Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

Carol and Dan came to visit on Christmas Eve Day and stayed until Boxing Day. We had a nice visit and it was fun getting to know Dan a bit. We all went over to Chris and Karl's for Christmas dinner. No pix - too busy eating, drinking and, in my case, snoozing!

After we opened gifts and tidied the house a bit, Carol and I went for a walk in Bowmont Park near our house. This year it was only about -5C compared to last year's -20C - so we had a really nice walk! Pix are worth a 1000 words - so here they are!

Have a great holiday!

Friday, December 18, 2009

August 2009 Road Trip - The Way Home (74)

From Spokane we proceeded to Coeur d'Alene , a place I have a hard time spelling! Coeur d'Alene is famous for its outlet shopping and the lake. We didn't do any shopping there other than a quick stop at another Jo Ann Fabrics store. Of course I bought a bit more. We stopped at the lake to take a look.

From there we toddled on to Sandpoint - much easier to spell. We spent a bit more time there and stayed overnight at another Quality Inn. Apparently Quality Inn does not do "quality control." This one was not nearly as nice as the Spokane QI - so beware - they seem to be location specific. Anyway - Sandpoint is another nice place - sort of touristy.

Note the train.

Mini Lady Liberty - you'll see the real thing in the next series of posts when I (finally) get around to putting up our New York pix. Too many pix, too little time.
We stayed one night in Sandpoint and hit the road the following morning.
Following are some Idaho country shots.

"Barber Ship" - in a small town somewhere before we crossed into Canada.

Here we are back in Canada. Moyie Lake, BC.

Near Wasa, BC.

From Radium to Lake Louise.

We saw this little black bear near Radium.

Above and below - aside from showing some interesting weather, show the results of forest fire. The trees on the mountain were burned out a few years ago.

So there you have it. Yet another road trip. This was back in August.
Our next trip was to New York City in early November. So that's coming up.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pausing for Station Identification

Welcome to my rant - I haven't had one for awhile....

I'm getting cranky in my old age. Or maybe it's just because we've had three snow storms in a week and a half, and temperatures have been bouncing around from -30C to a balmy -11C. And it's just mid December. In any case, the past few weeks are proving that I'm not the only one needing a break!

Our public health officials need a break. Ever diligent, they have whipped the entire province (and likely country, but I'm here in Alberta so that's what I know) into a total panic about H1N1 flu to the point of near stampede to the clinics for flu shots. High risk people didn't get shots because low risk people bumped them out of line. People, still panicked (gee - why was that again? - oh yeah - commercials - public service announcements - and news stories ad nauseam warning people about how terrible this virus is) have been clogging up emergency wards at the drop of a hat - or at least a mild cough. Enter health officials again asking people to stay away from emergency wards because most illness is just "normal" flu and colds. Now why did this panic happen in the first place????

Oh - and then there is Tiger. Tiger, Tiger, Tiger, Tiger, Tiger. Obviously he either didn't get or heed the mother's standard advice of "keep it in your pants." Clearly a man with a problem - on so many levels. But I don't want to hear about it. Over and over and over and over and over. Take away his golf clubs, or something. Thank goodness for the "off" button. Take a Tiger break, media!

And of course there is a new religion for fanatics: Climate Change. We used to joke that eventually "they" would think of a way to tax the air we breath - well - "they" finally have. It's called a carbon tax. Think what you may - this whole thing has just gone crazy. Climate Change believers and sceptics - take a break already!

I could go on and on and on .... there is the Afghanistan prisoner issue, the power line issue here in Alberta. ....

No need for solid reporting - don't let facts get in the way of a good story. And if it's sensational - let's make it more sensational. And put it out over and over and over and over.

Noooooooo - make it go away, please - TAKE A BREAK!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

August 2009 Road Trip - Kelowna, Spokane (73)

Spokane is a city located in the Northwestern United States in the state of Washington. It is the largest city and county seat of Spokane County, as well as the metropolitan center of the Inland Northwest region. The city is located on the Spokane River in Eastern Washington, 110 miles (180 km) south of the Canadian border, approximately 20 miles (32 km) from the Washington-Idaho border, and 271 miles (436 km) east of Seattle.

Population ~ 200,000

We REALLY liked Spokane. If it wasn't for the fact that it is in the US, we'd seriously consider retiring there. It's clean, pretty, safe, smallish - but not too small, has all the amenities, etc.

We were there for two nights - one full day and two part days. We spent quite a bit of time in Riverfront Park, which is right downtown. The Expo '74 was held in Spokane and the park is home to the Expo site. The following pix are of Riverfront Park.

Riverfront Park occupies 100 acres of land and water with a rich and varied history. Spokane Falls and the surrounding land has long been a gathering place for people. Native Americans gathered and fished at the falls. In the late 1800's, pioneers settled here and started the city of Spokane. The railroad industry fueled the city's growth and rail yards covered Havermale Island, the present site of Riverfront Park.
Learn more about the history of Spokane Falls and see them for yourself by taking a scenic Skyride.
In 1974, Spokane hosted Exposition '74, "The World's Fair". In preparation for Expo '74, the Spokane River was cleaned up, the rail yards were removed, and the Great Northern Railroad Depot on Havermale Island was demolished. Our Clocktower is all that remains of the 1902 depot.

The Clocktower on Havermale Island was originally part of the Great Northern Railroad Depot. Construction began in 1901 and finished in 1902. []

The Pavilion was built specifically for Expo' 74 and served as the United States Pavilion during the World's Fair. The center support rises 145 feet above ground. The structure was originally covered in canvas. After a few years, the canvas was removed due to wind damage. []

Centennial Sculpture by Harold Balazs. 1978.An abstract aluminum sculpture which floats in the Spokane River. []

This is the Washington State International Agricultural Trade Center (above).

Untitled (lantern) by Harold Balazs. 1974.A concrete sculpture in the form of a large scale Japanese Lantern. []

Lantern and Trade Center in context.

Reflection of Pavilion in the Trade Center windows.

Michael Phillip Anderson (December 25, 1959 – February 1, 2003) was a United States Colonel (USAF), a NASA astronaut, and the Space Shuttle payload commander of STS-107 (Columbia) who was killed when the craft disintegrated after reentry into the Earth's atmosphere.
Anderson was born in Plattsburgh, New York, but considered Spokane, Washington, to be his hometown.

Tour train across the pond in the field.

Australian Sundialby Sister Paula Turnbull.This life-size sundial was created for Expo '74 and contains many symbolic Australian animals. []

Part of the Washington Water Power Upper Falls Hydroelectric development.

Vietnam Veteran's Memorial by Deborah Copenhaver. 1984. The names of all deceased Vietnam veterans from the Spokane area are engraved in the sculpture's pedestal. []

Plaza of Nations - Expo '74.

Spokane Falls is the name of the series of waterfalls and dams on the Spokane River in downtown Spokane, Washington.
The falls consists of an Upper Falls and a Lower Falls. The Upper Falls is the site of the Upper Falls Dam, a diversion dam constructed in 1920 that directs the water into the Upper Falls intake on the south channel of the Spokane River. The Upper Falls Power Plant incorporates a Francis turbine capable of generating 10 MW.
The Lower Falls is the site of a second diversion dam, the Monroe Street Dam. Completed in 1890, it was the first dam built on the Spokane River and is currently the longest-running hydroelectric generation facility in Washington State. Its Kaplan turbine has a generating capacity of 14.82 MW. []

See the three pods hanging there? That's the Skyride. Of course we didn't go on it...

The Joy of Running Together by David Govedare, 1984.

This corten steel sculpture depicts runners of all kinds. It celebrates the Spokane tradition of Bloomsday, the largest timed road running race in the world. []

One of many art deco buildings in the city.

Across the street - O'Doherty's - we ate here. It was good.
Back to the park....

Riverfront Park's 1909 Looff Carrousel is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of America's most beautiful and well preserved hand-carved wooden carrousels.Our Looff Carrousel features 54 horses, 1 giraffe, 1 tiger, and 2 Chinese dragon chairs. []

Goat by Sister Paula Turnbull. This corten steel sculpture of a goat will eat small pieces of trash with the aid of its vacuum digestive system. []

The Childhood Express by Ken Spiering. 1990. Spokane's "Red Wagon" sculpture was created in honor of Washington State's 1989 Centennial. It was a gift from the Junior League of Spokane, many local businesses and the Spokane Arts Commission to the children of Spokane. []

The Washington Water Power Co. - Upper Falls Power Plant - constructed early 1920s.

From the deck of Anthony's a fab restaurant we found the next day.

Joe at Anthony's.

Another Washington Power building.

We drove around to try to find places to take some wide shots of the city - it's pretty flat, so not too easy - then when we did find a place, it was difficult to access - these are the best we could do. Don't know the names of these buildings/bridges, but they are indicative of the city.

There is some really nice art deco architecture downtown.

That's our full day in Spokane. We went shopping next morning before leaving for Cours d'Alane and points beyond. In Spokane we stayed in a Quality Inn that was just excellent - it had a nice pool and very good service in general. Would recommend it. There is more than one but this one is right by one of the highways by a hospital.