Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jolly Creek, Salmo, Livingstone Range, Drumheller, Abraham Lake and Lake Louise

 Wild West Goes East - Summer 2011
No folks. This isn't our new car. After much deliberation and perhaps one too many BCAA towing calls.

We decided to trade in the VW vans for something a little more reliable. A Toyota forerunner. It may be more reliable, but certainly not as comfortable.

Jolly Creek Rec. site
Sleeping arrangements changed a bit as well. The adults were in the tent on top and the kids and dog inside the car.

Our 1st stop was Jolly Creek Recreation site. Off the #3 crowsnest hwy after Bridesville and before Rock Creek. A cute little spot nestled at the bottom of a valley. There are about camp 5 spots in a large field with a few of the spots over grow with tall grass. Goes to show you that not too many people come here.

It has pit toilets. A creek running through it and for those adventurers a 'haunted' cabin across the road. No one came by to collect money, so our first night was a freebie.
Our Fire Pit

Jolly Creek

Next stop was a cool swim in Christina Lake. We had some lunch there and a quick swim before we headed to Trail to visit with family for the afternoon. When the sun went down we headed east again and stopped at a cute little motel in Salmo called the Sal-Crest Motel just off the crows nest hwy. Clean, cosy and pet friendly.

 We woke up early the following morning and drove to Fort Steele Heritage Town. This was so cool!
Even Angel got her own entrance through a doggy door. The girls thought it was a marvelous concept and followed the dog in.
The kids learned how to gold pan and actually found gold. They contracted gold fever the rest of the trip...
... and ended up stopping a few times to pan for gold with our metal camp plates.
The girls spent all day cleaning up Fort Steel...
... by nightfall, they were exhausted.

We stopped in Coleman to pick up a few subway sandwiches and headed north up the forestry trunk rd into the Livingstone Range. We slept at one of the 4 provincial recreation sites along the route. I truthfully can't remember which one, and I didn't write it down either. There's the racehorse creek site, dutch creek, Old man river north and livingstone falls provincial recreation site. This road was a well maintained gravel road with beautiful views of the mountains south of the Kananaskis area. It runs north/south  between Coleman and Highwood House.

After a freak thunder storm in Highwood House we headed to Calgary to visit with Tante Cobie and Ome Jan. Gezellig dinner, walk and conversation with Cobie and Jan, then off to Drumheller to sleep with the dinosaurs.

The following day we toured the museum. See previous blog 'The circus is in town' for Museum details and....

... drove through the badlands.
Stopped for the night somewhere near Rocky Mountain House and continued on the next morning to an amazing little camp spot...
 ... called Abraham Lake.

No toilets... 4 wheel drive access... real bush, bush camping but amazing views and quiet.

Our next stop was Lake Louise and an amazing hike up to the glacier tea house. Bring lots of cash, because the tea house is quite expensive (they pack in the food on horses). Then we headed home.

An amazing time had by all!

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It was a long trip. I want my bed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Canuck Mobile

"Oh no...Otto's overheating!" There I was sitting in the middle of a big fat line up at the peace arch crossing, with the temperature gauge of a 1992 VW Van flashing angrily at me.
"Will we have to push the van back to Canada Mom?" My daughter knew the drill, she's been around a few old cars since she was born.

There was Vanny that blew an engine in Denver.

Then there was Goldie who had a funky starter motor and left me stalled at the U.S border.
"Do you need a push?" The irritated guard asked.
"'s Okay...she'll start any second now." After the 20th try he rolled his eyes at me and left his post to go find some more guys to push the piece of junk out of the way. While he was gone Goldie started and I scooted off, red faced and embarrassed. Oh yeah...she also had a hole at the top of her gas tank, so I couldn't fill it up all the way. Dispite the mechanical mishaps...we have seen a lot of beautiful places.

So now, I'm driving Otto and out of all the VW vans I've driven over the years, Otto is different. Not only is he Automatic, but he's been transformed into "The Canuck Mobile".

 Every once in a while we need a little transformation to gain a new perspective on things. The last 2 weeks have been a bit trying for me. Many disappointments, from a dear friend going in for a serious surgery, my email being used to send out spam, feeling unwell with the flu, to a loved one having a miscarriage and rushed to the hospital with hemorrhaging.
So, I found myself the other day, balling my eyes out, driving on the Mary Hill by pass. Tears streaming down my face, there I was emotionally pouring my heart out while driving to pick up my husband in Coquitlam.
"BEEP>>>BEEP>>>BEEP! YAH CANUCKS!" a red sports car with young fans waved and beeped at me as they zoomed past. In my misery I  had forgotten what I was driving. There in my sadness and mourning of a life, I realized just how absurd life can be and how quickly life changes from a tragedy to a comedy within seconds.
I honked my horn...waved out the window...dried my tears and smiled. I was driving the 'Canuck Mobile' after all.
Luongo buddy... If you find yourself needing a little encouragement before the next game...the keys to Otto are yours. Take him for as long as you need. Just keep an eye on the gauge...He overheats when standing idle or going up big hills.