Wednesday, September 15, 2010

good-bye moose jaw....hello Drumheller

Rolling into Moose Jaw at about 9pm on the longest day ever was......blissful. Again taking direction from my electronic inner voice of the GPS. The kids getting tired, hungry and ready to stretch their legs. I took direction and left hwy 1 at the first exit and entered "the jaw" with it hitting past dusk in unfamiliar surroundings, I am sensing the same feeling as Sudbury and this inner voice has led us AGAIN to a less desirable part of town. Sure the GPS route is a easy thoughtless process leading you into any neighbourhood and I do mean the "hood" Silence was broken by a very observant 6yr old dramatically declaring that he hopes he doesn't die here!

Great! Now I am tired and grumpy and wondering what the heck are we doing! As Jeff pulled up puzzled, I handed the GPS to him and said I am done for the day......your turn!

Taking the hint, hubby found a wonderful hotel "suite" with a cozy bed comfy pillows...I am sure he exceeded our agreed upon amount for nightly accommodations. Now having done a big stint of driving is it worth it to stretch your days to achieve maximum KPH to get a good lead on your travels.........I'd say NO! As the double thick curtains were closed, we slept through the night and good part of the morning, we are no further ahead then if we would of stopped early and started early. But the acconidations rocked!

Hitting the Alberta boarder was exciting, knowing that we were going to be in the company of an old friend this afternoon held our spirits high! But where are the mountains?

The hello sign came and went and there was still no sign of mountain to be seen, just large vast Fields of crops that meets the horizon. Now I get it! This is why people say the prairies are soooo long they go right into Alberta. I guess I was naive to assume that crop lands stop right at the welcome sign and the majestic mountains would be there to greet us....if you stop and listen I am sure you can still hear Jeff me!

Our destination for the day is Drumheller Dino capital of the world in Alberta. This day will be a slice as the wonderful hospitality of an old friend who has arranged our campsite for us at a great park.....on a long weekend. Again, the effect of the No plan, plan could of been detrimental to our travels...phew Thanks Terrina!

We kept driving and wondering just where would people go camping here? We then descended into the deep canyon lands of Drumheller.....this phenomenal wonder that mother nature has created in the middle of farm land is truly something to see and as mentioned before also the Dino capital. The worlds largest dino lives here, you get to climb up the dino and look out his mouth at the town of Drumheller. For a small fee of

Yes he is that big, that is Caleb and I on the foot of the Dino! We couldn't even get the head in the

The family who owned the campground housed lots of bunnies, wabbits and cottontails. This little one was the size of a 1/2 of a cob of corn. It was hours of fun for Sephora walking and chatting with her new little friends. Caleb on the other hand was gone as soon as his bike came off the trailer. After setting boundaries and gearing up the walkie talkies he was off with the local campground kids, hunting wabbits.

Happy to be out of the car and camping even if it was raining!

Whoever says 1 yr old can't camp have not met mine! Both of our kids love the outdoors and love to cuddle up at night in the trailer, boys on one side girls on the other.

The Hoodoos

I had not even heard of the hoodoos before arriving in Alberta. We almost didn't make it to see them as It was a last minute decision to meet up with Terrina before she left town. It was the most spectacular land formation, especially that we found it in the prairies. Enjoy the pics!

The fam:)

There was a stone path that led you through the formations.
It was very mucky from the rain, about 3inches of muck in my
boots, but fun none the less.

Terrina and me :)

Eager to get on the road we left Drumheller a day early as we were wanting to get past the boarder into BC. In the distance at the horizon line you can see the mountains forming....I know they look like pointy clouds with a silver lining, I was reassured they are mountains followed by another chuckle.

I have pretty much mastered my picture taking out the window technique but will be happy to be able to relax and enjoy the outdoors once we arrive in golden with my clicker!

I am leaving the next set of pix for my next blog as this one has taken me sooo long to produce.
Hope you enjoyed it

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

the praries.........ooh how I enjoyed you

Our drive out of Dryden was rainy and grey and a perfect way to spend the a car heading out of Ontario. Ontario being the longest leg of our travels, seeing the end of it was exciting. Wondering about what the new terrain of our expedition will be like, we were happy to see the speed limit higher to 110 as we flee Ontario.

Hitting the Manitoba boarder came fast and confusing with being in the thick of construction we flew by the signs and visitor I am wanting the essential photo op of boarder signs. However this time it was not an option but am skillfully working on my picture taking and driving at the same time abilities....which seem to be coming along wonderfully as you will see in future blogs :)

Grey skies are lingering over us but in the horizon I can see lighter, brighter skies. Like my favorite fictional literature character Miss. Marianne Dashwood " Look! There is some blue sky! Let's chase it" And we did. As we took a turn off of tran 1, leading us to subway, not knowing that a simple decision as to eat in the prairies could lead us to a 20 min drive away from our target destination. None the less our tummies and tanks are full and we are ready for more.

Who says the Prairies are boring..........being a first timer in these parts, I found the prairies full of bountiful shades of green, fruitful labour of our farmers have been kind to us. I am sure at some point these large vast lands has feed me and my family at some point of our lives and I am taking this moment to appreciate this! Ok that is over now......the shade is great here is radiant but not the quenching green I am thirsting for.
ARRRR MATIE ! Prairie pirates!

With skies like these the future feels bright, we fall comfortably into finding shapes out of clouds. Dino's with big feet, tigers lieing on rocks and camels with 10 humps. The brilliant blue sky and the clouds that have quite clearly been painted with purpose in their can anyone say this land is boring

We drove a good long portion of our day. This perticular day we started out in Dryden, Ontario passed through Manitoba and ended in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. The longest day of driving for the entire adventure.

At this time I should reflect on the how the rest of the family is holding up. Papa is tailgating in the uhaul behind me our wee man is hitching a ride between the two vehicles the little lady is with the mama. The pets are adapting to the travels in stellar mode. Only the one incident of Houdini the dog getting out of the uhaul in N. Ontario, in which the alpha male caught him by the tail just in time....phew. All in all we are all flourishing in this new life on the road.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

a tid bit about Dryden.........a gem of mankind

We rolled in to dryden at dinner time with lodgings on the mind. Hoping that we can find a much better choice in under a hour to be able to have the evening to ourselves, playing cards, games and enjoying the night!

Our "NEW" modified no plan, plan materialized from the thought process of the alpha male in this house hold, and I must say is quite inventive......."where ever you see hydro guys stopped for the night, that is where we will go"

What a fantastic idea, and true to the word.....we a found clean, comfortable, animal friendly and smoke-free digs. Also under $100 tax included.

The wonderful thing about a small town is that they all have the family restaurant that provides travellers with the homemade selections of comfort food......and dryden didn't disappoint.

With the local boomers having the daily special of Salisbury steak and choice of veg, we met a kind old fella with a wonderful french dialect. As my ear zeroed in on his mobile conversation only recognize he was calling his mate

Sephora and I passed him several times and each time we passed he spoke in his beast Donald duck voice....stopping Sephora in her shoes. I was at that point flooded with memories of my childhood of making the same request to my uncle Paul to talk to me as Donald only to giggle in hysterics. The generation gap seems so large that day between me and my kids, it was a lovely memory to have. I am sure Sephoras memories will be slightly different as that voice to her is the sign of pre-historic times or dinosaurs and woolly mammoths. We both enjoyed the encounter with this gentleman just in our own ways.

off to Saskatchewan....via Manitoba.........

Friday, September 3, 2010

places we've been.....

Day 3
Terrace Bay-Dryden, still in Ontario.........

We pulled out of Terrace Bay in record time in the morning, ready for the open road, hot java and my morning fling with CBC radio 1. Driving along side Superior wondering why I haven't taken this drive sooner. In turn this leads me and my psyche to check in with my conscious and make the realization that this is a one way destination. There is no returning to, returning from, just a one way passage.......

Enjoying the vast array of landscape of my Native Land we have decided to take it easy today, enjoy what we see, take a little time to stop and explore. Our main event for today is Panorama Amethyst Quarry just east of t-bay. Caleb being stoked to "get diggin" and spend sometime out of doors. We made the turn off Trans-Canada 1. The beaten path was beaten for sure......It could be considered the LONG beaten path up a couple very steep hills that was not only travelled by the Van but the Uhaul as well. The road signs, homemade by I assume the company owner directing our way right to them, left me with the feeling of Burt Reynolds in Deliverance and that at any point someone would jump out with a banjo demanding I squeal like a pig. But to my delight when we arrived there was people to be seen and RVs parked......phew

For 6 bucks to enter you get a 5 min guided tour of the Quarry, buckets and diggers. What ever you find you can keep at the cost of 3$ per pound, which is a good handful of gems.

There is different types of Amethyst all hosted by Granite Stone. It starts off a quartz in the cracks of the time goes by and different minerals change the quartz into amethyst....mostly by the addition of Iron in different amounts. The most rare is actually black in color. Enjoy the pictures!

The Quarry

You start digging with the Iron rod they provide and then spray water on the dig spot to wash away the mud and dirt and peel up rocks. Some are granite and some are quartz and some are amethyst.

Yes! True this piece is being sold for $600. Customers will come to pick stone for mantels, yard deco they have such an array of stone for sale. All owned and operated by one family.

Once you have picked your pieces, you get to wash and weigh your gems and purchase if you so wish. Caleb, Jeff and Sephora, picked a piece each for themselves. Me...well mine came polishes and set in silver and ready to wear around my

A fantastic time, well worth the drive ONTO the beaten path! And the bright side is that I get to practise gearing down for when we get into the mountains :)

The best part is the three nice gems they picked cost only a dollar to take home!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

on the road.......finely

Our closing day came and went without a hitch thanks to our wonderful hand picked team of Realtors and lawyers and coutos to the clerks as As we all know who does the most hands on work. We left 141 with a full load in our uhaul that had been bungied very tight in the back, not only for safety but the door wouldn't close. So ladies and gents if your spouse says "well, I think we may need the bigger truck".....just get it! With all said we have officially hit the road.


arriving in Sudbury the same night as closing so eager to get the heck out of dodge, with our handy early present from the folks a GPS. Surly having this little piece of technology this is the best part of the no plan, plan that we have decided was our plan. Until we arrive to our destination hotel in Sudbury, Greater Sudbury to be exact to get here you need to pass many many hotels, motels and the Hilton! But as our fearless leader I kept persevering through and industrial area which lead me to where I imagine the homeless spend there time with there pals to a Quality Inn. The look on my hubby's face was far from pleased....only to ask "Why didn't you stop, back there" Well this wonderful GPS as you most know talks to you and it kept telling me where to I went. My advise to all would be maybe the no plan, plan needs to be modified.


Keeping with the morning schedule of coffee at the hotel stopping in Sault St Marie for breakfast went as smoothly as can be. With Caleb, Jeff and the pooch driving the uhaul and me driving the cat and the screaming banshee in the van, lunch couldn't have come sooner. As I toss back treats to Sephie with skilled accuracy to keep the high pitch scream to a minimum I saw the 17 west sign with the trans Canada beneath and it was all OK. Especially when the cat meeeaowed and Sephora looks under her legs and beside her car seat.

Heading NW on the shoreline of Lake Superior hitting the outskirts of who knows where this beautiful rugged landscape popped up. As I climbed the hills and drove through the forests of Northern Ontario I was in awe of this beautiful peaceful place. We stopped at a look out and enjoyed the breathtaking view of cliffs and waves hitting the rocky shoreline. Then divied up the gift basket from the Nutty Chocolatier for our next portion of the drive.

The kids were lulled to sleep by the sweet sounds of Jack Johnson which gave us the long stint of driving we had been looking for all day. We finely decided to stop in Marathon with two happy kids and two parents who were satisfied with the driving and still had enough energy for some evening fun. UNTIL.......the hotel search, we decided to stop at the first one another travel lodge two nights a charm but could only provide a smoking room or a king size room. It was recommended that we hit another hotel down the road who accepted pets...yay! Not so lucky that time either. As I am unloading the bags Caleb asks me "where is the guy with the cart?" uuummm well this is not one of those kinds of hotels buddy......we enter the room and can't possibly stay here due to the horrendous smell. I wouldn't consider us the fussy type........just no really bad smells or smokey rooms

An hour later we have settled down at the Red Dog Inn In Terrace Bay, a lovely town right on Lake Superior with wifi as our cells have not had service since the Soux.

The road travelled thus far has been fantastic! The pets are unexpectantly great travelling companions and Caleb is on cloud nine driving in the uhaul and Sephie....well for the most part she has a smile but who knows what she thinks.


PS: a few people told us to get walkie talkies.....which may be our next purchase as we hit Thunder-Bay which is our close to 1/2 way point to Golden.