Awesome Ballet

the snowbirdsThis past Wednesday Victoria was treated to a wonderful show by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. They performed over the water just off Dallas Road just after 7pm.

Their acrobatics are amazing! So precise, in such close formation. Their head on passes are heart wrenching. It is almost like watching a ballet in the air. They can make their planes do a sort of dance that is beyond believable. Truly awesome!

The pics I took can be viewed here.

WiFi Frame

digital picture frame Now this seems like a great idea to display your digital pictures in your home. I definitely want one. I would have to get two though, one for horizontal pictures, and one for vertical. Very high tech though, and I love how it uses WiFi to get the pictures to the frame. One downside is that it looks like you have to drill a couple holes in your walls to power it. Small price to pay though.

911 Streetlights

blinky lights
Saturday night I had planned to head out to Luminara to check out and photograph the lanterns people had created. I had attended last year, before I was into photography, and really enjoyed myself. Once your eyes adjust to hte darkness, the lanterns really stand out, and become quite magical.

This year was not to be. I left late, a few minutes before ten, and drove down to Beacon Hill park. I missed the entrance to the parking, so I cirlced around, discovered that too many people were leaving to allow newcomers to park, so I circled back and parked along Dallas Road.

I jumped out of my truck, grabbed my gear, and started walking towards the park. There were lots of cars out, and people were snapping up the parking spots as quickly as they could.

The next sequence of events happened rather quickly, but I will try to explain them as best I can. I was looking up the road for a good place to cross. I noticed a vehicle coming towards me, then noticed the right hand light looked funny. I realized there was a motorbike in front of a car, and that is when I heard the engine from the bike. Next, a car coming in the opposite direction (same direction as I am walking) turns left in front of the bike. I saw the headlights on the bike dive a few inches as the driver of the motorbike hit the brakes.

I thought to myself “This is going to be close”, and then bam, the motorbike hit the car. The riders were catapulted over the car and slid along the ground a bit.

I was slightly stunned, but I took off running towards the acident, jumping over some bike parts as they slid down the road. I got to the passenger from the bike, and I stopped there. I tried talking to her, but she didn’t say anything. I told her not to move, and that she was going to be alright. I grabbed my cellphone, dialed 911, hit send, then someone else said they were already calling. Myself and another gentleman waited with the girl until some help arrived.

Some people from nearby vehicles brought some blankets to cover the girl. It was pretty freaky, and my legs were quivering from the adrenaline. After some police officers arrived, I backed up and let them do their business. I had to hang around and give a statement.

As I stood there waiting, I was looking around the scene a bit. There were about 6 police cars in the vicinity (later I noticed two more down the road directing cars), two ambulances, and a firetruck. There were no streetlights at all, so the only illumination was the red and blue blinky lights from the police, ambulance, and fire vehicles. This cast an eery aura onto the scence. I stood there freezing my butt off from the breeze coming off the ocean. I surveyed the bike, and sort of vowed I would never get one.

I discovered that the driver of the car had jumped the curb, and his car was in the middle of a field. He was sitting there looking very stunned. I felt for him. I was in a similar situation many years (car vs pedestrian instead of car vs motorbike).

After giving my statement, I reallly didn’t feel like going to the festival. I had been really looking forward to it for about two months now, and I was a little disappointed that I would miss it, but I really was a walking zombie after that. I grabbed my gear, walked back to my truck, took the above picture, then left.

There is always next year. I just hope the motorbike riders come away ok. I also hope the driver of the car can get on with his life. It is quite devastating to go through something like that.

Whirlwind BC Weekend Mountain Bike Road Trip

Every good MTB road trip needs two things. Good people, and good trails. This past weekend I experienced such a trip.

ferry tripFriday afternoon Shane, Sean, James and myslef piled into a truck, bombed up Island from Victoria to Nanaimo. We enjoyed a nice leisurely 5 pm sailing across the water, then the real trip started. After driving several more hours, passing through Whistler, Pemberton, and a handful of other smaller towns, we ended up near Goldbridge, BC. We found the Gun Creek Ranch, found our “rustic cabin”, unloaded our stuff, and hit the sack at a little past midnight.

After awaking early the next morning, we started madly prepping for our ride. Our flight left at 8:00 am, and we were getting picked up at 7:45. We were flying on Tyax Air, and were on our way to do the Warner Lake tour.

our plane
We prepped on the dock, and got a little nervous about what was ahead for us.

stashed geartakeoff
Our gear safely stashed, we took off.

Our rag tag group of riders consisted of:

James Sean
James Sean
Shane me
Shane and myself.

The flight was spectacular, but short.

flight scenery
flight scenery

In about 15 – 20 minutes we reached our destination.

flight scenery
Warner Lake

The plane dropped us and our gear off, then boogied back to base.
drop off
take off

I can never express how much I love BC! With scenery like this, how can you not?

We geared up, and began our trek. Quite simply this was an amazing day of riding. It was long, not that technical, but definitely there were some fun sections. Overall there was more climbing than we expected, but it was a ride of a lifetime. We went from Warner Lake, all the way back to our cabin some 40+ kilometres away. Lots of climbing, descending, traversing, and spectating. 3 hours in we stopped for lunch in a wide open meadow. Here we were sitting in a large meadow surrounded by spectacular mountains, overlooking a rushing river down below.The trail was true singletrack all the way. At times it was less than 3 tire widths wide.


Along the way we met some hikers using Llamas as support. These animals were used instead of horses, partly due to their lessened impact on the trail. Very cool!
llama packllama pack

We passed many wildflowers along the way.

The trail would dive down to the river, then climb up high again. It would traverse a while, dip into a meadow, enter some stands of trees, then spit you out into a scree slope traverse. Quite simply this was an amazing trail. Below are some more shots from the trail, in no particular order.


We were pretty tuckered by the time we got to the cabin. It was all we could do to lift the ice cold beer to our awaiting mouths.


The day was amazing. That is definitely the longest I have ever been out on a trail. Our group didn’t have any real crashes, no equipment failures, and no injuries. The scenery was out of this world, and the trail was incomparable to an other I have been on. If you are looking for an epic day of riding, I would highly suggest you email Tyax, and get more information.

That was Saturday. Sunday was a mighty fine rest day. We goofed around at the cabin, explored the ranch, obeyed the rules, went to town for some much needed groceries. and ate tons of food.

small town
safety first

Monday morning we got up super early again, packed the truck, then headed out for the long drive to Whistler. Along the way we squashed many bugs, again saw lots of amazing scenery, almost got squashed by very big trucks on a very tiny road, then got to Whistler.
packed again
squashed bugs
almost squashed like bugs

Whistler is so much fun, it is hard to stop and take pictures. We warmed up at the jump park, then started to hit some of the other trails. I ended up getting us lost a couple times, but we always ended up on fun trails. Unfortunately for Shane, he munged his ankle in the jump park. He went a little too big of the largest platform, missed the nice transition, and landed on the flat. Ouch!
air shane
air sean
air james
air me
shane tapes

I was having a great day at Whistler, and had made up my mind before getting there that I was going to hit the biggest GLC drop. I am happy to say that I did just that! I was pretty stoked afterwards, and my legs quivered for a bit, but I had done it. Over the course of the day I did it one more time to prove to myself that the first wasn’t just a fluke. Seaners looked at the middle GLC drop a few times, and decided he was going to do it before the day was out. He also stepped up and did it, and I htink James followed suit too.
middle sean

Our last run of the day was our fastest rip of the day down A Line. That is such a sweet trail that even thinking about it now brings a grin to my face. I was clearing tabletop after tabletop. I was even tweaking out my airs a little I was having such a great day. Alas it had to end. We crammed back into the truck just after 5pm, zipped to Horseshoe Bay, and got on the 7PM sailing to Nanaimo.

It was such a great weekend, and all four of us were pretty fried by the end of it.
fried shane

Loads of riding, good friends, constant joking around. What more is needed in a road trip?

The above has been a sampling of some of the pictures I took on the weekend. To see them all go here.

Envisioned Regrets

I had low expectations, and they were definitely met. I am, of course, talking about my 10 year high school reunion this past weekend. In my mind I had envisioned me doing exactly what I always do in a large room of strangers, namely finding one or two people to talk with for part of the time, then eventually just sitting back watching people, getting bored out of my skull.

Friday night was a drinks and appy night at a sports bar in Nanaimo. That was fun. I caught up with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while, talked with a few people I hadn’t really talked to much in high school, had some food, then decided it was time to head out. I left fairly early, but I could sense I was getting bored. I had a good visit with my friend James though (he came all the way from Ontario for the reunion).

Saturday night was the dinner/dance thing. I visited some more with James, talked with some people who weren’t at Friday nights thing, and revelled in the fact that I am such a different person from the Greg Fox that went to Wellington Senior Secondary. Dinner was pretty good, but the hall we were in was pretty warm. I kept having to step outside to catch my breath a little. The DJ started up, and he was playing some of the hits from ’93. Spin Doctors, Ace of Base, and a few more I couldn’t remember. I got dragged into a picture of people from Rutherford Elementary school. With the DJ playing such loud music, I found it difficult to talk with people (I hate having to shout to be heard). I ended up just watching people talking, dancing, drinking, and having fun.

It suddenly struck me that once again, I was on the outside looking in. Hmm, interesting. I said goodbye to James, then headed out.

I don’t associate with very many people from high school any more (James is one, even though our emails have been a little spotty lately Sad ). On top of that, most of the people I hung around with in High School didn’t show up. I ended up looking in on the group just as I had envisioned, so I lived up to my promise to myself, and left when I noticed that happening. I was home to my mom’s by 9:15.

I have absolutely no regrets about going. I had a great visit with James, and got a good dinner out of it. I am not sure if I will go to the next one. I have heard from lots of current friends that a lot of people skip the 10 year and go only to the 20 year. I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

A Dragon Bones Bug Vacation

This week Sue and I have had some visitors. Sue’s brother, his wife, and their son have been in Victoria since Sunday. Cary, has been attending some courses in Duncan, while Geoff and Alexander have been vacationing. Sue and I took Monday and Tuesday off to spend some time with them, and let me tell you, they were a couple of jam packed days!

alexander with a millipedeMonday we went to the bug zoo. I love the bug zoo. There is lots of information about exotic bugs. They house a bunch of different species, and will even let you handle some of them. They have a large leaf cutter ant’s nest, millipedes, scorpions, spiders, cockroaches, and many more. I held a bunch of bugs including a scorpion, and the millipede. Most of them are incredibly light, and never really felt them until the guide removed them (most have sticky feet). Lots of fun. Check out the pictures I took in there.

Monday afternoon the four of us went out to All Fun Recreation Park. We played a round of minigolf, then Geoff and Alexander went watersliding for a couple hours. Sue went for a run, and I biked home. Although it was scorchingly hot that day, I quite enjoyed the ride home.

Tuesday we got up, went for breakfast at John’s Place, a well know, and excellent restaurant in the heart of downtown. Breakfast was good, and the service was outstanding (it can sometimes be spotty there).

rowwwwrAfter breaky we made our way to the Royal BC Museum to see the Dragon Bones exhibit. Totally cool! Most of the skeletons were not real fossils. The real deal are so heavy that the floor of the museum would never have been able to hold them up. There were lots of different dinosaurs depicted in a variety of poses. They even had one gentleman working on extracting a real fossil!fossil extraction There were a few fossils from local areas (even some up Island), but for the most part they were depictions of fossils originally found in China (including the Szechunasaurus Smiling ). I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit, but desperately wished I had brought my tripod. Lots of my shots are a little blurry, but looked great on my camera’s LCD. The rest of the pictures are here.

We then did a quick tour through part of the normal museum exhibits. We also did the Open Ocean Adventure. Lots of fun. The pics are here.

Today I am at work, with Yoshi, wanting to be on vacation still. Isn’t that always the way?

Tempermental Retrospect

Sunday was a ride on Tzouhalem. Shane, Darryll, James and myself tackled the mountain in Duncan.

I took my hardtail for a little climbing fun. I felt really good on the long arduous climb up to the top, and never once really felt the need to stop. I felt like I could climb forever, and that is certainly is something I have not felt in a long time. It reminded me of days gone by where I used to love to climb. Climbs were a challenge, and often if I didn’t make a climb, I would turn around, head to the bottom, and give it another go. No such luck on Sunday, but I actually did enjoy the climb (maybe not at the time, but definitely in retrospect).

Once there we were treated to some spectacular views, and some stiff breezes. After a rest and a refuel, we started the descent which was loads of fun. Some steep loose sections, some fast twisty sections, a couple small jumps. Lots of big smiles.

We came to a couple sections of stunts. I tried a couple on my trusty hardtail, but with me in XC mode, and riding clipless, I was too timid to try some things. I am a chicken shit to ride stuff now when I am attached to my bike. I like them for climbing, and general XC riding, but when the trail turns downward, or the stunts start appearing, I begin to wish for my flats. My how times change.

I went over one jump, and my left foot came unclipped. I landed awkwardly, my chest slamming into my saddle, and my nuts getting raked over the tire. I grabbed fistfulls of brake, and stopped as quickly as I could. After a few minutes rest we continued descending.

My bike was being a little tempermental, and kept dropping the chain from the big ring to the granny. This caused my grief in more than one situation where I stomped on the pedals to ascend a small hill, only to find no resistance on the pedals. Only once did this bite me as pedals swung around unimpeded until it connected with my shin. Ouch!

The rest of the ride was uneventful, but fun. We were on the hill for a little over three hours. Fun ride, and I am definitely glad I brought the hardtail. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I might DH-ify it a bit by putting on some flat pedals and taking my shin pads, just so I would feel a little more comfortable descending steeps and riding skinny logs. All in all though, the bike performed pretty well, and I am feeling in pretty good shape. Bring on the plane trip! Woohoo!

Click here, or the first pictures to see more pictures from the day.