Saturday, August 12, 2006

Alberta Summer 06

Things got off to a bit of a slow start. That is to say that it rained all the first day. Good thing we brought Wendy with us as she came with a whole host of supplies -- rain gear and umbrellas among them. When we did get a chance to be outside, the girls made their old dad proud...

We drove to Lloydminster and stopped at Bud Miller All Season Park. The gate was indeed open, but everyone else seemed aware that the 'all season' bit was simply a gimmick. There was no one in the whole place. That's fine. For given that we were headed full speed into the tourist trap of the Alberta long weekend, it was the last privacy which we were likely to have.

We had a quick snack at McD's and proceeded toward Edmonton. We stopped at Vegreville on the way for the obligatory photos with their tremendous egg. The rain had mostly stopped by this time and the girls took the opportunity to do a little climbing. I am ashamed to admit that I was compelled to tell Leora "no" when she asked to climb up into the huge metallic pysanka. Sometimes it really chafes, having to play at being responsible.

Once in Edmonton we were hosted by the illustrious Brad Stover, his wife Jen and there two beagles, Sisko and Milo. Aside from prying Milo off my leg a few too many times, the visit was pleasant, but all too short. We spent the night and the following morning treated ourselves to the biggest IKEA store in all of North America (so said Brad). We bought some new stuff for our upstairs bathroom--yet another on my loooonnnnggg list of projects for the end of the summer.

Anyway the next leg of the journey had much more pleasant weather. We stopped at a very crowded beach and grabbed a patch of turf for a very fine picnic from our well stocked cooler.

We bee-lined from Reddeer straight into the mountains. There were about 20 campsites from which to choose a pleasant vista for our next nights repose. Now we really are quite a smart family as a rule. Saturday... Summer... Long weekend... Beautiful scenery... hmmmm... FULL Campsites! After about 2 hrs of checking various sites with no success, a thoughtful woman stopped us on our way back to the highway and directed us to her TOP SECRET overflow campsites. It was actually quite nice. They were set up for large family gatherings, reunions, etc... and there was one not in use. We were rescued. $12 for the night and that included a private fire-pit, which I put to good use roasting some leftover VinBits.

The next day we drove to Banff to enjoy the 'natural' hotsprings. Next time we shall skip that part and put in extra effort to go back to Miette hotsprings. Banff was as you might expect--crowded, expensive and overrated. On the way we did manage to see some great scenery and a family of mountain goats, so not all was lost.
This was the parking lot at the banff hot springs.
We were lucky to exit with our lives and car insurance intact!

We slept in Calgary that night with Teela and her friend Heidi. Heidi had a new cat and we had lots of fun taunting it with a laser pen, which allows a human to play with the cat and be ever so much more lazy than if you are required to actually tie a piece of paper to a string and repeatedly lift it.

Fortunately, Heidi is a working computer programmer and so can afford the otherwise daunting cost of tiny pen laser batteries.

Next day was the zoo.
The girls did what they do.

And I did what I do.

There is really little else to say except that if I lived in Calgary, I would have a family membership to that place in a heartbeat.

On the way home we found a nice waterpark in Drummheller. Aunty Teela tried to show how young and vigorous she was by racing Anwyn around the huge fountain. Nice try!

The end