Well, in sitting down to write Part 2, I realized I made a glaring omission in Part 1. I completely overlooked that Emily had a tradeshow in Atlanta at the end of June and I flew down to Georgia to join her and take a mini-vacation. While she worked, I visited penguins at the Georgia Aquarium, checked out the World of Coca-Cola, and did a BBQ tour that covered three states in a single day. We also had some time together and we attended an Atlanta Braves baseball game at Turner Field (its final season), ate breakfast multiple times at The Silver Skillet, and ate the best BBQ I’ve had south of the Mason-Dixon Line at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, and had milkshakes at The Varsity. It was quite a trip and I can’t believe I overlooked it in Part 1. Each one of those things would have been worthy of an individual post.
July is our traditional month for exploring backroads and ghost towns.
We met up with our friends for our third annual “Alberta Ghost Town Weekend”. Our homebase this year was Oyen, Alberta and we had two great days of touring around multiple towns in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Our “new” Liberty suffered its first breakdown when the water pump failed. We piled into a car with Chris and Connie and spent the weekend riding with them.
It was a rainy weekend and on the Sunday night we were forced to take shelter in the camp kitchen when a massive thunderstorm rolled through town. That gave us some time to meet a lovely couple named George and Margaret from New Zealand who were road tripping across Canada and were on their way back to Vancouver to catch a plane home. On the Monday we had the Liberty towed to Kindersley, SK where the Chrysler dealership was able to get us back on the road the same day. We used the opportunity to tour the Kindersley and District Plains Museum which was an unexpected yet pleasant surprise.
We spent a few days with Emily’s parents in Saskatoon before heading south to Moose Jaw to join our friends for the 10th Ghost Town Convention (GTC). This was a bittersweet GTC as it is the last year that will be organized by our friend Mike Stobbs. We’re not sure what 2017 will hold in terms of getting together with the friends we have made over the years at this event.
And, finally, closer to home, we managed to get in visits to the Bar U Ranch, MacDougall Memorial United Church, Glenbow Provincial Park, and the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary all as part of Historic Calgary Week events.
When the summer is so short, you can’t afford to stop and we certainly did not slow down at all in August.
We celebrated Heritage Day by going to Heritage Park, which has become one of our favorite places to visit in Calgary.
We headed to the southern part of the province where we helped the other members of the Ogilvie Wooden Grain Elevator Society (OWGES) clean up and do maintenance on the historic elevator in Wrentham. It was followed up by and BBQ and lunch inside the elevator, which was likely the most excitement the old girl had seen since they stopped delivering grain to her.
We spent some time visiting my family, including taking my mother to the Remington Carriage Museum in Cardston.
While in Medicine Hat for the weekend, we visited several places for the first time: Echo Dale Regional Park, Red Rock Coulee, and MedAlta Potteries. On the way home we also managed to visit the ruins of the Redcliff Pressed Brick Plant (since demolished/removed) as well as the Brooks Aqueduct.
We even found time to work on fixing the deck skirting under our sunroom. No rest for the weary, as they say!
There were three major events in September. Two were good and one — well, that’s where the “tribulations” part of this post comes into play.
First, was our annual trip to Moose Jaw for the Threshing Bee at the Sukanen Ship & Pioneer Village Museum. I believe this was my fourth time out there for Threshing Bee, but Emily’s first. We spent a good chunk of the time volunteering at the event, which is always fun.
The second event was the loss of my job on September 14. After seventeen years I was a veteran of many “reorganizations” but this was the first time I was a victim of one. There is not much to say, other than after that many years of loyal service I think I deserved to have it end differently. Let’s just leave it at that and move on.
And, finally, Emily had another trade show, this one in Vegas. I flew down as well and we met up with our friends Mike and Stephanie. Once the show ended, we rented a car and the four of us set out on a road trip to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and a portion of Route 66 in Arizona. That is where we ended September and that’s where I’ll leave you for now while you check out September’s photos.
We took the steam train from Williams, Arizona to the Grand Canyon where we spent the day sightseeing. The next day we drove back to Las Vegas, staying on Route 66 as much as we could as far as Oatman, Arizona. From there we worked our way back north to Las Vegas with a quick stop at Hoover Dam.
That was pretty much the highlight of October. Once the trip ended I had to settle into the reality of dealing with the fallout of my job loss — pension plan options, severance, resume writing, etc.
We did, however, make one more trip out to Drumheller where we toured the Royal Tyrell Museum with Emily’s mom and attended another pizza night in Rowley.
Things started winding down for us in November. We made a trip with our friend Richard Hansen to see the Majorville Medicine Wheel and the old Liberty School. We also made a trip out to Banff with our friend Emma for the day.
We went back to Heritage Park for a Christmas brunch on Emily’s birthday and then later attended her work Christmas party. We chased the CP Holiday Train. Christmas itself was relatively low-key, with Emily’s parents coming over from Saskatoon for a few days. We made a day trip to Wetaskiwin to see the Reynolds Alberta Museum, which was out last journey of 2016.
We started the year with Emily being unable to work because she hadn’t been given Permanent Resident status. We ended the year with her as the primary breadwinner and me still seeking employment. It goes to show you never can tell where life will take you, even over a relatively short period of time like a year. We visited several places which had been on our “to do” list, we caught up with old and new friends, we climbed mountains, we pretty much wrung ever ounce of fun out of 2016 that we could.
Stay tuned for more in 2017. Happy New Year, everyone!