In My Own Words
I’m Dan Overes, a former Information Technology manager who worked in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In September of 2016 I was part of a department-wide “reorganization” which forced me to reevaluate where I wanted to go with my career. After seventeen years of loyalty and dedication to the same employer it was an unexpected turn of events. I took a few months off in what I called my “trial retirement” while waiting for the next big thing to come along.
In March of 2017 I joined the staff of Bucar’s RV Centre in Balzac, Alberta working in the Parts Department. After more than two decades of I.T., stepping into a new role in a new industry is a major shock to my system. As of January 2022 I moved out of Parts and into Sales, assisting clients with finding the perfect RV to meet their needs. And, yes, this has been another shock to my system — that seems to be a trend with me.
I have been into computers since getting my first Commodore VIC-20 almost forty years ago. I was active in the Calgary BBS scene in the early 1990s and made computers my profession in 1998. I have had a personal website in various forms since 1999 although I didn’t register DanOCan.com until March of 2010.
Born and raised in southern Alberta, I have always been interested in the historic and abandoned locations scattered around the prairies although it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that I would say I got seriously involved in the hobby. In the era before the Internet and social media, it was much harder to share the passion for these places with like-minded individuals. In 2007 I met a group of fellow abandoned places enthusiasts for a “Ghost Town Convention” in Saskatchewan and this sparked a desire to document these places via photography.
Described at high school reunion by a former classmate as a someone who “bleeds passion”, I have spent countless hours driving thousands of kilometres along dusty back roads seeking forgotten places to capture with my camera. I have a keen interest in the lost and abandoned infrastructure parts of our society — roads, service stations, schools, churches, and grain elevators — although I will never turn away from a good abandoned house. As I like to say, I am “Powered by passion but fuelled by coffee”.
My primary method of documenting adventures used to be via the written word. At a classmate’s funeral in the mid-90s, my former high school guidance councillor Ed Ryan asked me what I was doing for a living. When I told him I was working in the agriculture business, he just shook his head and said “You ending up as anything other than a writer is a waste.” Sorry to let you down, Mr. Ryan. Over the years I have moved more towards documenting our trips through video on our YouTube channel. Every once in a while I still try and sneak in a longer-form post though.
It was at the Ghost Town Convention in 2011 when I met Emily who became my fiancée in September of 2012. We were married in January of 2015 in Las Vegas. One year later we were finally able to get permanent residence status for her in Canada and we were able to drop the “long distance” modifier from our relationship. Now we’re just your typical married couple, except we share a passion for backroad exploration, oversized roadside attractions, and offbeat places that most tourists never bother to see. Emily eventually started working at the same RV dealership as me so we get to commute together on most days which helps us save some gas money so we can try and afford our pleasure road trips. We are also pleased to report that Emily obtained her Canadian citizenship in 2021.
When we’re not working and exploring, we live in the town of Cochrane, AB. We had an English Springer Spaniel named Tucker who accompanied us on our adventures until he died suddenly in August of 2020. We thought it might take us a long time before we were ready to bring another dog into our lives but in seemingly no time at all we had adopted a three-year-old mixed breed dog named Mabel from the Cochrane and Area Humane Society. We had Mabel’s DNA tested and learned she is mainly an American Staffordshire Terrier crossed with Boxer with a dash of White Swiss Shepherd thrown in for good measure.She is always ready for a good road trip and has quickly adapted to life with “The OCans”.