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Wait, it gets worse!

19 Mar

Remember back a few weeks ago when I was lamenting how middle age was catching up to me? I was so sore and tired? Ya, well I had to go and open my big mouth about it did I? I seem to do that a lot unfortunately. So since that ill-conceived tirade, I have since wrenched my back shovelling snow and then come down with the flu. Karma 1, Dave 0.

On that note, it’s good to be back. Once again I took a little break from the blog since I was away on vacation and there wasn’t a lot to talk about. Yes, as I’ve aptly described, it wasn’t a pretty second half of the week for me last week. We arrived home from the States to find the driveway nicely plugged with a dump of snow, and in my haste to clear some room to unload the “loser cruiser,” (my wife’s eloquent nickname for the minivan) I went a bit too hard too fast and tweaked my back. It kinda bothered me for a few days, but then I got the flu on Saturday and forgot all about it. So then I spent two days on the couch not eating and shivering…see the score sheet above.

Snow filled driveway, March 2013.

Snow filled driveway, March 2013.

Well thankfully I’m feeling a bit better today, though I thought that last night and after eating dinner had a rather unpleasant wait during the kids swimming lessons. Fingers crossed. But hey, on the up side, my back doesn’t hurt anymore!

So the little break from reality was good, but alas it is back to work. Fortunately we’re on the downward slide toward summer as the days get longer and warmer. You couldn’t tell that right now though, as old man winter refuses to go away. This time last year the snow was completely gone and we were basking in double digit temperatures. Right now there is still a few feet of snow and we are not expected to slip above zero until the end of the week. Gotta be optimistic right?

Just before the break we did pass an important milestone that I though was worth mentioning. The countdown to next year’s Europe trip is now less than 365 days…353 days to be exact! I can’t wait. Even though I visited some of these places less than a year ago, it’s still exciting nonetheless. There are some new places to see, and a whole new group of kids. They’re pretty pumped too! When I let many of them know that the trip was a year away, it solicited a lot of enthusiastic responses.

So the railway front has been somewhat busy, especially given the fact that I was away from home for several days. Last week we celebrated an important event, the 106th anniversary of the announcement of the construction of the station at Silver Mountain (and by default the one at North Lake as well). The Silver Mountain Station is one of the few remaining structures on the line, and last significant station. It was constructed in 1907 and the railway also built an exact copy at North Lake. To mark this event, I spent some time on Wikipedia creating two entry pages, one for Silver Mountain and the other for North Lake. It took me a bit of time to do, but I’m very pleased with the results. I think I’ll be doing a few more in the future.

Speaking of Silver Mountain, work is progressing along with the society. Our biggest news is the forthcoming launch of our new logo. I had an opportunity to preview it today, and hopefully we’ll have it in the next days. Then there will be a mad dash to get some stuff ordered (cards, banners, brochures) so we can start promoting the group. It’s going to be a busy April!

While I was away in Minnesota, I did not forget about the railway. Sitting there one night (the kids go to bed at 8, so I need something to do for a few hours), I had a brain wave. How about doing some research? One of my biggest frustrations is that Google has digitized all of these old documents, but because I live in Canada, I cannot access them. That’s just blatant racism…Canadians are people too Google! Anyway, I figured that since I was in the US, I could try downloading some of these elusive files.

I didn’t get everything, and the internet speed was a bit slow, but I did manage to pull in quite a few things. The most interesting was an account written in 1908 by a Richard Haste, and his experiences travelling through the “new” Ontario on a railway tricycle or jigger (I never knew it was called that). He and a companion started in the Rainy River area and using their hand-powered jigger, rode all the way to Port Arthur. They then hitched a ride on the train down to Gunflint and rode back. I was disappointed that they didn’t say more about the PD and there weren’t any photos, but it was neat nonetheless. Some really good research information in there too!

Railway tricycle or "jigger," early 1900's.

Railway tricycle or “jigger,” early 1900’s.

Anyway, I think it’s time to wrap up. I am travelling to Gunflint this Saturday for a meeting with Bruce Kerfoot at the Gunflint Lodge, so I’m sure I’ll have a bunch of things to say next week. Until then…

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Posted by on March 19, 2013 in History, Miscellaneous, Railway, Research, Writing

 

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