My Grandparents – Marion Etta Bagnall Gibson and Robert Alexander Gibson

My Grandfather Robert Alexander Gibson "Bob" was an engineer for the Canadian National Railway in the Canadian Rockies. My Mother (Margaret Helen Gibson Robinson) told me that when she was young she was afraid of the steam locomotives he drove  because they were so big and so noisy. Here are a couple of pictures of my Grandfather.

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Both my Mother and her brother Gordon are gone now. I recently called their cousin Helen who is 92 now and lives in Kingston Ontario. I asked her what she remembers about my Grandfather and Grandmother. They were  Aunt Marion and Uncle Bob to her.  She said:

you know one thing I can remember… one
time after Jane (my sister) was born Grandma came down and she asked me if I wanted to go
home with her and of course I jumped at the idea. I thought it was great. So I
went home with her and you know I ended up staying about a year and a half. While I was in Edmonton your Grandfather  was transferred to Jasper
and while he was getting a place to live in Jasper Aunt Marion came to
Grandma’s. We were all there. There was
she and Margaret and Gordon and me. 

I remember Uncle Bob, he was a nice man, good looking too. You know the train went right back of Grandma’s house, about a block, and of course we’d watch, we knew what train when he was going by and used to run out the back and wave at him and he’d blow the whistle. He was
the engineer. He was always leaning out the window there and waving at us. That
was my Uncle!

He worked for the CNR,
Canadian National Railway. I’m sure
about that. You know Gordon used to say
… He was a little bit lonesome for his Dad you know and he used to say “I’m
going to jump out the window. I’m going to run to the CNR station and I’m going
to say Jasper Park!”"

At this time Gordon would have been about 4 my Mom about 6 and Helen about 11.

When I asked Helen what she remembered about her Aunt Marion, my Grandmother, she told another story from the same time period.

"I can remember Aunt Marion sewing. She was a great seamstress. She could make anything! She made these Hudson Bay
coats.  Aunt Hilda and Aunt B each bought
a Hudson Bay blanket and Aunt Marion made coats for them. Theirs were that camel color with the black
stripe around the bottom. 

Then Grandma bought the white Hudson Bay blanket
with all the candy stripes you know, the red and the green and the gold and Aunt Marion made me a coat.  And the way she cut it she got a coat for
Margaret too. Margaret and I both had a coat out of that blanket." 

Her is a picture of my grandmother, Marion

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Here is my Grandparents wedding picture


The baby in the picture below is my Mom with her parents.

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Helen and I talked for about 45 minutes and I got some great family history stories and information.

April 2010 Road Trip in North Central Nevada – Falls Creek Falls – Jacks Creek – Elko

A couple of weeks ago Duke and I took a short road trip through north central Nevada. When we take a road trip we like to get off the beaten track and follow the back roads. What that means in Nevada is that we often go hours without seeing another vehicle. It also means that we see a lot of gorgeous scenery and interesting wildlife.

On our most recent trip we camped the first night in the Santa Rosa Range in Falls Creek Canyon and hiked to Falls Creek Canyon Waterfall.  Falls Creek Canyon is just off US highway 95 forty miles north of Winnemucca. The camp site is about four miles east of the highway at the end of a very rough rutted road. It was a beautiful site and we had it to ourselves.

The hike to the waterfall is short and relatively easy. We had to cross the creek a few times and I got my feet wet. Duke did better. The route is described as hike 5 in the book 50 Classic Hikes in Nevada by Mike White. We were there April 25th and there was a lot of water in the creek and snow on the peaks surrounding us. We were camped right next to the creek.




It was a wonderful warm evening. We cooked our steaks over the fire and watched a marmot play nearby, When the full moon came up it was the perfect end to a wonderful day.



From Falls Canyon we drove around to the east side of the Santa Rosa Range to the Singas Creek trail head which is described as hike 6 in 50 Classic Hikes in Nevada. We did a short hike and then headed east across the Owyhee desert to the Independence Mountains and camped at the Jacks Creek camp ground. Along the way we had a flat tire and had to turn around at one point when the road was washed out. Since we no longer had a spare tire and since a big storm was coming in we decided that it probably wouldn't be prudent to explore any remote back country roads. so we headed to Elko.


We stopped to look for interesting rocks and fossils at several sites in the area including the old mining town of  Tuscarora.


Elko is a town we stayed in on one of our road trip last year. There are four Basque restaurants in Elko. Last year we ate at and really enjoyed Biltoki. This time we tried The Star Hotel Basque Restaurant which is the oldest of the four. They were very busy even though we were eating late. We also noticed that there were a lot more woman than men. That was undoubtedly because Elko is such a  thriving mining town. The food was wonderful , the service was great and ambiance was fun.

If you would like to see all of my pictures form our trip you can see them on Flickr here.

Basin and Range by John McPhee

Every list of suggested reading to learn about Nevada includes John McPhee's book Basin and Range. Basin and Range is about Nevada's landscape and geology along interstate 80. 


People who've never been to Nevada often assume that Nevada is one big flat dessert. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Driving across Nevada you pass mountain range after mountain range separated by flat basins. It is a stunning landscape. Mcphee describes how this landscape was formed and how geologists came to understand it. Duke and I recently took another road trip exploring northern Nevada. I finished reading Basin and Range on the trip. It was fun to see some of the formations McPhee describes and to understand what we were seeing. Basin and Range is about geology, the history of geology and the history of Nevada.



McPhee is a fantastic writer. His descriptions are lyrical and his science is engaging and understandable. Many years ago I read his book The Control of Nature. In it he describes our attempts to control mud slides in southern California and Lava flows in Iceland. That book has stayed in my mind as very few books do. Basin and Range was as compelling and memorable.

Blogging Again After a Two Month Break and A New Blog on the Blog Roll

It has been more than two months since my last post, perhaps the longest I have gone without posting since I started blogging back in September of 2004. One of the truths about blogging and for that matter about many things in life is that there is nothing wrong with taking a break for a while and then starting up again.

I've added my nephew's blog to my blog roll on the right. Steven is currently studying at Oxford. I am very proud of him. His blog does a marvelous job of conveying what an amazing experience he is having.  I am a bit of an anglophile and I love learning all about what it is like to actually attend university at Oxford. His golfing tales are pretty cool too.


Steven with my Dad