Road Trip of a Lifetime

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted for a while.  The big reason for that is we were away for three weeks fulfilling a dream we have had for a number of years — to drive Route 66 all the way from the start in Chicago to the end in Santa Monica.

If you wait until you have the time and money to make a trip like this, it will never happen.  For me, the final catalyst that spurred us into seriously planning the trip was the 2016 wildfires in California.  The famous Summit Inn, which had been a Route 66 landmark since 1952 was a casualty of those fires.

We knew every year we waited we were gambling our chance to see these places.  Whether fire, demolition, vandalism, or neglect, Route 66 icons only disappear more with the passage of time.  The best time to do Route 66 will always be “ten years ago” when more things were standing.  We didn’t want to wait any longer.

So, this will be the first in a series of video posts highlighting our trip down the Mother Road.  I hope you will follow along with us.

Today’s episode starts in Chicago and we head out towards Springfield, Illinois.

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All Hallows Church and Cemetery

For me, and the others like me, we know everything we photograph and write about is capturing the present so future generations may enjoy it too.  We may not think about it at the time; we may simply be enjoying the moment for what it is without thinking about the important role our actions will play for people who come after us.

Other times, I do what I call “documenting future history”.  What makes it different?  It’s making a special effort to go out and capture something we know is destined to change and document it as it stands so we have it captured as it once was.  Sometimes it is taking photos of something which, in our present, is boring or mundane.  (You’ll see an example of that coming soon here.)  Other times it is capturing something which is already historic as it stands.  That’s what we have here today — Chedderville Church.

Chedderville

Chedderville Church – September 7, 2018

I remember the first time I saw Chedderville.  It was in the Summer of 2000.  I was on my way north towards Rocky Mountain House to go camping for the weekend.  Coming up Highway 22 I saw the little church appear from behind a grove of trees.  Pulling a trailer meant I couldn’t stop fast enough, and the pullout on the side of the highway is far too small to accomodate any vehicle pulling a trailer anyway.  It would need to wait for another day.

Well, as often happens, another day soon turned into months and, eventually, years.  Chedderville was always one of those places I would see while racing to get somewhere else.  “Next time.  Next time.”

If you have pursued this hobby long enough, you know at some point there is no “next time”.

When I learned the Wheels of Time Museum in Caroline was trying to raise funds to move the church to the museum grounds, I knew we needed to make a special effort to get back up here and document the church as it stands.  Not that raising funds to move or preserve a historical building is easy — ask me how I know…

I didn’t do a lot of research on this place, despite knowing about it for almost two decades.  Most of what I know comes from West of the Fifth where Jenn has done much more first-hand investigation.  A couple of her facts such as the dates for construction and first burial made it into my video.  Yes, there is a video that goes with this post and, yes, it includes some more drone footage at the end.

So, if you can spare a few dollars to help save a historical church, donate to the Wheels of Time Museum here:  https://www.gofundme.com/chedderville-church-rehoming

And, if you can spare a few minutes, I’d really appreciate you checking out our visit to Chedderville in the video below.

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Exaltation of the Holy Cross Church

Short video clip today.  Come with us as we explore the grounds around the Exaltation of the Holy Cross church near Hay Lakes, Alberta.

The church was built in 1921 and has been on the Alberta Register of Historic Places since 1988.  A beautiful building, for sure!

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Exploring East of Edmonton

For the Labour Day weekend, we camped out at Miquelon Lake Provincial Park, just north of Camrose.  Naturally, we couldn’t just sit around and look at trees the whole time; we needed to get out and do some exploring, especially since neither of us had spent much (any?) time in the area.

Naturally, we had to record some video to share of our explorations.  We had no set route, no timetable, and no real goals — just look at the map, see what looks interesting and start driving.

For those who would rather check out some still images instead of (or in addition to — even better!) watching the video, here you go:

Kingman Elevator

The elevator from Kingman has been moved to private property a few miles from town

Round Hill

Round Hill Hotel

Shonts

The infamous “Dirty Shorts” elevator in Shonts

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Bruce Grocery Store in Bruce, Alberta

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Bruce Hotel

Warwick

Another relocated elevator, this one in Warwick, Alberta

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Hairy Hill, Alberta

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Hairy Hill, Alberta

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The Chipman hotel

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An old service station/garage in Lamont, Alberta

So, now you have a pretty good idea of our route. What cool things did we miss along the way? Where should we go the next time we’re in the area? Let us know in the comments.

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Bomber Command Museum of Canada

On May 16-17, 1943, the Royal Air Force No. 617 Squadron carried out a night attack on three German dams. “Operation Chastise” is considered a significant turning point in World War II.

More than 75 years later, the Nanton Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, Alberta held a weekend of events to mark the occasion and to honour those who flew the raids, many of which did not come home safely.

On Friday, August 24,  a Lancaster Bomber — retrofitted with a replica of the “Upkeep Bomb” — had its four Merlin engines fired up for the crowd gathered to watch the display.

This video is different the from “vlog style” videos I have been doing lately in that I simply stand back and record the action and let the narrator tell the story.

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Pioneer Acres

For those who prefer the written word, prepare to be disappointed again.  This post is another video-focused offering.  There are some non-video posts coming, so don’t despair!

Back on August 12, we had the chance to pay another visit to Pioneer Acres.  This marks the third time I have visited the museum, which is located just north of Irricana, Alberta.

Pioneer Acres houses an outstanding collection of machinery.  Farm implements, trucks, tractors, and everything in between.  There are even horses for those interested in things of a non-metal variety.

Pioneer Acres

Photo by Emily Overes

We had a wonderful visiting the site with Emily’s parents.  We had a private presentation on the history of Allis-Chalmers, watched tractors of all sizes compete in a tractor pull, and watched the “Parade of Power”.

There was a lot going on and we didn’t see everything there was to take in, but I hope you watch the video and get a slight appreciation for all Pioneer Acres has to offer.

Have you ever checked out this place?  Let us know in the comments.

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Majorville Medicine Wheel

Revisiting familiar places is always fun.  This time we made our first trip out to the Majorville Medicine Wheel since November of 2016.  Last time we were with our friend Richard Hansen, this time we brough Chris and Connie of BigDoer.com along with Emily’s parents to join us on the trip.

We noticed a couple of changes since our last visit.  The biggest change was the addition of signage as you get closer to the medicine wheel, showing which directions to take to get to the site.  When we were here in 2016, there was nothing to mark the way.  In conjunction with the new signs, the side tracks which branched off from the main “road” in are now signed as “No Motorized Vehicles”.  I guess they really want to limit how traffic approaches the site as to limit the damage done to the native prairie grasses.

Overall, I don’t mind the changes, although it means we would have had to walk out more than a kilometer if we wanted to see if “the chair” is still present and looking out over the Bow River.  We simply didn’t have time.

The Chair

“The Chair”

The biggest reason I wanted to revisit this site is that I wanted the chance to see it from the air with the drone.  And, as you can see in the video below, there was plenty of opportunity to get out and fly.

That’s it for now.  Summer is rapidly coming to a close but we still have some more exploration and history to share before the snow flies.  Stay tuned!  Thanks for reading and watching.

 

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