Stephen's Summer of 2005

A personal and experimental blog about my summer travels in 2005

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Location: Yellowknife, NWT, Canada

I live, work and play in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada

Monday, August 29, 2005

Home again!

On Sunday i left Reggie's and Cindi's for home. Rather than taking the Yellowhead all the way from Saskatoon, i took a road less traveled passing through Asquith, Biggar, Wilkie, Unity, Wainwright and so on to Edmonton.

In Biggar... no doubt you have heard all about it, but here it is... is Biggar's famous townsign:

Biggar townsign

The next morning i left around 9:00 AM and drove straight to Yellowknife arriving before midnight... Enough said... what a drive, but i wanted to get home before my next trip on Wednesday to Inuvik... Zzzzzzz...

60th Parallel

All in alll, it was a good summer holiday even if cheesy at times. I saw old friends and new, laid under the nightsky, remembered times past and dreamed of future times...


And that is the end of this blog...

- 30 -

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Regina, Reggie, Riders

Having overnighted in Regina, i decided to look around the city and its environs as Reggie Newkirk, whom i would be visiting, would not be home until after supper.

The RCMP Museum and a tour of the training facilities was first on my agenda. The
RCMP Museum is well worth seeing if you are in the Regina area. Although not necessarily complete as it seems to present an apologetic history, nevertheless with that provisio it was quite informative. After the museum i went on an escorted tour, which consisted solely of a visit to the RCMP Chapel. There was some misunderstanding between our group of about 20 and the two tour guides as to what we were to see. We were lead to believe the tour included some of the training facilities, but after being abruptly dropped off back at the museum, upon checking with the guides it was clarified that the training facilities were off limits since 9/11. I cannot imagine what would be so sensitive about such a tour; i guess al-Qaeda has impacted tourism in Saskatchewan

RCMP Chapel

After the museum i headed south out of town and came across the Baseline Surface Radiation Network station, and looked around the site.

Baseline Surface Radiation Network, Regina Station


Late in the day i visited the MacKenzie Art Gallery. One of the paintings i experienced was Frozen Mist by Otto Donald Rogers, who is well-known as a prairie artist and to Canadian Baha'is. At day's end i was welcomed into the home of Reggie and Cindi Newkirk.

On Saturday Reggie and i went to the Riders - BC Lions game at Taylors Field. While the Riders defense was on most of the game, their offense was not... In the last ten minutes the Riders gave up 2 touchdowns to Lions for a BC 19 - 15 win. Game details here!

That night i treated Reggie to some observing time on my telescope. We found a quiet, relatively dark spot right beside St. Michael's Reteat House run by the Franciscans, and spent two hours under the celestial sky.

Clockwise from the left: Cindi Newkirk,
Lianne Wolf Ear, Reggie Newkirk

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Travel to Regina

Now normally when one travels from Saskatoon to Regina down highway #11 it takes perhaps 2-1/2 hours. Not me. I decide to do a little sightseeing along the way. I head east down highway #5.

Passing near the settlement of Mount Carmel i noticed cloud rotation and a descending funnel starting to form, so i gave chase. I headed north through the settlement but couldn't get closer than about 2 kilometers as the event was towards the east with no roads in that direction near me. The funnel never fully formed and did not touch down. I can see why stormchasers often have a navigator with them to read topo maps.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel RC in Mount Carmel, Saskatchewan

Watson, Saskatchewan lays claim to being
the "Home of the Original Santa Claus Day". Ho-Ho-Ho!

Along the highway i came across the "St. Peter and Paul Romanian Orthodox Church." The church doesn't appear to be used that frequently and a sign refers visitors to an individual in Yorkton. What i found unusual was the barbed wire around the property: was that to keep people out or to keep people in?

In Veregin i visited the Doukhobor museum, including the Veregin residence with a prayer-house on the first floor. This museum also incorporates a museum dedicated to Leo Nicholaivitch Tolstoi, the great Russian novelist, social reformer and benefactor of the Doukhobors.

And finally for the cheesy picture of the day, on the road to Yorkton i came across the "World's Largest Whitetail Deer Antlers" with a scoring of 1158-1/2! I wonder if Boone and Crockett knows about this trophy?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Travel to Saskatoon

Today i made my way to Saskatoon down the Yellowhead highway. I left Edmonton in mid-morning with rainy skies. As it turned out, it rained, drizzled and downpoured in various degrees until just before S'toon.

Along the way i stopped by Vegreville to see
world's biggest Pysanka (Easter Egg)

Not much to see along the route with all the rain. At Maidstone, an early Black settlement on the prairies, i came upon what seemed like a fellow drowning in the descending torrents, who was hitching his way to Saskatoon. I picked up Brian Myshak, who not wanting to wait for an evening bus decided to hitchhike as his wife was admitted to a Saskatoon hospital. I hope she gets well soon.

Brian Patrick Myshak

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Two low-key days... Monday morning was a little busy: had my car's 12 month servicing done in Calgary; had a VHS tape converted to DVD; bought coffee and donuts for the workers striking against Telus on Heritage Road; shopped at Chapters; had lunch with Ravan. In the afternoon i travelled to Edmonton for some down time, although i did visit with Les and Bessie Beasley and their son Christopher.

Tuesday was unhurried... I spent some time at the local Harley-Davidson dealership checking out the bikes. Hmmm...

Sunday, August 21, 2005


I leave Creston Saturday morning for Calgary to visit Ravan and Sean. En route i cross the Rockies via Vermilion Pass in Kootenay National Park. After having travelled most of the Rocky Mountain passes Vermilion continues to be my favourite for scenery.

Upon arrival Ravan, Sean and i go out to a Japanese resturant for supper -- its sushi for me! Later i meet up with an old friend Pei-Zhong and we attend the Baha'i Feast of Names in the northwest sector of Calgary (Calgary's 600-member Baha'i community is administratively divided into several sectors), and Sean and Ravan attended his brother's 33rd birthday party. At the Feast we meet two old friends of mine, Navid and Susan Nafisiyazdi, who invite us back to their home for refreshments. As Navid and Susan lived in Kazan, Russia as Baha'i pioneers in the early 1990's, we had much to share. It has been years since i have seen any of these folks; what a delightful evening.

Susan, Navid and Pei-Zhong

Kicking around on Sunday, Sean, Ravan and i go to Calgary's Heritage Park for the afternoon. Later Ravan made an excellent supper of delicious stuffed red peppers (ask her for her recipe) followed by a quiet evening of visiting. I also got to briefly meet Jerry Skinner, Sean's father -- too bad his visit could not have been longer.

Here are some pictures taken from Heritage Park:

Friday, August 19, 2005


Leaving the Sunshine Coast with the 12:50 p.m. ferry i retrace my path back to the Kootenays. Actually it was only near Chilliwack after contacting an old friend in Creston and confirming that he was available the next day for a visit, that i decided to head back to the Kootenays rather then take the faster Trans-Canada to Calgary to visit my daughter, Ravan. The winds were with me and the traffic was light: i entered Castlegar after 9 o'clock.

I had another welcome visit with my sister, Katya, which included a fine morning walk down to the river with Grommet. While the Okanagan is a wonderland, the Kootenays is a paradise.

Katya and Grommet

Friday afternoon i drive the short distance over to Creston and book into an excellent bed and breakfast called the Hill House B&B (actually 5 km north of highways #3 and #3A junction) overlooking the valley. Without reservations i highly recommend this B&B which apparently doesn't get as much business as the B&B's located right in the town. NOTE: i received no compensation for this promotion :-).

Hill House B&B

This evening i visited Larry Rombough. I have known Larry since i was two years old and living in the town of Aultsville, one of the lost villages of the Seaway development. I haven't seen him for some 35 years. One of my earliest memories, from age three, is playing with Larry at his house when his large dog, King, attacked me gripping the top of my head and under my chin in his jaws. I was lucky that his brother Garnet pulled the dog off.

Larry took me to the top of a hill near the American border for a spectacular view of the valley, and talked about his love for the valley, the West, his mountain-trained horse, and the hunting and fishing in the area. He threw a couple of steaks on the barby. We talked about old times, the troubles we got into, our friends some long deceased, our earlier hunting days (including the time we tried to spit-roast a pair of blackbirds but couldn't bring ourselves to eat the cooked remains), old friends, girls and girl-friends, school days, St. Lawrence valley days, and lazy summer days. We plan to stay in touch and not let another 35 years pass.

Larry Rombough