Monday, October 30, 2006
This is "Firestorm." Colleen and I took a ride on it at "Monster Madness." See the full story below.
Bigfoot strikes again! The rest of the story? Colleen and I enjoyed "Monster Madness" as its world tour came through Grande Prairie (one of only three Canadian cities to have the priviledge).
In the afternoon we enjoyed going into the arena and looking at the monster trucks up close. Colleen took pictures and I was impressed with how the trucks are made. The bodies are simply a fiberglass shell and the doors don't open. Both front and rear wheels steer hydraulicly. The engine is in the back and the frame is the biggest part of the truck. To get in, the driver climbes up the braces on this frame, and through a rather large hole in the floor boards to his single seat which is in the center of the cab.
In the evening Colleen and I took a ride on "Firestorm" before the show began. I learned that this truck used to be all yellow and was appropriatly called "Tonka." (I saw it once at a car show in Edmonton.)We sat in the front seats so I got to talk to the driver. He showed me how he could flip a switch and make the rear wheels steer the opposite way (crab steering). Thus, instead of going in a circle, both ends of the truck goes the same way. This is handy for backing up to the loading steps.
The main event featured four monster trucks (including Bigfoot #12) which spent most of their time crushing a couple of rows of old cars in the arena. At the beginning of each performance the driver would start his truck and then stick his hands out both windows. Then a man on the ground would hit a remote control button and stop the truck. This safety test completed, the performance would continue.
The first truck out easily got its front wheels up onto the cars. But when the driver tried to climp on over, the truck rared up and sat back on its tailgate. Sitting there almost straight up, the driver could do nothing because something had broken in the dirveline. A small loader had to come out and pull him down and off the cars so he could drive out with the power of his front wheels. The problem was an easy fix and he was back out for the rest of his performances. (I suspect they have a simple link in the driveline that is designed to break first.)
Bigfoot was the obvious star of the show. But by the time he came out the other trucks had the cars well smashed down. For me that made his performances unimpressive.
At half-time some moto-cross bikes came out and did some impressive stunts. They drove up a steep quarter pipe, did some tricks in the air and then landed on a ramp; several times. And none of them ever wiped out!
We enjoyed the evening, but next time I'd like to see the monster trucks in an outdoor venue where they'd have more room to really perform.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
This is what our home looked like not long ago. But not after this weekend! The weekend became extra busy for us. Thursday evening Missions Conference started at PRBI. We went and enjoyed reconnecting with several missionaries we know.
Friday after work Colleen and I both laid down for a snooze before heading back into Grande Prairie to watch Ron's first home game as the assistant coach of the Wolves basketball team. It was starting to snow but the roads were not too bad.
Saturday morning we woke up to quite a bit of snow. So I quickly put the snow tires on the car and we headed back into Grande Prairie for a Wolves parents breakfast. It was a good time with Ron, Jen, her Mom and several others. There was even more snow when we came out from breakfast and headed for home. So Saturday afternoon I put (Dad Smith's) snow tires on the truck and aired up all 8 tires on the two vehicles. Now we are ready for winter! (My garage is a virtual tire shop with about a dozen tires all mounted and ready to be used, a trolly jack, and a small compressor to air them up.) Then I ventured out to shoved the driveway. I don't think I did such heavy snow shoveling. By this time we had at least 8 inches of wet snow. But I survived the workout.
Then I phoned my Mom and wished her a Happy 88th Birthday. She was celebrating with several family members at the home farm where I grew up and where my brother Bill still is.
That evening we headed back to PRBI for the final meeting of Missions Conference. Afterwards most of the missionaries were in no hurry to leave. Why? Highways in all directions were either closed or not advisable to be used. In fact we had a missionary couple I've know for as long as I can remember stay over at our home.
This morning after breakfast the missionary couple headed out on their way back to Ponoka, my old home town. After going to church, I spend more time out in the snow, shoveling the sidewalks that go along two sides of our property. Now its time to hibernate, look out at the winter wonderland, and thank the Lord that everyone is safe. What an appropriate weekend to go back to Standard Time?
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Saturday, October 14, 2006
A Trip, a Door, a Turkey, and a Moose
Thnaksgiving Monday morning Suzanne suggested I look at her exterior doors. After giving my professional opinion, Suzanne said: "Lets go look at doors." Fine, I thought, I'm just the "consulting engineer" on this trip! By mid afternoon, Brian and I were ripping out the old door in order to replace it with a new one. In between tasks, Brian helped Suzanne and Colleen with the Thanksgiving meal. At 5:00 we stopped for Thanksgiving supper. But then it was back to the door to finish up the project before dark. Success at last, and I could now relax and enjoy my second piece of Pumpkin pie and whipped cream. (Colleen and made the pies before we left home.) So much for a relaxing day!
Tuesday morning Suzanne and Brian headed off to work, and Colleen and I headed off to see my Mom. She lives in an seniors condo in Ponoka, about an hour from Camrose. We hand a good visit and a good lunch with her. She will be 88 in two weeks. (Se's a week older than Billy Graham) She is looking a lot healthier than she did when I saw her a year ago.
Our trip home that evening was uneventful, except for one thing. I'd just taken over the wheel and gone about 5 miles when the headlights revealed a very large Moose directly in our path. I believe that was the only time I screeched tires trying to slow down from highway speed. Then I swerved a bit to avoid the Moose and hit the brakes again because the Moose looked like he might turn around. But instead he sauntered off into the ditch. We continued on home, thanking the Lord for His protection. They don't call that section of the highway "Moose Row" for nothing. Afterwards I thought, maybe I could have driven right under the Moose's belly, like Smokey and the Bandid! But then, I didn't have a black Trans Am either!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Life in "Boom-Town"
6:10 a.m. I have breakfast with a half-dozen men at a restaurant close to Grande Prairie. We have a good time of sharing concerns and praying for things from housing needs in Clairmont (the community where our church is) to Canadian and allied soldiers in Afganistan.
7:50 a.m. I arrive at work almost an hour later than "normal" but that's O.K. Almost immediately a shipment of suplies arrive for me. About time! I've been waiting two months for this stuff so I can finish building a number of doors. Oh! Oh! It's the wrong stuff and won't help me much.
On the radio I learn that our growing city could reach 100,000 in twenty years. Today its at 45,000.
5:15 p.m. I quickly change and leave work for the bank across town. It's payday and therefore also morgage payment day. Traffic is extra busy but when I get to the bank there's an much bigger surprize. Some fourty people are lined up ahead of me, waiting to get to a teller. The young oil worker next to me says he's going to take out $500.00 and spend it at three bars that night.
6:10 p.m. I finally emerge from the bank and head toward Wal-Mart, only three blocks away, where Colleen is off work and waiting for me. I'm sure she's wondering what happened to me. Thankfully what could have happened didn't! You see, I had to make a left turn at the busiest intersection in town. The vehicle ahead of me turns left on the amber light and I start to follow him before the light turns red. But I notice that a loaded logging truck is coming through the light. Fortunately I stop in time for him to make it through without hitting me. Praise the Lord!
6:20 p.m.Colleen and I drive past the theater to see what's playing and notice a very long line-up of people trying to get in. Later we learn that the first showing of "Open Season" (opening night) sold out.
6:45 p.m. We attempt to go to Boston Pizza but its close for renovations. Instead we go to "Mr. Mikes" and are told we'll have to wait 20 minutes for a table. Fortunately, because there are only two of us, we get in sooner. But the place is packed and much noiser than normal. It's still an enjoyable supper.
8:15 p.m. We are heading out of town when I suddenly realize: "The truck's still at Wal-Mart." Change of plans!
9:20 p.m. We take in the second showing of "Open Season." It's a hoot. Colleen especially enjoys the young boy beside her who gets quite a kick out of her laughing at the show.
Sat. 8:00 a.m. Another overtime day begins.
3:30 p.m. I leave work to go shopping for vegitables. (We are taking a salad to a pot-luck at church the next day.) At the "Real Canadian Superstore" (Yes, that's the official name!),I discover they are totally out of lettuce. I pick up what I can and zip back to I.G.A. for lettuce and cucumber. Success! (I had been reminissing about Uranium City. When one store was out of something, the other soon would be too.)
6:00 p.m. We arrive early at the Communicy Centre down the street from our house. The wedding starts half an hour later than we thought. So we drive around our little town and view the progress being made on some 80 homes under construction.
6:50 p.m. The Wedding begins (a litle late, naturally). The bride is a co-worker of mine and (surprize, surprize) Colleen knows the groom and several guests from Wal-Mart! The vows the couple wrote for each other contained some very powerful and emotional words. The Bride is handed a tissue to wipe her eyes, but before the ceremony is over, they pass the same tissue back and fourth several times. Colleen and I dance a couple of dances. She looked great in her cowboy blouse and long black skirt. Our dancing? It was almost as good as the rest of the people there!
Sunday 9:30 a.m. Colleen and I make the salad for pot-luck.
10:40 a.m. We head off to church. One of the shared prayer requests is for people needing housing. Our new Pastor gives great expository messages. He's going through Philippians.
12:00 p.m. Pot Luck! Ours is the only lettuce and veggi salad there. All of it is taken. It was a great meal. Afterwards we have the church annual meeting. It is short and sweet, for an annual meeting. Colleen and I are both impressed.
After pot-luck is the annual meeting which is rather brief as far as annual meetings go. Now we can go home and relax for a while.
Mon. 6:15 a.m. The alarm beeps the beginning of another busy week. Little did I know, it would be my busiest week since I left the harvest field several years ago!
9:00 a.m. I learn that a major customer (they build new homes) is upset because they are waiting for doors for some 20 houses. I go at preping some pre-made doors that have been ordered in. In order to get caught up I work to 9:30 p.m. both Monday and Tuesday. Each day Colleen worked 2:30 to 11:00 so we took supper breaks together, at Subway. Arn't I a big spender?
Friday 9:30 p.m. I arrive home from another extra long day (including another trip to Subway.)It'll be an hour and a half before Colleen arrives home.
Saturday 6:20 a.m. We are on the road to work again. By the end of the day I will have worked over 60 hours!
4:30 p.m. We are home again. I install a timer on our ourside lights and Colleen packs for our trip to Camrose (Suzanne Brian, and Thomas) the next day.
Sunday 6:20 a.m. We are on the road to work again. A second early shift for Colleen. And another Sunday work day for her too. This time though I come back home and start getting ready for church and for our trip. On the way I notice that several pieces of heavy equipment are at work (yes on Sunday Morning!) preparing to widen the highway past Sexsmith, where we live.
9:25 a.m. Off to Sunday School and church. On the way I see a hot air balloon lifting off. "Oh yeah, this week-end is the national balloon races here in Grande Prairie." At church, we can look out the windows and see several balloons lift off and drift past the church toward their intended destination.
2:00 p.m. I arrive home from church. I had taken some time, after church and coffee, to install a set of drawers in the sound booth. (I had made them in my "spare time" over the past two weeks.)
3:15 p.m. I'm packed and back on the road, running a little late to pick up Colleen from work. We will be heading directly to Camrose (a 6 hour drive). Our Thanksgiving weekend has finally begun.