About Me

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”.

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16 Responses to About Me

  1. Mike brown says:

    Dan,
    Trying to contact you, I left message on FB so will try this. In 2007 you took a photograph in southern Saskatchewan that you titled “Rusting Away”. A black and white of an abandoned pickup truck. We have this photograph in our board room at Calfrac Well Services in Calgary. I love this photo and want to own a copy. Please let me know how to purchase a copy. thanks

    Mike Brown – mbrown55@austin.rr.com

    Like

  2. S. Robert Cyre says:

    Dan,

    The last time you and I spent time together, we were teenagers (you barely) and we were trading games with the Commodore 64, playing Scott Adams adventure games (the evil Count, if you recall), and eating pizza and firing up the juke box at Dilo’s Pizza with my cousin Derek. You have apparently journeyed quite a journey since then. Good to see your site, makes me crave home in a big way. Thanks, my friend and God bless.

    Like

    • danocan says:

      Yes, that was a long time ago but only if you measure it in years. No matter how far I venture or how much time passes, in my mind I’m still that same young Coaldale kid.

      Like

      • Nick Hussar says:

        Nov 2021: Thanks for great piece on Wayne Cemetery i was born in Wayne 1931, the Doc who delivered me lived over 100. Have a picture of 1938 burial of Baby kusnir, tried to give a cc of it to the Rosedeer Hotel but he said it wasn’t of the funeral. i left in disgust as am sure 100% of the authenticity. Me and my spouse also visited the Cemetery abt 10yrs ago and whilst there I could feel the loneliness. Mom told Dad not to bury her in that “God forsaken’ place should she ever pass away…. family left Wayne 1938 for Nacmine and eventually ended up in Innisfail Alberta.

        NH

        Like

      • danocan says:

        Thanks, Nick. I love hearing from people with personal connections to the places we visit.

        Like

  3. Ashton says:

    Hey dan, my name is Ashton. I’m trying to locate some of the old Macleod trail markers but I’m having troubles with finding actual directions, do you have directions to any of them? I already know where the one in Okotoks is just looking for the others.

    Best regards, Ashton.

    Like

  4. Jeri Dunn says:

    Don, Maybe you can help me. Was Bill’s wife Patricia. I am the wife of Jeff Dunn (California) who has been trying to get in touch with him. If this is the right Dunn which I hope so. I will wait to hear from you. . Thank You Jeri

    Like

  5. Dan Keeley says:

    Hi
    I watched your video on the Nanton water tap. My recollection of the tap goes back further that 1957. I was born in Nanton 1936 and spent the first 9 years there. My father owned the Keeley general store located on 20 ave adjacent to the CPR water tank and war memorial, my brother took it over. In the early 1940’s highway 2 was a dusty dirt road. I don’t recall who put the tap there but do know it was originally fed from the water well in the basement of the Keeley block. It was located north of the war memorial. Sometime in the 1940’s the wells in Nanton started to dry up and they had to find alternative water source.
    Dan Keeley

    Like

  6. dfkeeley says:

    I watched your video on the Nanton water tap. My recollection of the tap goes back further that 1957. I was born in Nanton 1936 and spent the first 9 years there. My father owned the Keeley general store located on 20 ave adjacent to the CPR water tank and war memorial and my brother took it over. In the early 1940’s highway 2 was a dusty dirt road. I don’t recall who put the tap there but do know it was originally fed from the water well in the basement of the Keeley block. It was located north of the war memorial. Sometime in the 1940’s the wells in Nanton started to dry up and they had to find alternative water source.
    Dan Keeley

    Liked by 1 person

    • danocan says:

      Thanks Dan, that is really interesting. I love the old Keeley building — I have spent more time checking out the building than I have looking at the antiques at the store that occupies the space now, I love going down in that basement and had no idea there was a well there which supplied the water tap. I’ll have to look for vestiges of it the next time I am in town. Cheers!

      Like

  7. dfkeeley says:

    it has been many years since i have been in the basement of the store, what i remember is that it was only a dirt floor and the well was located in the north west corner. the upper floor of the building when my father purchased it was a hall, occupied as a Masonic Lodge. with a shortage of Accommodations for air force personal he turned the space into small suites. my brother Bill who operated the grocery store lived in the one located south east corner. my brother Jim operated the hardware and lived in the garage out in the back, he moved half the garage to a lot next to the Catholic Church and completed the house.
    its unfortunate that the fixtures have been removed, the north wall has a beautiful floor to Ceiling cabinet complete with a roller ladder, i have pictures taken in 1912 and 1939.

    Liked by 1 person

    • danocan says:

      These are great stories. I had heard a rumour at one point that one of the upstairs suites was supposed to be haunted. Do you know anything about that?

      Like

  8. John Brennan says:

    Any chance you have a gpx for the entire trip- not segmented up? You Blog was super helpful- thanks!

    Like

    • danocan says:

      Hi John. I don’t have one but it should be pretty simple to copy and paste the data from the subsequent files into the first one. Just take the waypoint data and don’t copy the header information. GPX files are just text documents so something basic like Notepad would work.

      Like

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