Although the primary purpose of this trip is to end up in Edmonton for my mother’s wedding, we’ve decided to take advantage of time off my husband has coming to him and travel in a circular pattern through the Rocky Mountains and up through Alberta via Calgary visiting family and seeking several geocaches along the way.
Well, our departure day started off pretty typically with Jarod discovering a screw in one of our tires. This of course meant that we couldn’t quite leave when we expected to as we opted to wait for Kingland to open at 8:00 a.m. to make sure the tire was okay before heading on the highway. Thankfully it was a short screw and it did not puncture the tire, so we still ended up on the road at a relatively respectable 9:30 a.m.
Our plans to geocache this first leg of the trip were thwarted, however, by our desire not to be eaten alive by the mosquitos. Usually it’s the horseflies that are the problem, but not this year. Even Big River was comfortable. I mean with respect to the bugs; the service station itself is always clean and comfortable, which rocks! Now that we’re heading into the less buggy areas I expect our geocaching efforts to improve significantly. I am actually hoping to go out this evening to try and find a cache not far from here, but I think the family is looking forward to pizza and an in-room movie.
The Deh Cho Bridge across the Mackenzie River is coming along. At least now you can actually tell there’s work being done. Lots of equipment along the shore and the temporary bridge for the workers is up, and there was a crane on a barge working away, too, which was neat to see. Ended up with a little more time to get out of the car here as there was a line up for the ferry, but there was a nice breeze that kept the bugs away and I went for a walk and threw some skipping rocks into the river (tried to throw some skipping rocks; is 4 out of 10 any good?).
Our animal-sighting for the day stands at 9 bison (all before Fort Providence), 1 flock of geese (also before Fort Providence), and 2 cranes (after Enterprise).
Gotta run before all the pizza is eaten!
So we drove today from High Level to Jasper through Grande Prairie and Grande Cache. This was a very nice drive, even with the few construction interruptions. We managed to find three caches along the way today. Still less than I would have liked, but better than yesterday. And it was a long drive today even without stopping for the caches. The very first one we stopped for was my personal favourite as it took us down a side road and we had to climb a steep but not difficult hill to get to it. Very lovely view, no bugs, nice breeze, comfortable weather. Perfect. The other two caches were microcaches, which were a way for us to go for a nice walk around Grande Prairie after having lunch at Wendy’s. (Mmmm… Wendy’s….).
Otherwise our driving time encompassed a couple of Road Trip games and spotting only three young deer. Unfortunately we also arrived too late into Jasper to even go to the pool at our hotel, but the late meal we had at Ember’s Steakhouse was excellent, as was the service.
Off to go crash now…
Nice, if long, day today. Got up at a decent time and while Dan and Jessica had showers, Jarod and I went for a swim. Fun!
Breakfast was good and before leaving Jasper we went on a walkabout searching for another cache. On the way to Banff we stopped to see some quicksand (neat!) and took the Excursion to see the Athabasca Glacier at the Columbia Ice Fields up close. Very cool, pardon the pun!
Upon arrival in Banff we checked into our hotel and promptly left for the Gondola. all of us were excited for this ride in one fashion or another… Holy crap, what a trip! I have to admit, for hanging from a cable several hundred feet above the mountain it was not a turbulent ride. Unfortunately we were late enough that we could not have supper at the top, so we went to Earls instead. Marvelous, as usual. We ended our day with a dip in the Banff Upper Hot Springs, which were very comfortable and relaxing (The Boy’s description).
If any fellow geocachers are reading this, we have changed our geocaching.com user name. We agreed as a family that ‘adelleg’ did not properly represent the family. So after much deliberation we’ve changed our geocaching user name to ‘You’re In My Spot’ – a fond reference to our favourite character, Sheldon, from “The Big Bang Theory”.
PS: Forgot to mention our wildlife sightings for the day: 2 chipmunks, 1 squirrel, 3 hitchhikers…
So today started as usual with breakfast and a drive. Our first stop on the way to Fernie was to get a cache at the Continental Divide, which is the continental line where the waters specifically divide to flow to the east to the Atlantic Ocean and to the west to the Pacific Ocean. There was a marker there noting the border between Alberta and BC, which Jarod and Jessica had fun hopping across repeatedly.
From there we stopped at the Paint Pots, another virtual geocache, but also a great hike across a river and through deposits of ochre. This was fun as there were information boards along the way that described how the indians of the area used the ochre to make red paint, and how later the the ochre was transported to Calgary and other sites for processing. There were remnants from the industrial efforts that were 100 years old. On the way back to the car it of course started raining on us. Eh, whatever, it’s just water.
We stopped at Fairmont Hot Springs for lunch before continuing on to Fernie, where after supper Cheryl took us for a drive and brought us to an area to find another quick geocache. We also managed to time it in the evening that Cheryl could show us the Ghost Rider in the Hosmer Mountain.
Now we’re back at The Jefferies and I’m forcing Cheryl and Dan to actually visit with each other while I catch up on some e-mails, work, and blogging and logging. He-he.
PS: Forgot to mention today’s wildlife sightings: 1 deer, 1 moose, 1 bear, 2 hitchikers… better than yesterday!
What a great day! We started the day with a 4-hour walking tour of Fernie with Cheryl and Nathan. They took us around on some trails that Cheryl walks on a regular basis and found two geocaches along the way. Stopped at Timmie’s for lunch before walking back to the house.
While the kids were at the pool for the afternoon, Cheryl and Ken took Dan and I out in the Jeep for a drive around to three more geocaches. They brought us to this beautiful spot on Coal Creek that I swear would have been worth staying, swimming, reading, relaxing at for hours! If only we’d had time!
Not long after that a friend of Cheryl’s, Ian, took Cheryl, Dan, Jarod, Nathan, Quinton, and I out for a hike to see an amenite up in the mountains (I forget which one). What an amazing hike! Ian brought us across the river over a large fallen log (thank you to Cheryl for her assistance getting me started across it!), then a little bushwacking before heavy climbing along a small rocky creek (no climbing gear required). It took us about 45 minutes or so to get to the amenite and then 20 minutes to get back down, followed by a few extra minutes to walk across the creek over the rocks rather than over the log this time. That would be because Ian and Dan sort of had to build enough steps for the rest of us to get across without getting wet. The amenite was amazingly detailed, and only exposed a small end portion of the full actual fossil, which remains in the rock.
Once we returned from that it was time for a late supper at the Red Tree Restaurant and then home to bed. Like I said, a great day!
So we spent the day in Fort Steele today, an 1898 heritage town. We walked around, watched a few shows, had lunch, went to school, watched a play, and took a steam engine ride. This would be the same steam engine used in “Shanghai Noon”.
I tried to do the “Fort Steele Rush” cache, but the coordinates weren’t working on my GPS so it will have to wait for the next time. After supper in Cranbrook Ken took us to two caches he knew of on the way home. Overall a very nice day.
Wildlife sightings: 1 coyote, 1 deer, 1 hitchiker
Well, we left Fernie this morning, saying good-bye to the Jeffery Family. Our first stop on the way to Calgary was at the biggest truck in the world at Sparwood followed by a stop at the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre. We watched a couple of docudramas there before moving on. Our lunch stop was at the Bar U Ranch, a national historic site on Highway 22. The food was really good, homemade fare. We didn’t get to contemplate actually touring the grounds though since while we were eating the sky darkened and dropped a ?x!l load of water on us. What we didn’t know was that further down the road it was actually hailing heavily. Not long after we left the ranch we hit a stretch of highway covered in slush and managed to zigzag across the road a couple of times before regaining control. Thankfully there was nobody coming towards us or we’d probably have been toast. I like to think the guy driving the Hummer behind us would have stopped to help. But this speculation is mute becuase we came out of it just fine and continued on at a slower pace, just in case. It did rain the whole way into Calgary, but no more hail.
We were impressed with the Garmin travel GPS that Dan got a couple of years ago, though. When we arrived in the outskirts of Calgary and started up the Deerfoot the GPS altered its directions and took us around a traffic back up that was caused by an accident. We didn’t know it could do that. Cool! Dan’s also been playing around with the voice the things speaks in. It’s currently set to speak with the voice of an Australian female. We get a giggle out of it.
After arriving at Mom Guigon’s we took her out for supper to the Red Lobster and then returned home to watch (at Jarod’s insistence) the pilot episode of MacGuyver. Man, was Richard Dean Anderson ever young!
Wildlife sighting: 2 hitchikers
Looks like you’re having fun! Drive carefully – that Alberta summer slush is a ….well….you-know-what. Having fun following you guys on your trip! From, on Aug 15, 2010 at 07:42PM
So this weekend we spent in Calgary, staying at my mother-in-law’s. This, however, also meant very limited time on a computer since I would either have had to borrow one while visiting at the brothers-in-law or using one at the library and who wants to do that when they could be spending the time visiting and stuff instead? Hence the reason for not posting over the last few days.
This weekend was a really nice visit with family which made us want to stay longer than we could. Not only did we get to visit with Dan’s mom and brothers and their families, but we also got to spend time with his cousins, Elaine and Tanya, and their families. Tanya came in from Regina for the visit, which was amazing and so appreciated! We hadn’t seen her in easily a decade and had never met her husband and child.
Friday didn’t really see us do much besides a little bit of shopping and then supper and a visit at Eddy and Marie’s. Eddy made this amazing lasagne and manicotti with caesar salad and garlic bread. Made from scratch without a recipe, I might add. Jessica was duly impressed when I told her. She didn’t realize it was without a recipe. Jessica managed to hang out with the adults for the evening while Jarod was kept plenty busy being the only boy in a group of girl cousins, all of whom were at least four years younger than him. Oh, did they love playing with him! They would bounce and jump all over him, it got so that he was twitchy no matter who was talking or sitting next to him.
Saturday was a little busier, but mostly because we all pretty much got up late. Went for a long drive looking for a Taco Bell (sheesh) and then ended up with a shorter than desired visit to the Zoo. The Calgary Zoo is always a great visit and deserves longer than we were able to give it. This however was followed by a visit with John and Leah for a classic BBQ supper. Elaine and Leo and their kids joined us for this one, along with a friend of John and Leah’s, Tony. It was a full house, but a really nice time. The bongo (?) ball game between the guys was classically interrupted by the girls, especially with Celeste’s attempts to jinx Eddy’s throws with “Don’t….Don’t….Don’t….Miss!”
Sunday Tanya, Arlen, Stella, and Kyann had to leave for home. We were sorry to see them go, but were grateful for the visit. The afternoon was spent at the CrossIron Mills mall. Nice, Big place! We managed NOT to visit Bass Pros and Outdoor Gear stores. We had been warned that they were huge and VERY distracting! One can happily get lost in those two stores and we just didn’t have time for that kind of distraction. Jessica was extremely joyful at finally finding her Converse high-tops, though. She managed to find not only a pair that fit, but also a pair themed with Dr. Seuss. I can’t remember which book, but she knows it from her performance of Seussical Musical this summer. She was very happy. After the mall we dropped Mom off at home and joined John, Eddys family, and Elaine’s family at McMahon Stadium for a CFL football game between the Stampeders and Eskimos. What a game! I’m ashamed to say how pathetically the Esks played. The Stamps truly massacred them! The score was 56 (I think) to 15. The Esks just couldn’t hold on to the ball if it killed them. They were so frustrated by the end there ended up being a couple of fights resulting a disqualification of players from both teams. Poor John ended up sitting at the end of our row next to me, and all I kept doing was asking him questions about the game, since this was the first game I’d been to that I wasn’t freezing my ass off. He was awesome with me though. Jessica was having fun using the horn I bought her. You can so tell that girl used to swim competitively! Damn she could hold a note for a long time! Dan didn’t see much of the game because the girls, Anna and Cassie, were busy distracting him and visiting. I’m not sure how everyone else did because I made the mistake of purchasing a row of seats rather than breaking us up into two or three rows, which I will make sure to do next time. I think we all still had a good time, though.
Today, Monday, was time to head to Edmonton. We managed to spread a three-hour drive over seven hours by detouring through Horseshoe Canyon and Drumheller. At Horseshoe Canyon Dan and the kids went for a helicopter ride while I went for a hike in the canyon. No, I did not find the cache I was looking for because I was stupid enough to think it might be IN the canyon even though the title of the cache was “Lookout for the Horseshoes”. The ‘Lookout’ part should have clued me in. Damn it. Essentially I ran out of time to go back up and around to where it likely is. Drumheller was a shorter visit as the Greek restaurant we wanted to stop at for a snack doesn’t actually open until 4:00 in the afternoon, which we really should have known anyway. So we stopped instead for ice cream and a brief walk in the spray park at the information centre, the one where the giant T-Rex is. The rest of the way in to Edmonton went up to Stettler before crossing over to the QEII, and included stops at a couple of quick caches, including one at a railroad graveyard where we met a couple of girls on their motor bikes and told them about geocaching, and one where I managed to crack my skull with the lid of a roadside garbage can. There was another one cleverly hidden in a maglight near a freshwater pump.
We finished the day with supper at Red Robin’s and a movie.
It was such an awesome visit! We were very sad to be leaving also…but did make it to IKEA! Kyann is still asking about her cousins and the boy…lol! Thanks for the invite and hope to see you all soon. Love you guys and miss you too! From , on Aug 18, 2010 at 05:00AM
Okay, I obviously didn’t get enough time to enter any log entries during this last week of our travels. So this final entry is going to cover the whole thing.
After arriving in Edmonton on the 16th we spent the morning and most of the afternoon of the 17th shopping for wedding clothes for the boys and other particular items. It took a couple tries and excellent tailoring to get a pair of pants that fit the Boy, but we got ‘er done. We then got to spend a very pleasant evening with Micheline, Frank, and Alcina. What a doll Alcina is! She’s just precious! It was so nice to see them and I wish we could have spent more time with them.
Wednesday involved baking carrot cakes and cupcakes at Mom’s for her wedding this weekend. One would think this would be fairly simple, and it really was, except that the bride-to-be seemed to be humming and hawing about how tall her cake should be. Jessica made two 14″ diameter by about 2″ high cakes intending to layer them. When we left, Dan looked at me and said, “You think she’s going to make another cake tonight?”
Wednesday evening was our visit to the World Water Park at WEM. We had a great time! By going in the evening there were no lines, there was only one slide that wasn’t open, and the wave pool wasn’t too crowded. The Girl, Boy, and Man all partook of Nessie’s Revenge (this is a tall tri-level slide), of which we were very proud of the Boy for doing. They all repeatedly did this ride. In fact, Jessica challenged Dan to a race down it and, thinking he was being smart, Dan decided to try and speed himself up by putting his hands under his butt. His theory was that by sliding on as much skin as possible, as opposed to fabric, he should slide faster. He did win the race, but in the process, because his arms were UNDERNEATH him, he managed to catch his arm under him on one of the jumps so that it tried to rip away from his shoulder. His shoulder was pretty tender for quite a while. They followed Nessie’s Revenge with attempts on the practically vertical Sky Screamer. Dan had done this one before, so it really wasn’t an issue for him. Jessica hesitated only twice before taking Jarod’s goggles and showing him how it was done: “See, you just don’t look down, don’t think about it, and just gooooooaaaaaahhhhhh!” Jarod hummed and hawed, looked down, moved away, hummed, hawed, sat down, got back up, moved away, hummed some more, hawed some more, and then finally decided he wasn’t ready to do it. We all acknolwedged that if he can do it before he turns 14 then he’ll have beaten Jessica.
Thursday morning was supposed to be for decorating the wedding cake and cupcakes. Of course as soon as we arrived Dan’s supposition was confirmed. There was a third layer to the cake baked and ready to go. Now, I say ‘Thursday morning was supposed to be for decorating’ and it was used for that purpose. So was Thursday afternoon. The bride-to-be had to pick carrot cake, which means we had to use cream cheese icing for the base. Had we done such a large cake before in cream cheese icing we would have known that it would be okay to add much more icing sugar to the icing in order to make it thicker and managable. We did not know this. So although we did make it a little thicker than normal, it took constantly keeping it cold once it was on the cake to keep it from melting off the cake. Of course, I also made the mistake of actually starting my mother’s dishwasher when I realized she had forgotten to do so. If I had just left the darned thing until later I would not have made the kitchen so warm in the first place for the icing to melt from. The actual decorations were done in buttercream icing, which worked just fine. Sort of. The icing itself was perfect. Colouring the first batch of icing also worked perfectly. Colouring the second batch of icing, not so perfect. See, we didn’t measure the amount of food colouring we used on the first batch. So of course we couldn’t get it right on the second batch without ending up making a double-batch and adding a little bit of violet here and a little bit of black there to finally get something even close to the eggplant colour we got on the first batch. It was all very frustrating, but we finally got everything done to everyone’s relative satisfaction by around 4:30 in the afternoon.
In the meantime I had planned to get together after many, many years with my friend Lisa P. at the science centre at 4:00. When 1:30 rolled around I realized this visit wasn’t going to be able to happen, so while Jessica fought with the buttercream icing colour I called Lisa and visited on the phone for about an hour. I so wish it could have been longer! And in person! Now that we’ve reconnected I’m confident we’ll be talking more often on the phone.
Friday was our spa day. Mom, Antje, Jessica and I went to Spasation for manicures and pedicures. Jessica had never had either and Antje had never had a pedicure (who knew!) so this was fun. Jessica of course had a condition to going for this at all. She came away with a big grin on her face due to the lime green nail polish she chose. Anyway, it was a lovely, relaxing few hours with the girls followed by a quick bite at Red Robin’s. Once we returned to Mom’s place she got another surprise: her two sisters had driven in from BC for the wedding and didn’t tell her they were coming. Even Uncle Mike and Uncle Bob came!
The evening was spent at the church having dinner, decorating the hall, and doing the rehearsal. This is where I finally met my new step siblings (actually, I had met Laura and her kiddies earlier, but not the brothers). There’s Laura and her three children (her husband, Mike, couldn’t make it); Michael and his two girls and his girlfriend, Debbie, and her two kids; and John and his two boys and his fiance, Vanessa. They’re all pretty cool people and Martin and I got along well with them. The rehearsal, as a result, was rather chaotic as none of us could seem to contain our mirth – or perhaps the cause of our mirth. Let me just say there was lots of hair pulling and fake farts. Feel free to roll your eyes at this point.
Saturday was the wedding itself, which went off without a hitch (although there was some hair pulling and a very discrete fake fart). Although anxious about being in front of so many people, Andy held himself together very well and totally relaxed after the ceremony. Mom of course cried during the vows, but they were happy tears. We got to see some family we hadn’t seen in a long time, and met some of our new family. Photos were taken near a small man-made lake nearby. The reception was fun and the food was great (huge thanks to Rachelle and George, who just rock!)
Sunday was the potluck at Paul and Sarah’s acreage. Pretty much everyone came for that and we got to visit more with our new siblings and with family we hadn’t seen in a while, including new family members. My cousin’s new baby is just adorable and I’m so glad we got to meet him! DJ even got a picture of Jarod holding Jamie… I just love those pictures. Jarod is so good with babies and little kids. My Uncle Mike turned 70, as well, so his birthday was celebrated, too.
After that Dan, Jarod, Jessica and I went to see ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’, which turned out to be one of the funniest and entertaining movies I’ve seen in a long time. And it’s Canadian! Gotta love it!
I’m probably forgetting some cool stuff, but for now I guess that’s it. Oh! The wildlife count: obviously nothing relevant during the week. On the 23rd we saw maybe three hawks, one of which we witnessed literally drop from the sky to catch it’s prey just outside of Morinville. The 24th had much better results with six bison, five deer, three hawks, at least a dozen geese, and one hitchiker. Not in that order. If you want it more or less in order of sighting then it would be something like three hawks, five deer, a dozen geese, six bison, and a hitchiker.
Until next time!