Ottawa (and the challenge of getting there!)

Posted in Airport, Driving, Flying, Ottawa, Travel with tags , , , , on June 7, 2015 by Amanda

IMG_1172I was in Ottawa for a few days last week at a conference.  I actually don’t have a whole lot to write about my time in Ottawa; it was a typical conference and the weather was quite nice.  I do think that my experience in getting there (detailed below) did make me a bit more tired and less interested in exploring than I’d typically be.

Unfortunately, I have a lot more to write about getting to the airport on Tuesday than I would have thought possible.  I did end up there in the end which I guess is what is really important.  I left my apartment, put my bags in the back of my car, and got in.  Almost as soon as I began driving, I knew something was wrong.  The car felt very shaky.  I pulled over not far at all from my place and discovered a very flat tire on the front of the passenger side; I’m sure if it was any other tire, I’d have noticed before I even got into my car.  By the time the tow truck arrived, it was already looking iffy about making it to the airport in time.  When I found out that that tire was ruined, I called WestJet.  I actually end up not being a big deal to be moved to a flight to Calgary leaving three hours than my original flight to Toronto.  It did mean getting in rather late though.  Anyway, I found out at the dealership that there was no replacement tire available in town.  They ended up putting one of my winter tires on my car temporarily and I was able to get the airport in plenty of time for my rearranged flight.

The way back from Ottawa Friday evening went well but it was also a bit weird.  When I went through security, I was told that my flight was delayed.  However, when I looked at the monitor it showed as being on time.  Strangely, half of the flights actually were delayed.  We actually boarded early.  In Calgary we started boarding on time but as it was a rather empty flight, we left early and arrived in Saskatoon about 20 minutes ahead of schedule which was much appreciated that late at night.  Not far out of Saskatoon, there was an accident and all I could see for quite a while was police lights.  Both lanes were blocked and for a moment I feared there’d be some long detour but a police officer was directly traffic around the side that ended up being fine.

I’ve been super lazy this weekend, even by my standards!  I think I’m still a bit exhausted.

More exploring!

Posted in Abandoned buildings, Ghost towns, Hatherleigh, Nolan, Saskatchewan, Whitkow with tags , , , , , , on May 18, 2015 by Amanda

I decided to go looking for ghost towns and random abandoned buildings again this morning.  Again, I opted to not go too far out of town and just see whether random places (which I hadn’t heard of) in my road atlas actually had anything there anymore.  Mostly, I found nothing at the actual places I’d mapped out but I found a fair bit on the way.  I probably could have found just about as much by making random turns wherever as there really is a lot of abandoned stuff in the countryside but I think by putting specific places into my GPS I should be upping my odds of finding actual ghost towns.

I noticed an old one room school just off the highway called Nolan School.  I’ve been by here several times and never noticed it before.  I think it is easy to miss things when travelling at highway speed.

Nolan School

Nolan School

Once I made my way onto my first gravel road of the day, I immediately found an abandoned house and then another schoolhouse called Scentgrass Lake School.  The schoolhouse was a bit strange as it looks like it might still be used for something (the siding looked newish) but there were no windows at all expect for tiny basement ones.

First abandoned house of the day

First abandoned house of the day

Hatherleigh had a sign saying it was 2 km when my GPS said it was over 3 km away; my GPS was correct.  This place had a community hall that looks like someone is working on fixing up.  There are a few lived in houses around too.  It looked like there was an abandoned house next to an inhabited one but there was a big No Trespassing Sign and something about Protecting; so I had stayed well away.  I later stopped when I noticed what I think might have been an old railroad station which was a fair bit back from the road right next to an inhabited house.  When I got out to take a picture, I was quickly accompanied by a large dog from across the street.  He seemed harmless enough but stayed right by my car until I drove away.  Anyway, this place just had a weird vibe to it.

Hatherleigh Community Centre

Hatherleigh Community Centre

 

I drove around a bit more and found some more abandoned houses, some fenced off and some not.  I didn’t find any actual towns though they were on the map.  I also briefly stopped by Whitkow which I visited last fall to see how the community hall was doing as it was collapsing then.  Surprisingly, it really doesn’t look any worse than it did then!

I ended up spending about three and a half hours driving though I really didn’t go all that far.  As usual, I didn’t encounter much traffic.  Strangely though I did encounter several transport trucks on gravel roads on a holiday; they sure create a lot of dust!

 

First ghost town trip of the year!

Posted in Abandoned buildings, Cloan, Elk farm, Gallivan, Ghost towns, Ibstone, Porter, Prongua, Rockhaven, Saskatchewan, Thackeray with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2015 by Amanda

This afternoon I finally went on another drive to explore ghost towns and other random buildings.  The gravel roads were actually quite dry; I probably could have done these a few weeks ago!  I didn’t go too far but still managed to see places I hadn’t seen before.  Only of one of the towns was a true ghost town with abandoned buildings; the others either had some inhabitants or had a sign at most left.  I also found an interesting abandoned farm.  I also found an elk farm.  I didn’t know that there was such a thing! It amazing how many roads here literally have nothing along them but perhaps some cows for kilometres.  The farms are so far apart.  It is quite different from Ontario.  Anyway, it was an interesting way to spend a few hours.

I began by visiting Prongua.  It has an old grain elevator and community hall.  I didn’t get to close to the community hall as it was surrounded by trailers and stuff and looked like someone probably uses it for storage.  There were a few inhabited homes but it does look like it was a larger community.

Prongua's grain elevator.

Prongua’s grain elevator.

I saw an interesting-looking barn that had started to collapse on the way to Gallivan.  It was on a modern-looking farm so again, I didn’t get too close.  I then went to Gallivan.  This was definitely the best town of the afternoon!  It had an abandoned church, community hall, and a house and well as some small buildings, some abandoned vehicles, and a sign about its former school.

Some of Gallivan.

Some of Gallivan.

I came across an abandoned farm.  It was an interesting place but it wasn’t the easiest place to access as the entrance was quite overgrown.

Some of the farm.

Some of the farm.

On the way to Rockhaven, I discovered the aforementioned elk farm. The elk looked at me but seemed quite calm. There was a sign about hunting so I suspect they’ve had issues. A lot of small towns appear on maps and its hard to know what is there now. Anyway, actually had grain elevators still in use and some lived-in homes. However, it also had some abandoned homes and a church that looks like it might only be used occasionally. The roads within the town were horrible, undoubtedly the worst of the afternoon. I found this surprisingly as people actually live there!

The elk farm.

The elk farm.

I then went to three towns that are nothing more than signs now: Cloan and Ibstone.  Thackeray was also basically a sign though there were a couple old farm buildings.  I couldn’t even find a sign for the last one (Porter!).  I wasn’t too surprised as the road leading there was more like a driveway than a road.  It is really strange to imagine what these places must once have been like!

This was once a town?

This was once a town?

A week in Ontario

Posted in Home, Saskatchewan, Shopping, thorold, Toronto, Travel, Vacation, Weather with tags , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2015 by Amanda

I flew from Saskatoon to Toronto on the evening of Friday the 13th.  The plane was probably about half full but even less full in the seats near me.  With the exception of a couple of super short half-hour flights, I don’t think I’ve been on a flight this empty in the last five years.  I’m thinking there must be some truth to many people avoiding Friday the 13th flights.  Anyway, it was nice to be on a non-crowded plane. Sadly, I was leaving very nice weather in Saskatchewan and heading to not so nice (rainy) weather in Ontario.

Empty seats on the plane.

Empty seats on the plane.

I spent Friday evening at an airport hotel and then took a bus and subway and then unexpectedly, another bus as part of the subway was closed to reach downtown. I saw advertisements for a new train that will go from the airport to Union Station soon but upon further investigation I found that the price will be nearly $30; so, I’ll be sticking with the $3 TTC option! Anyway, despite the rain I walked around a fair bit. I found an interesting machine at the Eaton Centre that was giving surprise gifts from MasterCard. Just before me it started having issues which was annoying but I eventually received my surprise. It looked like a lot of people were getting gift cards but I only received a notebook. I then took a $2.83 ($1 plus taxes/fees) bus to St. Catharines. I still can’t believe how MegaBus can be!

The MasterCard machine.

The MasterCard machine.

I managed to come down with a bit of a cold and I haven’t had a cold in a few years. So, the rest of the week I was a bit lazier than I would have been otherwise. Still, I did a fair bit of shopping. I went over to the U.S. and the border really wasn’t too busy during March Break (when kids are off school in Ontario); the lower dollar must really be having an effect but I still have a fairly large amount of U.S. dollars so it wasn’t a big deal for me. I also went to a (Canadian) Target that was closing within a week and despite the fact that there was more merchandise there than I anticipated, I still only found a couple of things worth buying. I went out to eat a bit as there are definitely better restaurant options there than here.

I flew back to Saskatoon yesterday morning (because it was cheaper than flying later in the day or today). This turned out to be a good decision for more than financial reasons as we ended up getting quite a bit of snow later in the day and I’m sure the highway wouldn’t have been fun to drive on.

Ice sculptures

Posted in Frosted Gardens, Ice sculptures, Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Winter with tags , , , , on February 1, 2015 by Amanda

I went to Saskatoon today which came close to doubling the number of kilometres on my odometer.  Besides the usual shopping, I saw ice sculptures at what was called Frosted Gardens.  They were interesting but they were smaller than I’d thought they might be and the ice maze was tiny; I’m sure even little kids could figure it in one try.  It didn’t take long to look at everyone which was good as it was -19 and the windchill must have been quite a bit colder.  Here are a couple of pictures:

IMG_0948

IMG_0957

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