This post marks the beginning of a new photoblog series here at The Hollow, folks, strap yourself in for quite the ride!  Mr. and Mrs. Mudpuppy and the Toads here landed at the BC Forest Discovery Centre recently on an adventure outing, and we captured such a huge series of photos that as we were walking and enjoying the premises I actually (for the first time ever) had to delete some previous photos off my memory card to ensure we got as many highlights as possible!  Time for a spare memory card, I think, but that’s totally beside the point.  So, this the inaugural post of our new series, “The Toad’s Tonka Toys“, everyone!

Train Station - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Train Station - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Let’s start our journey just outside the museum with a train ride, shall we?  Over the coming months, yes I did say months, we will be rolling out batches of images from this visit of classic trains, trucks, gauges, buildings, artifacts and other really interesting items.  We’ve even got an old post office box.   So, if you like old things, textures and rust, you’re going to love this series.  And trains, did I mention trains?  We’ve got really, really cool trains.

Train - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Train - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

My best best friend, Mudpuppy, is quite the train-buff.  As am I, but without his in-depth knowledge.  We’ll have more on this train later, but in light of this series just kicking off today we thought it would be great to give everyone a brief taste of what’s coming up here.  All aboard!

Gauge - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Gauge - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

As we hopped aboard the train, my trusty and favorite lens, our 50mm prime 1.4 yelled at me to capture this.  I love old gauges.  This one was still working perfectly and showed a reading of 70 as we waited to start rolling on the train.  70 sounded right, we were happy with that.  Some of the other gauges we’ll be sharing with everyone in the future are much less accurate… or even working.  That certainly doesn’t mean they aren’t fabulous to take in.

Garage - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Garage - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Trains aren’t your thing?  How about really old and cool and rusty trucks?  As mentioned, there are so many fascinating things to take in here at the Discovery Centre, I actually ran out of space to capture everything.  Oh well, a return trip is in order, isn’t it!  Just as a brief teaser, see the truck in the middle here?  There’s something very, very special and unique about it…  we’ll fill you in on this shortly, so please do stay tuned.

Gauges - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Gauges - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

I’m pretty sure I mentioned how much I love gauges.  Rusty ones are better.  Now, to be honest and fair here, I have a hunch this dash panel might not be working anymore…  the lack of actual  indicators in the gauges was my first clue.  But, seriously, beyond the obvious cool factor of this set of gauges and the rusty panel they currently live in, I think it’s just fabulous that some folks have gone through so much effort to preserve this stuff for future generations to take in.  These items all are part of the fabric of BC, the province was created and settled by the logging industry here and I feel strongly it’s so important to maintain as much as possible this history.

Bulldozer - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Bulldozer - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

I love all things mechanical.  Things that have the propensity to destroy other things get placed into a special category in my world; the “gimme the keys to that thing” category.  I really wanted to take this one around the block, but I could find no attendant in the area with the actual keys to this unit, so we have to hold off on that until our next visit, I guess.

If you have an ex who’s really annoying, a neighbor with a loud car or are just plain fed-up at the traffic lights on the corner of 1st and Main there, send me a note…  we’re compiling a list of “places to visit once I get my flippers on the bulldozer keys” here.

Truck - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

Truck - BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan, BC, Canada

I love trucks.  Old trucks are cooler.  Old rusty trucks will trailers with REALLY cool things on them move right to the top of my list.  Once again, I was not permitted to drive this…  bummer; it would have been great to blast up and down the highway in this rig waving my hat out the window yelling “woo-hoo!!” at the top of my lungs.  Nothing strange about a Toad in a truck, is there?

I think one of the things that hit me the hardest at the centre here was how all these items and artifacts have become statues, in some way, reflecting our history and past.  Some still operate, some don’t.  Either way, we’ve got this totally awesome facility here in the Cowichan Valley devoted to maintaining this for us all to remember and enjoy.

Thanks for your visit today, it really means so much to us!  Please feel free to leave us any comments you may have, we truly love to hear from all our visitors.



  1. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Wow Toad, if the rest of the series is anything like the first post, I will on the edge of my seat. Wonderful introduction with awesome images.

  2. Terrific series of images, and it’s so great to hear your enthusiasm in describing every single exposure.

  3. Oh, I love old things. Thanks so much for sharing, and I can’t wait too see what else you’re going to show us. Thanks so much for posting these photos!

  4. avatar newd7000user says:

    Ah rust and trains, is there anything better to bracket? Great images and a fun story, how could you not want to drive one or all?!
    Another great post Toad, Thanks!
    Howard

  5. avatar Fred Norris says:

    The Toads Tonka Toys looks like it is going to be one incredible series!The images in your sneak preview are top shelf mate.

  6. avatar Jim Nix says:

    great work my friend and I love that old dashboard!!

  7. avatar Jim Denham says:

    You can definitely get the sense of your joy in visiting this place Toad, and the images back it up quite well! I found myself giggling many times – “70 sounded right, we were happy with that.” – Awesome!

  8. avatar Curt Fleenor says:

    Great series Toad, lots of rusty goodness!

  9. avatar Cindi says:

    I very much enjoyed this post and looking forward to more. I love the visual of you going down the street yelling woo-hoo!! I also want to know where I can sign up for the annoying ex or neighbor with the loud in my case mowers.

  10. I am loving all of the rusty goodness – a weak spot for me, especially with your fine HDR treatment!

  11. When did Toad become such a tease? Wonderful tantalizing morsels and we can expect so much more! The images of the gauges are stunning. I can’t wait to learn more about the pink truck! Is it Monday yet?

  12. Way…way cool. Where DO you find these incredible places. I can hardly wait for the rest of the series. Love these!

  13. avatar Tom Barnett says:

    Wow!! Wow and Double Wow! Great post, Toad. You’ve outdone yourself! Can’t wait for more. Btw if you get the keys to any of those vehicles spin on over and give me a lift!! Well done.

    • Dude, I’m on my way! I’ll be hard to miss; a large Toad in a ball cap driving a rusty bulldozer! Now, there’s a mental picture for ya. LOL :) Thanks so much for your wonderful comments, my friend, we appreciate it more than we can possibly say.

  14. avatar Rachel Cohen says:

    Loads of great images Toad! I love your posts, you really bring everything to life! Thanks for sharing! :)

  15. avatar A.Barlow says:

    That line of old trucks and gauges look really nice. Those are my fav 2 shots :)

Photomatix Pro