Saturday, August 30, 2008

My New Job!!

Well, it is true folks - I have taken a new job which I am very excited about! On September 10th I will be starting a groundschool at Canadian North for the Dash 8. Initially, I thought I was going to get a spot on the boeing, but they needed another person on the Dash, so I accepted it. After some thought, I think it is for the best anyway; it is a much smaller and more manageable step along my aviation career. Plus, I have always wanted to fly a Dash anyway.
I remember back when I was doing my flight training in Moncton, we would often see the beautiful red Coast Guard Dash 8 fly under us in our practice area. Since then, I thought that I would love to fly one of those and now I get to!!
I have really enjoyed my time with Bar XH, but I have been there for three years now, much longer than most. I was the last surviving employee from my initial groundschool! Everyone else had previously taken other jobs. I really liked my job there and have had tons of fun and learned a lot. I don't regret a single day spent there as it is a good company to work for.
Canadian North is somewhere that I always thought that I might want to work. So far, my experience with them has been fantastic - great people! I'm really looking forward to this new adventure!! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


So, I've just returned from Seattle, WA where I did my training and upgrade on the Jetstream. Not my dream of an aircraft, but they say it prepares you well for bigger and better things so that is what I keep telling myself!! It was my third time to Flight Safety for training and overall I guess it went well. For those of us who are very fussy and prefer perfection, it always feels like you suck!! I passed, so it must have been ok despite my mistakes. It's all about learning I guess and I did learn some stuff that I won't ever forget!

This time in Seattle was pretty busy so there wasn't any time to tour around and do anything fun. It was just work, work, work. I do love that city though. It is lush and beautiful with all of its trees and water. It is much like Vancouver, but better I think because one could actually afford to live there!
I don't have much for pictures of the jetstream and obviously that is not me in the above picture!! That's a fellow who I used to fly with here - awesome guy and lots of fun to fly with! That, however is that Jetstream and you will notice that it is not a jet!!!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sooooooo long!

Well, time certainly does fly by! I guess I don't really have much of an excuse for not writing. Partly, I think that Facebook is to blame. All of this online stuff is time consuming!

Well, winter was very busy at work. Like most companies in Western Canada, we are short pilots. This means that those of us remaining have had to work a lot more. In many respects, I think that the aviation industry is in a bit of trouble, but not the kind of trouble that we pilots have been used to in the past. These days companies are having such a tough time to find pilots with any amount of experience. The industry has changed so much over the past couple of years and it does have its good bits, in that it is not terribly difficult for pilots to find jobs and operators have had to increase the pay scales. For so long, companies could get away with not paying pilots very much money because we were all so desperate to have a job.

I also think that the overall work ethic of pilots has diminished. It is quite rare to find someone who will do anything extra. "I don't get paid to do that." is something I've heard. Even for a small thing. I think that it is unfortunate, but I guess it is these kinds of situations which bring out people's true colors. There has to be a happy medium in all of this: if each of us could go out of our way just a tiny bit, without demanding extra this or extra that, then the effort would be small and the result large.

My final complaint is about just that - complaining!! Don't you think it is contageous. I do. As soon as you get one person complaining about whatever, before long someone else chimes in and voices their complaints. It is so icky to be around!! I've certainly fallen victim to this, but try not to. I love it when I'm paired up with someone who likes their job and we can talk about stuff besides how "terrible" it is to have to "work" for your money!!

Anyway, I still feel lucky every time I get to look out that front window from way up high! It's the best job in the world.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I went to Disneyland with my gal pal Thenes and we had an absolute blast! I had never been there before and had no clue what fun I was missing! It had to be one of the best vacations I've ever been on and much of that was due to Thenes being such an awesome travel partner! Here are some pictures!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Where does the time go?

After my trip to Gull Lake I had done some other fun stuff which I was all prepared to post on, but the rest of the summer just seemed to slip away. I had to go down to Seattle for recurrent sim training and that took up some time and energy! I did manage to go camping another time or two and I even went once with other people! Imagine - the novelty of non-solo camping! It was lots of fun.

What else, well my excellent gal pal Thenes got a job at my company and recently completed her PPC on the King air! I just remember how exciting it was for me so it's been fun sharing in her excitement now! I've also enjoyed hearing some amazing stories of flying up north from my other most excellent gal pal The South African. She recently just returned from a 2-3 week stay in Nunuvut where she and her flying partner carted around a bunch of hunters. It sounded amazing and I will bite my tongue on what I think about trophy hunting.....!!

Anyway, not a lot to say right now considering I have been lazy for so long on this blog! Maybe I will just post a small assortment of pictures instead of writing more right now!!

I actually went to a number of company going away parties this summer with people leaving for things like Jazz and WJ and all sorts of things! The parties were fun, but not so fun to say good bye to lots of good people.

Here are a couple of cool clouds; one on the way to
Fargo and the other on my way to my house!

Yes, I even did help install some flooring in the basement!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Gull Lake

This week I went north to Gull Lake. Originally, I thought I would go and check out Sylvan Lake until I realized that it was packed with condos, pubs and restaurants and thousands of people. It was not quite what I was looking for. The only campground that I could find around the Lake (called Jarvis Bay) was full so I continued on to Gull Lake where I found a spot. I got the very last site available in the Brewers campground which is located inside the Aspen Provincial Park. It was a very nice campground - it even had showers which is so nice after you area all sweaty from biking, hiking and driving all day! There was a nice beach, but was quite shallow so not great for swimming, but very nice for wading around in.

I also visited the town of Lacombe which apparantly some magazine named one of the 10 prettiest cities in Canada. I'm not sure I'd put it in my own top ten, however it was very beautiful with it's old and well cared for downtown buildings.
I also went to the town's local Corn Maze! There was four acres of corn with a three part maze cut into it! It was rather incredible! I did the phase one of the maze where you find five checkpoints within the maze and answer questions which, if you answer correctly, will point you in the correct direction. It was fun!
I made a friend at this corn farm! He was so cute and a true believer that the grass is better on the other side of the fence!

Kananaskis Lakes

Last week I went camping at Kananaskis lakes for a night. I did a few hikes over the two days and visited a number of amazing spots. I just love the smell of the trees and water out there; the air is so fresh and clean. The only bad part of the two day event was the thunderstorms that hovered over the lakes for the entire night! It began with hail which confined me to my car for about a half an hour. After that it just rained, lightly for a while and then after I went to bed it poured all night. The thunder was so loud that I could feel the ground shaking in my tent! I was only a tiny bit wet in the morning. The next day was beautiful again!

Here is my little ol' site!

Beautiful eh!

This is the view from the top of the Mt. Everest Exploration trail which gives you a good view of both lakes. I guess this trail was in honor of the first Canadians who climbed Mt. Everest.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Most Favorite Shoes Ever

I could almost cry....over shoes. I bought these sandals in South Korea in 1998. Yes, nearly a decade ago. I've gone hiking in these shoes, worn them in water, worn them everywhere. I LOVE these sandals like I've never loved a pair of shoes before. Today, they broke. They broke in such a way that they are not to be fixed. Man, I'm gonna miss these shoes.

Emerald Lake

So, although Emerald Lake is not one of the Day Trips listed in my book I went out there last week with my gal pal Thenes! If you have never been, I highly recommend the visit. I had been there one other time about five or six years ago when I first moved to Alberta. It is about a three hour drive from Calgary, but well worth it.

We did the hike around the lake which is beautiful and diverse. It is just over 5 km, but is very easy and we hardly broke a sweat! That is my kind of hike! In this second picture you can see where there had been a landslide and the trees are just growing back in.

There is a really nice lodge at the lake, but it is also very populated at this time of year. Perhaps a nice place to go in the winter for a weekend and likely more affordable then too.

Along our way back towards Calgary we took a detour to see Takakkaw falls which someone had recommended to us. It is also well worth the time to make the drive to see. It is a crazy road that sidewinds up the side of a mountain and then a very short hike which leads you right up to the base of the falls. It is incredibly loud and misty at the base. Very powerful and beautiful to see!

We stopped into Field to see the visitor center. Well, to be honest, someone told us that there were free hotdogs in honor of Canada Day, but I think we missed them! Oh yeah, and to even make our day better, the enterance fee to Banff National Park was waved because it was on Canada Day! Once again - Canada Rocks!

We had supper in Canmore before finally making our way back to the flatlands! It was a fantastic way to celebrate our great country!

Big Rock

It is amazing the places around here that I havn't been! Take Okotoks, Black Diamond and Turner Valley for examples!
Okotoks is such a beautiful town and I can see why so many Calgarians are migrating south to live there. It is actually much larger than I had expected. I parked in the downtown area and took a walk and visited a number of quaint shops and antique stores which are all in this area of Victorain style buildings. They reminded me of Fredericton in N.B. which has numerous houses of that style. Very nice.
From there I drove to Black Diamond where I stopped for lunch and found this awesome little 60's style diner called Marv's Soda Shoppe! I had a chocolate malt (made by Marv himself) and their classic hotdog. It was probably the best hotdog I've ever had and it had celery salt on it - strange, but yummy!
If you couldn't guess, this is a picture of Marv! He has an amazing curled mustache! This diner also had one of those old organs that play by themself and the keys move - not sure of what they are called, but it was very cool and I had never seen one before, other than on tv...
Along my travels I also stopped to see the Big Rock which weighs 18,000 tons! I guess it is the largest glacial erratic in North America and was dumped on this now farmer's field by a glacier which carried it there from up Jasper way some 35,000 years ago! They are gigantic and when I was there a few people showed up with their gear to do some climbing on it!

From this area I drove more north toward highway 22. It is such a pretty area and some of it is in such a valley that you can't even see the mountains even though they are very nearby. Some of the properties and houses were amazing; you always hear rumors of various celebrities who own houses out there and I can see why. If you could afford something, who wouldn't want a place out there.
I did see one funny sign to a property which was called, "Happy Ass Acres" and I thought that it must be a great place to live!


The town of Drumheller is developed in the badlands which are about 1.5 hours east of Calgary. I had flown over the area many times, but had never visited the town before. It is a beautiful place with lots and lots to see and do. I could have stayed another day and still not have seen everything there was to see.

I of course had to go to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology. The museum is a day trip in itself as there is so much to see and read about. The museum is named for Joseph Tyrrell, a geologist who first discovered dinosaur remains, an Albertosaurus skull, in the area. He also happened to be the one who discovered coal deposits in the area which eventually led to the area being known for its coal mines.

After spending a few hours in the museum I went on the interpretive walk which is just outside of the museum. I did it rather quickly as the mosquitos were bad. It was however very interesting.

From there I took a drive on highway 10 where I first stopped to check out an old suspension bridge that took workers to a coal mine.
I then continued on to the HooDoos. It is very cool, although I had expected to see a larger area of hoo doos, but there are only a few of them in that location. I guess hoo doo's got their name from the word voo doo. Early native Canadians believed that at night they would come alive and throw rocks at unwanted intruders!

The same highway eventually led to the Atlas Coal mine where you can actually take a tour inside the mine. I didn't take the tour as it was getting late in the day. Perhaps another time I will.

On the way back to Calgary I stopped just outside of Drumheller to take a look at the Horseshoe canyon where they do the helicopter sightseeing trips from. It was quite rainy by that time so there was noone around but me!
Anyway, it was a great day trip and I'd like to get back there one of these days and take my bike because near the Tyrrell museum there seems to be a lot of trails that would be fun on a bike!

Day Trips From Calgary

I bought this book a while back and decided that on my days off this summer I would try and do as many trips from the book as possible. I started a few weeks ago and have tried to go somewhere on most of my days off. I decided that since I have lived in Calgary for six years, it is about time to see this part of the country. For the first few years I did nothing but work because I was too poor to go anywhere and my car was too unsafe to drive far!!! Ahhhhh, to be a pilot!!! We do it for love and definitely not for the money!
I'll try to write little bits on what I have seen so far!