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Hiawatha Pete

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Member since: Sun Feb 9, 2020, 12:30 AM
Number of posts: 894

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Donate now to the Bathurst Island Conservative Wildlife Refuge.

Donate now to the Bathurst Island Conservative Wildlife Refuge. A place where conservatives, Qanons, and anti-vaxxers can roam wild in their natural habitat. Free from the gun laws, mask rules and socialized health care of liberal society. A place for our furry conservative friends to roam free, unencumbered by 'big government', with only their bootstraps & Darwin - just as Fox & friends intended.
Won't you donate today?
Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Sun Aug 1, 2021, 03:23 PM (0 replies)

Canadian Rockies by Rail - On a Budget


VIA Rail's Westbound Skeena, Jasper, Alberta, bound for Prince Rupert
(More pics Below)

Happy Sunday Afternoon, DU'ers! Hope everyone is keeping safe.

With news of the seemingly encouraging results of the vaccination campaigns underway in both the U.S. & Canada, and with the border presumably set to reopen in the not-too-distant future,
I thought I might share some info, pics & ideas for a trip by train through the Canadian Rockies specifically for those on a budget.

There is a relatively little-known train that runs from Jasper, Alberta in the front range of the Rockies to Prince Rupert on the northern Pacific coast of British Columbia.

The train is classified as a remote essential service and as a result it's operation is partially funded by the Government of Canada, which makes for some very affordable fares.
For a $262.40CAD total fare (131.20 per person), two people can travel on a two day journey through through the Canadian Rockies to the Pacific Coast.
There is an overnight stop half-way at Prince George, BC where passengers can overnight in a local hotel (overnight accommodation is not included in the fare but still affordable.).

This train - VIA train #5 & 6, formerly known as "The Skeena" in the timetables - has always been known to the locals as the "Rupert Rocket".

Regardless of the moniker, the atmosphere on the train is definitely "down-home", the attendants are super friendly & courteous, and so are the people in the local online communities which this train serves. It is without a doubt one of the best train experiences I've ever had.

I'll try my best to give an idea of what travelling on this train involves and how budget-friendly it is:

To get to Jasper, AB from the U.S., you can simply drive there - or fly to Edmonton, AB and pick up a rental car at the Edmonton International Airport (we used Avis which has very affordable one-way rentals - starting at $58CAD/day for a compact when I checked today. It's about a 4 hr drive from Edmonton to Jasper)

Once in Jasper you can drop off your rental car & overnight at one of the less expensive options like the Astoria Hotel across the street from the Jasper train station. This is where we stayed & the rates start at $117CAD/night when I checked on their website today. As a bonus, virtually everything in Jasper is within walking distance (hotels, train station, rental cars, restaurants)

Because of the pandemic, the train is currently operating 1 day per week, however the normal schedule is 3 days per week. Assuming you arrived the night before, the next day after breakfast and after checking out from your hotel you then make your way to the train station. Here is VIA's current timetable, the "Skeena" is on pg 19 of 22: https://www.viarail.ca/sites/all/files/media/pdfs/schedules/VIARail_Timetable-Horaire.pdf

It's recommended that you purchase your ticket/boarding pass in advance from VIA Rail Canada (either by phone or online at https://www.viarail.ca ) as doing so is often more cost-effective than purchasing your ticket at the last minute. If you have any special needs or concerns you may check with the agents at the ticket counter. Otherwise simply wait for the train with boarding pass in hand.

In the summer there are two classes on the Skeena, economy & touring. In the off peak season (October-May) there is only economy class.

When I checked, the fare for two people in economy class was $262.40 CAD, grand total, two people, Jasper to Prince Rupert, 2 days on the train - taxes included. That's with a AAA discount which gives you 10% off. Add 10% if you're not a AAA member.

Once onboard the train (which departs at 12:45pm) you settle into your seat and enjoy the scenery & the journey. Seats are unreserved first come first serve. At the end of the train there is the "Park" car with a great observation dome on the second level, and the tail end 'Bullet' lounge plus the 'Mural' lounge with bar & snack bar on the lower level. Meals are served at-seat and are extra when travelling economy class and included in the fare when travelling touring class.

In the off peak season (October-May) the Park dome car is available to all classes including economy, in the summer it's reserved for touring class.

The seats in all classes are extremely spacious, have generous recline & leg rests and have huge windows.

Departing from the scenic mountain-locked resort town of Jasper, AB, the train runs along the shores of the stunningly beautiful Moose Lake, then over the continental divide through the famed Yellowhead pass with views of Mount Robson, highest peak in the Canadian Rockies at 12,972 ft, and on to Mcbride, BC with it’s elegant old Grand Trunk Pacific Station, & following the upper Fraser river before arriving at the overnight stop at Prince George, BC.

At the end of the first day you arrive in Prince George. We stayed at the Travelodge Prince George, prices start at $83 night and there's a restaurant in the hotel. Though we could have walked there, we took a cab.

The next day after checking out from your hotel you return to the train station to board the train which departs at 8 am. By this point you are well versed in the routine of the train. This next day finds the train passing along the Nechako River and beautiful Burns Lake, then on to Smithers, BC with its majestic views of Hudson Bay Mountain and Kathlyn Glacier before continuing on its way through the Coast Mountains & along the Skeena River. After a day of spectacular scenery you arrive on the Pacific Coast at Prince Rupert in the evening where a cab takes you to your hotel. We stayed at the Highliner Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre which has great views of the waterfront & harbor, and there is a restaurant in the hotel. Prices start at $103/night.

Prince Rupert has a regional airport with connecting flights to Vancouver International and a ferry terminal with service to Vancouver Island.

So without further ado, see below for some pics of a trip on the Skeena which my wife & I took in 2019.

For more pics, check out our website at https://northamericabyrail.info/a-trip-on-via-rails-skeena-jasper-ab-prince-rupert-bc/

Hope you enjoy!

Jasper VIA Rail Station


CN 4-8-2 type steam locomotive on display at Jasper VIA Station


On board the westbound Skeena meeting a CN freight, Jasper, AB


Mt Fitzwilliam, British Columbia


The westbound Skeena travelling along Moose Lake


Grizzly bear alongside the tracks


Mount Robson, highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, 12,972 ft. Summit is only visible on average 16 days per year.


Coach seating on VIA Rails Skeena


Scenic dome section in Park car on VIA Rails Skeena


Mural Lounge in Park car on VIA Rails Skeena


Bullet Lounge in Park car on VIA Rails Skeena


Travelling through the Rocky Mountains, Dunster, BC


Travelling through the Rocky Mountains, Dunster, BC


By train along the Fraser River west of McBride, BC


Onboard the Skeena in the Rockies west of McBride, BC


Entering a tunnel west of McBride, BC


Onboard the Skeena - in the Rockies & along the Fraser, west of McBride, BC


View from rear of train crossing Hansard Bridge over the Fraser River


Detraining from The Skeena, after arrival at Prince George, BC, for an overnight stop


Our room at the Travelodge, Prince George, BC hotel


Back onboard The Skeena the next morning, crossing the Nechako River


Onboard the Skeena running along Fraser Lake


Lunch on the Skeena


Burns Lake, BC


"Park" car on tail end of the Skeena. Burns Lake, BC, station stop


Onboard the Skeena along Decker Lake


View from the vestibule. Onboard the westbound Skeena east of Houston, BC


Town of Houston, BC


Meet with a CN ballast train near Telkwa, BC


Passing the caboose on rear of CN ballast train


Onboard the westbound Skeena at the Smithers, BC, VIA Rail Station


Onboard the Skeena departing Smithers, BC


Hudson Bay Mountain


Kathlyn Glacier


Crossing a trestle in Bulkley Canyon at dusk


VIA Station & Ferry Terminal at Prince Rupert, BC, on the Pacific Coast




Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Sun Jun 27, 2021, 06:56 PM (20 replies)

U.S. politicians fume over Canada's extended border restrictions

Source:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/us-canada-border-closed-reaction-1.6071737

-snip-

American politicians who are normally friendly to Canada are fuming over news that the border will remain closed to non-essential travel for at least another month.

"I wish there was a more artful way to say this — but this is bullshit," said Rep. Brian Higgins, a Democratic congressman whose Buffalo, N.Y., district touches the border.

A senior Republican from New York, Rep. Elise Stefanik, demanded a unilateral reopening in a recent letter to the administration — urging Biden to get tougher with his Canadian counterpart.

Biden "missed a huge opportunity at the G7 summit to stand up for America and deliver a plan to safely reopen," Stefanik said in a statement Friday. "Instead, caving to Prime Minister Trudeau's incessant desire to delay.
"

-snip-

My wife & I miss driving to Upstate New York from Ontario. We miss the occasional cross border shopping junket.

We miss seeing the natural beauty of Letchworth State Park.

We miss the many train trips across the country on Amtrak to places like Seattle, LA, Glacier National Park, Miami.

But sorry Ms Stefanik, it's the duty of Canada's elected representatives to represent the safety and interests of the citizens of Canada, not your interests or the commercial interests of your backers.

We do not want the border open yet if doing so will jeopardize Canadian lives.

Americans should want the same for themselves, as Canada has not yet achieved its own vaccination targets.
Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Mon Jun 21, 2021, 01:04 PM (9 replies)

The claim that gas taxes "pay for roads" & electric cars get a "free ride" is bullshit

As someone who drives a hybrid and who would love to drive an EV someday, I've run into this argument several times.

1) First off, the simple fact is gas powered cars require fuel infrastructure. Infrastructure like big tanker trucks that pound the roads to bits - with one truck causing as much road damage as 9,600 cars:

Page 23 "Excessive Truck Weight: An Expensive Burden We Can No Longer Afford"
http://archive.gao.gov/f0302/109884.pdf

Electric cars don't require fuel trucks, and so are are responsible for far less highway damage than fossil fuel powered cars.

2) The claim that gas taxes pay for the roads is B.S.
Gas taxes come nowhere near to covering the cost of highway maintenance.

As an example, between 41 and 55 percent of Wisconsin’s road money comes from non-users: https://usa.streetsblog.org/2011/12/12/transit%E2%80%99s-not-sucking-the-taxpayer-dry-roads-are/

Here in Canada, government spending on roads is $29 billion tax dollars/yr.

"Even adding revenues from permit, licence and other fees collected by all levels of government, the total revenue from road users amounts to only $15.5 billion
per year across Canada.

More than $13 billion per year –nearly half – of the annual spending on roads is subsidized by other revenue sources":

https://web.archive.org/web/20190718002019/https://www.thecostofsprawl.com/report/the-costs-of-roads-and-highways.pdf

13 billion tax dollars per year from other revenue sources - like property taxes - which every homeowner must pay.

Regardless of the type of vehicle they drive.

Regardless of whether they even drive at all.
Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Sun Jun 20, 2021, 06:47 PM (26 replies)

Got my second shot!

Got my 2nd shot of Astrazeneca today.

Here in Ontario, Canada that was the first vaccine to become available to my age group.

And before anyone starts ranting about how great Pfizer/Moderna is (and yes they are great, and so is J&J) let me just say I'm extremely happy to be able to have my choice of the getting the same vaccine for both my 1st & 2nd doses - as recommended by the manufacturer & as proven effective by 80% of the population of the U.K. & counting.

The only side effect with my 2nd dose so far - a lack of Springsteen on Broadway...

Yep. I'm good with it.



Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Fri Jun 18, 2021, 10:42 PM (35 replies)

Hamilton researchers have recommended treatment for rare blood clotting

From Global News Canada
https://globalnews.ca/news/7941278/hamilton-treatment-rare-blood-clots/

-snip-

"Researchers at McMaster University are recommending a pair of treatments to fight Vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), identified in a small number of COVID-19 vaccine recipients.

A group from the McMaster Platelet Immunology Laboratory (MPIL), building off of previous investigations into a condition that prevents blood clotting, are suggesting that a combination of anti-clotting drugs with high doses of intravenous immunoglobulin — an antibody solution — may be effective against VITT.

VITT has been associated with but not definitively linked to the viral vector shots from Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson."


-snip-

For AstraZeneca first-dose recipients like myself, the risk of a clot with a second shot is orders of magnitude less than the first (which is why Canada is now only giving Astrazeneca as second doses to those who had AstraZeneca as their first, and why I'm not worried about getting my second shot of AZ).

That said, still good news - and may be applicable to clots caused by the J&J as well.
Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Fri Jun 11, 2021, 11:33 AM (0 replies)

Just got my first shot!

Just got my first shot of the covid vaccine.

I had an appointment in May at a pharmacy 50km (30mi) away, but one closer to home opened up for walk-ins. Got there nearly 2 hrs before they were scheduled to start this morning, I was second in line from the front. Maybe 5 people.

By the time I got out, the line up for vaccines was about a block long.

Astrazeneca, as that's what they're giving out at the pharmacies here in Canada since it doesn't require the ultra cold storage that Pfizer/Moderna does. Pfizer/Moderna are only being distributed through health & rec centers up here and is only open for those 60+. I'm 49. Also no J&J here in Canada yet.

I figured I'd get it done ASAP since they're predicting 18,000 new cases per day here in this wonderful conservative playground called Ontario.

Wife will be watching me for any rare ill side-effects (she had her shot two weeks ago). It's a load off my mind now that it's done.
Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Fri Apr 23, 2021, 12:59 PM (26 replies)

Dead Kennedys - Stars and Stripes of Corruption

Dead Kennedys were the quintessential west coast punk rock band of the 1980's.

While I now think of punks as a bunch of misguided anarchists (of which I was one myself back in the day, and so was my wife), their message did include a lot of concepts that would resonate with the progressives of today: that the scourges of income inequality, racism, and big money in politics are the forces that people should be fighting against instead fighting of wars. As well, it promoted the ideas of legalization of marijuana, taxation of religion, and that people must be on guard against the erosion of civil rights.

I now realize that the punk rock movement would never be able to change the world's woes (and today my wife & I have the local jazz station playing more often than anything else), but from time to time I like to tap my foot & go back and listen one of the 'old favorites' as it were.

So without further ado, here is Stars and Stripes of Corruption by the Dead Kennedys.

With punk, the lyrics are a very important part of the experience, so here they are below the video, Source: https://www.lyricfind.com/



Finally got to Washington in the middle of the night
I couldn't wait
I headed straight for the Capitol Mall
My heart began to pound
Yahoo! It really exists
The American International Pictures logo

I looked up at that Capitol Building
Couldn't help but wonder why
I felt like saying "Hello, old friend"
Walked up the hill to touch it
Then I unzipped my pants
And pissed on it when nobody was looking

Like a great eternal Klansman
With his two flashing red eyes
Turn around he's always watching
The Washington monument pricks the sky
Flags for pubic hair ringed 'round the bottom

The symbols of our heritage
Lit up proudly in the night
Somehow fits to see the homeless people
Passed out on the lawn
So this is where it happens
The power games and bribes
All lobbying for a piece of ass
Of the stars and stripes of corruption

Makes me feel so ashamed
To be an American
When we're too stuck up to learn from our mistakes
Trying to start another Vietnam
While fiddling while Rome burns at home
The Boss says, "You're laid off. Blame the Japanese"

"America's back, " alright
At the game it plays the worst
Strip mining the world like a slave plantation
No wonder others hate us
And the Hitlers we handpick
To bleed their people dry
For our evil empire

The drug we're fed
To make us like it
Is God and country with a bang
People we know who should know better
Howl, "America rules. Let's go to war!"
Business scams are what's worth dying for

Are the Soviets our worst enemy?
We're destroying ourselves instead
Who cares about our civil rights
As long as I get paid?
The blind Me-Generation
Doesn't care if life's a lie
So easily used, so proud to enforce
The stars and stripes of corruption
Let's bring it all down!

Tell me who's the real patriots
The Archie Bunker slobs waving flags?
Or the people with the guts to work
For some real change

Rednecks and bombs don't make us strong
We loot the world, yet we can't even feed ourselves
Our real test of strength is caring
Not the toys of war we sell the world

Just carry on, thankful to be farmed like worms
Old glory for a blanket
As you suck on your thumbs
Real freedom scares you
'Cause it means responsibility
So you chicken out and threaten me
Saying, "Love it or leave it"
I'll get beat up if I criticize it
You say you'll fight to the death
To save your worthless flag
If you want a banana republic that bad
Why don't you go move to one

But what can just one of us do?
Against all that money and power
Trying to crush us into roaches?
We won't destroy society in a day
Until we change ourselves first
From the inside out

We can start by not lying so much
And treating other people like dirt
It's easy not to base our lives
On how much we can scam
And you know
It feels good to lift that monkey off our backs

I'm thankful I live in a place
Where I can say the things I do
Without being taken out and shot
So I'm on guard against the goons
Trying to take my rights away
We've got to rise above the need for cops and laws

Let kids learn communication
Instead of schools pushing competition
How about more art and theater instead of sports?
People will always do drugs
Let's legalize them
Crime drops when the mob can't price them
Budget's in the red?
Let's tax religion

No one will do it for us
We'll just have to fix ourselves
Honesty ain't all that hard
Just put Rambo back inside your pants
Causing trouble for the system is much more fun

Thank you for the toilet paper
But your flag is meaningless to me
Look around, we're all people
Who needs countries anyway?
Our land, I love it too
I think I love it more than you
I care enough to fight
The stars and stripes of corruption
Let's bring it all down!

If we don't try
If we just lie
If we can't find
A way to do it better than this
Who will?

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Darren Henley / Eric Reed Boucher / Geoffrey Lyall / Raymond John Pepperelle
Stars and Stripes of Corruption lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.
Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Thu Feb 18, 2021, 10:04 PM (2 replies)

Pics from our honeymoon stay at LA's much-maligned Cecil Hotel (& a new Netflix doc about the hotel)

Last night my wife & I watched the Netflix show on the disappearance of Elisa Lam at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles and guess what, we stayed there the year before she did in 2012.

I had booked 4 nights without knowing what it was but after one night we decided to get out and checked into the Super 8 on Sunset Blvd instead. We're Canadian & had no idea about the history of the hotel when I made the booking, all I knew is it was very affordable and downtown.

We had arrived in LA by Amtrak late at night so didn't see the poor skid row denizens surrounding the area lining up on the sidewalk until the next morning.

When we checked in, there were all kinds of vivid characters loitering in the posh-looking marble and brass lobby but we didn't feel unsafe and besides, both myself and my wife are quite large in stature and people often take me for a biker anyway with my long hair & beard (had a Honda CM250 many years ago but that's another story)

When we got to our room, the rugs were sticky, the bathroom floor tiles worn away, the beds looked like they were from the 1940s, and we slept with our street clothes on. Never mind the noises from the room next door.

Here are a couple pics from our stay. If you're feeling adventurous in LA I recommend it, otherwise I'd stick with a brand-name hotel.

The Netflix documentary series on The Cecil turned out to be a very good commentary about the divide between rich & poor in general and the serious social problems in California in particular, as well as shining a light on conspiracy theorists and so called internet sleuths.

The view from our room at the Cecil:


The lobby:


The main entrance, sorry for the quality - it was taken from a taxi & is my only pic of the main entrance


Here is the Netflix preview, very interesting documentary.


Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Mon Feb 15, 2021, 01:24 PM (4 replies)

Congratulations to President Joe Biden on his stunning victory today!

Congratulations to President Biden who can now govern with impunity and run roughshod over the cultist republicans for the next 4 years.

The precedent has been set today by 43 Republican senators.

Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Sat Feb 13, 2021, 07:33 PM (13 replies)
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