Wind along the rails and other events…

As I’ve mentioned, we’re less than an hour from the U.S. Border (although on African roads it would be three hours…on a good day).  Ogdensburg, NY to be specific.  Shortly after you cross the border, there are some railroad tracks…usually empty…but not last Saturday when I was returning from a shopping trip to see these:

ImageThese are wind turbine blades, the business end of power generating windmills, and as I was waiting for quite a few of them to pass and let me return to Canada. I was wondering just where they were headed.  It is hilly in upstate New York, and we are right along the St. Lawrence River, so there are plenty of opportunities, but I had never seen more than the random individual windmill in the area.

That wasn’t the only reason I set out Monday (three day weekend, you know) to explore a bit up upstate I hadn’t before, east of Ogdensburg, even east of Massena, the next crossing.  In fact, all the way to Vermont.  If you go to Vermont from way upstate New York, there’s this big body of water in the way – Lake Champlain.  Home of Champ, the lake monster.  Site of Revolutionary sea battles, and too big to bridge, so I got to take some ferries across the water.

ImageThese are not Channel Ferry sized ferries, or even Staten Island sized ferries (although they are bigger than White’s ferry, and much bigger than the one near San Jac in Texas), but they do provide crossings at several points along the lake, and nice views of the shores on a nice day.

Returning from Vermont, I was bouncing along just south of the US Canada border when I found the wind farms.  There are several of them along the northernmost stretches of New York State, and I’d guess the load of turbine blades I has seen a few days earlier was headed to one of them.  I should have stopped and taken a picture, but I wanted to get home before dark, and I had exceeded my planned trip already taking the ferries to Vermont and driving down to the Dakin Farms store.

That leaves the day between, in which I didn’t travel back to the US but instead stayed in Ottawa and started exploring some of the museums in town.  First on my list was the aviation museum.  It’s at an airport (not the big one south of town) which is nice because it gives them the opportunity to sell biplane and helicopter rides over the city, which I left for another weekend.  I’ll get back to you after a few photos:

That last little piece of nose is all that is left of the Avro Arrow, a Mach 2 interceptor Canada was building in the early 1960s, well ahead of its time.  It was eventually cancelled by a government looking to cut budget (and because it was a pet project of the previous government).  But not only did they cancel the project, but they ordered the existing aircraft scrapped along with all plans, tooling, etc., which is why all that is left is this bit of the nose.

One of the nice things about Ottawa is that it is a very walkable and bikeable city, which makes it a nice place for a marathon…which is what I kept running into trying to get to the museum.  I knew my way there…but the way I knew crossed the marathon route many times (including right in front of my building).  I’ve now learned many of the back roads of Ottawa between my apartment and the Rockcliffe Airport.

Finally, the first Friday of each month is Professional Development day in the consular section.  We close the windows, catch up on paperwork, and hold some kind of event for team building or to learn more about what we do.  For example, In May we went out to the airport and got a tour of the DHS facility out there where they clear people going to the US before they even leave Canada.  This month, we broke into teams and went on a scavenger hunt around Ottawa, learning more about the history and geography of the city in which we work and live.  It’s an interesting place, and even as the least experienced in the city I was able to pick out a few places from the list others didn’t notice because they’d been here so long. We are in another country, as we are reminded from time to time.  Their heroes are the people who fought for the British during our Revolution (and then retreated to Canada).


Filed under Foreign Service Stuff

2 responses to “Wind along the rails and other events…

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Rich — Sorry, I’m just now reading this particular blog entry. Thought you might like the little YouTube video I made of wind turbine tower parts being transported on “my” right-of-way. Ciao! Glee

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