The Great Family Roadtrip 2010, Day 8

We were up perhaps a bit earlier than I’d thought we’d be up, but I’d also forgotten we were stopping in Redcliff to visit Marnie and her kids. Thankfully, Grandpa had enough sense to jumpstart us for the day. That didn’t necessarily mean we were moving particularly quickly, but at least early enough to make a difference.

That, and two cups of coffee, of course…

Although Swift Current was inundated with fog when we got up, the sun had burned its way through before we hit the road for Alberta. The sky didn’t look threatening, but there was enough doubt there to suggest we might see some rain along the way. As I stands, the only things that hit the windshield today were bugs.

A curious thing I’ve noticed about Saskatchewan, and I’d love to know the reason for it. East of Swift Current, there are lots of little towns scattered along the Trans Canada (keeping in mind that the Trans Canada more-or-less follows the route of the Canadian Pacific mainline, which was how people got out here in the first place way back when). West of Swift Current, however, there ain’t much. It’s almost a void. It could because the terrain transforms from grasslands to scrublands, and eventually to badlands. Even parts of Alberta were settled only when Canadian Pacific built a water viaduct through Brooks to bring water to an otherwise desolate area.

A little over two hours after leaving Swift Current, we passed across the border into Alberta. Oddly enough, I felt really good about that, even though we still had over three hours to get to Calgary. We were still far from home.

We shot through Medicine Hat, and turned into the town just east of it called Redcliff. Mommy’s friend Marnie lives there, and she’d dropped a hint (through Facebook — I wonder if it’ll still be around when you get around to reading this) that we should stop in on our way back. Marnie was pregnant with her third baby at the same time Mommy was pregnant with Choo Choo, so there was some desire to meet the newborns.

Monkey, we didn’t see much of you. You played with Marnie’s two older daughters. Sadly, I think this officially turned you into a little girl, too. Until now, Mommy and I have done our best to try and butch you up. You have a grand total of two dresses … one of which was actually a gift for Choo Choo, but you fit it (until recently, anyway). But you discovered the joy of dress-up, and ran around as a princess. You were beyond happy, so much so I’m certain you were sad to leave. But we had to get back to Calgary in time to pick up Asia from her kitty hotel.

Grandpa had told me on the way out that the worst stretch of the entire Trans Canada Highway is the part between Calgary and Medicine Hat. At the time, I’d disagreed, having an albeit vague memory of Medicine Hat to Swift Current. I drove the final stretch home, and I have since apologised to Grandpa — he’s right, that three hours is terribly long and dull. It’s flat, featureless, nearly devoid of any towns, and the only real sense of you moving is the endless stretches of telephone poles and/or electrical towers.

Oh, and something else I noticed. When you see a dimensional load on trucks in Saskatchewan, it’s farm equipment. In Alberta, it’s oil equipment.

We screamed into the Rainbow Pet Centre around 16:15, and retrieved our poor lonely kitty. We did our best to shoot across Calgary in building rush hour traffic, and arrived home just after 17:00. Monkey, you were quite content to stay outside and read, rather than go in the house. Though when you did, you really wanted to just get into your own bed. I don’t blame you in the slightest.

We had our first (mostly) home-cooked meal since leaving town a week ago, and it felt good to sit at our own table.

On a positive note, this was an excellent first family trip. It wasn’t an easy one, by any means, but both of you kids did very well in the car for such long times. It’s not easy being stuck in those seats with so little to do. (Well, for Monkey, anyway. Choo Choo, you tended to sleep. Which is exactly the right thing.) We’ll have to see how we do these in the future, as I’m not sure we’re going to be going such a long distance again for a while. I’m of the opinion that the trek to the homestead should wait until you’re both quite a bit older, and would appreciate it a lot more.

Like, 10 years or so…