Sunday, July 15, 2018

WESTIVA X... the big day

Saturday morning dawned cool and showery so I was a little worried about the weather. But by the time we left the house to make our way to the venue the sky was well on its way to clearing and the temperature was rising. Two of the attendees, Bob from Pasco WA and Ryan from the Edmonton arear, had stayed with us on Friday night so we headed out together with an initial stop at a local gas station so that Ryan could fill up.

Bob's, Ryan's and my Festiva just getting ready to leave. Yes that is a trailer behind Ryan's car!

We were running a little late so I headed off leaving Bob and Ryan to follow at a more leisurely pace. As has happened the past couple of years Joe was already there with his Festiva, the "Bomber". Bob and Ryan weren't too far behind and it wasn't too much later that Gary arrived in the 1990 Festiva he purchased new! To round out the event Hagen showed up in his Subaru Justy. This wasn't Hagen's first time at Westiva as he had brought his Subaru Vivio back in 2012.

Enroute to Wedge Pond southbound on Alberta Highway 40.

Here are a few items of note regarding this year's edition of Westiva:
  • although the day started out a little cool and showery the weather was perfect by the time we arrived at Wedge Pond
  • this was the only time there were no "first timers" in attendance
  • this is the third time Bob has made the trip up from Washington, each time in a different Festiva
  • Ryan and his family were on their way home after a five week trip that had taken them as far north as Alaska! And that's with towing a trailer behind the Festiva!

Five Festivas and a Justy

Looking toward the "Wedge"

Most of our time together was sharing Festiva stories in particular and car stories in general. there wasn't as much interest from passers-by this year but a few people did stop and have a look. While we shared a picnic lunch I handed out the awards. The "long distance" award was given to the person that was furthest from home and that trophy west to Bob Kiddy from Pasco WA. Everyone in attendance was given a ballot to vote for their favorite with the trophy being awarded to Ryan and his family. Ryan and crew also won the "furthest travelled" award as they had travelled close to 10,000km before arriving at Westiva. The prize for that was a gift card from 

So here's a brief rundown on the attendees:

With the trailer top raised.

  • Ryan's  '92 Festiva, named Canadiana, has its stock 1.3l SOHC engine and manual 5 speed gear box. Ryan has beefed up the suspension and electrical system to allow him to tow a fairly hefty trailer. He has also added sound deadener  and air conditioning. Ryan hand built the trailer using 2x2's, foam panels and fibreglass. It carries all their camping supplies and when set up has room to sleep all four of them. They're midway through an epic 20,000km road trip that has already seen them visit Alaska and has yet to take them to Canada's maritime provinces! Ryan and Julie have a blog for their epic trip which you can find by following this link. You'll also find some details on the trailer itself on that blog.

  • Next up is Joe's 1991 Festiva. He and his friend Brian made the trip our from Saskatoon for the third time. Each time they're here there have been more little details added with this year's additions being some subtle interior changes such as the shift knob. The drivetrain remains the same as last year, a 1.8l DOHC engine sourced from an early Ford Escort GT and the Fiesta seats he installed before last year's trip are still providing a comfortable ride. 

Bob's 93 Festiva
"Long Distance" trophy awarded to the person furthest from home

  • Here we have Bob's 1993 Festiva. Although hailing from Pasco WA Bob actually drove from Sequim WA to get to the meet, almost double the length of the drive from home! Bob has upgraded the wheels and tires on this car as well as transplanting a 1.6l SOHC Mazda engine into the engine bay. This was Bob's third trip to Westiva and each time has been in a different Festiva.

Gary's 1990 Festiva LX

  • Gary's Festiva is  1990 LX which he purchased new 28 years ago. It is as stock as can be, still running the original 12" wheels and sporting all the LX goodies. The car is driven almost every day but has still only racked up just over 3200,000km/198,000 miles. Gary says his biggest challenge is staying ahead of the rust.

My own '93 Festiva

  • Not much has changed on my own '93 Festiva which is far from stock. Still running the Mazda turbo engine but have recently put on new tires. Still working on the A/C... all the pieces are there, just trying to figure out the wiring. If you'd like to learn more about what I've done please go to this page here on the blog

Hagen's trusty, rusty Subaru Justy

  • Last, but certainly not least, we have Hagen's 1988 Subaru Justy. Hagen has gone with a very interesting wheel and tire combo. The wheels themselves are VW 15"x3½" "space-saver" wheels shod with 145-45R15 tires originally spec'd for the front of a Smart Fortwo! This car is driven almost every day and has served Hagen well over the ten years it's been in his possession. In that time he's replaced the wiring harness, fuel lines and fuel tank as well as converted to fuel injection from the stock carburetor.

After a couple of hours of sharing stories we had our picnic lunch then took the 30 minute drive up to the Boulton Creek Trading Post. The ice cream was especially tasty today as it was sunny and hot!

Lunch in the trees at the Wedge Pond Day Use Area

In the Boulton Creek parking lot.

To round out the days' activities some of us were able to join a tour of the Fred Phillip's car collection. I would highly recommend not turning down an invite! Proceeds from the tour go to the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Center.... here's Fred to explain it better.

Sharon and I would like to thank everyone that has come to Westiva over the past ten years. We've met some great people and made many friends. Thanks too to Greg Williams who has written three or four articles about our Festiva adventures in general and Westiva in particular, you can find his latest by following this link.

Thanks also to for providing  a gift card along with some magnets and flyers to hand out at the event. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Westiva X... almost there!

Westiva 2017 attendees

Well here we are on the eve of Westiva X. The weather is looking quite pleasant with a forecast highs ranging from of 18º-20ºC/64º-68ºF with a mix of sun and cloud. People are already on their way from the Yukon and Washington state. Greg Williams, who has written a couple of articles featuring Westiva and our road trips, recently posted a new one on All in all it's shaping up to be a great day... so whether you're an owner of an econobox or just curious about the fascination with the breed why not to head to Wedge Pond Day Use area in Kananaskis Country tomorrow morning!

From CG "Authentic Alberta Photo Contest"... link in properties.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Westiva X... seven more sleeps!!!

Westiva X is shaping up to be an awesome event. The weather forecast calls for temperatures of 25ºC/77ºF. Bring your sunscreen, bring your camera, wear a hat!

Westiva 2017 attendees

Wondering what you can expect to see when you come to Westiva X? Glad you asked! Here's a small sampling:

  • one, perhaps two turbocharged Festivas!
  • a 1990 Festiva LX that was purchased new in 1990 by its current owner. This Festiva has all the options that were available at the time!
  • a couple of stock Festivas
  • perhaps a Festiva that has being converted into a tow vehicle for a  cross Canada road trip... they'll be 6 weeks into their trip when they get here!
  • a military themed Festiva with a 1.8l Ford Escort GT engine!
  • a few mountains
  • a pond
  • perhaps a Suzuki Swift or two... and who knows what else 
See you at Wedge Pond!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

WESTIVA X... two weeks to go

Fourteen days from now Festivas and other econoboxes will be making their way to Wedge Pond in Alberta's Kananaskis Country. Why, you may ask? Well let me tell you... Westiva X is the reason.

And if you're heading to the venue from Calgary may I suggest a scenic alternative to the Trans Canada Highway? It takes a little longer but its well worth it. Bow Valley Trail (or highway 1A) begins at the western edge of the City of Calgary as the extension of Crowchild Trail. This first stretch is four lane divided highway until you reach the top of the hill above Cochrane AB where it drops to one lane going down the hill. 

Looking westward to the Rocky Mountains over Cochrane AB

Stay on Bow Valley Trail all the way through Cochrane and across Highway 22 (about 15 minutes from Calgary city limits). It's after this that the drive gets really nice as is basically follows the Bow River upstream.

Bow Valley Trail heading west from Cochrane. Photo by Banff and Beyond. Link in properties

As you continue westward the road changes to a two lane ribbon heading towards the Rocky Mountains. About 18 km (11 mi) from the Highway 22 intersection Ghost Lake will appear on your left. This is a reservoir behind a power generating dam that is usually teeming with watercraft, mostly sailboats.
Ghost Lake. Photo from Cottage Club Blog. Link in properties
Enjoy the drive westward for another 32 km (20 mi) until you reach the turnoff for Highway 1X. At 4.5 km (2.8 mi) in length, it is one of Alberta's shortest provincial highways Make the turn for the short run southward to the Trans-Canada Highway, Highway 1. Here you'll head back east for about 4 km (2½ mi) to Highway 40. Turn south and you're only 30 km (20 mi) from Wedge Pond! 

This route takes about an hour and twenty minutes from Calgary's western city limits whereas the more direct route via the Trans-Canada Highway takes only an hour. If you have the time and the inclination the extra twenty minutes is well worth it.

See you at Westiva X!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

WESTIVA X... Three weeks and counting

For those of you traveling to Westiva from the south I would like to share one of my favorite local drives. I wrote about some of this route a few years ago but it bears repeating.

It starts at the intersection of Alberta Highways 3 & 22 reached from the west through Fernie and the the Crowsnest Pass and from the east through Fort MacLeod and past Pincher Creek. From there the route takes you north along the Cowboy Trail to Longview, west to Highwood House and then north again over the Highwood Pass to Wedge Pond.

The first leg up to Longview takes you over 110km of rolling, meandering two lane blacktop through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. At times it's not hard to imagine herds of buffalo roaming the fertile valleys. Here's some of the points of interest along the way:
  • km 24/mile15- you'll cross the Oldman River
  • km 44/mile 27-  one of the highest spots on the Cowboy Trail at approximately 1500m/4900ft, over 300m/1100ft higher than our start  point.
  • km 71/mile 44 - you'll start to pass Chain Lakes Provincial Park on your left. There's a spot here for a picnic or a bathroom break if the need arises.

Northbound on Highway 22. From Surrealplaces on Flikr; link in properties

Longview is the starting point for the second leg of this route. Head west from Longview on Highway 541. You'll reach Highwood House after a scenic 44km/28mile westward drive through rolling farmland. At this point you'll turn north again onto Highway 40 to head over the Highwood Pass which at 2206m (7238ft) is the highest paved pass in Canada. This stretch of highway is closed from December to mid June as it is a major wildlife corridor.

Highwood Pass looking south from the air (source wikipedia)
If you look closely at the photo above you can see the summit parking lot in the bottom right corner.

From the ground (source wikipedia)

The summit of the pass is 38km/24 miles from Highwood House and it's another 38km/24 miles to the Wedge Pond day use area, the starting venue for Westiva. Whether you're joining us for Westiva or not, I highly recommend this route for the twisty, rolling roads and the breathtaking scenery.

Monday, June 18, 2018

WESTIVA X... the countdown begins!

With less than four weeks to go we are getting excited as this year's event is shaping up to be another great one. We have confirmed attendees from Idaho, Washington State, Alberta and Saskatchewan. There is also a possibility of attendees from Arizona and North Carolina. A number of our "regulars" will be there too along with a few first timers.

Westiva 2017 attendees. Photo credit: Ben Rogers

If you have a Festiva, an Aspire, or one of many of the econoboxes from the late '80's and early '90's come and join us. If you don't and are wondering what all the fuss is about please stop by to have a look and ask your questions.

Watch this space for weekly updates!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Westiva X

It's that time of year again!

Artwork courtesy of Ben G. Rogers
Westiva is very casual, informal event originally geared towards owners, fans and fanatics of both the Ford Festiva or Ford Aspire with invitations extended to owners of other econoboxes from the late eighties and early nineties such as the Dodge Colt, Chevrolet Sprint, Geo Metro, Suzuki Swift and Nissan Micra.

The "official" start time is around 10:00am. At about 1:00pm we cruise up to the Boulton Creek Trading Post in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park for ice cream, about a 30km drive. From there we'll continue to Upper Kananaskis Lake.

When Westiva was first held in 2008 there were four attendees. Two from Calgary, one from the lower mainland of British Columbia and the fourth driving up from Worland WY. Our best year attendance-wise was 2010 when we had 10 Festivas show up with the furthest being from Ontario. 

In keeping with our expanded area of interest we had the owner of a Suburau Vivio RXR come to the 2012 edition. There was no event in 2013 due to significant flooding in southern Alberta

The 2014 event saw a couple of Suzuki Swifts in attendance, one from Calgary and the other from Spruce Grove AB. We also had owners bringing the cars from as far away as Pasco WA and St. Albert SK.

The 2016 event turned out to be a cool and rainy one but in spite of that we had five Festivas make an appearance, myself and four other first time attendees! There was also a Suzuki Swift convertible to round out the number to six.

Here are a few more details including some reasonably close camping and hotels:

Campgrounds in the area fill up fast so I would recommend making reservations. Some campgrounds are first come, first served but others can be reserved 90 days in advance.
Mount Kidd RV Park  is the closest, and nicest, but there are a couple of other options that aren't too far away. Those would include Eau Clarie just south of the venue along with a number in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Another camping option would be in Bow Valley Provincial Park, about 40 minutes away on Highway 1 towards Canmore.
As for hotels the closest are located in Kananaskis Village, not far from Wedge Pond.
Calgary's western city limits are only about an hour or so away from Wedge Pond. There are a number of hotels on that side of town as well. If you search "Motel Village Calgary" you will find a number of places to stay that are conveniently located along Highway 1, the Trans Canada Highway, as it passes through the City. I live not too far from there so perhaps an early morning caravan could be set up to make our way to the venue. There are a couple of hotels right across the highway from Canada Olympic Park, the site of a number of events in the 1988 Winter Olympics. Those are the Sandman Hotel & Suites Calgary West and the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel & Suites Calgary West.

One thing to keep in mind that Westiva is held during Calgary's Stampede week and hotels could possibly book up fairly early in the year. I recommend booking sooner than later.

All of the photos below were taken at Wedge Pond day use area unless noted:

Westiva 2008 attendees.
Westiva 2009 attendees.
Westiva 2010 attendees. One more arrived after this photo was taken.

Westiva 2010 attendees at Upper Kananaskis Lake parking lot.
Westiva 2011 attendees.

Westiva 2012 attendees, including a right hand drive Subaru Vivio
Westiva 2014 attendees, including a Swift or two and a Kia Sportage!
Westiva 2015 attendees
Westiva 2016 attendees, including a Suzuki Swift convertible!
Westiva 2017 attendees, photo credit to Ben G Rogers

Looking forward to some long distance attendees this year! Festiva owners in Georgia, Utah and Kentucky made the trip up last year. If the exchange rate on the Canadian vs. US dollar stays anywhere close to where it is today it would make for an inexpensive trip! 

Speaking of distances... here are some approximate one way travel distances:

Great Falls MT: 400 miles
Spokane WA: 425 miles
Portland OR: 775 miles
Denver CO: 1175 miles
Sioux Falls SD: 1250 miles
San Fransisco CA: 1300 miles
Los Angeles CA: 1600 miles
Kansas City MO: 1600 miles
Phoenix AZ: 1625 miles

Dallas TX: 1945 miles
Louisville KY: 2000 miles

Nashville TN: 2100 miles
Knoxville TN: 2200 miles
Raleigh NC: 2475 miles

Macon GA: 2475 miles
Miami FL: 3025 miles

Edmonton AB: 400 km
Saskatoon SK: 700 km
Regina SK: 875 km

Vancouver BC: 950 km
Victoria BC: 1020 km
Terrace BC: 1315 km
Winnipeg MB: 1425 km
Toronto ON: 3500 km
Montreal QC: 3625 km

After much thought Sharon and I have decided that this year's edition of Westiva will be the last one we'll be hosting.

We hosted the first edition back in July of 2008 and have done so every year except one since. Over the course of time we have met many fellow Festiva fanatics and have made many friends as a result. 

We will be working towards making this years edition of Westiva the biggest and best to date. It will be at the same venue with the same activities with perhaps a couple of other exciting things thrown in the mix. There is something special that we'll be looking at as an add on either the day before or the evening after the "official" get together.


When: 10:00am Saturday July 14, 2018
Where: Start at the Wedge Pond Day Use Area, Kananaskis, Alberta

Who: Ford Festiva and Aspire fans and anyone interested along with owners, fans etc of other econoboxes from the era.

Why: Why not? There may even be prizes and trophies!

If you'd like more information either leave a comment here or check out the "Meets & Events" section at