Friday, March 30, 2012

Gabriel Turns One!

A big day today as my son Gabriel turns one year old. It's a bit sad that I won't be able to share the day with him but ultimately, this day is about him and not my feelings. He is now standing completely on his own and in recent days has started walking on his unassisted. (I'm not sure how he got the coordination/athletic gene, obviously not from his Dad.)

And a few more recent ones...

Happy birthday son! Daddy loves you very much!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Methye Portage

It all seems so simple and tucked out of the way, but this simple stone marker commemorates the discovery (at least by Europeans) of the Methye Portage. This portage, formed an important link in the overland route between the northwest and far-away Montreal. Beginning at the north end of Lac La Loche in northern Saskatchewan, the portage followed the Clearwater to its terminus with the Athabasca.

First seen by explorer Peter Pond, it was used by fellow explorer Alexander Mackenzie on his 1793 expedition to the Pacific. Its importance only declined with the rise in steamboat traffic on the Athabasca in the 1880's. A little piece of history, right here in our own backyard.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Crossing the Clearwater

As I mentioned in yesterday's post I had spent the afternoon down around the Snye. While I had a few errands to attend to I couldn't quite contain my inner child who suggested I cross over the Clearwater where it meets the Snye and check out the far bank. Given the warming temperatures, my inner child was growing impatient and I had to agree. The number of opportunities I would get to at least have a look-see were fast disappearing.

The photo below was taken looking upstream on the Clearwater.

It was a bit muddy as I scrambled up the far bank but I managed. And I was able to snap a few shot of Fort McMurray through the trees from a vantage point I wouldn't otherwise be able to.

There was a road of sorts that I followed for about a kilometre or so before turning back. I imagine its some sort of winter road though I'm not clear on where exactly it goes. I know in the past there were trap lines that kept over there and I did see a few signs warning passers-by to keep their dogs on a leash because of them. Other than that though, this area was pure Terra incognito to me. Which is just fine by me. If there's anything I love its new places to explore. And as luck would have it, I did see my first two Downy Woodpeckers of the season just a few yards up the road after crossing over.

Sadly, with the river ice melting I'm not sure about my chances of getting back there in the near future but I will definitely add it to my list of places to see.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Snye

I had a few errands to run today on my last day off but I did want to take time to explore along the river, more specifically the Snye. The Snye is one of my favorite spots to go birding and while I didn't see anything of note there I spent some time caught up in the history of the place. At one point the Snye was a river running south of MacDonald Island connecting the Clearwater to the Athabasca. In the '60's, 1964 to be exact I believe, a causeway was constructed on the west end of the Snye where it emptied into the Athabasca, making it technically no longer a river. Here you can just make out the causeway on the far end. This is where I take most of my photos of the Snye. Today I decided to walk down to the other end for no other reason than it was a fantastic sunny day (I was positively boiling by the time I got home) and its not an area I get down to very often.

Here is a shot from the mouth of the Snye where it meets the Clearwater looking down river. The ice is still think enough for skidoos and pickups which I saw cross the river to the east side (more on that in my next post.). So while it was a little messy, there wasn't any danger of crashing through the ice.

The Snye played an important part in the history of the community as at one time it served as our airport. Prior to the construction of a permanent landing strip in the '40's, the Snye served as the community's only air base. According to the one plaque I saw, the first landing happened back in 1924, when a Vickers Vedette biplane became the first aircraft to land here, connecting what was then known as Waterways to the outside world. Even today, you can still see plenty of float planes take off and land from here.

And I did discover the etymology of the name "Snye". It comes from an Old English word meaning a small body of water connecting two rivers. Small it may be, but the Snye played an important role in the development of our community.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Help... aka I Want To Get This Right And Don't Want Someone To Walk In There In The Future And Say. "Well, Obviously This Was Planned Out By A Man."

A bathroom face lift has been something on my "to do" list for awhile now....a painfully long time to be honest. It's a 6X7 room. How hard can this really be? I had hoped to have had it taken care of by now but with work and other things in life demanding more of my attention this project was relegated to the back burner. This weekend though, I find myself with a little more time to devote toward planning it all out, helped in part by the fact that the snow outside makes it a little to mucky to be out exploring some trails.

So I'm rearing to go here. But I must admit to feeling a bit nervous, because although I have a pretty good picture in my mind's eye about what I'd like the end result to be, the devil, of course in the details and I don't want to mess things up. So...I thought I would put a few pictures up on my little blog to show readers what I'm dealing with here.

So here is the upstairs bath pretty much as it was when I bought it (minus the shower doors I took out) in all its chocolate brown glory...

Ain't it lovely? That lino is sooo '80's. Let's take a closer look at it, shall we? I should also mention that the floor is uber-squeaky in a few places and very annoying on the ears to listen to. I can't wait to get that dealt with.

Yeah, yuck!

I'll give you a moment to gather yourself.

Ok, so here's what I have in mind. Obviously, the flooring has to go. I'd like to put in something dark, like a black vinyl or perhaps tile. And I bought this sink here back in January to replace the existing one...

It's a bit smaller than the original but I like the colour and the sink/counter is all one piece. I'd like to keep the mirrors to create that illusion of a bigger space and put in some track lighting above the vanity. I'm hoping to pick up a new light fixture tomorrow along with the faucet for the vanity. Finally, the place could use some paint so I'm thinking something blue much like what I have in the half-bath off the kitchen downstairs.

(If you're thinking this bathroom was designed by a woman, yes, you'd be correct.)

So there you have it. I won't get a start on this project this weekend though I hope to have all the things I need in order to do it by the end of the day tomorrow. (I will add that I'm not a handyman so I'll hire someone to do the work. I"m flirting with the idea of putting in a new throne and tub but if I can at least get the flooring and vanity dealt with at a minimum I'll be more than happy.) I hope my explanation isn't too vague but feel free to drop me a line here or on Facebook and tell me what you think or of any suggestions you might have. It would be appreciated.


Compared to last year, it seems I've been getting a lot more red polls at the back yard feeder. Below, just a single individual but at the time really I was using him as a test subject to see if my camera was still working after having not used it for several weeks.)

And the cavalry arrives! A gallup of Red Polls!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Return To The Island

I had a number of errands to run downtown yesterday as it always seems I do on my days off. This time, however, I wasn't going to complain. When I last went downtown at the end of my last shift, it was to face a power outage and some rather unpleasant weather. I had to print a few things off which necessitated a trip to the library and MacDonald Island. Sadly, its been a rather long time since I was last there.

Now the wonderful thing about Mac Island is that every time I go there, something is going on. This weekend there is a provincial junior hockey tournament on the go, Atom Division I believe. Or at least, that's what the posters I saw up told me. Teams came from as far as Grande Prairie, Lethbridge and Okotoks (for some reason I just love to say that name...Okotoks.) Anyhow, I watched a bit of the action before heading on my way.

I also passed by the Snye, still frozen over and apparently still safe enough to skidoo on judging from the tracks I saw. The Snye (doesn't that sound like some strange mythical beast?) is one of my favorite haunts for water fowl and I know I'll be back when the river breaks up.

The remainder of my time downtown was a little mundane, a quick bite to eat at A&W and standing in line at the post office. Still, inspite of the bite in the air this morning its starting to feel as if I'm emerging from my winter cocoon to visit parts of the city I haven't had to time to see in recent weeks.


Since the the distinctive blue-green Grant McEwan Bridge was pulled down in recent weeks, the view just isn't quite the same. In this photo, the newly-built Athabasca Bridge is in the foreground, blocking the view, but normally the distinctive trestles of the McEwan would still be quite discernible.

Friday, March 23, 2012

My Apologies To The Squirrel

Initially when I saw the mess left underneath the feeder I blamed the squirrel.

A few snowfalls later though and not only was the feeder empty (there seemed little point in filing it since I was back to work and not able to do any viewing) but the seed that had fallen on the deck was now buried under several inches of snow. This afternoon, I took a shovel and excavated a small pit so my avian visitors wouldn't have to dig to China for a meal. I also re-filled my feeder of course. I went back inside hoping I could get a few days of viewing before the resident squirrel came and made another mess.

A couple hours later, though I happened to pass by the kitchen window and noticed some of the ubiquitous red polls at the feeder.

Turns out they were only doing what birds do. They are rather messy eaters. My feeder has some small perches on the side but lacks a tray so as little avian appetites were sated, a mess slowly gathered on the ground. As it happens the fault lies with me.

Dressed Up In Red

Being new to birding when I moved to Alberta, it seems I spent much of my first year just trying to figure out what species there were to see here and trying to figure out what they were when I saw them. The next year was spent finding some ideal birding spots away from the house without getting lost. It seems this year I've been here long enough to start noticing some trends. Two species in particular I'm noticing much more than usual are the Common Red Poll, which seem to have taken over the backyard feeder (and I'm sure will get a mention on the blog in the near future) and the Pine Grosbeak, which tend to frequent the ash trees in the front yard.

My first year here, the Pine Grosbeak didn't make much of an appearance (or at least around the house it didn't.) For the most part I'd catch a glimpse of the odd one mixed in with a group of Evening Grosbeaks. It was as if a gathering of grosbeaks decided to show up for dinner but the Pine Grosbeak didn't get the memo about what to wear for dinner attire. It's red plumage really made it stand out against the brown trees. In recent weeks I've noticed more Pines than I usually see and on my days off I can get some nice views from the master bedroom when they show up in the morning. Definitely one of the more brightly coloured birds I see around this time of year.

Here we have a pair, male and female hiding out in my neighbor's tree this morning.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Last Gasp

While much of the rest of the country basks under record-setting summer conditions, winter is still very much with us here. Temperature-wise its actually been quite decent. Late late last week it hit 9C here for a high but then the weekend came and with it, snow. We've probably had a good foot or so over the past few days. Nothing unusual I think as I recall getting a more impressive dump of snow on one memorable Spring day mere weeks after I bought the house here. I must confess though thinking to myself, "This is Spring?". But all in due time. It does make for good working weather outside. I find it ironic that a region often accused by alarmists as being on the forefront of causing global warming in Canada has more snow than many other places of the country at the moment.

The above photo looks more remote than it really is. It was taken during my last days off along a fairly busy road which I cropped out. Its an area I like to frequent in the warmer weather as provides quite the birding bonanza and I look forward to getting in there once this last gasp of winter has gone.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Nice Set Of Wheels

I had to do a double-take when I came across this news photo. I've never really been one to follow politics at a provincial level but we are due for an election here within the next couple of months. I know, I know. The PC's will win yet another majority. I think the Conservatives here are more broad-based and don't occupy as a narrow a slice of the political spectrum as many people may think. (Even the current Liberal leader was a former PC.) At least that's my own humble perspective. Post-election, regardless of the results, we will to my knowledge be the only province that has ever had a both a female premier and female leader of the opposition. It's enough to make all those progressives over the border in British Columbia go ballistic. Ha! put that in your pipe and smoke it, ya hippies!

Anyhow, while I find it likely that the PC's will bleed a few seats to the Wild Rose, they should see another healthy majority this Spring. (Locally, the two PC candidates are both long-term Fort McMurray residents and I have difficulty seeing a scenario where they both aren't elected.)

While support has waxed and waned for the Wild Rose, they still face quite a battle. Clearly, this design gaffe is not the way Wild Rose leader Danielle Smith wanted to start out an election campaign.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Thanks Rex!

As mentioned a few days ago, CBC commentator Rex Murphy was in town today to host an episode of CBC's 'Cross Country Check Up' at Mac Island. Sadly, I missed it due to work. However, I did find a National Post column that Murphy penned yesterday about his upcoming visit. Well said Rex. Sadly, the debate has been so skewed by environmental nut cases out there that it has been impossible to anyone to give an alternative perspective on things without being accused of being in the pocket of so-called "Big Oil". Forgotten in the drone of Fort McMurray bashing is that this community is one of the highest giving communities in Canada for organizations such as the United Way, among others.

Yes, bash us you lefty nut jobs. But keep in mind the wealth created by this region helps pay for a lot of the fanciful, socialist candyland crap you advocate for. But what do I know? I'm just in the pocket of "Big Oil." Um, hello, environmentals, if I was in the pocket of "Big Oil", trust me, I wouldn't be living in Thickwood (although it is a nice part of town). Heck, I'd have a big place up in Timberlea or on Draper Road instead. Anyhow, well said Rex. We do hope you enjoyed your visit. Come back any time.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Saying Goodbye To A Piece of History

I knew this day was coming once the new bridge opened up late last year but the news still comes as a shock. Alas, I turn on the laptop this evening and learn, courtesy of Fort McMurray Musings, that the unique green metal bridge is no more. Theresa's blog also includes a short video of the final section of the bridge coming down on March 5th. The bridge, which I believe will continue to carry southbound traffic, is being lowered to provide commuters with improved access to Mac Island and the downtown, and unfortunately the old bridge just wasn't designed for the new purpose.

I love these old bridges and its a sham but I suppose that is the price of progress. There are similar bridges not that far from here that I've seen with the same structure and design, one about an hour south of the city on the Christina River off of Highway 881 and another upstream on the Clearwater across the border in Saskatchewan. (Part of this particular bridge came from a another bridge in Saskatoon if I'm not mistaken, but I digress.) The Grant McEwan Bridge reminds me in some ways of the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario, home of my alma mater and both structures were even the same green-blue color....after they re-painted the Ambassador Bridge in the 1990's from that ghastly black, that is.

So, a short "in memoriam" so to speak, in photographic form. My earliest photos of this local icon were taken back in 2002 and lie in photo albums in Ontario but below are some more recent photos. The first three were taken from Abasand on the east side of the Athabasca last June and the last photo is a peek of the bridge from last Spring.

The new bridge is scheduled to open sometime next year. And while I'm sure traffic flow will improve with this new infrastructure, I know part of me will still feel as if things just quite aren't the same.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Everybody Pees

....apparently even trees do.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rex Murphy

After the stir caused by a recent piece of yellow journalism it is refreshing to hear of an upcoming visit by CBC commentator Rex Murphy. Murphy will be in town next weekend to host an edition of Cross Country Check Up. His plan is to talk, not just to oil workers, but people who live here, unlike the moronic hacks that squeezed out this pile of excrement. Balance seems hard to come by as far as discussion involving Fort McMurray, unfortunately, which is really sad. How can you even have a meaningful discussion or even a debate when the playing field is so skewed?

Now, unfortunately, his visit falls smack dab in the middle of my coming shift, but I look forward to hearing about what he has to say and will be keeping my ear close to the ground to pick up what I hear about the March 18 show.

Welcome to Fort McMurray, Rex. We do hope you enjoy your visit!

Monday, March 12, 2012

North Pole

So it was a bit of a chaotic weekend here. First a power outage early last Friday morning that threw downtown into darkness for much of the morning and then some wet snow last night that led to several fender benders around the city. Northbound traffic was backed up from Confederation all the way to the bridge and the Thickwood overpass was a parking lot with a view. Getting downtown wasn't exactly fun but luckily I only had to do a short list of errands and traffic had improved markedly by the time I headed for home. It was a big sloppy mess out there but at least one transit bus driver had a good sense of humour through it all.

Sunday Walk

Our first stretch of mild weather hit this past weekend so I had to take full advantage of it by heading out for a walk. I decided to head over to a storm pond I like to frequent in a nearby residential area.

Still a little early in the season to catch a glimpse of the waterfowl I sometimes see there and for the most part all I saw were magpies, although I'll be sure to head back once the spring melt hits in earnest.

I did get a kick out of this sign. Can't say I've seen anything quite like it before.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I inherited a new companion a few months ago in the form of a cat. A neighborhood stray kept showing up at the back door late last November and has slowly become a member of the household. I'm not really sure how old she is but likely but likely she's around a year old. I can say I'm not especially fond of cats but she has grown on me. Plus, I've been around the north long enough to know how well stray animals fare and it isn't pretty. I must say that I do find her black, white and brown colouration rather unique. For the longest time, she didn't have a name and I usually just referred to her as "Hey You", usually followed by "stop that", "get out of there" or "man, you sure can fart up a storm!"

At any rate, it didn't seem quite right for her not to have a name so I've taken to calling her Drifter, although, like most cats, she doesn't really respond to it. She's been great though with keeping out from under my tenants' feet and not making any messes.

She does make for a pretty low-maintenance companion. Usually, I come home to find her sleeping on the bed...

..waking just long enough to, shall we say, attend to her backside, before, rolling over for some more z's.

Ya, this cat lives a tough life.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


One of the consequences of renting out rooms is that you will inevitably run into difficult people. Now, having said this, I must say that so far, my venture into landlording has had very few hitches. I did run into an odd situation last Friday night after work when I came home to find a key on the table and a note on the fridge announcing that one of my tenants had decided at the last minute to go back to Edmonton. No further explanation but he did leave a phone number and ask me to contact him. Which was a good thing since his beat up Volvo was still sitting in my driveway....sans license plates and with a flat tire.

Numerous calls (I've lost track of how many) throughout the past week got me nowhere. Generally I like to think I'm a pretty easy-going kinda guy, but I find my inner dragon slowly emerging. THERE'S A JUNKY VOLVO TAKING UP SPACE IN MY DRIVEWAY! I would have dealt with the matter yesterday but a major power outage the night before threw the city into a little chaos from what I've been hearing. So it looks like I'll be contacting the local RCMP to "vin" the vehicle and have it towed.

Friday, March 9, 2012

No Country For Young Men...No Place For Hack Journalists

This morning, courtesy of local blogger Middle Age Bulge, I was able to track down the GQ article, entitled No Country For Young Men , which I've discussed in previous posts. My initial plan was to break the article down by paragraph and rebut its inaccurate statements. Having slogging through this piece of hack journalism however (it takes up 3 pages), I found it so full of garbage and other mindless crap that I'm sure my big show shovel wouldn't be able to cope.

By the tone of the article, everyone here is involved with drugs.....A SHOOT OUT ON EVERY CORNER!! Please. What kind of mindless drivel is this? I've been to every part of the city here so I can say that the writer's claims are pure hyperbole. Sorry to disappoint, but I was awaken not by the sound of gun fire but by the red polls and waxwings that frequent my front yard trees.

I must say I did like the line about the scaffolder who worked on site here, pulled in $250,000 year and then bought a gold mine. Hey, I'm in scaffolding! Gold watches and bling for everyone! Yes, you heard it here FMA exclusive.

Truthfully, though, if you go digging for dirt, you'll find it. It's easy. Fort McMurray is an easy target for any hack journalist out there. One could easily launch into a diatribe against [insert name of religion here], any political party, the RCMP, the Oilers, the Maple Leafs etc. etc..

I won't waste time sifting through all the inaccurate and ridiculous statements made in this article. I will add though, that Fort McMurray is definitely not "the middle of nowhere." I spent 4 years living 750km of the Arctic Circle and even that was somewhere. Scratch below the surface and you find that Arctic Bay, Nunavut, where I was living at the time, has, like Fort McMurray, a rich culture and history. (I'm sure I could write an article about England and how for hundreds of years a certain group of people there thought they were culturally superior and could force their views and way of life on a large chunk of the planet. At the turn of the last century, something like 25% of Earth's citizens were British "subjects" but I digress). A place is only "boring" because you are boring. Yes, "nowhere" is always somewhere and that somewhere is my home.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fort McMurray Forum

Fort McMurray Forum is a local online discussion group that I'll admit I don't spend as much time perusing as I should. It's a good source of news and information, in short a convenient way to gauge the heartbeat of the community and engage in some good discussion.

I have to admit that the contents of my last post, where I responded to the misguided stereotypes of a certain publication, were referenced in one of the threads and I'm both surprised and a bit flattered. It's nice to know you have a voice and that people are interested in what I have to say. My previous post has been my most viewed post since it went up over the weekend, finally knocking posts I did about scaffolding and the Fort Chipewyan winter road down a few notches. Many thanks to all who stopped by!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Smack Down! British Style

I found an interesting link over at Fort McMurray Musings that raised my ire and I thought I'd take some time to respond to it. It would appear that a recent article in the British version of GQ magazine has caught people's attention around town. It's certainly caught mine. Anyhow, it's really the same old hack journalism about Fort McMurray. Outsiders show up for a day or two with preconceived notions, write an article they think sums up the place and then leave. Really, I saw similar stuff when I lived in Nunavut. Usually I do my best to ignore this kind of tripe but after awhile it gets to be a bit much. Theresa has raised a good point on her blog, namely that its time for people here to tell our story rather than rely on the, often inaccurate, ill-informed efforts of others. So here is my effort for what it is worth.

I should add that I have been unable to locate the actual article in question. However, the two geniuses that wrote it did mention their trip on their blog here. It is to this blog posting that I respond below. Should I happen to come across the GQ article I will most definitely post it (with commentary) in a future post. Really, this post is so full of inaccurate and just plain bizarre statements I think I need a heavy hauler to plow through the rhetoric.

Alex and I spent about a week in early November in sub zero temperatures covering this story on the oil boom town of Fort McMurray for British GQ. The entire experience is still puzzling and we are still trying to understand this place.

Yes, start out by complaining about the weather. Come on now. Only true Canadians have a right to complain about cold weather. I actually don't recall November as being all that cold and I spend the majority of my working day (and sometimes my off days) outside. But really, if you find this place puzzling, why not try asking the people that live here rather than try to stuff this city into a box? It's called research. Writers from reputable magazines actually make an effort to do this.

The once sleepy and very isolated town of Fort McMurray, Canada sits on top of the world largest supply of oil. The problem is that it rests in a bed of mud known as tar sands and extracting it isn’t as simple as poking a hole in the ground and watching it gush out as easily as it does in other parts of the world.

Fort McMurray actually doesn't sit ON TOP of the world's largest supply of oil. It's actually located a few kilometers to the north. Saudi Arabia's supply is bigger. Seeing as Europe gets most of its oil from there and not Canada, one would think you would be aware of this.

Young men are flocking from all over in the hopes of landing a job where making as much as 250k a year working on site is common. But at what price… they work incredibly long hours, the ratio of men to single women, depending on who you talk to is 1:8 – 1:20 and most end up spending their hard earned money partying or on a super inflated real estate market.

WHAT? Making 250k/year is COMMON! Wow! I'm in the wrong job. Frankly I don't know anyone who does this. I can see people who work in the upper management of Suncor or Syncrude pulling in that kind of income perhaps but your average worker with one of the many contractors here? I don't think so. Sorry to burst your stereotype but I don't blow my money on partying...or drugs and alcohol for that matter. My hobbies include birding, classical music, wine appreciation, hiking and travel. And its not just men here but families as well. I think you have your ratios backwards there too. But even then they are incorrect. The most recent stats I found from March 2011 was a 2:1 ratio....a bit high yes, but not as skewed as you put it. As for a "super inflated real estate market" ever heard of Vancouver, Whitehorse, certain parts of southern California? Ever heard of London, England??

Also, to make things more interesting, Somali gangs from Ontario have moved in and are fighting for control of the criminal markets with the longer established Hell’s Angels.

Oh grief! Earth to GQ.....there are gangs everywhere...I'm sure they even have them in your beloved England. You make it sound like there is a shoot out on every corner. Give me a break. I actually work with a lot of Somalis. I can assure you that not one of them has ever tried to kill me. Actually, if you grew a brain and actually got to know some you might find they are not all that scary. Now, I know Europeans aren't the most tolerant of people and that whole "let's take over Africa because we are white and entitled to it" thing is big where you come from, and I'm not going to pretend we don't have our problems here, but really.....good on you to tar an entire group of people with the same brush. Every urban centre has gang issues to some extent. Even jolly England.

And one more last thing, The "Highway of Death" is actually called Highway 63. It only has the reputation it does because there are a few idiots out there like you that drive on it.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Random Aerials of Fort McMurray

I thought I would post a few aerial shots I've found of the city to give you an idea of the lay of the land here so to speak.

Downtown Fort McMurray looking southwest with the Athabasca and Thickwood Heights in the background. The Snye is on the right and the Clearwater cuts along the bottom.

Downtown looking northward down river.

Downtown looking more or less south-east with the Snye River on the lower left and the Clearwater on the far left heading off into the distance.

Downtown with a piece of lower Thickwood in the foreground

Three bridges span the river. The bridge in the foreground recently opened back in the fall. It is notable for being the biggest bridge in Alberta in terms of deck area. The two other bridges are currently being being upgraded and are schedule to re-open in 2013. Also visible up river here are our water treatment plant on the right and a tiny portion of Abasand Heights on the left.

The Thickwood overpass under construction.  It opened back in the fall making for a much easier commute home from work.

Thickwood Heights heading up Thickwood Boulevard from Highway 63.

....and finally, my little neck of the woods.  Part of the Signal Road area of Thickwood.  It's pretty much impossible to make out but my little chateau is hidden away in there somewhere.

(NB - FMA will gladly cite all photos pending further information.)