Sunday, January 15, 2017

Chinooks are our friend.........

Blog for January 15, 2017

Chinooks are our friend……..

After several weeks of bone numbing, sub-zero cold, cold weather we are blessed to enjoy a period of warmer Chinook type weather, and this is just in time. We can see on the schedule that we are to do car inspections at four locations as President Miles conducts zone conferences with our missionaries. Picturing doing inspections outside in such bitter cold weather is the thing nightmares are made of; however, the next several days will be the answer to our prayers as we will have above freezing temperatures. No, it won’t be balmy by any means and it will still feel quite cold as we go from car to car to do the inspections. It will take 3-4 hours to complete the inspections at each of the sites as zones are combined at each of the locations resulting in 20-25 cars to inspect each day. 

You likely know the word, Chinook, but not necessarily what Chinooks are. Chinooks are weather patterns in northern areas that occur when the prevailing breezes come out of the west and southwest rather than from the arctic and thus sweep in warmer temperatures. Some degree of wind is a common feature of Chinooks but we will take it. The above freezing temperatures will mean cars arrive with dirty exteriors due to the slushy, dirty snow on the roads and this will make assessing the cars for dings, dents, and scrapes more difficult, but we will take this over bone numbing cold.

Another reason for welcoming a Chinook is hopefully a reduction in the number of missionary car related accidents from icy, slippery roads. There have been so, so many. My job will be made much easier when I have fewer repairs to arrange and manage.

I mentioned in our last blog that Kathy and I would be making a trip to British Columbia to deliver a replacement car to the missionaries who were involved in the serious collision with a semi-truck. There are only certain cars we want out in the mountainous areas of BC so this meant needing to take one of the Chevy Equinox vehicles in the Calgary area out to Sparwood, BC, where we would meet the missionaries coming in from their area in Cranbrook, BC. In preparation for this, on Tuesday I traveled to the northwest part of Calgary to take a Subaru Impreza (one that was waiting to be sold) to the missionaries who had the needed Equinox and a swap was made. They were, of course, sad to give up their Equinox, which is a popular car in the mission. Then I had to have mountain rated snow tires placed on it. So on Wednesday, Kathy and I drove to Sparwood. The pictures above and below were taken on this trip.

Great timing, on Tuesday a new vehicle arrived which we have been waiting for as a replacement for the Mission President’s “old” vehicle. Both the old and the new vehicles are Toyota Highlanders. I called the MP to inform him we had his new vehicle and he, knowing of our anticipated trip to BC, invited us to “break in” the new vehicle for him and drive it to BC so we would have a return car. They were in the southern part of the mission during the week. Kathy followed me in the Highlander to Sparwood and then I got to drive it back. We both like it a lot. It handled very well in the ice and snow. The day was bright and sunny and we enjoyed the trip and the scenery/ We were able to treat the missionaries needing the car and the other pair of missionaries who drove them to lunch before returning. 

The new Highlander

The “old” Highlander is only a 2015 vehicle but, given the distance Pres. and Sis. Miles drive each month, it is the highest mileage vehicle in the mission. Now that we have the new vehicle, the old one will be sold. There are at least two parties wanting it (one of them is the Thorleys). Both parties will be interested to see what price it is given by the Fleet managers in SLC.

Going to a hockey game was one of the items on our bucket list of things to be done before our mission ends. Hockey (and curling) are BIG in Canada. There are 3-4 hockey and/or curling matches on TV every evening. Last night was our opportunity. 

Maintenance on the goal between periods
The Zamboni (resurfaces the ice between periods)

All three office couples met at the Peppinger’s for soup and salad, and then headed for the match. The Calgary Flames are, of course, the local National Hockey League team, however, tickets to see one of their matches proved to be so expensive that we opted to see a minor league hockey game instead since these, too, are played in the Saddle Dome. The Calgary HITMEN were playing the Prince George COUGARS. The HITMEN team is a local team that plays in a league made up of farm teams for the NHL. We had a great time. Our seats were one row back from the glass barrier so we got to see and hear the action up close and personally. 

Elder and Sis Peppinger, Kathy, Elder and Sis Sefcik

We couldn’t have enjoyed the match more had it been the Calgary Flames playing the Edmonton Oilers. All the lights, sounds, and crowd excitement were there. Calgary loves the HITMEN (as well as the Flames). The minor league teams are made up of young men between 16-20 years old who are working for contracts with teams in the NHL. They played their hearts out. There were hard hits, fistfights (more on this below), and highflying action through all three periods. The score was tied going into the last period, but, in the end, the HITMEN lost by one goal. We sat just behind a couple who are season ticket holders and are experienced hockey fans. They loved sharing the nuances of the game with us and were fascinated that we had never been to a professional hockey game (although I suspect they haven’t seen a professional basketball or baseball game so there!). I should say, however; the Sefciks, who are a local missionary couple serving with us in the office, are experienced hockey fans and they also shared details about hockey that might otherwise have escaped us.

Maintenance between periods
  Fistfights are not uncommon in hockey. They are allowed; the refs stand by and allow them to proceed, but step in as soon as one player gains the advantage over the other or is about to do serious harm. There is a two-minute penalty, however, for fighting, but this doesn't seem to deter them. Remember that the players are pretty well padded and also wear facemasks so body blows are allowed but when the masks come off, the fight is stopped. We observed a couple of fistfights and I caught one with a video clip which you will need to go to my Facebook page to see. Anyway, great fun and we will need to perhaps do it all over again. The Saddledome is a treat in and of itself. If you are ever in Calgary, you will need to see the Saddledome.

Calgary Saddledome

Stayed tuned…..more exciting action next week. Have a great week!

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