Tag Archives: Thunder Bay

Vimy 2017 Day 11

Day 11 ladies and gentlemen. Time to go home. It’s amazing how fast times flies when you’re on a trip. I guess that’s why they pack so many things on to the agenda; if you did a tour like this at a leisurely pace, you’d never see anything. The only problem is now I need a vacation from the vacation. I’m obviously tired, there isn’t anyone who isn’t, but I’m sure I’d be better if my throat wasn’t so sore. Damn cold!

Alright, we’re in the air on our way back to Canada. I feel a bit better now that all of the kids and chaperones on are the plane. We had this morning, for lack of a better term, a gong show departure. Somehow we ended up with a bus for 49 people, but there 50 of us including Jason. On top of that, the luggage compartment wouldn’t hold all the bags, so not only did one person have to share a seat, we had to put about 10 bags in the aisle of the bus. When we arrived at CDG (Charles DeGaulle Airport), our bus driver couldn’t figure out how to get us to Terminal 2A. We, the tourists, had to point him in the right direction.

Inside terminal, it was a slow process getting checked in as the computers at Air Canada were glitchy. There were long lines at customs and security, so we made it to the gate just before boarding, albeit in groups or varying size. I’m trying to relax now as much as I can, since issues in Canada are much easier to deal with. Happy thoughts. I’m watching Rogue One (yay) and they are starting to serve lunch which will help. We’re approaching the coast of France…only 5800k to go!

Airport selfies, April 2017.

Airport selfies, April 2017.

Okay, lunch just came and went. It’s was much better than the last time; I’m in row 21, so I managed to snag some chicken. I didn’t care for the quinoa? salad, but the carrots and potatoes with it were good. We have six hours more flying time to Toronto, so I’m going to grab a nap when the movie is done. We’re on a 777-300, which seems fairly new and high tech, but steerage seems more cramped than the A330 we came on. I’m in a row with Stewart and Dawson, three bigger guys, and we’re shoulder to shoulder almost. I should be interesting try to get comfortable to sleep. Any case, I’m going to wrap it up so I can finish the movie.

Hey, I’m back, and guess what, we’re in Canada? Well, technically we’re in Canadian airspace, but I’ll take it. I don’t know how long I was asleep, but I do feel better. According to my nice little LED screen in front of me, we just passed over St. John’s, Newfoundland. We’ve flown over 4000km and have 2100km to go. We’ll land just after 1300, so that means we still have over 2.5 hours to go. I’ll be happy when we’re off the plane as I’m still feeling incredibly squished. In Toronto we have a 4 hour layover, so I’ll write more then; it’s hard to type on the screen (my Bluetooth keyboard won’t work on the plane) and I can’t move my arms properly.

Back over Canada, April 2017.

So we’re back in the air for the last leg of our journey back to Thunder Bay. It seems so surreal how fast one can move around; this morning we were in Paris and shortly we will be home. It certainly gives you a good idea of how small our world has become. In any case, it will be good to go back reality, even for the kids. Almost all that I talked, even though they are sad about the end of the trip, really want to see their families. And as great as they have been and as much as we have enjoyed travelling with them, the chaperones will be happy to be off 24/7 teaching duties. It’s rewarding, but very tiring.

On the way home, April 2017.

Speaking of the kids on the trip, I think that travelling like this has so many rewards beyond just seeing the sites of Europe. I already mentioned that for many, this was their first time away from their parents. All of them learned a lot about themselves, about being independent and responsible and that sometimes you need to take chances and try new things. Ya, riding the Metro is a bit scary and intimidating, but so is life. Trips like this not only teach academic things, but also life lessons.

One of the more interesting things that happen on these trips are the friendships that are formed. We have students from different backgrounds, different social groups and even different high schools, but after some initial hestitation, it’s neat to see them come together. Some may have even formed new long-term friendships. Even for us as teachers, we get to see the kids in a whole different light and it gives us a greater appreciation of who they are as individuals. I know that they are thankful for the time and energy it takes to plan a trip such as this and the fact we have to be away from our own families to do it. Being a stand in parent for a week and half is challenging, but dad, mom (Ms. Caza) and Uncle Marcon would it all again in a heartbeat.

It’s after 2100, we landed safe and sound and everyone is now at home with their families. It has been another long day; my body is still on Paris time and it is the middle of the night. I know it will take me a while to get back into the usual routine. On that note, I’m going to sign off. I’ll be back in a few days with some final thoughts on the trip after I have had some time to digest it all. Until then…

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Posted by on April 15, 2017 in History, Travel


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Ugh, back to work!

That pretty much says it all…the vacation is over! Two weeks flies by quick, though I shouldn’t complain since many other people don’t get time off over Christmas. It is tough to go back though; the first couple days are always exhausting. I never sleep well on the last night which leaves me half-asleep and since I don’t drink coffee (I can’t stand the taste or smell of it), it makes for an interesting experience. You really need every ounce of energy since teaching can be mentally challenging, so I did flub a lot of things in my sleep-induced stupor.

The only drawback of my holiday was the pile of marking that I procrastinated about and only managed to get through a small amount of. Sort of makes me wonder how beneficial the two weeks off really is, though the stress relief is very necessary. The visit to Duluth was great, and I was able to do a few other things as well. This year my wife and I signed the boys up for cross-country skiing. I have not cross-country skied since I was 11 or 12, so it’s an interesting experience. We bought some used equipment at the fall ski-swap and filled in the missing pieces after Christmas. Saturday was the first lesson at Kamview and I didn’t even get into my skis as I spent my time keeping the boys on their feet. I think they are enjoying it, which is great since it’s a terrific family activity. I also need to exercise so I can lose a few pounds!

Speaking of winter activities, I was also able to make my first hike up the mountain last week. I live close to the Nor’Wester Mountains and there are many trails on the mountains that can be accessed from the end of my street. Three years ago I began taking my oldest son Ethan up the mountain on the toboggan as a way to exercise and have some father-son time. I’ve been doing it every winter since, however now I also have my youngest Noah as well, which makes pulling a nearly 100 pound sled very interesting (Ethan walks the hills). We did 5k, not bad for the first time out; maybe this week we’ll push it up to 6 or 7k.

On the railway front, things have been progressing, albeit slowly. I did make it to the library last week to get a few articles that I needed and boy have things changed since the last time I did that. Well, I guess it’s been about 14 years since I’ve looked at a roll of microfilm so I guess it can be expected. Now things have moved into the digital age with computer-run scanners that can save images to .pdf. Too bad I didn’t bring a flash drive! I’ll have to remember that for the next time. At some point in the future I’m going to have to spend some time going through newspapers again, since I need to find articles from roughly 1900 to 1938. To compound things, since this town used to be two cities, there are two newspapers worth to look through!

I spent some time at home printing out articles I had saved and neglected to make hard copies for my files, and subsequently attempting the file them with varying degrees of success (there’s still a bunch in the “to be filed” stack). I also decided to take my plan to Facebook/Tweet important events about the railway to the next level. I set up a Google Calendar where I can input dates (there is a page on this site as well); all I need to is figure out how to post those dates automatically, which is proving to be a bit of a chore. Stymied by technology!

So I’m hoping by the end of the week to resume writing the article, though that is contingent on me clearing up that backlog of marking. Maybe by next week’s ramble I’ll have some news to report.

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Posted by on January 9, 2012 in Hiking, Miscellaneous, Research, Writing


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