Montreal – July 2019 – Olympic Park

The city of Montreal was the host of the 1976 Summer Olympics. The area that most events were held still exist in the east side Olympic Park.

A number of the venues are still used for sporting events.

While it has recently been remodeled, the pool complex dates from the 1976 games. It is used for competitive events, with seating for 3,000, but is also used as the neighborhood pool when not in competitive use.

The Montreal Olympics are the poster child for cost overruns often associated with hosting the games. It is estimated it cost 720% (not a typo) more than originally planned.

Much of the cost overruns was due to the construction of Olympic Stadium.

Today there is a small museum dedicated to the games and the construction of the stadium.

The stadium looks like a 1970s sci-fi movie space ship. The large tower on the left was originally built to remove what was to be the first retractable stadium roof in history. Unfortunately it was not completed in time for the games, and when it was eventually completed it didn’t work.

So for the first 12 years or so of the stadium it was open air, and after that a permanently closed dome.

Walking around the large concrete plaza on this day with very few people gives one the feel of desolation in the middle of a large city.

Many North American stadiums used to sit in the middle of large concrete plazas like this – the newer generation of stadium more integrated into the cities are far nice, even if one can question the cost for holding so few events a year.

After the Olympics the stadium became home of the Montreal Expos baseball team. Unfortunately in 2004 they left town, moving to Washington DC. leaving the stadium largely quiet, except for a few concerts and other events like monster truck racing.

The cavernous domes stadium echos with the smallest noises. I did have the opportunity to attend a couple of baseball games here (one with the open stadium, the other with the roof in place). It was a great experience, baseball in French, with passionate fans using their own unique to Montreal style of cheering on their team.

Hopefully some day major league baseball returns to Montreal (but to a more appropriate venue).

The tower is now a tourist attraction. The inclined elevator is billed as the longest in the world.

The top of the tower offers panoramic views of Montreal.

The view of the Olympic Pool, and other venues in the park.

The Olympic Village apartments are still used. The soccer stadium is a recent addition.

The day was a bit hazy, but made the views towards downtown interesting.

Montreal’s east side is a working class neighborhood with numerous row houses.

The view of the islands in the middle of the St Lawrence River, as well as some of the bridges crossing the river.

Because much of Europe is fairly far north, the port of Montreal is the shortest route between a European port and North America.

Olympic Stadium cost the city of Montreal and all of Canada significant money, but as with most things Canadian, they have made the most of it.

Southeast Alaska Panhandle – September 2017 – “Uncruise” Part 3

As we arrived at Glacier Bay National Park we went ashore for a hike. A Long House greeted us as we passed the visitor center.

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The house is made out of cedar which gives it a great smell.

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The hike through the forest was filled with scenes of fungus growing everywhere.

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As we reached the river at low tide there was evidence of animals, as shown with this bear paw print. The guide indicated it must be a baby since it is so small, but they have great claws.

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We returned to the ship and continued past Gloomy Point, where mountain goats populate the steep terrain.

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The flow from a glacier ends up at the sea in a small river.

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We stopped by Margerie Glacier, or “Large Marge” as the crew call her.

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Nearby we dropped the anchor near Lamplugh Glacier, where the kayaks were put out for exploring.

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We paddled around the small icebergs to get a close look at the Glacier.

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Trying to avoid the larger ones, recalling that 10% of the ice is above the water, the rest is below. They also at times will ‘roll’ and you don’t want to be close to one this size if that happens.

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Around the corner from the ship was an impressive waterfall with glacier melt water.

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We returned to our home for the week thoroughly in awe of the opportunity to kayak in such an amazing setting, while wishing we could spend more time and go on the other adventures such as hiking up the ridge next to the glacier, or along the shoreline in front.

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While checking out the beautiful scenery one of the large cruise ships went by. Amazingly despite they fact there are 2000 people on the ship, and they are passing the glaicer behind us, I counted about 40 people out on the decks or their balconies checking out the scene.

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The day ended with a polar bear plunge for the daring.

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The crew of the WAV were amazing. It was obvious that they are passionate about the sea, glaciers, wildlife and the opportunity to share it with the passengers. The great thing about the Uncruise people is the crew gets opportunities too, and many of them participate in the polar bear plunge.

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The bartender Heidi was celebrating her birthday by going into the cold water.

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One of the Stewards Jessi had a goal of doing the polar bear plunge each of the 18 weeks she was working, and since she had missed a couple early, was doubling up on the last 2 weeks (we were the second to last trip of the season), so Jessi went in twice!

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As we began our return to Juneau we passed more Sea Lions, these guys are caught on a small rock island at high tide

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Plenty of birds.

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Early Saturday morning we returned to the harbor, where Captain Gavin carefully parallel parked the ship at the dock.

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Our week had ended, but the memories will last forever. Most of our fellow travelers were from Australia and New Zealand, with some Americans mixed in. They were fun, friendly people who shared a passion for not just seeing the scenes roll by their ship windows, but get into the kayaks and paddle around, go into the forest and get muddy, or just sit around in the evenings sharing stories or learning about America.

As I noted on the first posting very few times do things turn out better than their advertising but the Uncruise folks came through. Even the weather was better than expected with very little rain (although I don’t think they get credit for that!).

Thanks to Captain Gavin and the entire crew of the Wilderness Adventurer.

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Columbus – Ohio State Sports

Throughout the winter, and now into spring we have been catching some Ohio State sports events to fill gaps when there is nothing else to do.


Women’s Rowing – Competition – Notre Dame, Duke and Michigan

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Baseball – Opponent Purdue

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Next door at the basketball arena they had a great mosaic in the floor of a baseball player.

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Women’s Soccer – Opponent Kent State

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Softball (a scrimmage to start)

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Women’s Lacrosse – Opponent Cincinnati

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Indoor Men’s Lacrosse – Opponent Detroit Mercy

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Men’s and Women’s Swimming

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Women’s Volleyball – Opponent Purdue

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Women’s Hockey – Opponent Wisconsin

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Indoor Track & Field

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Men’s Volleyball – Opponent USC

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Women’s Tennis – Opponent Alabama & Florida State

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Synchronized Swimming

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Gymnastics – Opponents Michigan and Rutgers

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