Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Calgary Road Trip - The Circus is in Town


Aug 31st to Sept 05th 2009

 "The adventure begins....... Three sisters take their four kids on a journey of a life time. A special time of adventure bringing the sisters together through chaos, frustrations, laughter and fun. Join us on our memorable venture east through the rockies of British Columbia and into the badlands of Alberta. Share the crazy tour with these three heroines as they drive from Maple Ridge to Calgary.".......

We had a few days before school started and wanted a little adventure before the bustle of September began.
"So what are your plans for this week?" Tasha asked.
" I have a feeling we need to go visit Tante Cobie in Calgary. Want to come?" That's how this crazy tour started.
 3 am on the 31st of Aug we slowly slipped quietly into the night in Tasha's 7 passenger Toyota mini van. Actually, I misspeak, it wasn't that quiet, the kids were excited. Not 5 minutes earlier they were sound asleep now they were singing, "Everybody Dance Now!" They were wired from Maple Ridge to Golden. If only they could drive... 

"So do you need a coffee now or can you hold off till Mission?" I asked as I pulled out of the driveway. 
"Do you think we can make it to Chilliwack for a Timmy's?" Bina asked hoping that fewer stops might settle the kids down. She IS the sister that does not have children yet. 
 It was my fault that we didn't get coffee until 3 hours later in Merit. I find it quite illogical that there is no Tim Hortons in Hope. In fact nothing is open in Hope at 5am. 

5:05 am..... adults are in desperate need of coffee....!

"I have to go PEE!" Tante Bina cried out from the back seat, as I looped around Hope for the 2nd time, desperately looking for an open coffee shop.

"We have to go too!" 2 kids called out. Nothing open. I stopped the car in front of a large billboard just before heading back onto the highway. Who should cross our path at 5 am on a dark road at the outskirts of town? A police officer. There was Tante Bina and the kids, lined up beside the van with their pants down to their ankles.
 "Everything okay ma'am?" He asked politely.
"Just a pee break sir." I replied with a smile.
"Okay then.... sorry to interrupt." Two kids came out from behind the van, and stood at my side. He asked them a few questions.... I guess, to make sure I wasn't a kidnapper. Then off he drove into the night.
Kids were fired up now after a little fresh air.
"Everybody dance now!" my nephew sang from the back seat.
"Lukas!" Alora cried out,"You are disgusting!" my 11 year old leaned towards her sister appalled at her cousin's doings. Tasha looked back at her son, and rolled her eyes... nothing new or out of the ordinary for a 7 year old boy.

"Boys are so gross." Kalina stated.

"Boys are gross till they're 40." Bina replied.  

6:30 am we arrived in Merit. 
 "Where's the Timmy's?." Tasha barked. "Don't you dare pass the Timmy's!" 
"What.... you can 't make it to Kamloops?" I chuckled. Then I saw the evil eye in the rear view mirror and I knew there would be dire consequences for me if I did not stop the car A.S.A.P.
 "Everybody Dance now!" 4 year old Elena sang, when we finally pulled into the Timmy's.
Finally our well deserved summun Bonum...... Coffee! 

We decided to head toward Kelowna... we were in no rush... 
"We get there when we get there." I thought to myself. Bina took over the driving, so I tried to take a little nap. 
"You took my book!" 
"No I didn't!"
"Well, I was reading it!"
"No you weren't!"
"Yes I was!"
"How come it was on the ground then!"
So much for my nap. After resolving the conflict between my daughters, I put on my head phones and listened to music and tried to take a nap. No matter how loud I put the volume up, without breaking my ear drums, I could still hear the kids.
"They've been up since 3 am. When are they going to sleep?" It was 10:30 am now and we were close to Kalamalka Lake. Bina was surprised at how much energy they had after 7 hours of driving.
"They're like the energizer bunny." she laughed, "Are you sure they didn't have any coffee or chocolate covered coffee beens?...... They didn't share a Red Bull?... did they?" Her voice held a hint of  panic.

 We stopped at the lake and let our restless little offsprings, release some of that energy, in the hopes they would be quiet for the rest of the afternoon.... well... at least till Salmon Arm.

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The landscape was hazy, due to the summer fires in the area.


Things cleared up in the Rockies.

We stopped in Revelstoke for a late lunch and then on towards 
"I don't think we're going to make it to Calgary tonight." Bina sighed 
It was 6:30 p.m. and those youngsters were still in party mode. 
We stopped at the Sportsman Lodge Inn in Golden.... Those hard 
nosed kids were relentless with us.... they needed a water slide 
and insisted urgently that we... the adults.... supply them with one.... 
Lucky for them, this was the cheapest Hotel in town.

The kids were willing to 
sleep in the tee pee over night. 
We vetoed that idea....We sisters, have been up since 3 am too...   
You know....

Sportsman Lodge web site

After a few moments underneath the quiet waters of the pool. I was able to find my Zen, and I could tackle the brutes once more.
We stopped in Banff for a little tour. Spent time at the playground for the munchkins and ran around a bit.

We stopped by the Buffalo Fort Museum, that's next door to the play ground and picnic area.
" You know kids," Tasha began, "if we take a boat down Bow River, we will pass by Tante Cobie's house?"
"Let's take a boat instead!" Lukas urged. The kids didn't want to get back in the car. I think they were even ready to swim it, had the water not been icy cold. 

Banff web site

The kids were starting to mellow by the time we hit the foot hills of Alberta. Some even slept a little.
"Here we are." Sabrina called out to Tante Cobie as the 7 of us clambered out of the van. "The Circus is in town!" I have a feeling Tante Bina is reconsidering having children of her own. This trip had made a deep impression on her, and we were only 1/2 way through. She will probably need therapy when we get home.

Our cousin David and his family came for a visit... great time had by all.... It amazes me how comfortable kids feel with one and other within a short amount of time.... Within minutes his 2 daughters and our children were fast friends. We certainly can learn a thing or two from them...
 The kids were sent to bed at 8:30 pm and the adults talked and laughed till 2 am. Tante Cobie is the family historian and we learned a lot that night. Her husband Jan, disappeared often during our stay... perhaps the noise level was too much? Four kids and four women... need I say more? Come to think of it... I didn't see much of their geriatric cat either. 
The following morning required an extra strength dosage of coffee. One that could be fed intravenously. Our destination for the day..... Drumheller.... with 4 children who had recouped their original energy levels.
"It's boring," the natives were restless and we had only been on the road an hour . "How much further till we see dinosaurs?" Lukas asked.
 "It's so flat out here you would think we would be able to see them by now." Alora is the sarcastic daughter..... takes after her dad.

We had a blast at the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Kids and adults loved it.

"Ewwwwww! Somebody farted!" Lukas yelled as we were getting a drink and a snack at the cafeteria.
"The one who smelt it, dealt it." Tante Bina smiled.
"Whoever said the rhyme, did the crime." Alora sang.

Then we headed to the Biggest Dinosaur in the world and climbed up his insides, only to be regurgitated out of his mouth. Yum! Tante Nopie (that's me) didn't appreciate being up so high. The mouth jiggles.... you know.... Once the kids found out their Tante Nopie is afraid of heights.... They started jumping.... the beasts! Instigated by Tante Bina.... no doubt.


Then we splashed around in the fountain and spray park.

We laughed a bunch.

One more night at Tante Cobie and Oom Jan's.... imagine 9 people, of which 7 are female and only one bathroom..... I know what you are thinking.....You're thinking.... horror story for the men? Right? But it was a miracle... No one had to pee in the neighbours bush... or on the side of the road.

..... it was time to hit the road again. 
"The Circus is leaving town...." Sabrina called out to Tante Cobie. Cobie wiped a tear from her husbands eye.
"Don't worry Jan, they'll be back."

A quick stop in Banff on the way back for lunch and some souvenir shopping.

The adventure into the Badlands were amazing and exhausting.

"So when are we driving to P.E.I?"


Friday, November 20, 2009

Cogburn Beach - East Harrison Lake

November 14th 2009

 Our destination was originally Clear Creek Hot Springs..... not Cogburn Beach...... Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, it was not to be.... 
 This past summer we visited Clear Creek (our family loves Hot Springs). The day was hot... too hot to be sitting in a car for 3 hours with 2 kids and a dog and no air conditioning....  when we got up to the springs, our bodies were looking for refreshment, not a boiling pot of  steaming water. We stuck our toes in...  then went down to Clear Creek and sat in the invigoratingly cool river. 
"At least we know where it is for next time." hubby stated. 
 We were really looking forward to the hot springs this past Saturday.  A  few weeks of monsoon weather, here in B.C, have left us cold to the bone; so the springs were going to be very welcome. 

However, due to the abundance of rain, 
at about 25 km, the road was washed out. 
Sad and still cold we turned back towards 
Cogburn beach.

Video clip of Harrison East washed out 14Nov09

Cogburn Beach Recreation site is approximately 20 Km up along the east side of the lake. Almost 2 Km long it has limited access to drive down onto the beach. 4 wheel drive access only... although we did see a mini van drive down onto the beach, we did not see it get back up. I have a hunch it needed to be winched up. 
 During the summer, I noticed most of the campers parked along the side of the road and carried their camping gear down onto the beach. This Rec. site is a popular spot during the weekends in the summer, so plan on having a few neighbours.

We warmed up at the camp fire and shared a hot soup lunch with roasted marshmallows  for dessert. Watched the dog eat a peanut butter sandwich. Then we read a few chapters of "The Sirens of Surrentum" by Caroline Lawrence.  Not the adventure we had started out to do but, over all a great day. Sometimes you just need to go with the flow.
 The scenery is pretty amazing along the east side of the lake. We stopped often to look at the views and to take pictures. Just remember, there is active logging along this road during the week. 
Be safe and have fun exploring.

Forestry Service Map

Video clip of Beautiful Waterfall - Harrison East 14nov09

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Dogs Blog

I had nice day. It was fun. Lots of great smells. I found many sticks for camp fire. Camp Fire hot... I stay away... Sometimes sparks hit me... they burn... so I stay away....Like I stay away from Yoda (Cat at home). He has claws that hurt me like sparks... and I never know when he is going to use them... Sometimes we sleep together and I think he loves me... then he swats me with his paw and bites my nose... but I forgive him. I am an Angel. He is Yoda.
Here is me eating peanut butter sandwich... I love Pack Leader...