Friday, June 13, 2008

It appears that we are well past due for an update on the old blog!

Hard to believe that two weeks have passed by since the last entries!

This time there are some new pics of things at work, around home, and an exciting development in my camping/RV department.

Because of the almost 'coastal' continuous rain, and other complications, I have only managed to make it out to the Sundre homestead twice this year. Of course, I was on the road down south till the middle of April this year.
But the grass was starting to get out of control, so I had to make an attempt at cutting it. Much of the mowing was done during, or between the frequent showers that kept passing through.
And, my sister had come up with a whole bunch of trees just begging to be planted around the house and yard.
So, with only a couple days to spend, I was pretty busy trying to get it all done before I had to go back to work.

Harley was along for the ride of course - his first ride in the new truck. He seemed to approve of it, though he did not even try out the heated seats!
He was glad to get out in the grass, and managed to catch some mice when he wasn't following me around the yard.

Back at work, more of the roads are now snow-free (and about time), so I got to make like a tourist and take some tourist photos. This one is Peyto lake, on the Icefields Parkway.
And, they are finally starting to twin the highway through this section of the park, which means that they are putting up fences to keep the wildlife off the highway.
So, I took some shots of the bare posts before the wire is strung up, because from now on it change the whole scene along the roads. It is hoped that it will reduce the number of animals that get killed by vehicles on the road, but that it does not reduce their mobility, and cut off travel routes that they and their predecessors have used for centuries.

But the biggest news (drum roll), may somewhat change the face of this blog in the years to come. Or it may not!
I used the following logic: What use is a 'line of credit' if it is not used, I ask you.
So only two weeks after buying a brand new truck, and the same day that I got the camper attachments welded onto it in Calgary, I went over to one of the numerous RV dealers and clinched a pretty dang good deal on - a brand new 5th wheel trailer!
Of course, that meant a new hitch had to be installed and added to the debts rapidly accumulating. So far, I have just picked it up in Calgary and brought it home to a driveway location. But I was very pleased how easy it was to tow with the new truck. I think it will take some practice to get 'backing up' perfected.
Everyone asked if I was going to retire the old truck camper, but the answer is an emphatic NO!
The truck camper is still by far the best option for most of my travel. It can be driven around in towns, parallel parked, taken down rugged logging roads, and end up in lots of great camp spots the 5th wheel will never see. But the 'fiver' will excel at longer-term stays with a lot more space and a few more conveniences.
The new rig has two slideouts at the rear, so the resulting room is about 14 feet wide - which is pretty good for an 8' wide camper. It also has A/C, a ceiling fan, an AM/FM/CD/DVD/MP3 player with speakers inside and out, a heated mattress (!), and a fireplace with a remote control!
That's it for now. I hope the next update does not take so long to get online!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Finally. A bit of action at work!

We got a call the other day from an ambulance service at the scene of a wreck just outside the park boundary. Apparently a four-wheel quad had gone off the edge of a logging road, and the driver was lying injured at the bottom. Some of us responded by road, and our helicopter also was dispatched.The weather was really getting bad, as a gusty storm front with rain was passing through.
The patient was lifted out of the ravine by the rope under the helicopter and delivered to the waiting ambulance. To avoid the long, rough ride in the ambulance when spinal injuries were suspected, it was decided to put the patient and stretcher inside the helicopter and fly directly to the hospital.
The bears are back - big time. Lots of bears are roaming around the valley bottoms this time of year as there is still a lot of snow in the high country. We have been dealing with 6-8 grizzlies and a fair assembly of black bears too. This shot is of three grizzlies taking a short cut through a section of the (fortunately deserted) campground. Various of the bears favourite haunts are closed to the public to give the bears some space and a place to eat in peace and quiet.
We are often pretty close to these bruins, but don't always have a spare hand to hold a camera at times like that.
So with a little experimentation, and a steady hand , you can take a photo like the one below using a standard digital camera - held up to the eyepiece of a spotting scope. These bears are feeding happily in an area that was formerly a trailer court and has now been rehabbed. People are able to watch safely (?) from behind an electrified fence .
A rub-tree used by grizzly bears to have a good scratch - and mark their territory.

I checked out the conditions of the (closed) Tak Falls road the other day and found it still has some obstacles left over from the winter.

Snow slides.

And a Hoary Marmot surveying his domain and catching some rays from the top of a big boulder on roadside.On the home front, it has been raining and cold a lot, so the mighty hunter has been sticking close to the fireplace, and doing his 'hunting' by watching some television!

On the camper front, I got new camper tie-down attachments welded onto the new truck, so it should be ready for a test of the camper - if the weather ever smartens up.
I also wired in the new camper plug on the truck to supply power to the camper, so that will need a road test soon.
There are some other big changes on the camping horizon soon, so - stay tuned!

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