View Full Version : Reflections from a train

07-27-2012, 10:05 PM
It's been a year and a few weeks since I took the director of Audiovisual services position and you may have noticed I'm not posting as much and have had no time for world affairs let alone conspiracy rants :laughing: My former life as a freelancer was one hell of a lot simpler, show up, tech the show, put it all away and go home. I could tech half a day (4 hour meeting) and get enough coin to survive with the rest of the day off to shoot:thumbup: Summertime was my enemy as was Christmas because I faced a total of four months with no wages...Yes there was always ei but it's no joyride collecting that paltry sum in comparison to your now flat lined way of life. So now, after a year of madness, building shows, booking technicians, ordering gear for banks, government agencies and snake oil salesmen, I get two weeks to myself. It all starts tomorrow and not a moment too soon. Tonight I have a cold case of beer, big smile on my mug and a certain finger extended to my other fifty weeks of lifestyle! I had choices for this vacation... Merida, Mexico, just show up and cover what you eat and drink, free lodging with an old friend and her man. Toronto...Fly out, free lodging blah, blah, blah, with an old girlfriend. A couple of other similar situations here and there but at the end of the day, I go sideways choosing a road trip to somewhere around Regina and back...Madness!
My Ford Focus is turning eight, has an iffy alternator and Thirty percent left on the tires, but it has a mission!...Get me to Regina and back with little or no problems:laughing: I don't have the budget for problems! Put all your faith in the Ford, an idea that would give many people the heebie jeebies. The four beer I've had tonight are not blocking the fear I'm feeling regarding the wisdom of this trip but it's too late to back out, the trunk is packed with cans of tuna, beans and corn, bandaids and camera gear. To make matters worse, my ex is demanding daily reports because...Well, "People go missing all the time out there!" :laughing: The reason behind this doomed idea stems from the 1970's and the warped visions of a younger man staring through the window of a VIA bar car at blurry visions of antiquity on the prairies and swearing he'd return someday to do it justice with a camera. The strange part of all that is the young man had no idea what an f stop was:laughing: For me it's a total break out, a big finger to what I've become. The last time I did this trip I was twenty five, drove from T.O to Vancouver island in a 1967 GM pickup truck I bought off a farmer for four hundred bucks. This truck sat in a field for four years because the farmer was too drunk to get it home and then couldn't remember where he'd left it and bought another one. Apart from a wheel falling off near Sudbury, it was an allstar, got me anyplace I needed to go. They don't build em like that anymore, and that scares the crap out of me! Anyway, if all goes well, I'm gonna have a boatload of shots of all that stuff I thought would make sense years ago as I stared out at the prairie landscape from a VIA Rail barcar...See you all on the flip side:thumbup:

07-28-2012, 12:02 AM
Man, go for it!

07-30-2012, 08:18 PM
I went for it BF...A combination of cheap motels and camping so far and a drivers arm same colour as Morgan Freemans! :thumbup: Got the car bottomed out on a prarie back road and for a while it didn't understand reverse anymore...Troubling. Left Burnaby 8am Saturday and hit Regina Monday morning...Yuck!! Turned around an I'm now in a seedy motel room in Medicine Hat, I would have camped tonight but the sky was looking...Well, strange! I had no idea saskatchewan was so broke? No real rest areas like alberta and no speed traps. Albertas off the freakin wall with speed traps!!! Heading up to Drumheller tomorrow and then connect with hwy 16 for an easterly heading to Saskatoon. I'm actually looking to find a place in Sask called "Bents" as it's got a cool old ghost town. All the back roads seem to be surfaced with rocks which makes me nervous about the tires? Turning on the A/C in the car brings on the "battery" light so it's windows down all the way. Little birds love when I pull over for coffee cos it's free lunch on the cars bumper:laughing: The car is being "twitchy" but hasn't outright quit yet. Coming up with a photographic plan of attack isn't cemented yet, so many miles between what I think would look good in the "Golden hour" and then miles of nothing but mass heat and light. All in all though, it's a hoot! Just loving the total drifting around idea without any paperwork:thumbup:

07-31-2012, 01:27 PM

Cut a tire just slightly out of Medicine hat which spun me around 180 degrees because I was steering with my knee at the time while I was digging for a bottle of water. So it's medicine hat sleezy motel for another night while the Ford gets four new tires.

07-31-2012, 02:25 PM
Awww... good luck! Got my fingers crossed for ya! :fingerscr

07-31-2012, 05:23 PM
Thanks iggy...Just got the new tires installed and life feels better, so it's off to drumheller in the morning :thumbup:

07-31-2012, 05:46 PM
Way cool maw - Looking forward to hearing more as it happens.

Matt K.
07-31-2012, 11:07 PM
Thanks iggy...Just got the new tires installed and life feels better, so it's off to drumheller in the morning :thumbup:

Stop off @ Dorothy, if you have a chance, it is just 30km East of Drumheller, and a ghost town ... you may get some nice images there ... keep em coming!

08-01-2012, 04:01 AM
Lol, I hope that is nor a suitcase full of drugs on the bed there. :rolleyes: Good luck on your journey!

08-02-2012, 02:16 AM
Lol, I hope that is nor a suitcase full of drugs on the bed there. :rolleyes: Good luck on your journey!

Jack Kerouac. :laughing::laughing::laughing:

08-02-2012, 05:42 PM
Lol, I hope that is nor a suitcase full of drugs on the bed there. :rolleyes: Good luck on your journey!

Hell no, not full, I'm only on the road for a couple of weeks :laughing:

08-02-2012, 08:00 PM
Sounds like fun Michael. Be safe, (but not too safe to be bored), and can't wait to hear the reports/pics.

08-02-2012, 08:51 PM
Hell no, not full, I'm only on the road for a couple of weeks :laughing:

See?... it is Jack Kerouac reincarnated.

08-03-2012, 10:56 PM
Sounds like a lot of fun and wish I could pull of something like that right now, enjoy it and have a blast!

08-06-2012, 07:22 PM
Well....Back online in my seedy motel room in Mayerthorpe Alberta. From Medicine Hat I drove to Drumheller and camped at Dorothy,the "Ghost town". Bad weather happened overnight which pretty much proved the Coleman tent I bought at a Zellers closeout sale in Medicine Hat was well worth the sixty bucks I paid for it...It didn't leak a drop. Next day I headed for Edmonton, well not Edmonton exactly but in that direction so I could swing east on Hwy 16 for Saskatoon. The weather was nasty overcast and raining, any shots I got were with the car window rolled down. I thought if I drove far enough I'd probably outrun the clouds but by noon I was seriously doubting this malformed idea. Somewhere on some silly secondary highway. through a rain streaked, bug smashed window I saw a turnoff for Medicine hat 180 km. With clouds stretching out to Quebec, I thought it prudent to head there and wait out the weather in my seedy, cheap hotel room. After a fine night of beer drinking with tuna, beans and corn for dinner and a recharge of all the batteries I headed back to Dorothy. I stayed there for the next couple of days steering well clear of the Hoo Doos, instead, using the Dorothy campsite as home base at night while touring the area far and wide in the daytime. The only problem withthis arangement was the coffee situation. Anyone that knows me knows not to try communicating with me before I've had at least two cups. The nearest coffee to Dorothy is a twenty minute drive to Drumheller:laughing: I did make a ten minute video report from the campsite at Dorothy when I was half cut and alone in the campsite which I'd love to post but the laptop I brought has no video editing capabilities, I'll throw it up when I get home. The transmision on the Focus is making strange noises shifting between drive and reverse but is performing well otherwise. My theory on that is when I bottomed out on a back road and the center of the car was riding on rocks and mud, I think maybe some rocks got caught up between the tranny and the frame or something of that nature, so now when I shift, as the tranny torques it's knd of grinding the rocks? I left Drumheller yesterday morning, back on the road heading for Loydminster but falling short and camping overnight in Vermillion. The inclement weather I encountered in Drumheller was nothing compared to the thunderstorm that hit last night. I wasn't involved in "Desert Storm" but I now know what it sounded like! The tent is in the trunk soaking wet and I'm hiding in some silly Mayerthorpe motel because there is a cloud on the horizon:laughing: Tomorrow It's back down to Hwy 16 using hwy 22..."The cowboy trail" I have no Idea from this point where I'm going to stop overnight in the next few days but I'm hoping to get home by Friday. The car is toast, slimy stuff all over it and way more slime inside it. I'll try and get a couple of pics up tonight while I have the wi-fi thing:thumbup:

08-06-2012, 11:24 PM
On another note, I've never been a big country and western fan but out here on the praries I'm lapping it up, just seems so fitting to the trip. All their women left them, trucks and dogs are dead but they mean well and they will repent if the girl takes them back. :thumbup::laughing::laugh: All over the praries I'm shooting the houses they used to live in.

08-06-2012, 11:55 PM
Here it is....The "Haven Inn" It's cozier tham the medicine hat cheepo but it was seventeen dollars more for the night. Interesting to note that these el cheepo hotels seem to have it's share of guests who seem to call it home. bookshelves, wine racks and posters on the walls. This place seems to have contracts with trucking companies and oil people and then there's me.


08-07-2012, 12:17 AM
This was last night in vermillion where the sky let loose. As you can see I'm there to drink a few beer, sample the suitcase, cook a steak, watch the fire for a spell, and then...Crash! For some reason, I always seem to get up well before any of the other campers five am'ish (Latvian word) I like to think of that as a deep need to get that good light, however, I think one has to consider, it may be just a hangover from work. Anyway, just a clumsy shot:)


08-07-2012, 12:28 AM
This...Is Dorothy campsite and as you can see, I'm the only camper. If they offered coffee or reasonable access to it they'd be packed :laughing: Video to follow when I get back.


08-07-2012, 12:37 AM
This was the first night of camping in Moose jaw. All through these captures there's the faithful radio, bucket etc. Here's a little map :laughing:


08-07-2012, 02:09 AM
I am enjoying your trip Michael - keep it coming

08-07-2012, 10:30 PM
Wow, I'm really jealous. This is quite the adventure. I'm really enjoying your pictures and the stories that you are telling. Can't wait to read and see more.

08-10-2012, 02:55 AM
This image I didn't post while I spent the night at the Haven Inn in Mayerthorpe but it reminds me why I slept in a Motel. Had I been camping I just know the campsite would have been directly under that distant downpour :laughing:


08-10-2012, 03:36 AM
Driving through "Jasper National Park" was interesting. Only an idiot would use cruise control in that neck of the woods because the posted speeds are only good for a few km's then they change. I thought I'd come across an accident at one point. Out on the road ahead was a total chaos of motor homes and SUV's all stopped half on or half off the road but none of them were damaged?. It was like they'd all gotten a call from some hypnotic agency who wanted them all dead. "You will stop your vehicle now! Don't worry about where you stop, just stop! Then you will grab your point and shoot, get out of the vehicle and head for the other side of the highway. Whatever you do don't watch for oncoming traffic, just get to the other side...Do it NOW!" It turns out that Big Horned Sheep are making the phone calls and they're all lazing around in the rocks laughing at the haphazard shopping mall parking lot they've created on the road. You get warnings a mile out along with a massive speed reduction for some guy in a hardhat standing with a shovel, yet for the sheep spectacle...Nothing! Same thing again ten miles further on where a Moose was standing on the side of the road having lunch. The battery warning light is coming on when I use anything electrical now so I'm changing the route cutting it short by about 1000km's which is a bummer. Anyway, next stop... The "Blue River Campground" As I've posted most of the other places I stopped at I guess I'll throw a pic up of Blue River :)

http://www.redzonefilms.com/pics7/blue river.jpg

08-10-2012, 04:21 PM
What's good about being home again?....I can't afford to think like that :laughing: I just want to re-stock, re-fuel and head back out there! I'm just gonna buy every lottery ticket they make until I win, tie the Focus to the back of a massive motor home and try to use all the fossil fuel on the planet however long that takes! It was an experience but more than that...A learning curve because now I understand the ropes, I'll probably do it again next year but this time, with a plan :thumbup: I was wondering the whole trip how it came to be that I'd reduced myself to fifty weeks of chopping meat, vegetables then simmering, adding spices only to get two weeks of eating soup:wall-an: I just have to break out of this cage!!! Two weeks on the road and apparently I wasn't missed by the cats, or if I was, they hide it well:laughing: The entire trip (excluding the cost of tires) cost around $1800 bucks, not bad for a scouting mission. Thanks to you all for following along and I promise next year I'll do a massive video documentary of the whole deal...Mexico is just gonna have to wait:thumbup: