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!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Westiva 2017: only 14 days to wait now

The print edition of the on-line article I posted last week was published yesterday in the driving section of the Calgary Herald... apparently we "Festiva aficionados are having a love-in"! The text of the article hasn't changed but we all got a chuckle out of the headline

The weather forecast is looking great with a high of 26ºC (79ºF) and only a slight chance of late day showers; that being said the event is a go rain or shine.

Here's a short video of the area, you catch a glimpse of the parking lot at about 1:12 in....

I had the opportunity to speak with an Aspire owner the other day and gave him an invitation. If he decides to attend his will be the first Aspire in the history of the event.

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.

For all the details regarding this year's meet check out the Westiva 2017 page of this blog. Questions and comments are welcome... just leave them in the space below!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Westiva 2017... three weeks to go!

As Westiva 2017 draws closer things are starting to get more exciting.

Greg Williams is a writer for (among other things) who published an article about our first big road trip back in 2011. I've kept in touch over the years and he has always included Westiva in the 'upcoming events' section of his articles.

His latest article, published on-line just yesterday, features Ben Rogers of Lexington, Kentucky as he prepares his Festiva, named Frito, for an epic 6000 mile road trip that includes a stop at this years edition of Westiva. Ben's route will take him through seventeen states and three provinces.

Ben on his 2016 trip; photo by Ben Rogers
This won't be Ben's first big trip. Just last year he did a 9000 mile tour of the US in Frito! His route included stops in Arizona, California, Washington and more. A part of that trip was a stop at the 2016 edition of Festiva Madness in  Raleigh, North Carolina, the same event we attended back in 2011.

Ben's route for his grand journey in 2016: courtesy Ben Rogers

Festiva Madness 2016 in North Carolina: photo by Ben Rogers
For all the details regarding this year's meet check out the Westiva 2017 page of this blog. Questions and comments are welcome... just leave them in the space below!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Westiva 2017... four weeks and counting.

As I write this post Westiva 2017 is only four weeks away. What is Westiva you ask? Answers to that question can be found by following this link.

Some of the attendees at Westiva 2016

We are getting excited as this year's event is shaping up to be the biggest ever. We have confirmed attendees from Kentucky, Washington State, Georgia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. There is also a possibility of at least one Festiva coming up from Arizona! We have several of our "regulars" coming along with a number of first timers. 

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!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Falls into spring day five

Tuesday, May 2nd

This is the last day of our little getaway. We had a leisurely start to the day with breakfast at the hotel and a stop at one of our favorite places, Crossway Community Thrift Store. My brother is a railroad enthusiast and I found a book from the fifties about the Pennsylvania Railroad for him.

We decided to take the scenic route home via Highway 1A rather than the busier, albeit faster, Trans Canada Highway. Highway 1A is a two lane road that mostly follows the Bow River as it flows eastward through or past Exshaw, Seebe, Morley, into the Ghost Resevoir and then to Cochrane, Calgary and beyond.

It's a beautiful stretch of road with a sedate speed limit of 80kph for more than half the route. We stopped in Cochrane for a snack then made our way back to Calgary. A short day on the road but enjoyable nonetheless!

Three Sisters

Along the banks of the Bow River

Ghost Reservoir with the dam in the background
Eastward to Cochrane AB

Approaching Calgary

As much as we enjoy our time away it's always nice to get home!  If you have any suggestions for road trips, long or short, close or far, please share them in the comments section below!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Falls into spring: day four

Monday, May 1

Today was to be a day of driving with our next overnight in Canmore, AB. Our route would take us over Kelowna's William R. Bennett Bridge. Opening in 2008 it replaced an older, smaller bridge across the lake providing more traffic lanes and 18m (almost 60ft) of clearance under its navigation span.

Approaching the William R. Bennett Bridge from West Kelowna.
Once we passed through Kelowna we made our way north on Highway 97 along the shores of Wood Lake and Kalamalka Lake.

Passing through Vernon, Armstrong (famous for its cheese), Enderby, then Grindrod; along the eastern shore of Mara Lake to Sicamous where we stopped to top up the gas tank. But before stopping for gas we made one slight detour to one of places we've been meaning to see for a long time. A short 400m (1/4 mile) drive off the main highway to the trailhead and a strenuous 67m (220ft) hike brought us to Sicamous Creek Falls.

Trailhead sign for the Sicamous Creek Falls Trail
Sharon at Sicamous Creek Falls

Turn around 180º and this is the view!
In the traihead parking lot
This little hike is well worth the stop. There are couple of picnic tables and washrooms so it would make a really nice lunch stop.

From Sicamous we headed east through Three Valley Gap and on to Revelstoke where we stopped to pick up a snack.

Through Three Valley Gap

In downtown Revelstoke.

First of the eight snow sheds through Rogers Pass
Made it through Rogers Pass without incident, on to Golden, past Field, over the Kicking House Pass into Alberta, past Banff ending the day's travels in Canmore.

Out of Golden and up Ten Mile Hill and over the Park Bridge

Not much construction to deal with but there was some....

Picturesque Field BC

Always like it when numbers line up.

Past Banff and Rundle Mountain
We spent a relaxing evening in Canmore to end the day's adventure. Tomorrow we head home, but not after a couple of stops in town.... stay tuned.