Monday, June 30, 2014

Upcoming event for econobox fans!

On July 12th we will be hosting Westiva 2014. This would have been the seventh annual but the event was cancelled last year due to significant flooding in Southern Alberta. 

2008 attendees with 'The Wedge' in the background.

Westiva is very casual, informal event originally intended for owners, fans and fanatics of both the Ford Festiva or Ford Aspire but we have recently extended invitations 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 meet is held at the picturesque Wedge Pond Day Use Area in beautiful Kananaskis Country. The "official" start time is around 10:00am. At about 1:00pm we’ll 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.

2010 attendees (This shot was taken before the tenth car arrived)

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. This year we already have owners bringing the cars from as far away as Pasco WA and St. Albert SK.

In keeping with our expanded area of interest we had the owner of a Suburau Vivio RXR come to the 2012 edition.

So consider yourself invited!


When: Saturday July 12, 2014
Where: 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?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A 'ferry' tale road trip day seven, June 8, 2014

Homeward bound today. We purchased an annual National Parks pass earlier in the year so decided to take advantage of it on this final leg of our road trip stopping at a number of the places we've "always" wanted to visit. After breakfast we headed up to Mount Revelstoke National Park. When we stopped at the gate we were informed that the road was only open up to kilometer twelve for a couple of reasons; first that there were a bear and cubs in the area and secondly that there was still quite a bit of snow higher up. We were also warned of another bear lower down, almost at the gate. We drove up and enjoyed the views and twisty roads but didn't see any more bears.

At the park gate.

One of many great vistas

We were a little disappointed we weren't able to get to the top but that gave us a bit more time to enjoy the rest of the day. Made our way back down, rejoined Highway #1 and headed east. The stretch of highway between Revelstoke and Golden makes its way up and over Rogers Pass but before getting there we stopped at the Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk adn picnic area on the banks of the Illecillewaet River. Not a very appealing name I agree but it was worth the little detour. The parking area is a very short drive off the highway and is well signed. The main attraction here is the boardwalk through some valley bottom wetland habitat. Many different species of birds come through here on their various migrations which makes the spot popular with bird watchers.

Trail map for Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk.

Sharon on the boardwalk.

Some of the birds that frequent the area.

Just east of the summit of Rogers Pass (1330m/4365ft) is Rogers Pass Discovery Center that is worth a stop. There was no snow on the ground this trip which is a huge contrast to the more than 6ft we found there when we were through the pass in late April. There are a total of eight snow sheds in the pass, three west of the summit and five east.

First of the eight snow sheds

Avalanche debris on the side of the road

Here we go....

So over the pass we go and start the 80km (50 mile) mostly downhill run into Golden BC.

Eastbound and down into Golden BC

East of Golden approaching the Kicking Horse rest area at the bottom of Ten Mile Hill

We didn't stop in Golden but continued on to our next destination, Wapta Falls. This is another of those stops we've often said we should do but were either anxious to get home or didn't have a park pass but... today is the day!!If you're not paying attention the turnoff is easy to miss. The trailhead is not marked on the TCH for westbound traffic as there is no left turn lane here. Continue 3 km to the west entrance of the park, turn and come back to access it from the eastbound lane. Once you do leave the highway it's about 2km up to the  parking lot. There were quite a number of cars in the lot which was assuring. The trail up to the falls is 2.4km (1.5 miles) one way and except for the last quarter or so is relatively flat. The trail reaches the river quite a bit above the falls and there are two routes that take you down to the bottom. The first is quite steep and provides some really impressive views of the falls. The other slightly longer route has a gentler slope but doesn't have the views of the other one. We took the first route down and the second route back up.

The road up to the Wapta Falls trailhead

The trailhead

Typical trail conditions

Admiring the view at the top of the falls

Lots of little inukshuks.... this one is my favorite

Wapta Falls

It took us about two hours to hike up to the falls, spend a little time admiring the view and return to the parking lot. Another of those "why did we wait so long to stop here" moments! 

Picturesque Field BC

Rundle Mountain

Entering Banff AB

Back to the highway and further eastward through Field BC and over the Kicking Horse Pass, which at 1643m (5390ft) is the highest point on the Trans Canada Highway, and into Banff for our last meal on the road. Our favorite place to eat in Banff is the Old Spaghetti Factory. The atmosphere is great, as are the food and the prices. I don't think we've ever been really disappointed with any meals here. 

We took a stroll after supper and picked up a couple of last minute gifts and then headed home retracing our route along Highway 1A through Morley and Cochrane and then home.

Homeward bound through Banff National Park.

McDougall Memorial Church, west of Cochrane AB

Sweeping vistas looking over the Bow Valley south west to the Rocky Mountains.

We have thoroughly enjoyed this trip. Driving the so-called backroads or minor highways really slowed the pace down which I think we both needed. Driving on the major byways always seems so rushed and hectic. Our chosen route had generally lower speed limits, light traffic, great scenery and lots of twists, turns and rolling roads. Thanks for following along; we hope you've enjoyed the ride with us. Stay tuned as we are starting to plan our next big trip!


Saturday, June 7, 2014

A "ferry" tale road trip day 6, June 7 2014

We stayed at the Best Western in West Kelowna last night and had probably our best night's sleep on the trip so far. Following a great breakfast we headed into Kelowna to our first stop. One of Sharon's favorite things to do is visit thrift stores in the various places we pass through and  we have found some really good deals in the past. Today we stopped at the MCC Thrift Store in Kelowna. Picked up a couple of books and some plates and then made our way to our next stop of the day.

Over the bridge...

First stop of the day

From MCC we headed across the upper part of Kelowna headed for Myra Station, the east parking area for the Myra Canyon section of the Kettle Valley Railway. This amazing stretch of railway engineering features eighteen trestles and two tunnels. This is the same railway that include the Othello Tunnels we visited a couple of days ago.

Through the orchards...

Up the forestry service road to the parking lot.

While excavating a tunnel through here unstable rock was discovered so they cut through instead.

We were privileged to see this soaring golden eagle.

Looking back along the trail.

Sharon and I walked to the three km marker and back along the trail and in doing so crossed eight of the eighteen trestles and went through one of the two tunnels. This is a great walk or bike for families as the grade is essentially flat. The highpoint of the KVR is in the section at just over 1200m. There have been some very creative people hiking or riding up here as we ran across lots of these inukshuks at one spot...

Now that's public art!

Got back to the car around 12:30 and decided to head to Vernon for our lunch. Before we got down off the mountain we almost ran into a bear!

That's a bear that had just run across the road in front of us!
Between Kelowna and Vernon on Highway 97

In Polson Park

The spot we picked was Polson Park. From there we hopped on Highway 6 eastbound and made our way through Lumby and Cherryville to the Needles Ferry, a free five minute ride across Lower Arrow Lake.  This is another beautiful stretch of twisty, rolling two lane blacktop on both sides of the crossing. 
Challenge accepted! :)

Approaching the ferry


One of the three cables that guide and pull the ferry across the water.

South of Nakusp

What's Brewing on Broadway

We saw quite a few more motorcycles out today; probably because it's Saturday and the sun is shining. Stopped for a coffee and a muffin at What's Brewing on Broadway in Nakusp. Great atmosphere and a delicious muffin! Adding about 50km/30miles to our journey brought us to the Galena Bay Ferry. This one is about a 20 minute ride across Upper Arrow Lake and is also free. It was here that we caught up to the motorcyclists that had passed us earlier.

Between Nakusp and Galena Bay

Motorcycles like to go fast!!!

Waiting for the ferry.

There's the motorcycles!

Admiring the view

From the Shelter Bay terminal it's only another 50km/30 miles or so to our hotel for the night in Revelstoke.

Between Shelter Bay and Revelstoke.
Heading to the hotel after filling up with gas.
We have been blessed with awesome weather our whole trip. Very little rain and lots of sunshine. The car has been running well and the roads have been incredible. We have both enjoyed driving the lesser traveled roads for a couple of reasons: the light traffic and the great scenery. I think the big difference is that on these roads you are driving in the countryside rather that driving through it as you would on the major, heavily traveled routes.

Our supper stop this evening was the Nomad Food Co. on Victoria Ave in Revelstoke. I had a burger and Sharon had a falafel wrap. Prices were very reasonable, the  food was excellent and service friendly. I think it's safe to say that we'll be back at some point!

Nomad Food Co. Photo credit to Marathon Mouth blog.

Thank you to Sharon for indulging me this afternoon's drive. We were originally going to make our way to Revelstoke via Sicamous. I'd also like to thank her for taking the bulk of the photos you're enjoying.

A "ferry" tale road trip day 5, June 6 2014

Up to an early start this morning as we were heading the the BC Home School Expo being held at the Tradex in Abbotsford, about a 25 minute drive from out hotel. We attended a couple of sessions with this year's keynote speaker, Andrew Pudewa. He's a very engaging speaker who clearly enjoys what he does and is very confident in his presentation, definitely not one of those speakers that has you looking at your watch every ten minutes. Although we're not from BC we did see a couple of friends working their booth.

We said goodbye to the expo and headed east for the first leg of our trip home. After a stop in Hope for a quick bite to eat it was on the road northwards up Highway 5, aka the Coquihalla Highway, to Merrit BC and then eastward on Highway 97C to our overnight stop in West Kelowna.

Typical Fraser Valley scenery in the Lower Mainland of BC

What's a road trip without a stop at Tim Horton's? This one is in Hope BC.

Northbound on the Coquihalla Highway

Approaching Merritt BC and the turnoff to Highway 97C

Lots of beautiful views along 97C

Eastbound on 97C

First glimpse of Lake Okanagan

Down the hill into West Kelowna

All in all an enjoyable day with a great hotel at the end. Tomorrow we're off to Revelstoke via Nakusp which will have us taking a couple of ferry rides! Stay tuned.