Roundabouts and Terrace, BC

OK, we have all heard the news by now about the main highway from Smithers, and Kitimat, BC, going into Terrace, being changed from a four-way stop to a roundabout. And we all seem to have an opinion on this. So I did an unscientific pole at my work, just to see what everyone there felt about it. The comments were both interesting and entertaining, and full of myths and lore, of what will happen once the roundabout is in operation. But first, please have a look at the link from the British Columbia’s Government website, before I move on in this post.

Highway 16 and 37 Intersection (BC GOV CA, as of December 28, 2017)

So, the number one reason for not having a roundabout in Terrace, BC, is: No one will know how to use it, and there will be accidents galore as everyone tries to figure it out.

Number two: People from out of town will never figure it out.

And three: It will be a complete disaster during rush hour, as driver’s compete with the transport trucks motoring through the intersection.

When I first heard about the idea of replacing the intersection with a roundabout, I was a bit in awe. Having come from the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, I have driven over a few roundabouts in my time. The most frequent roundabout I used was at McCallum Road and Highway 1 in Abbotsford, BC. To see this roundabout, please go to the BC Highway WEB-CAM link.  I was actually quite amazed at well it worked. When I seen it for the first time, I had no troubles navigating over it, as long as I knew which lane to be in. The marking on the road were quite clear about that. So, the one  about to be built in Terrace, should be the same.

The BC Government made this nice animation about how the traffic should flow while using the roundabout versus the existing four-way stop we have now.

Next is a propaganda video about the myths of roundabouts, and why they are better than four-way stops.

Anyway, my personal thoughts about having this intersection changed is a positive one. I see it as something that is badly needed, and was happy to hear that it will be built, starting in spring of 2019. I think this will be a boon for any highway traveller going through Terrace, BC.

What to Do On a Nice Sunny Day In Terrace, BC

Well, what do you do on a nice sunny day in Terrace, BC? Simple, if you are like me, you go on a drive, and take your camera along becuase days like this, when you have it off from work, you go out and enjoy it. Off I went, camera in hand, stopping at very rest area I could, and start shooting. When I was done, and feeling the cold, I headed back home, and started going through them all. I picked these three becuase they best represent the view of the landscape along the highway I saw.

I guess I should point out that for the last week, the North Coast has been under an Arctic Outflow Alert, which is weather speak for, “You will freeze your begonias’ off if you are not dressed for it.” We are hovering around the -10C to -9C mark getting down to -15C during the night. But the days have been nothing but sunshine, so “ya”. OK, the above photo is a classic shot of Thornhill, BC, or as the locals like to call it, “Lower Thornhill.” This is looking North, at the Northern Motor Inn, and the Copper Mountain, that big piece of rock sticking out in the back ground.

This next shot is along the Old Skeena River Bridge, but on the Terrace, BC side, right along Terrace Mountain. These are the little water falls that trickle down the rock faces, but being that it is so cold, they turn into icicles, or just blobs of ice. These ones are small, but the good ones to photograph require me getting out of my car, and hiking up trails to get pass the trees. I stayed very near my car becuase of the cold, so shooting only the small ones near the road was as far as I wanted to go. Nonetheless, they look neat, especially when they are clean, white, rather than full of dirt and yellow.

At the end of my drive, I went back towards the Copper River Subdivision, and took this shot. This is looking North, along the Skeena River, just passed Thornhill. By this time the clouds started to move in, so I headed back home.

In all, I took about seventy shots. Later on I will post some more from this batch because there are some really good shots along the highway going towards Prince Rupert, BC. So the whole trip was, starting in Thornhill, then the Rupert Highway, then back to Thornhill towards the Copper River.

With what little time I have left of this looong weekend, I have to cut it short, and call it a day–it’s late. Sadly, I must head in to work for Wednesday, so tomorrow is the last day off freedom. It has been a wonderful, awesome weekend; a must needed time off–I must enjoy these last twenty-four hours of it, right down to the second.

I had x-mass dinner over at Suzette’s folks’ place, where we had the feast, and then watched a movie. It was really nice. A very action packed day.

A Nice Day for Drive

Another awesome day, minus the cold. Suzette wanted to head up town, so we went in her vehicle. I had the camera in hand, and a small list of shopping that I wanted, so it was perfect. During our time in town I met with an old friend from my younger days went I last lived in Terrace, and then we spent the last light driving up to Rosswood, BC. I wanted to get some mountain shots, as the Sun was setting, but there were some clouds, so it did not go as planned. I got some shots anyway.

The above photo is taken along Curtis Road, in Rosswood, BC, about 2km past the Rosswood General Store. Back in the day, this is where you lived if you wanted to go off the grid, yet you were able to commute into town for work. The grid caught up a few years, and so have the hippies. LOL

Meeting old friends can be a awesome experience, especially if you have not seen them for a very long time. Flip-side to that is change, and with change means someone has passed on, so you will meet them again. I had one such meeting like that in the old mall. I had known about my friend from high school, and his struggle with a disease that eventuality robbed him of his life far to early. So talking to his younger sister was all to unreal. She was awesome too talk to in her own right becuase she knows about half of the people I grew up with. But the one thing we cannot stop is time, and with it, attrition of friends from the old neighbourhood. Since my departure from high school, and a brief stint back in the early ’90s, more names have been added to that list of friends who we have lost. But there was a extremely bright side to all of this: some have multiple like rabbits before they left their mortal lives on this planet. My friends maybe gone, but their children live on.

As for Rosswood, the place looked awesome in the snowy landscape. Even on the coldest day of the year, there is plenty to see and photograph. They had some fresh snow, so the trees looked like someone sprinkled icing sugar on them, and with the cold, the snow is here to stay until the thaw. There was no wind, just calm and silence. It is an eerie feeling if you are not use to it.

As for my place, the wind was horrible. More hissing and rumbling, as the wind kept on with its relentless fury. Lower Thornhill, the land of the wind.

No Doubt it is Winter

Day one of the looong weekend, and already, only twenty-four hours into winter the air tingles with frost, and the wind hisses outside. Ice is forming on my bathroom window, as that is the only single pane window in the apartment–yes I have thermal plastic covering it. Everywhere else in the apartment seems to be holding out well from the deep-freeze. Actually, I cannot complain as it could be much worse than it really is. As the “old timers” say, this cold only lasts for a couple of weeks, then it all thaws again. Great news to hear, but I am dealing with it in good spirits.

The car runs excellent in this cold, and no issues with my apartment either, so I am happy. It looks like the apartment was built very well to handle the arctic out flow weather like this. Actually, as I type this out, I can hear the wind blasting away, making that hissing sound, as it passes through the trees near by. I almost forgot what winter was like, living down South for so long. Oh, we will have a white holiday that is guaranteed.

I did some shopping today. Bought some neat stuff. One of the items I bought was a clay “Sleeping Mermaid” on a water lilly-pad figurine. Very cute. I will post a photo of it in a couple of days.

Well, time to rest and get ready for day number two of my four day weekend. Despite the cold, I can say, “this is the life.” I just hope I do not gain too much weight from lazing around for to long.

Entering the Looong Weekend

After celebrating the Solstice, the welcomed time off is now upon us. Not complaining one bit, the joy of a four day long weekend is wonderful, as the calendar lines up perfect this year, but would it not be nice if it was like this all of the time–like every year? Heck, make it a week long holiday, from the 22 to the 29th of December, or right up until January 1st. Maybe make December 21st the New Year’s, and just take a full week, minus actual weekends, so you can maximise the Holiday Season. Make this as part of, getting rid of the Daylight Savings, too, while we hack up the out-dated calendar.

Anyway, it is so nice to have the time off. Whether they leave it, or change it, having the time off is great–period. Looking at last year’s calendar, once New Years is finished, we will not see any more long weekends until next March here in Canada, so you kind of want to get as much as you can this week. So be marry and be sensible, as we enjoy the time off from work, and time with our families and friends.

Happy Winter Solstice and First Day of Winter

As usual, I take out my camera and shoot a bunch of photos during the day, becuase it is the shortest day of the year. Plus, when you move further North, the daylight becomes even more precious on winter Solstice becuase you lose even more hours of sunlight than from my old place in the Fraser Valley. Yes, the Sun sit very low in the sky way up here. If you blink, the day is half over–it is that fast. Regrettably, I wanted to get some shots of the setting Sun; the mountains glow a bright pink, while the lower hills reflect the blue from the sky. My time was taken up from work, so what time I could afford, was short.

The promise of growing days is now upon us. This marks a very special time, one of hope, and soon to be warmer weather ahead, as the days grow by a few minutes per day. For now, there is the longest night of the year, and with it, today comes a very clear night to watch the stars. And up here, light pollution is actually very low, so seeing those stars in their natural wonder with be awesome. I am sure it will feel like you can reach out touch the stars in the sky, as they should be that bright.

So Happy Solstice, and first of winter!

The Cavity – Or Sleeping Beauty Mountain

To this day I cannot open my mind up enough to see the sleeping beauty in Sleeping Beauty Mountain; I just cannot, no matter haw hard I try. With the awesome weather we are getting, I wanted to get some snowy mountain shots with clear blue skies. It has been cloudy for so long that this is the first time I could get a clear shot of the mountains with their snowy tops, in the mornings, when the light was right. Right now, as I look at Sleeping Beauty Mountain, all I can see is the big cavity on top of it.

They say, the weather prognosticators, that we are in for at least a week’s worth of clear weather in the days to come. Makes me happy, as long as I do not have to shovel it. I can live with the cold too. However, there is one caveat: “with the clear cold weather comes wind.” So, I am bracing for the big blow that will eventually come, and then Thorhill will live up to its reputation as the “Wind Tunnel” of the Skeena Valley. Hey, as long as I do not have to shovel it, or what does fall, nature will blow it away. LOL (praise nature)

So I challenge you to look at this image (above) and see if you can see the sleeping beauty, or any kind of person, on the mountain.

Why the Fire Trucks Make Noise In Thornhill, BC

So yesterday I was cooking my dinner, a little later becuase I had some side jobs (chores) to do, and all of a sudden I hear this rumbling sound. It was getting louder and louder, then I could make out the music. Well, I thought it was neighbour a couple of doors down cranking up his home theatre system. I was just ready to fly out the door, and pound on his door, when I heard horns and sirens blasting, then seasonal music over top. It was the Thornhill Fire Department, doing their Food Donations drive.

Here is what got me. On Sunday, I was at my girl friend’s parent’s place, taking part in the Sunday Dinner they have every weekend, and they told me about the Thirnhill Fire Department’s annual Food Drive. So I assumed that this was it, the fire trucks would drive around Thornhill, and it was a one night event. Wrong. It turns out, they have a couple of routes they follow, making sure they do not leave any area out, and it spans a few nights to accommodate that large area they have to drive. Makes sense. But I was not prepared for it while I was in my apartment ready to read a book, last night.

The Thornhill Fire Department decorates their trucks with lights and air blown figures. They also put a rather loud public address system on their lead truck that blasts out seasonal friendly music. They drive through each street, like a small parade, and they have several trucks in their line-up, with some smaller trucks at the end that collect the donations from the residents who live on the streets they drive up. So when you see them drive by, you stand at the end of the driveway, with your donation, and they come a collect it from you. I am not sure the history of it, but a lot people in Thornhill seem to be quite knowledgeable about it, and did not mind.

The photo above was on Old Lakesle Lake Road near Clark Street. Suzette suggested that I bring my camera; I was glad she did, I got some nice shots. They drove by my place, going down River Road, yesterday.

Four Days Until Winter

Hard to believe, four more days, and already this year has been weird for weather. I look outside, and see snow, albeit almost melted away, but the dump of snow from November is still there. So some might say winter has been with us for a few weeks already. Nope-sadly it has not. Winter starts in four days, whether you like it or not. At just after 8:00am on December 21st, that is when winter starts according to astronomers. The great news out of all this is, the days will grow longer, but if you are a star gazer, like me, then the nights become shorter.

The winter solstice has always been something of a special time of the year for me. It is always nice to know that once we pass this time of the year, the days get better again, with spring and summer soon to be here. Pin-pointing the exact time is important for that knowledge, and is just cool to know, strictly nerd speaking of course.

I find few people really know what is happening with the Earth and our nearest star, the Sun this time of year. Sure, most know that the Earth is tilted, but some think that the Earth is swinging back and forth like a pendulum on a clock–that is farthest from the truth. The Earth is permanently tilted at about 23 degrees, in relation to the Sun, as it rotates around, with the centre axes almost pointing at the star called Polaris, or the North Star, all of the time. This is why a Sun Dial works like clockwork.

The other big question I hear people wondering about, and some just cannot wrap their heads around it, is why say, “start winter now, once the nights start getting longer again,” on the shortest day of the year? I agree this would make people wonder, but put it simply, it is called seasonal lag. It takes a while for the land and skies to warm up or cool down once the nights and days get longer or shorter. Remember, these astronomical events are more or less just symbolic, points of time in the Solar System. Nature does not play fairly all the time, and the seasons maybe pushed around on the calendar each way by a few weeks. (praise Nature) Just go with it.

Hey, if you are going to have a fixed calendar, then you might as well put down the Winter Solstice too, and say, “winter will start then.” Heck, we should change the calendar altogether and make the New Year start on December 21, instead of where it is now–it makes more sense. Or, lets go further and go with “The Star Date” time system, like on Start Trek. Problem solved.

I like to celebrate the winter solstice by getting my camera out and taking photos of nature, hoping to get as many awesome shots during the daylight period as I can.

The Weekend of Cinemas at the Local Moving Pictures Theatre

What better place to take your best friend, than anywhere else on a cold Friday night, but the Show Hall. Yes, we planned it all out: skip the obvious Block Buster film for the next best one, on opening night, then when we do see it, it will not be as packed full of people when we do finally see it. The result was too funny. I still laugh about it–it was so cool.

OK, the plan. Me and Suz., decided to see the movie Ferdinand first on Friday, when both StarWars VIII and Ferdinand opened last night. It was simple, see Ferdinand first, this way we would not get caught up in the crowds of people waiting to StarWars on its opening night. It work, well beyond our expectations.

So, Friday night, off we went down to the Tillicum Twin Theatres in Terrace, BC and waited in line to get in–it was all StarWars Fans waiting. Yes, there was a line up to get in, and this does not happen to often for a movie around here. So we waited in line. I think the ticket guy was a little spooked when we said, “Two for Ferdinand, please.” Yes, there was that look of surprise on his face. So off we went into the smaller theatre to grab our seats. We had no troubles finding the choice seats that we like, right in the middle, centre, of the theatre. It was just too easy getting these seats. In fact, when we looked around after the film had started, we were the only two people in the room! We saw the movie, just the two of us. The usher came to us, asked if everything is alright, and then said, “you will enjoy it–it’s a great movie.” We did, it was great.

It is now Saturday night, and Suz., just dropped me off at my apartment from seeing StarWars. As planed, the theatre was not as packed as it was on Friday, so this was a great time to see it today. We had no trouble setting good seats for tonight’s showing–a plan well executed I will say.

I will not give out any spoilers for either films, other than to say, see them both. They are great movies in their own right. Also, I am glad that people are still going to the movies, rather than sitting at home watch them on their 75″ Plasma 4K screens. Going to the shows is a great excuse to get out. Bring your partner too for a great experience, and to share those moments with too. It is worth it.

Off to bed, so I can start the second day of this action packed weekend. Yawn.