With the 'For Sale' sign up in front of our house, I really did not look forward to keeping the house clean while we did showings and an open house, so I packed up the van with everything I might need for 2 weeks with the kids, and we headed to Alberta. I was a bit anxious to do the drive by myself, so I decided that we would stop in Golden for a night. I chose a cheap motel that had a pool with a slide and free breakfast, so the kids thought it was great, especially the statue of "Boo" the resident bear in the reserve on Kicking Horse mountain.
So we spent half the day exploring Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Gondola up, then long, long, long hike down. I confess I wasn't initially intending to do such a long hike with them, so the kids might have complained a few times (!!), but I thought it was beautiful and would have really enjoyed it without the serenade of whining. There were parts that they did enjoy, though.
When we finally made it to the Grizzly bear refuge, we were rewarded with a good view of Boo...
But then he just kept coming closer and closer, so the kids were pretty happy and forgot about the "pain and agony" just experienced.
Max also found a super cool looking spider.
On the chair lift ride down to the parking, I managed to drop my awesome (and expensive) hiking pants, so that was a not-so-nice finish to the maybe-not-the-best-day ever, but a day at the mountains is till a good day, despite everything else.
We arrived in Calgary and Stacey & Todd's place just after dinner time, but the first thing the kids wanted to do was go on a bike ride with their cousin, James, to the playground. I clued in quickly that my kids were not going to be keeping to their regular sleeping schedule during our trip.
The next day was Canada Day, so Stacey planned a day at Heritage Park. It's quite a place that could take a couple days to see everything.
We met up with Krista and Al there too.
There were fair rides!
This was Callum's third and final ride of the day (you can see them waving), since he got off feeling quite ill from motion sickness, then threw up shortly after. Poor kid, but he felt better after puking!
And Simon was excited to go on ride in a steam train, after visiting the bountiful candy store.
That night, Todd and his family prepared a back-yard fire-pit to roast marshmallows and make S'mores! The next day was slightly more low-key, visiting Krista in her "backyard" for some "boating" on the river.
Friday was Stampede day!! Growing up in Edmonton, my parents never took me to the Calgary Stampede, so I decided this was a perfect opportunity! Stacey and Noah got up super early to meet Karlyn and her boyfriend along the Parade route to save us seats along the sidewalk. I confess that I had high expectations and, well... there were a lot of horses (but I didn't bother including any pics of them here since they were kinda boring)!!
So, maybe my parade expectations weren't met, but, after having to walk to the Stampede grounds in the rather hazy heat, (because the C-train was just too crazy full), the rest of the day was pretty great - I was so impressed at how well the boys behaved, how patient they were, and how long they lasted.
The boys wanted to play everything - right in the gates, they stood and waited to play a water-squirting game (to raise trucks on hydraulics), which Simon won, then Callum and Max waited for 30mins to participate in kid chuck-wagon races (with stuffed horses), which neither of them won.
They were super stoked to be able to sit in the seat of a fighter-jet and go inside a real army tank.
We managed to choose a few rides that wouldn't cause Callum to feel sick, including the ferris wheel, a tame roller-coaster and bumper cars.
We took a bit of a break to enjoy the Super-Dogs show (in an air-conditioned building, hallelujah) before not-eating the $17 turkey leg for dinner but the boys tried their first corn dog (of which apparently I have lost a few photos...Hmm). At the end of the day, Callum and Max did some rock-climbing while Simon was exhausted and lying on the ground with his head on the backpack to rest.
As we were walking out of the park at nearly 8:00pm, after nearly 12 hours of doing Stampede activities, Max asks me, "Mom, when are we going to get to the Stampede?"...!!! Apparently, he was expecting to see more cowboys and bulls and rodeo-type stuff... So we decided that we better plan another day at the Stampede to see the rodeo... but that was after going to see Dinosaurs!... (to be continued).