1955). It started life as a double-cab truck but this one’s bed has been shortened to accommodate an extra-long cab. The rear portion of a panel van was added, including the two side opening doors normally featured on a panel van. I’m not sure if this would have required lengthening the frame, or if the shortening of the pickup bed made up the difference. Tail lights from a barndoor were also added for the vintage effect.
The front barndoor features of a phantom double-cab.
The rear barndoor features (i.e. tiny glass tail lights) of a phantom double-cab.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Marine Perspective

We went on a boat cruise in Coal Harbour a couple of weeks ago. The different perspective allows for some interesting sights. The boat cruised past the park along the shoreline of North Van just south of the Auto Mall. I've been there many times but would never have seen these images from the shoreline.
Lots of seals were catching afternoon sun on the log booms.
An eagle was perched high atop the boom of an anchored freighter.
This would be the last place I'd expect to see a vintage passenger coach from a steam-era train. 
Hopefully it's not on its way to a metal scrap yard.

Final Clown Down

I always wondered what the words were in that chorus... :-)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Space Station Orbit

I just watched the International Space Station (ISS) fly over Vancouver this evening at 9:29 p.m. It's scheduled to make another pass overhead at 11:03 tonight, but I intend to be asleep in my bed by then.

But then again, knowing it'll fly overhead again in exactly 70 minutes from now (as I write this) will probably keep me awake until its return.

The last time we saw an ISS fly-past was during a Sarah McLachlan concert in Ambleside Park in North Van. That was probably about 5 years ago.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Yellowknife Polar Bears

My trip to Yellowknife was a bit longer than planned (about 8 hours longer) as an aircraft part malfunctioned and required replacement prior to take-off. Right before take-off actually. We'd already taxied out to the runway but had to return because of the finicky part. 

It turned out well however (and not just because it's always better to discover a faulty part on the runway as opposed to in-flight) as I reclaimed my rental car and went exploring. I photo-documented Yellowknife’s rich culture of abandoned vehicles, one of which was relieved of its license plate as it sat on a boat launch with smashed windows and full of debris (the plate is now adorning my office cubicle wall J). The car was a former taxi and, according to the tag on the plate, had been inoperable since 2003.

The license plate donor vehicle (with truck open).
Explore Canada's Arctic.
A pair of bears.
Olds 442 Polar Bear.
VW Beetle Polar Bear.
No plate on this one.
This truck had a "Friendly Manitoba" plate.
You just never know what might be hiding in the hedge.

Monday, August 3, 2015

More Yellowknife

Before my next trip, which might actually be to Inuvik, I thought I should post a few more pics from my Yellowknife adventure. I did a bit of travel research prior to my departure in order to maximize my time on the ground, which I knew would be in short supply. My work assignment was to be in the newer part of of town, the "urban sprawl" area to use metropolitan slang, and the interesting stuff was to be found in Old Town, at the eastern end on the shores of Great Slave Lake.

The view from Pilot's Monument looking south across Yellowknife Bay.
Another view from Pilot's Monument looking north to Back Bay of Great Slave Lake.
Just east of Old Town is the Painted Rock which is a monument to the cross cultures of the region: the Metis, Dene, Inuvialuit, and English and French Canadian cultures.
These blue berries atop the Painted Rock looked like Blueberries...I didn't have enough information so I didn't press my luck by tasting them. 
A view of Back Bay from the north side of the Painted Rock.
This"road" leads to the Woodyard, one of Yellowknife's original shanty villages along Yellowknife Bay of Great Slave Lake. Some of the shacks are inhabited by "off-the-grid" locals.
The boardwalk that leads south to a bird sanctuary along the shore of Yellowknife Bay.
The shoreline Poplars of Fred Henne Park.
The striped bark on some of the Poplars is a striking feature.