Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Time Fly's By

Last time I wrote we  had just returned from a trip to the desert with our new rig. It worked fine but the lack of solar capabilities meant we ran our generator much more than we liked. We'll work on that.

I spent a lot of March working around the yard at DPS, getting the irrigation system set up for the summer and hauling granite to fill holes and patch up the tree wells. That and spraying the weeds. The weather has been pretty hot so I like to get all that done early in the morning and then head off to the pool for my swim. I have been making it over there 5, sometimes 6 days a week. That takes me through to lunch and then I pretty much just hang out in the shade for the afternoon.

A few days I have taken Blue II for some spins in the desert, trying to connect a few trails I have seen out there and do a little photography along the way.

Always like the desert wildflowers

And some Arizona Wildies

Brenda and her CRPS don't get along very well in the heat so she has been pretty much housebound for the last while and then March 16th she headed back to Canada. She needed to get some dental work done and if you are going to be forced to stay in the house you might as well sit by a furnace as an air conditioner.

Once she had headed home I started slowly putting things away, clearing the deck off and storing all the outside stuff inside for the summer. There was no rush but I figured I would work my way north in time to be home for our daughter Rebecca's birthday with a stop for a day or two out on Yellow Bird Drive.

 Max, Maya, and I got loaded up and after one last swim we left DPS for Bouse on the 23rd. We spent two nights there enjoying the warm night temps and the peace and quiet before heading out early Saturday morning for the road north.

One last desert campfire and star shot before heading North

The first night we stopped at the Cabella's just south of Salt Lake City, in Lehi, Utah. A little bird on Facebook told me that my Sister-in-Law, Tricia, and her kids Chris and Remi were heading south so after a little negotiating we planned a breakfast meeting in Pocatello, Idaho. Always great to see those folks and especially in a different place. After a quick breakfast we both got back on the road, me for Canada, then for points south. I stopped at Costco in Helena to pick up some butter and then made a run for the Medicine Line. That night I stayed at a rest area between Lethbridge and Milk River, as I had a plan to have breakfast with an old friend the next morning in Nanton.

For a travel day, I slept in as I couldn't get Van out for breakfast much before 7AM and I was only an hour and a half away. We had a great visit, solved most of the worlds issues, reviewed all the problems that had surfaced in the energy business since we both retired and then it was back on the road for me. A couple of hours later I was back at Dogpound North.

It took a day or so to get the rig unpacked and everything hauled into the house, and then another couple of days for Brenda to put it all away.

But before that was all done we headed into the city to meet Bec, Ved, and the kids for lunch at our favourite Chinese spot. Great food and even better company.

For the last couple of years I have been bugged by a leg problem that I thought might be sciatica so I have tried exercises, chiropractors, and my own family doc with no relief. I had an appointment with a Neurologist set up so I went in and he poked prodded, electrified me and decided that it might not be sciatica but he didn't know what it might be. He told me take a little magnesium and hopefully that would resolve the issue. Who knows worth a try.

With the rig parked for spring, my doctors appointment behind me, it was time to tackle a couple of clean-up jobs that had been waiting awhile. First I need to muck out the barn and haul a bunch of junk to the garbage. Then the big job, the Quonset hut. It had been collecting stuff for ten or twelve years and I decided if I was the only one who had any idea what something was or where it came from if I didn't want it, it was gone. That made for three dumpsters full of stuff, and a full truck full of metal junk to the dump. And a lot of reorganising to boot.

Those jobs took the best part of a week, but luckily the week was pretty nice weather so it was an OK job.

I had a chance to run in to the University and see my grandson Lucas's team compete in the Western Regional Finals for Robotics. Kind of a cool sport/tech game where the teams build robots and have to complete pretty difficult tasks while competing against another team whose robots need to do the same thing and are at the same time trying to mess up your plan.

Luc's team on the far side almost out of site.

Remember back at the beginning of this journal entry I said we needed some solar capability, well, it was time and I took the rig to Red Deer and dropped it off to get that installed. I won't bore you with all the issues that started but we ended up with 464AH of Battery capacity,  and 400 Watts of Solar capacity on the roof all supplying power to a 2000 Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter. That hopefully will allow us to do what we want to do without using the generator to much.

While the rig was getting it's solar equipment installed I took my F450 to the shop to get a manifold bolt replaced, all under warranty, and they even supplied me with a brand spanking new pickup to drive while it was in there. So I did a bunch of driving and took a bunch of photos while I was wearing out someone else's wheels.

Oil Train heading through Cochrane

A train full of oil heading to the West Coast

And yet another oil train heading out of Central Alberta likely for the West Coast

Oh, we do export some things other than oil, although the train was mostly oil tankers there were a few grain cars in the middle.

That meant a trip out to Morants Curve to catch an oil train or two heading for BC, a visit with Kim Johnson in Canmore, and then a trip out through the old Burnt Timber field and a drive up the Foresty Trunk Road to check on the wild horses.


Wildie Foal

Mom and Babe

The last week has been a little snowy and cool but there have been some great opportunities for catching some northern lights action. Here are a couple of images and a video from two different nights of chasing the Aurora.

Night #1 at Twisty Slough

Night #2 at Dogpound North

I am not sure this video will work but here's hoping. Make sure you hit the box in the right bottom corner and make it full screen.

Today is also a big day, both Alle and her mother Lacey share today as their birthday. Alle had a birthday party over the weekend at a local swimming pool so I ran up to Rocky for that event.

Two little girls mother and daughter, same birthday.

Spring is over here and I must have slept through summer cause it appears we have headed right back into winter with no warning.

A little snow this morning.