Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's amazing where the scenery turns up around here.
I was checking out a report of a serious antifreeze leak from a tour bus in the area and took a few photos of the spill and the bus to document it. Then I noticed the reflection of the mountains in the bus window. You may have to click on the photo to see it full size - like any of the photos in this blog. I thought it was an interesting picture?
More carnage on the highways. This one happened a couple weeks ago, and I got called out to attend.

While it did not compare in overall destruction to a five semi-truck head on crash last January, it was certainly comparable in some categories.

This is one cab totally separated from the truck and frame, with the engine sitting on the ground in front of it. This one featured an engine block, a saddle fuel tank, a set of front wheels, and a cab - all separate from the truck - and each other. If this was skiing, it would be called a 'yard-sale'.

The same cab from the side.

This is the cab from the other truck - and the driver crawled out of here! Yes, that is the cab, still partially attached.As far as I know, everyone survived the wreck. There was also a small car involved, but it just got a relatively minor sideswipe and the passengers walked away.

On a lighter note ...

On my 4 minute commute home the other day, the setting sun was hiding behind Mt. Victoria, backlighting the snow plumes blowing over the top. A minute earlier would have been a better picture :)

Harley and I finally made it out to our wee house in the country, where I managed to avoid most of the work that I should have been doing. Well; someone had to walk down to the river and check out the ice conditions!
Looking back up toward the house.
Harley takes advantage of a leaning set of shelves to get up to his favourite perch!On the way home today, the sun was shining on Castle mountain, formerly known as Mt. Eisenhower. So I did the only thing I could. I took a shot through the front windshield without even slowing down. Such are the sacrifices I make to find some blog content, while I pass time - waiting to get back on the road again.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Harley and I put our heads together and decided that nothing much had happened this week.

Unless, of course, you consider shoveling snow off the roof of a fifth wheel or it's solar panels to be action? I know I don't.
The Moraine Lake road is closed for the season, but that didn't stop us from driving up there one last time - just to make sure it wasn't too smooth for all the X-Country skiers that flood in here this time of year. There isn't much snow, but it is smooth underneath and the only place where these olympic hopefuls can put away their wheeled skis and put on some miles.
Meanwhile, we were also trying to wreck the skating opportunities on the local lakes, by breaking up the ice under the auspices of thin ice rescue training.
Where DID that victim go anyway?

It was only a few years ago that I took part in a rescue on this very lake - using my skates to bring a stretcher-bound patient from the far side of the lake to the ambulance on the road. I think that was a 'first'?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

There is a good chance that winter has arrived.

Well, if not winter; at least winter driving conditions have arrived in the mountains!

I got called out a few mornings ago for a report of a semi truck overturned in the ditch. While I immediately thought of the Delissio pizza truck (mm mmm, good) that wrecked a few years ago, or the cattle liner that sent domestic cows to range in the mountains, this trailer proved to be tough, and nothing foreign was added to the environment.

But it was a very scary ride for the driver, who only received minor injuries, and luckily no one else was involved in the wreck (Unlike the five semi truck head-on last January).

It appeared that the truck came down the hill, around the curve while completely broadside across all three lanes before it completed the 180 degree turn to face back the way it had come from. Then it entered the ditch sideways and did a complete roll before coming to rest at the bottom.

Cranes were called in to help off-load the cargo before the wreckers could move it, and we spread absorbent pads to soak up the leaking engine oil and diesel fuel. The driver was released from hospital and came back to observe the cleanup.


The next day, I was checking out another area north of home and spotted four nice big bull moose hanging out on the lakeshore together. I took a photo - through the spotting scope - but the quality was not good enough to post. Same thing for the four swans a-swimming on the same lake!

On the way back I thought I had seen a lynx run across the road ahead of me, so I stopped to examine the tracks in the snow on the edge of the road to make sure it was not a more common coyote.

As I was taking photos of the tracks, I heard some sounds from the bushes along the road, and much to my surprise, I soon saw not one but two cute cat faces peering out at me from among the spruce branches.

I started to snap pictures, thinking each one would be my last, but they were quite unafraid, and eventually came right out of cover to check me out. I paced out the distance after they had left and they were barely 6m (6 yards) away.

The next day, we were out and about in the park when we got a call about an overturned vehicle in the ditch possibly with several people trapped inside. The reports varied widely (which is common), and so we responded along with 3 medic units, the police, the fire department, and a helicopter.

We passed the fire department on the way, and were first to arrive. While my partner checked the patients, I put up warning signs and secured the scene so no more vehicles became involved.

It turned out that there was only one patient with potentially serious injuries, one 'walking wounded' and one who had caught a ride to the medical clinic in town. We let the fire dept and the medics take over patient care while we secured a landing zone for the helicopter on the highway.

We helped load the patient into the helicopter, which subsequently flew direct to the hospital in Calgary.

Back on the home front (the driveway), I reluctantly unhooked the 5th wheel after the halloween 'campout', and was giving serious consideration to throwing the truck camper on again so as not to waste my six days off in a row.

I checked the weather reports for anywhere with a days drive, and none were encouraging, so we are holed up at home for the time being - Harley and I fighting for the best spot in front of the fireplace!
It is snowing out, and the roads are likely in poor shape, so there could be some more overtime on the horizon, but we don't like to make money from someone else's misfortune. We like to take it in 'time off'!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

We only made it out for one night of 'camping' this week, and it was even on a 'school' night, and I was 'on call' for whatever emergencies might develop in the area.

But, the weather was nice, the 5er was just sitting in the driveway - waiting.
Harley and I chatted about it as I fed him his supper and the decision was made!

I had to go out and disconnect the solar panels, which are still in the testing phase, which means they are sitting on the ground, propped up against the hitch. They had not been performing that well and I suspected the wire I had used to connect the controller to the batteries was too small. I put some heavy guage wire on, and there was a marked improvement. Ten times the current resulted when the sun was shining.
Anyway, I had to remove them to move, and I had to throw the 5th hitch back into the rear of the pickup. I threw in a few more essentials for the big trip (next time remember some utensils. Any utensils!) In less than an hour from the decision being made, we were on the road.This is the scenery that blocks the views around here!

We couldn't really consider it a RoadTrip, as it was only about 5km to the campground, but it took at least 8-10 minutes!
We didn't get any calls that night, but I worked the next morning, so we broke camp in the dark and drove all the way home before daybreak. Backing the rig into the driveway in the dark with fogged-up, rain spattered mirrors was a challenge, but there were no misfortunes :)
And no photos because it was dark!

It's been a beautiful, warm fall.
I'm sure it will end soon :( But we sure are enjoying it while it lasts!
I was shopping for a propane hose to connect the bbq to the line just under the edge of the rig, so I took some pics to make sure I got the right type of hose.
Lucky I did, because there was one that was very close, but would not have fit.
One of my neighbors purchased an acreage west of here in the Golden area of British Columbia.
To provide a base of operations until they can build on the land, they bought a 'previously enjoyed' trailer to park on the land. Their truck was not quite up to the job of pulling it, so the big GMC got to lend a hand.It's an area with a nice view, but the driveway was steep enough that I had to drop it into 4 wheel drive to keep from spinning out.
Shortly, the trailer was parked, winterized, and tarped up for the winter.

The truck finally asked for it's first oil change after almost 15,000km, so I took it in and paid $166 for the job - it sounds like a lot, but it included a new transmission fluid filter as well that needs to be changed at the first oil change. This truck e-mails me once a month to let me know how it's feeling, and if it's tires need more air, or when the fuel filter is due for replacement.

A reader in Florida sent me gift recently! I had been telling him about my experiences with Harley on the road, and he gave me a copy of Andy Baird's Eureka 2 - Bright ideas for your RV

which is just packed with good ideas, projects and advice for making the most of your RV. Thanks Bob. There is just tons of information for new, experienced, or even full-time RV'ers.
I recommend it.

You will also notice a new feature on the blog since the last post. Along the right hand side there is now a 'real-time' list of visitors to the blog. It is a 'beta' project, but if it works, the top entry should be - yours!