Zucchini Racing

I kept this part of the fall fair separate because this was the very first zucchini race I ever attended–and who knew it would be so cool. I should confess, when I first heard about zucchini racing, it was on the radio, and I thought I heard “Bikini Racing,” something totally different. But nonetheless, I had a hard time imagining how on Earth zucchini racing could be done. Fast-forward two months, and to my delite, they were having zucchini racing events here, but still I had no idea what they were all about. So as me a Suz., were walking about the exhibits inside the Thornhill Community building, we ran into one of her friends from her Wellness and Meditation groups, who was himself taking his “daughter’s” racing zucchini to the track. I got a shot of it with my camera; who knew the fate of that zucchini. So me and Suz., went on, enjoying the fall fair, as the zucchini races were not for another few minutes. 

The rain was coming down, and things looked as if they might be delayed due to the weather. Here in Terrace, you work with the weather, and no matter what, the race was going to happen, even with rain bouncing off the ground 2cm, and winds, gusting to 30kms/h. As the kids lined their speed demon zucchinis up for the initial placement for pole positions, you could cut the tension in the air. Each zucchini was numbered, and would race in groups of four. It was exciting, the smell of salad lay in the air. Spectators lined each side of the track, and the ramp was tested one last time. The first four zucchinis were placed on the ramp…and were ready. 

They were off! You could tell right-a-way which zucchini was better equipped for speed and distance, as they rolled down the ramp onto the speedway. And to my amazement, who was number eleven–non other than the zucchini I photographed just minutes before. Yes–number eleven was killing the race–kicking butt–showing these other zucchini racers who was the “Boss.”

And the winner! A very modest number eleven zucchini winner hold her zucchini proudly, showing her first place ribbons. I believe she has two ribbons: one for the farthest, and another for placing first. I am not sure, but I know her zuchcini did both.

Right off the bat, it was the wheels strapped to the zucchini that made the difference. Then it boiled down to alignment and balance of the drive-train, and then the arrow dynamics overall. The secret was in the wheels, and how well the bearings worked, and how they were attached to the body. A good number of zucchinis lost their wheels as they coasted down the ramp, so a good support system is necessary for any high performance zucchini racer. Lastly, weight, as it seemed the larger zucchinis raced better than the smaller ones. Being gravity driven, a little physics would help those going the distance–so centre of gravity, arrow-dynamics and balance would separate the better vegetables from the rest of the garden patch. Remember this, “It takes science to make what Mother Nature never intended.” 

The Skeena Valley Fall Fair 2017

Finally, the time has come, Terrace has its fall fair, located at the Thornhill Community Grounds, nearly right across from my place, but we still drove. Why you ask did we drive the three hundred metres instead of walking? Because the weather sucked. It was raining, albeit on and off, you needed some form of rain gear in order to enjoy the fair. In true terrace fashion, rain was not a problem, in fact it was business as usual. Once on the grounds, we marched over to the tens to seek out the five dollar breakfast to kick off the tour of the fair. Admission was very reasonable, and it gave you access to all the events. Also, on a day like this, there was plenty of parking, so we parked at our old junior high school.

Surprisingly the rain was constant. We did have moments were the rain stopped completely, and then there moments when it let its might, but in a gentle down-pour. We ate, then we toured around looking at as many sites as we could. There were things to do as well as we walked around the fair grounds. At the entrance, there was a sheet of paper that you could take with you, and it asked you to write down any locations you find a business sponsored scarecrow. We only found two – you really had to hunt for them.

One of the first stops was at the Four-H competitions, the best dressed rabbit contest. Above, is the winner, a rabbit featuring a alligator outfit, which the rabbit seem all to eager to get out of. There were about twelve rabbits hopping down the catwalk with their garb and appliances in this event. All to cute to see, and kids looked like they were having a great time of it.

What is a fall fair without the equestrian events. There were plenty of horses, and other livestock events to be had. We missed the show horses, so we walked over to the outside grounds where they were still having the “weaving around the poles” event (no idea what it is really called). So I caught about five riders whisking their horses threw the obstacles, trying to break the fastest time. At this point in the day the rain had stopped. Yay! So off to the inside events, now that it stopped raining, off to the arts and crafts displays.

The above photo is a zucchini that will be entered into the zucchini race later on today. The owner was extremely proud of his high-performance Zucchine! I will post more about the race next becuase that event was something I never seen before, and I have to admit, the word zucchini is not a word I get to type that often. Anyway, it was a total fluke that I got this shot, then seeing it the races. Weird, for some reason my spell-checker does not like the word “Zucchini.” Maybe it is a British/American thing? Anyway, the race was awesome – wet.

I have to quote Suz., on this image, above, when she said, “They never had these Lego sets when I was a kid….” There were some cool Lego displays here. And she was right, they never had these when I was a kid. Wow, custom Lego! Lucky kids. But the building was full of displays, everything from best photos by local photographers, to the best flower arrangements and knitting. There was a lotto take in.

As fast as our journey started, it was over. We want to head over to Lakelse Lake, to see the dragon boat races, Suz., favourite, so we left early to catch that. Sadly, when we got to Lakelse, they cancel it due to weather, not one dragon boat was to be seen when we got there. But the fall fair was not to bad in my book. It was smaller than the Bulkey Valley Fair, but nonetheless it held it own. I am sure if we had better weather, a lot more people would have made the trip out with their families. In all, we had a great time. Hey, the whole, I snapped over thirteen gigabytes of photos on my camera!

Hazelton: Old, New and South

Our last stop on our trip on Highway 16 was all three Hazeltons. Hazelton is divided up into three main areas, the old part, which is the old pioneering area where the riverboats and paddle ship stopped at; then the part of town where it lays near the highway; then what seems to be the newer part, which there are some saw mills and vehicle shops. Any way, we went to all three areas.

This shot was at the main area, right by the Skeena River, where the paddle wheel ships would stop. This is where you can see the old style building and some museums and shops. If I remember correctly, in this shot, to right, use to be the old Inlander Hotel. What a view of the mountain, he?

The above shot is the suspension bridge over the Bulkley River, before it meets the Sheena River. Take note of how high that is in this photograph–a long ways down.

Looking down was a lot more scary than walking across it. It was hard to say, but I think it was nearly a fifty metre drop to the river–I did not take a photo of the sign. But, it was a long ways down, and not a place if you have acrophobia! And to top it all off, you were walking on a metal mesh/screen surface you easily see below to the ground. We just had to walk across it!

Kitwanga

Next on our trip was Kitwanga, where Highway 16 turns off onto Highway 37 to Stewart, BC and then onto Alaska. I should also point out that we were just further North of latitude than the southern tip of Alaska itself. We drove a little further down the highway, going North, but we turned around after a few kilometres. But the first place we stopped at was the Anglican Church. This was weird seeing the “bell tower” standing beside the church.

Then a little ways down the road we stopped to the Totem Poles. We did not stay to long, but had one more stop before we continued Eastward.

We headed for the junction of Highway 16 and 37. The place has not changed a bit over the twenty to thirty years.

Next time, I do not know when, we might head up to Stewart, BC, and maybe onto Hyder, Alaska.

Seven Sisters Mountains

On our holiday Monday, we headed over to Cedarvale, BC, about an thirty to forty minute drive on Highway 16 going East, to see the Seven Sisters. You need to be far back to see them all, as they are a large and very high row of mountains, this spot on the highway is the perfect place to see them. Actually, this is the only spot to see them from the highway. Just seeing how much snow is on them gives you an idea of their size and how high they are. They are very pretty to look at, but even better through a telephoto lens.

While we were there taking photos, so were two bus loads of tourists. It was the perfect day for shoot the mountains–not a cloud in the sky, and got awesome shots. I shot about thirty images while we were there–a ten minute stay. 

While you are there, you can buy veggies at the veggie stand. I am not sure what the prices are like, but the carrots looked big and there were lots of them,. There were lots of other veggies as well. I even seen someone with the loaf of bread, walking out of the stand. 

Funny – I always thought that the Seven Sisters Mountains were over at Hazelton, BC, a little further down the highway, about another thirty minutes. I was promptly corrected by Suz. So all these years…

I had to shoot these with my Sony A33 camera because when I cleaned the sensor on my A77, I got more dirt on it than I had on there begin with. I hate the little dot on my photos. So switched to my smaller camera option to shoot with: the A33. They say the best camera to shoot with is the one you have with you. Yeah right. More like, “you shoot with what you got…”

It was about 1:00pm in the afternoon, we moved on,  we have the rest of the day to explore with.

Shames Mountain in September

We were a little for skiing, but nonetheless the views from up on Shames was not short of awesome. Me and Suz. spent the afternoon up on the mountain, hiking around and stopping for photos. The day was nothing short of perfect–plenty of sunshine and warmth for the high altitudes. We met several other people just driving around also enjoying the view. Shames Mountain seems very popular even in the off skiing season.

The great part of coming up this time of the year was, “no crowds.” We had the place to ourselves, even with the three other vehicles that were up on the hill, everyone stayed to themselves. The road is good, although gravel, but no trouble for a small car, so why not take the family for the view.

So just picture this, you are standing on 30cm of perfect snow, waiting to up the hill on the chair-lift, but it is 27C and sunny. OK, that would hard to picture, but I am not much of a skier anyway. But the view…

This is the view looking South, (above) back towards the Skeena River (and Highway 16) from the valley we drove up in. You can see here that we are quite high up in the hills. Let me just say that my ears were popping a lot as we drove up to the ski hill, we were up so high.

In the above photo, this was looking West from the ski hill. Shames is in sort of a box canyon, but looking West, you can see where the canyon started to narrow out. These photos do not do any justice of the awesomeness of the landscape. I wish I had brought my wider lends. We were only half way up the mountain, and I could not tell you how high these peaks are, but the scenery is just awesome.

The skis and snow-boards nailed to the trees can be seen all along the road going up to the ski hill. At first I made crake that these were “grave markers” of all the skiers that did not make it a live from their skiing, but that would not have been a nice thing to say. Then I thought, “these were the in the lost and found,” so why not nail them onto the trees in hopes that their owners will get them. But no, theses are just there, probably to mark the way up to the ski hill. They were worth a few shots.

I want to go back soon, and get the mountains when the Sun is more towards the morning. All the good shots were to the West, so I want the Sun low in the Eastern sky. Maybe in a couple of weeks. Shames Mountain is only a few minutes West of Terrace on Highway 16, going towards Prince Rupert.

The Exstew Falls

Finally me and Suz., both went to the Exstew Falls, although it was more “muddier” than when we first made the attempted, and when I was last up there, we had our workout in the mud. It was muddy. And yes, we both had some spills in the mud when we took the high trail right up to the bottom of the falls. The grassy trail was very slippery, so we had to take our time hiking it, but we both slipped, it did not matter after that, we were down right dirty. I had mud on both knees, and I had muddy water up my arms. The camera was not harmed. LOL

Going in the mud was worth it to get these shots. With the rain from the last month meant there was a lot more water this time of year, and it really made the water fall better. The mist was thick, and the water was pure, but the water fall was a great sight to see.

The Exstew Falls are really not from the Exstew River, but in fact the falls flows into the river. According to Suz., the falls come from glaciers in the above mountain, not just runnoff. The falls are located about nine kilometres from Highway 16 just East of Terrace, British Columbia. The drive from Terrace is about ten minuets, and another twenty minuets from the highway. It is a little tricky to find, there are road markers, but generally it is the third fork on the road (you keep right), but the third fork, turn left. Really check with Google Maps for directions.

I was looking at the bottom of the water fall, and thinking that this would be a great place for a summer dip when it gets really warm out. The pool here is really shallow, and very cool. The mist from the falls would be a great to cool off in. I would love to a photo shoot with some models here. 

Well, it is time go. Covered in mud, and a little soaked from the mist, it was time trek back down the trail. I can feel my legs from the hike up, and I know I will feel this tomorrow. To listen to the thunder of the falls was the high point of the day!

Also, I am caught up with my posts now that I have my main PC back on-line. This is my first posts in nearly a month that I am posting the same say as I time-stamp the post. It feels good–more honest. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the photos of the falls. Oh, and happy Labour Day Weekend!

The Old Terrace Drive In Theatre – I Found It

For the last few weeks I have been asking various people where the old Drive In Theatre was located. Everyone has a general idea, and could give a location somewhere down Keith Avenue, but most were only guessing. It was not until a truck driver was stopped at my work making a delivery, and out of the blue he said that where I work, “this is site of the Drive In Theatre.” Not only that, but my work building is, was the where the parking and projector building was, and the lot next store was where the giant screen was. I was blown-away!

The same day, I told the building mechanical maintenance guy about this, and of course he knew, and he said that I should go to the front of the lot, right by the road, and there, I will see a couple of poles used to hold the speakers from the Drive In itself. So naturally I grabbed my camera after work, and found these–the two poles–just like he said. I could not believe that I worked on the old site location, and that there are still traces of the Drive In Theatre still there today.

When I moved back to Terrace the second time, this was sometime around 1990-94, I remember that the giant screen was being torn down. I should have taken photos then–wait, I was not into photography like I am today. The theatre then was long abandon, and the land was sold for commercial uses.

However, I do remember being at the theatre when I was very young. I think, though not positive, that somewhere around 1973-74 that my parents took me to the Drive In. Back then, this was way out of town, a huge drive, that I remember my Dad complaining about that. Today, it only takes me seven minuets to drive Thornhill to this location for my commute to work. But anyway, I am guessing that the Theatre closed down in the Mid 70s.

You probably want to know the location–right? Well, it is right across from the BC Hydro building, where I took these shots. This would be where the parking lot was located. The lot further West, would be where the screen was.

Fixed the Broken Hard Drive

After nearly two weeks, and many frustrating hours, I recovered about ninety-three percent of my data from the broken hard drive. What I lost did cost me, some valuable files, and my emails were mostly complete, but they suffered too as the archive file had to rebuilt with a loss of about four percent. Just to create the four tare-byte image took one hundred and twenty-six hours. Then another eighty hours to recover the data from the image. I had to buy a six terabyte hard drive just to capture the image onto it with. So, a lot of patients, worrying and money.

The program I used is called Testdisk, a mainly Linux command program that runs on the Terminal. The idea is to clone the hard drive, one byte at a time, into an image onto another hard drive. The programs ignores any bad sectors, and will keep copying until the whole drive is done–including the empty spaces. Once done, I can begin extracting the data left in the image on a healthy drive. This usually takes less time than creating the image, but still, a four terabyte drive is huge; a time vampire.

I was impressed at how much data I was able to get. I had about nine hundred and eighty gigabytes worth of data, and was able to recover nearly nine hundred and sixty. Not bad at all considering the damage to the drive. The hard drive would not mount–period.

Now, I should point out that the file structure was corrupted, so Testdisk was not able to create that for me, so any files that were recovered was renamed, and almost randomly placed in order of the placement from the image. But the key main files I wanted were found. In fact, files that were deleted, were also recovered. That was freaky to see. So remember, when you thought you deleted something, think again. Unless you copied over top of it, the file is still on your hard drive.

I am still a little sore about having the hard drive crash on me–OK, a little angry and foolish–it was an emotional time. The external hard drive was almost brand new, maybe less than five hours on it. But at least I could recover most of the data–thinking positive.

Next time, two back up copies, and use drives that I know are in good condition. Even though upgrades are fairly routine with me, I should have take more precautions. Maybe even transferring valuable data onto a live PC for good measure.

Exploring the Terrace Heritage Museum

Back in Terrace, the rain was “sprinkley,” and lever let off until later in the afternoon. But that did not stop us from heading out the Heritage Museum to check out some Terrace’s history, and to see how people lived throughout those years of early settlement. So me and Suz., arrived sometime in the late morning, only to find ourselves the only ones there–how cool we that. So having the place to our selves, along with the staff, who stayed inside, off we went exploring. It was fun.

We did the sweep of the buildings and grounds, starting at the right hand building, and slowly working around, until we came full circle. But first I had to have a look at the wagons in the main yard.

Imagine going shopping in this beauty? Actually, the wagon was fully restored, and almost looked as if it was new. I notice other newer vehicles in one of the open garages, which house more wagons and gas power vehicles. Things were defiantly more simple back then. But some of the buildings we looked at were amazing. Of course Terrace, and the surrounding towns were mostly built on logging. and tree harvesting. during the Second World War, so is goes without saying how much of an influence it had as a growing community over the last century. The “logging” building had a very nice chart showing all of the saw mills and logging outfits over the last one hundred years, up until 1975. As a kid growing up in Terrace, many of the names brought back memories of a distant time.

I was looking for a car within my price range… this was almost affordable. Suz. did not like the idea of having the gas tank under the seat. The model was a hand-crank starter, so running it the winter would be a bit of a pain. LOL

The old cars were neat to look at. The above shot of the Green Truck really surprised me when I saw that it also had “Emergency Brakes.” A good feature to have around here with all the hills.

And of course, I cannot leave with a shot of the famous “Rosswood Express.” I have no idea if this was the actual wagon, but it was in good shape. Anyway, this concluded our weekend get-a-way. The rain kept up, but there was hope that it could indeed be a great going forward.