Hey, why not
PermaLink Downhill in Whistler07/20/2016
Category : Hey, why not
This year again, I had the urge to ride the Bike Park in Whistler. Downhill is one of the pleasures I can not indulge in Ontario - there are no mountains!!
Downhill Bike Rental in Whistler from Costal Cultures
The weather eventually got just perfect, sunny and not sticky hot.
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PermaLink Volunteering @ PanAm Games 201507/26/2015
Category : Hey, why not
PanAm 2015 Bloor Parkside corner
This was my corner during the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Road Cycling event on Saturday July 25. My Job - whistle twice when I see the athletes approach and hold up the yellow flag. The women raced from 1 to about 3, the men from 4 to about 8. The track was 16.5km and women made 5 laps, men 10 laps.
The corner on Bloor and Parkside was perfect for spectators, the ones that planned to see the event and the ones just passing by and asking about all this ado. All without exception got into the spirit as soon as they lined up on the fence.
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PermaLink Rock Climbing - First Time05/16/2015
Category : Hey, why not
I always loved the mountains and I always accept a challenge. Ontario has not much to offer when it comes to mountains, but we have an escarpment very close. An escarpment is basically a piece of rock sticking up as a result of erosion (Thanks Wikipedia). The drop-off is vertical in many places and this makes it a tiny mountain AND a challenge.
Rattlesnake PointMany seasoned climbers will laugh at these walls, but being a first time climber, this was perfect.
These pictures are from Rattlesnake Point, one of the three Conservation Halton parks that allow rock climbing.
The other two parks are Kelso and Mount Nemo
The parks are about one hour west from Toronto, or less than 30 minutes from my home in Mississauga.
Rattlesnake Point
I signed up for a full day course with One Axe Pursuits. After learning some of the basics, up we went. There were several lines installed and we could climb as often as we pleased.
I managed to reach the top on four of the climbs. And I failed on the others.
We had plenty of time to talk about climbing, ropes, mountains and anything related to this sport. One topic was finding a climbing buddy. I found climbfind.com and after signing up, this may be an excellent resource to finding a climbing partner when time comes.
I already bought the harness, but I still have to get shoes, a helmet, rope and anchors. Shoes and helmet are about $200, rope and anchors another $400. The inital investment is close to $1,000. Not sure yet if I will get serious and start. My hobby schedule is already busy with Triathlon training and volunteering at the Pan Am Games this year.
No matter what, this one day climbing course was educational, challenging and time well spent.
PermaLink Rally Of The Thousand Lakes 197604/06/2015 12:14 PM
Category : Hey, why not
Finland 1976. Legendary Rally Of The Thousand Lakes, almost 100 cars in the lineup. Over 400km on gravel roads. Three days of engine noise in the middle of the Finish forest.
The entry list can be found here.

The Rally went through some changes since the first race in 1951. I guess we were lucky enough to have been there during the peak of the 1000 Lakes Rally in the 1970th.
Wikipedia has detailed information about the rally's history. The rally is now known as the Neste Oil Rally Finland and looking at some current race footage, it is as exciting as it was back in 1976. Spectators were roaming freely along the 400km track. Finding the perfect spot was never a problem for us. After looking though our slides, I just had to scan some of them and post them here for everybody to enjoy. Keep in mind that shooting these pictures was a lot of guesswork for me. I'm not a professional photographer and light conditions in the forest are less than perfect. There was some luck involved when trying to capture these very fast moving object.
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Starting the picture sequence with the winning team
Alén Markku and Kivimäki Ilkka, Autonovo, Fiat 131 Abarth
They finished the 428km race in 4 hours 10 minutes 18 seconds, that translates to an average of just over 100km per hour.
Fiat 131 Abarth
Fiat 131 Abarth


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PermaLink Finding a Shooting Range close to Mississauga10/16/2014 03:00 PM
Category : Hey, why not
Finding a range in the Peel or Halton Region is simply impossible, so are the ranges in the neighboring regions. If you can find one, they don't allow restricted firearms or they don't accept new members. There is one range in the St. Catherine area (close to the Niagara Falls), but getting there is a traffic nightmare. Like many of the other ranges, membership requires attending a class and personal involvement in the club activities ... If I only had more time.
I found a place in Brantford with an indoor range. I happen to frequent Brantford for business and that works very well for me. It's about an hour drive from Mississauga.
Urban Tactical - The Range
The Range is commercially run by Urban Tactical. The membership fee compared to other ranges is very competitive. I can buy the amunition right there and The Range is optimized for hand guns. Well optimized from my point of view.
The sign-up process was quick and simple since I had all my papers with me. I got the ID card and all I had to wait for was the ATT (Authorization To Transport). Urban Tactical took care of that. One week later I had my papers in order and I was ready for my first session.

I spoke to the Range Officer and after a quick demo on the target retrieval systems, I was ready to fire my first round.

It is now about one month later and I went a few times already. Met some fellow members and the common consent is the easy and painless process to register and shoot. Urban Tactical has very few restrictions on the guns and amunition I could use. They also allow rifles. Apparently the rubber backstop can handle almost any type of projectile. Hey, The Range also offers Shooting Packages for non-license holders, individuals and parties. So for a few bucks you can use a variety of their firearms and get a feel of hand guns and shot guns. Check out their website, I'm sure you'll find something of interest.

Urban Tactical sells ammo, so I get my box before I enter The Range. The price for a box of 50 9mm brass bullets is very reasonable. I don't have to buy them in bulk and store the big and heavy boxes in my house, or lug them back and forth.
Paper targets are also available. I bring my own based on the targets I'm used from Switzerland. I found the measurements at Schweizer Schiesssportverband. The Range is 15 yards, so I shrunk the target in proportion from the actual 50 meter target. The 15 yard target fits on a 11x17 page and still has plenty of room for my unsteady hand. The 10 yard targets actually fit on a letter size page.
If you practice for the 'Feldschiessen', the program is actually quite demanding. It is part of the Swiss tradition. Did you know that the 'Feldschiessen' is said to be the biggest shooting competition in the world? Last year in 2013, 131'590 participants registered for this event. If you would like to shoot Feldschiessen style, the rules for pistols are as follows:
50 meter pistol has three parts and uses the 'B5er' target
1. 6 single shots within 6 minutes. Every shot is scored.
2. 2 times 3 rounds rapid fire in 60 seconds each. Scored after 3 rounds.
3. 6 rounds rapid fire in 60 seconds. Scored at the end.
25 meter pistol has four parts and uses the 'OSP' target
1. 3 single shots within 20 seconds each. Every shot is scored.
2. 5 rounds rapid fire in 50 seconds. Scored at the end.
3. 5 rounds rapid fire in 40 seconds. Scored at the end.
4. 5 rounds rapid fire in 30 seconds. Scored at the end.

The 300m rifle program is not listed here, but you can find more details by searching for "Eidgenössisches Feldschiessen".

PermaLink Importing Restricted Firearms into Canada09/05/2014 03:21 PM
Category : Hey, why not
SIG
Back in October 2012, I inherited two hand guns in Switzerland.
Both semi-automatic, a SIG P210 and a SIG P220. I decided to get both into Canada. How difficult can that be, we need the gun permit and some paperwork, right?

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PermaLink Algonquin Provincial Park - GPS coordinates08/22/2010
Category : Hey, why not
Algonquin
Just back from Algonquin Provincial Park with lots of new memories. As in previous years, we arrived with our tent and canoe. Needless to say, we had a good time on the lakes and the trails.
But this is not the reason for this post here, it's the lack of any GPS coordinates in our Garmin nüvi when it comes to the Algonquin Provincial Park. So we started to set some favourites and saved them here. We were too busy with canoeing and enjoying the beauty of the park to create a complete list of all the camp sites and trails, maybe next time. The most important points are here and they will bring you to the park. They include both Highway 60 Corridor gates and the Sand Lake Gate for the Barron Canyon.
Click below for the Garmin Waypoints and a list of the coordinates. Enjoy your stay in the park.
  • Updated May 2011: We updated the file with the waypoints to include all the trails and other points of interest. Instructions and details can be found at stdi.com/Algonquin
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  • PermaLink Status on Trees in August 201008/01/2010
    Category : Hey, why not
    Tree in August 2010It's now over two years since I planted the trees and most of them survived. Some are in excellent shape, others are still struggling.
    One thing always amazes me, some weed grows so fast in a single year, well past my height of over 6 feet. No wonder my young trees are having problems. The weeds and grasses take away the sun light and the water, making it very difficult to grow.

    PermaLink New TV Experience - Real High Definition from an antenna!!03/02/2010
    Category : Hey, why not
    We are in Mississauga, Ontario, just north of Dundas and east of Winston Churchill. So, if you are looking for an alternative to Cable or Satellite and you live in the neighborhood, this may interest you.
    We were Cable customers for too many years, paying $60 every month. The only show we watched on specialty channel was Daily Planet on Discovery Channel. When you add up the few TV series plus Daily Planet, that's tops two shows per day ... @ $60 a month ... so we paid about $1 for every TV show we watched. The often bad signal quality eventually made us reconsider the options. So from this here
    TV Pixel from Rogers
    to a really top quality, uncompressed high definition image it was a matter of a $100 investment for the antenna. And we never had to look at the pixel blocks anymore.
    The Olympic games in Vancouver just finished and the picture quality was just outstanding. We could actually see the ice pebbles on the curling ice surface. We watched CTV most of the time and only once was the signal distorted due to a weak signal from the CN Tower.

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    PermaLink Status on trees after the first winter05/17/2009
    Category : Hey, why not
    Trees May 2009
    The trees are still there and not yet hidden in the grass. They are now one year old and the roots are somewhat established. Unless the summer brings absolutely no rain, I think they are here to stay. If the sunspots (read all about them here), or the absence of them, is an indication of the coming weather, then this summer could turn out similar to last years. And last year was a very good tree planting year.
    PermaLink The price for Ignorance03/19/2009
    Category : Hey, why not
    I wonder how much money we have to pay more for food and other items?

    We counted well over 20 shopping carts that were destroyed by the snow plows to keep the parking spaces free of snow at the Erin Mills Town Center.
    Shopping carts after snow plow

    PermaLink A normal winter day in 200902/04/2009 02:52 PM
    Category : Hey, why not
    It's February the 4th, 2009 and just another day this winter. According to the radio, we had only one day above freezing in January. The coldest day was on January 14 2009 with -22°C. Today is also the last day to signup for the Mississauga Marathon before the price goes up $10. Running in these conditions is not very appealing, at least not to me. Can hardly wait to hit the trails again.
    Winter Feb 4 2009
    There is rain in the forecast for Sunday and above freezing temperatures. Almost looks as ... Spring? ... maybe? Well, not according to Ontario's Wiarton Willie, our weather predicting rodent, ehm, groundhog. "The sun has peaked, my shadow I see, six more weeks of winter it will be."
    PermaLink Status on trees after the first summer09/27/2008
    Category : Hey, why not
    The trees survived the summer. It was an overall wet summer which favoured the tree seedlings. The bigger challange was the grass and weeds that grew faster and larger then the trees.
    A handful of seedlings didn't make it, but we are still left with well over 40 trees that have to face the winter very soon.
    Trees in September 2008

    PermaLink Arbor Day 200804/26/2008
    Category : Hey, why not
    Today,we purchased 20 white pine and 30 norway spruce seedlings at the Annual Tree Sale organized by the Grey Sauble Conservation Foundation. The trees were planted later that day on a field which is reserved for reforestation.
    Arbor Day April 2008
    Plenty of water and a weather forecast with rain promises a healthy start for the seedlings.
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