Mud, rain, hail and a torrent of fun: Northern Loon Rally recap

Ever since building my ’67 Volvo Amazon for the Canada 5000 rally-inspired road trip last year, I’ve been itching to get it into a proper TSD to see how it performs. When Tom Chichak asked if I wanted to compete in the Edmonton Rally Club’s Northern Loon Rally with him, I couldn’t pass up the chance.

As is always the case when I enter any type of motorsports event, the car preparations went on right up until the last minute. The biggest challenge was getting a working odometer in the car and I left that in Tom’s capable hands. After trying unsuccessfully once again to get my TerraTrip working, he moved on to installing an Alfa Pro. After some last-minute calibrations, he got it working beautifully on the Friday night before the Saturday event. Continue reading “Mud, rain, hail and a torrent of fun: Northern Loon Rally recap”

Alberta Adventure: Pushing personal boundaries to hike Jasper’s Sulphur Skyline

Dave S. Clark

For me, travelling has always been a slow process of pushing my personal boundaries. Growing up, I travelled Canada, where I knew the culture and the language and felt pretty much at home. Then I made the jump to Europe and the Caribbean, then to Asia and Africa, pushing myself to explore regions that were much different than back home. I began to discover things I loved, which gave me the urge to explore them in more depth. For example, I loved the Moorish architecture of the Hotel Sevilla in Havana, which we stayed in a couple of times. That prompted a trip to the Andalusia region of Spain. That spawned the idea of a trip to Morocco.

When travelling, I’ve always tried to find great hikes, whether it was partway up the side of a mountain to Second World War-era pillboxes in Oahu or along an unrestored section of China’s Great Wall. One thing that I’ve always wanted to do was hike to the top of a mountain. The challenge was I only wanted to hike, not climb. Actually climbing things and using my arms and legs in unison to ascend a chunk of rock is still terrifying to me. I’ll hopefully get there one day, but I like to take baby steps. Continue reading “Alberta Adventure: Pushing personal boundaries to hike Jasper’s Sulphur Skyline”

Alberta Adventure: Jasper in January is the perfect winter escape

By Dave S. Clark

When it comes to winter in Canada, there are two options. You can stay inside and hibernate for four to six months, only appearing to go to work or to get groceries, or you can bundle up, embrace the weather for what it is and enjoy the great opportunities the northern wintery world has to offer.

Usually, I do a little of both – hunkering down and staying indoors when the mercury drops really low, and lacing up the skates for the outdoor rink or going for the occasional snowboarding trip when the weather is bearable.

As an Edmontonian, I’m lucky to have an incredible winter escape in Jasper, which is just four hours west. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Jasper is a blessing in both the summer and winter for those with the outdoorsy or adventurous spirit.

If you plan on heading to Jasper in the winter, there probably isn’t a better time to do it than Jasper in January, an annual festival full of activities, which is celebrating its 27th year in 2016. I’ve lived in Edmonton for almost all of those 27 years, yet had never experienced the festival until this year. Continue reading “Alberta Adventure: Jasper in January is the perfect winter escape”

Alberta Adventure: Exploring Elk Island National Park

By Dave S. Clark

It’s easy to travel anywhere in the world these days, with the ability to book anything online, an abundance of information on every possible destination and technology to keep in touch with everything that’s going on back home. But with long distance travel now so accessible, it’s so easy to forget about what’s going on in your own backyard.

For years, I have driven across two and a half provinces to swim, canoe and boat around my favourite lake, which is just a few kilometers, as the crow flies, from the Manitoba-Ontario border. Twenty minutes into that 15-hour drive, I’d pass through Elk Island National Park. I’d be driving around 110 km/h, trying to make good time, and, if it was early enough, I might see some bison. They’d flash by as large, dark blobs that I never gave much thought to.

It wasn’t until I was standing on the beach of Astotin Lake, as the sun set over the mirror-still water which was only broken by two canoeists, that I realized I had been speeding by a gem right in my own backyard. I could do nearly everything I was doing in Manitoba – canoeing, sailing, hiking and just breathing fresh air – without even having to drive half an hour from my house. Continue reading “Alberta Adventure: Exploring Elk Island National Park”

Alberta Adventure: Cypress Hills road trip – An island of amazing drives among a sea of prairies

By Dave S. Clark

It can be painful, excruciatingly so, to find great roads to drive on through the prairies. The roads are long, flat, straight and beautiful in their own right, but they can be a bit boring if you want to go for a spirited drive. But it’s not all flat and boring. Sitting right on the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan and only a short hop from the Montana border is an ancient island rising up from the sea of surrounding plains – Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.

When I think of driving in Alberta and Saskatchewan, I think of telephone poles being the only thing that resemble trees and arrow straight roads, dotted on either side with cattle. Cypress definitely had the cattle, free roaming all over the park, but none of the roads were anything but straight. Continue reading “Alberta Adventure: Cypress Hills road trip – An island of amazing drives among a sea of prairies”