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!

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

Sunday, March 18, 2018

"Remember not to be a fool"

As I write this post it is less than a week until spring "officially" starts. To look out my office window to see a foot of snow on the garage roof you wouldn't think so. However it does bring to mind a couple of things. First, when should I take of the noisy studded winter tires and  put on the summers? Second, where will road trips take us this year?

All decked out for winter!
Lots can be found on the technical aspects of the correct timing for the summer/winter tire switchover. I like the little saying I learned a few years ago... "remember not to be a fool". Winter tires go on around Rememberance Day, November 11th. Summers go back on around April 1st, April Fools day. Weather and road conditions around those dates will play a part in the decision to switch over of course... if there's still lots of snow on the ground and in the forecast for early April it would probably be wise to keep the winters on for a little longer

We haven't started to answer the second question yet. We do have a couple of ideas, perhaps a trip into BC, maybe Montana or Idaho, who knows? 

Here's an article posted by Belair Direct with a few ideas for Canadian road trips. We may just try and get the Icefields Parkway done this year. We've done it in other vehicles but not yet in a Festiva.

What road trips are you planning or would you recommend? We'd love to hear from you in the the comment section below!

Friday, November 10, 2017

More on the Shogun...

I first wrote about Jay Leno's Shogun in this April, 2016 post. Grassroots Motorsports just posted this article about Chuck Beck's Shogun. Chuck is the co-creator, along with his friend Rick Titus, and I believe he still owns this car. Follow this link to read the article.

Photo from the article.

Full credit goes to Alan Caesar and Grassroots Motorsports for this great read...

Friday, July 21, 2017

Westiva 2017

What a great day!!!

Our drive out was in surprisingly heavy traffic on the Trans Canada Highway west of Calgary but once we turned onto Highway 40 it got a lot lighter.

Heavy traffic westbound on the Trans-Canada Highway
We were travelling with Jimmy Hawkins who had driven to Calgary from Macon GA. We were joined by Ryan and family just as we turned onto Highway 40 so the last 30km or so ended up being a three car convoy to the Wedge Pond Day Use Area.

Goodbye traffic!!!
Welcome to Kananaskis Country
We pulled into the parking lot at about 9:40 to discover that we weren't the first to arrive. Joe and his friend Brian from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan were there waiting! 

From back to front... Ryan's '92, Jimmy's (Pedro) '88, Joe's '91 and my '93.
We parked our cars and got set up with a couple of tables, claimed a picnic spot and waited in anticipation for our next guests to arrive. Next into the parking lot were Ben in his '93 named Frito along with Bob and his wife Shelly in her '91 automatic.

photo credit: Ben R Rogers
Bob, Shelly and Ben just after crossing the border on their way to Westiva. Photo: Ben Rogers.

Ben's '93 Festiva named Frito

Bob and Shelly's '91 automatic
Bob and Shelly's custom interior.

Ben, who hails from Lexington, Kentucky, was two-thirds into a 6000 mile, three week adventure. This current trip will take him through 20 states and three provinces. He met up with Bob and Shelly at their home in Pasco, Washington on the Thursday prior to Westiva and travelled together over the next couple of days.

Next to arrive was Calgarian Gary and his wife Bobbie in their 1990 Festiva LX. Gary bought this car brand new in 1990 and drives it almost every day. Being an LX it has all the sought after Festiva options available in Canada at the time. Gary has done a great job maintaining his Festiva saying the biggest challenge now is keeping ahead of any rust.

Gary's 1990 Festiva LX
Rear of Gary's 1990 LX showing the blacked out area under the hatch window.
The Wedge Pond Day Use Area was much busier that it has been in past years. All that meant was that there were lots of people around and many of those stopped my to say hello and ask questions about our cars. Considering that Gary's was the only one of the seven of us that's bone stock there were lots of questions to be answered. Here's a brief rundown on the basic specs for each car that was in attendance.

  • 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.

  • Jimmy's 1988 Festiva L, named Pedro, sports a custom suspension, a 1.6l DOHC Mazda engine mated to a stock 5 speed transmission along with seats sourced from an early Ford Escort. Jimmy was presented with our "Furthest From Home" award.

  • Next up in Joe's 1991 Festiva. This quirky, personalized car is a well put together eclectic mix of late model parts (the seats are from a newer Ford Fiesta) and body panels from at least three different Festivas and a Pontiac! It's powered by a 1.8l DOHC engine sourced from an early Ford Escort GT. Joe garnered the most votes in the "Fan Favorite" balloting.

Ben's 1993 Festiva GL, Frito

  • Ben's '93 Festiva, Frito, is all set up for car camping. This is not his first big trip... Ben drove Frito on a 9000 mile/14500km trip around the US last year. The suspension has been modified to provide better cornering and overall performance. With the stock 1.3l engine, air conditioning and the storage box on the roof Ben still manages to get more than 42 miles per imperial gallon (35 miles per US gallon)! Ben was awarded the "Furthest Traveled" trophy.

Bob and Shelly's '91 Festiva GL automatic.
  • Next we have Bob and Shelly's 1991 Festiva GL. Theirs is essentially stock with custom upholstery adorning the interior and aftermarket 13" rims and tires dressing up the exterior. It's equipped with air conditioning and an automatic transmission making it a great highway cruiser.

Gary's'90 LX.

  • Rounding out the Festivas is Gary's 1990 LX which he purchased new 27 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 300,000km/180,000 miles.

Andrew's Suzuki Swift convertible.

  • Shortly after lunch Andrew arrived in his Suzuki Swift convertible. Powered by a 1.0l 3 cylinder turbocharged engine this lidless econobox can really move! Andrew was only able to stay with us for about an hour so I didn't get much time to speak with him.

At Wedge Pond: l. to r. Ryan's, Jimmy's, Joe's, mine, Ben's, Bob's, Gary's.  Photo : Ben Rogers

After entertaining all the curious bystanders and having lunch we drove the 30km to the Boulton Creek Trading Post for ice cream. The last 10 km of the drive are on a rolling twisty stretch of narrow two lane asphalt winding its way through the forest. Although the speed limit is a mere 50kph it is still a wonderful experience! After a quick stop at the Fortress Mountain gas station we arrived at Boulton Creek. 

On the way to Boulton Creek
One of the highlights of the day was when a young girl asked her mom "Why all the race cars?" as we pulled into the parking lot!

At Fortress Mountain gas station. l. to r. me, Joe, Bob & Shelly, Ryan, Gary & Bobbie, and Ben
In the Boulton Creek parking lot Photo: Ben Rogers

One of the big advantages the Festiva has over most vehicles is its size, or more accurately lack of size. It makes parking really easy....

Four Festivas in two parking spots! Upper Kananaskis Lake.

Enjoying the afternoon by the shores of Upper Kananaskis Lake

After spending some time beside the lake we made the drive home. Jimmy and Ben were staying at our place and Bob and Shelly decided to join us for the evening. Ryan and his family showed up a little later to do some emergency laundry... one of the boys got a bit to inquisitive at the lake! Wrapped the evening off with a BBQ supper before sending Bob & Shelly to their hotel in High River with Ryan and Julie heading home to the Edmonton area with their boys.

We ended up with five Festiva in front of our place... I wonder what the neighbors thought?
Five in a row at our place. Photo: Ryan Prins
I would have to say that this has been the best Westiva yet. We had great weather, a wide variety of cars and lots of interest from curious on-lookers. We had a total of seven Festivas and one Suzuki Swift. Unfortunately there were two that I know of that were unable to make it this year. Two of our attendees came a long way to join us for the first time... perhaps they will have inspired others to make the trip next year.

So what is next? In the short term I intend to do a more detailed post on each of the cars and owners in the coming weeks. Longer term... the next edition of Westiva is scheduled for July 14th, 2018. It's never to early to start making plans!

On Highway 40 Photo: Ben Rogers

Thanks for your continued interest in this madness! Your questions and comments are welcome, just leave them in the space below.

Just wanted to give a shout out to They provided a gift card along with some magnets and flyers to hand out at the event. 


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Westiva 2017.... today's the day!

Weather has held... the forecast calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 32ºF/90ºF. Our car is ready to go and long distance attendees are getting closer!

All cleaned up and ready for Westiva 2017

Watch this space over the next couple of days for lots of photos and a full report. Also look for #westiva and #westiva2017 on Instagram.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Westiva 2017... hard to believe that it's only seven days away!

Westiva 2017 is shaping up to be an awesome event. The weather forecast calls for temperatures of 35ºC/95ºF, or as Accuweather puts it... "hot with sizzling sunshine"! Bring your sunscreen, bring your camera, wear a hat!

All of these will be at Westiva 2017 except for the red one.

Wondering what you can expect to see when you come to Westiva 2017? 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
  • a Festiva that is being converted into a tow vehicle for a  cross Canada road trip
  • a military themed Festiva with a 1.8l Ford Escort GT engine!
  • a few mountains
  • a pond
  • perhaps a Suzuki Swift convertible... and who knows what else 
See you at Wedge Pond!