Monday, December 31, 2012

Annual Vehicle Statistics

Gold Wing stats:
Mileage travelled: 6,591 Kms (4,113 Miles)
Fuel Burned (USG): 109.14
Miles/ US Gallon: 37.7
Mileage at end of season: 240,939 Kms (150,370 Miles)

Avalanche stats (total):
Mileage travelled: 26,827 Kms (16,743 Miles)
Fuel Burned (USG): 1,291.44
Miles/ US Gallon: 13.0
Mileage at end of season: 79,630 Kms (49,697 Miles)

     Avalanche stats (towing trips):
     Mileage travelled: 17,996 Kms (11,231 Miles)
     Fuel Burned (USG): 932.22
     Miles/ US Gallon: 12.0

     Avalanche stats (other):
     Mileage travelled: 8,832 Kms (5,512 Miles)
     Fuel Burned (USG): 359.22
     Miles/ US Gallon: 15.3

Motor Home Stats:
Mileage travelled: 4,622 Kms (2,885 Miles)
Fuel Burned (USG): 326.2
Miles/ US Gallon: 8.8
Mileage when sold in August: 131,107 Kms (81,824 Miles)

Dodge Caravan Stats:
Mileage travelled: 6,411 Kms (4,001 Miles)
Fuel Burned (USG): 219.91
Miles/ US Gallon: 18.2
Mileage when disposed in June: 189,221 (118,093 Miles)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas - December update

Merry Christmas to all. Although we didn't go anywhere out of town since December 3rd, it has been a very busy month.

Operation Red Nose

Operation Red Nose is program in place in a number of communities across Canada. During the festive season, three person teams of volunteers respond to calls from individuals who believe they may have had too much to drink to drive home safely and legally. One member drives the escort vehicle while the designated driver will drive the client's vehicle home accompanied by a navigator. The escort vehicles have two way radios to base to receive the calls. Shifts start about 8:00 PM and they stop taking calls at 3:00 AM so, after the pizza at the end of the shift, volunteers can get home as late as 5:00.

I worked three Saturdays before Christmas with teams made up of Action Sudbury volunteers. We were a small part of the overall volunteer contingent but were able to show support from our organization for this worthy cause. Next year, we'll start earlier and try to get more out.

December 8 - Ron, Nataly and me

December 15 - John, Ashleigh and me

December 22 - Me, Jamie and Ashleigh

December 22 2nd team - Steve, Gary and Lino

I have one more shift scheduled for next Saturday with daughter Kim and son-in-law Mike, who will be visiting from Cambridge. If you have this free service in your area, please use it. Or better yet, volunteer for it.

MS Society Sudbury Chapter Christmas Social

The members of the local chapter gathered  at the Rona Ramsey Centre Of Hope for the annual Christmas get-together. I was a bit tired after getting in at 4:30 AM from Operation Red Nose. The meal was pot luck and the chefs were awesome. 

In addition to the food, there was plenty of time for getting to know fellow members and we even had our own Elvis impersonator, who apparently is a regular fixture every year.

Cindy and Joan

Elvis lives!

The table

Sheila, Donna Rose and Laurel slave in the kitchen

The Centre Of Hope building is unique among MS Society chapters and was the brainchild of Rona Ramsey, for whom it has just been named. Rona was also honoured with a Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award recognizing people that have provided outstanding volunteer service.

During the month, I was appointed Treasurer of the local chapter and am still trying to figure out how the books work.

Salvation Army Kettles

On Thursday the 13th and again on the 20th, I put in a couple of hours as part of an effort by our local chapter of the Ontario Provincial Police Veterans Association to support the Salvation Army. We manned the kettle at the local Costco, sharing time slots to cover both days completely. Even a devout non-Christian such as myself can't help but acknowledge the fine work this group does and, despite my personal beliefs, I had a good time wishing everyone Merry Christmas and thanking them for their generosity.

Ringing the bell for the Sally Ann at  Costco

France Gelinas Constituency Office Christmas

France Gelinas is the Member of Provincial Parliament for part of Sudbury. She is a strong supporter of Action Sudbury and always invites us to promote our message at the Christmas fete she hosts at her constituency office in Hanmer. This year, Normand and I both attended and, along with Ms. Gelinas, gave out red ribbons and other promotional items on December 18th in front of her offices. There were also cookies and coffee. It was a feel-good day.

Me, France Gelinas and Normand

Tom and Heather Visit

Tom and Heather drove up in a snowstorm on Friday night and visited for a couple of days. They headed back yesterday morning but it was great to see them even if just for a short while.

So again, Merry Christmas to all. May you all have enough.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Cambridge Ontario to Sudbury Ontario

It was grey overcast this morning. The warm weather had melted all the snow and ice and I was comfortable in a T-shirt and sneakers. The trip home was uneventful as we took Highway 24 to Airport Road, Highway 9 and Highway 400 North. In Caledon, we saw Canada geese flying north. Either they are confused or they know something we don't.

In Guelph - look beside the pole for a mini-excavator hung by a cable

I made a note to mention a comedian named Ross Bennett who we caught on XM. He did a routine on water skiing that had me laughing hard enough I couldn't see for the tears in my eyes. Not so good when you are the one who is steering 6,000 pounds of Chevy truck (OK, almost a truck) down the road. I looked on YouTube but didn't find the particular routine. Still, keep an eye out for this guy.

The Barrie service centre I keep complaining about actually had a construction trailer set up and they were cutting down fir trees. Maybe they will finally get this done some day. Or at least get it started.

We stopped at the Esso at Waubaushene. They have this moose sculpture there but I guess I have never looked at the sign before. I wonder what they were thinking?

I understand the rest, but yodeling????

The stretch of Highway 69 north of Harris Lake to the Magnetawan Bridge has been resurfaced. Wow, I didn't even notice them doing it. It is really nice, though, since this had been the worst stretch of pavement on the whole highway. North of the French River, they say two stretches will be finished by summer of 2015 and 2016, respectively. I wander about the rest, which is supposed to be done by 2017. Hard to tell when the MTO website is three years out of date. But that is government for you.

There was an OPP cruiser on the four-lane north of Estaire parked in the perfect spot to catch northbound traffic. He was just around a curve hidden by a rock  cut. Lucky for me 119 KPH in a 100 didn't catch his eye. As we approached Sudbury, we found that after blue sky for a couple of hundred miles, the city was under a cloud. No surprise.

You can tell we are approaching Sudbury

As usual, I noted the gas prices. Regular was $1.207 per liter in Cambridge when we left and was $1.286 when we got home. For the US crowd, that is a difference of over $0.30 per gallon. Another cross we bear here in the north. We got into the driveway at about 1:00 PM, not bad time for a winter drive.

Today's Route (285 truck miles):

View Larger Map

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Cambridge Ontario - Birthday Party Day

As mentioned, this isn't really anyone in the family's birthday but when you are really important, like the Queen or my grandchildren, you can celebrate whenever it is convenient. So today is Party Day for Jolene and Robyn.

The early part of the morning included finishing the decorations in the family room. Cookie the FurReal dog wouldn't be putting in an appearance since she was going to be a Christmas gift. Later in the morning, the many aunts, uncles, cousins and other grandparents started to arrive and the party got into full swing.

Robyn and Jolene at the Play-Doh table

Robyn and Jolene with birthday cupcakes in the background

Uncle Tom, Aunt Heather and Grandma Sandy

Dad Mike and kids at the cupcake table

Grandma Koolen gets down to kid level

Mom Kim, Jolene and the inflatable chair

Robyn working at a puzzle

After the gift openings, food and birthday cupcakes, the visitors started to head out for the rest of their day. As for the rest of us, it was time for Kinderswim. This is a swimming class for young children and their parents at a nearby pool and we went along to spectate. I got one picture before being informed that cameras were not allowed in the pool area. Silly me, I forgot that everyone is paranoid these days.

There is a good looking family

I was impressed with the enthusiasm both kids showed in the water. I hope they keep this up and we can have lots of fun times in the pool and at the beach in the future.

Back at the house, Tom and I took a run to the new Lone Star Bar & Grill to get and order of Fajitas For Ten to go. This was more than enough for all of us and made for a different supper. Then it was time for the kids to go to bed while the adults had some TV time before turning in as well.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Cambridge Ontario - Hanging out with the grandkids

Today was a fairly quiet one for me. I got to babysit Jolene and Robyn while Sandy and Kim went shopping. We played and had a great time but I didn't take notes so I don't have a lot to tell except to say that being a Grandpa is great.

Robyn giving me "the look"

Jolene giving me "the other look"