This May Long Weekend, we went on a camping trip into BC. I (Ryan) took my newest motorcycle, and Amanda took the van with the kids. I had each of the older two kids ride with me intermittently as it seemed convenient and as they expressed desire to do so.
Here's a breakdown of the trip:
Friday, May 19: We left home around 8:00 or 9:00am and went through Banff, then turned south and passed through Radium, BC. Late in the afternoon we arrived at Cranbrook, BC and had a meal at Wendy's. Then we went to the Fort Steele Campground about 6 kms away from Cranbrook, picked a nice spot, and set up camp.
Saturday, May 20: We went to Creston, BC to see their parade and experience their farmer's market. Josh bought a crystal necklace with a skull on it. The Latin-American Indian woman who sold it to him told us that she found the crystal on her way to Machu Picchu.
On the way back, Abigail rode with me on the bike. We have a system where I tap her leg three times and she has to tap me back three times so that I know she's not asleep. But at some point in the ride, I got suspicious and tapped on her leg three times. Nothing. I tapped again. Nothing. So I began to pull over. When I was getting close to the shoulder, I started to feel her tip off to the right - she was falling off the bike! I screeched to a halt and threw my left arm back to keep her from tipping. Miraculously, I was able to keep control of the bike. (In fact, I was a lot calmer than I thought I should be.) Before I knew it, Amanda, who was following behind in the van, was right there scooping up Abigail to take her in to the van. After that, Abigail had to be bungied down to the bike when she rode with me.
On Saturday evening, what became probably the most memorable experience for the kids - we went to Guardians of the Galaxy 2 at the movie theatre in Cranbrook.
After we got back to camp, we cooked hotdogs and ate smores before heading to bed. The kids slept a lot better on night two, probably because they were very tired.
Sunday, May 21: On Sunday, we went and had breakfast at McDonald's in Cranbrook. Then we went in to Fort Steele so the kids could experience that fun ghost town that I have such fond memories of as a kid. However, the kids didn't seem to really care too much for the ghost town itself. They loved the camping, but Fort Steele itself was not especially great for them. We had some cinnamon buns at the bakery but ultimately left relatively early in the day and without seeing all of the sites.
When we got back to camp, Josh and I went up the hills of the Fort Steele campground, deep into the woods "hunting for Bigfoot," until I was almost afraid of getting lost. That night we started another fire and had more hotdogs and snacks. At Abigail's request, I told "scary" stories around the fire. (I would just make these stories up right off the top of my head.) She was so insistent for stories, and I was so anxious for her to settle down and go to bed, that I told a genuinely freaky story about the "Cricklechirp" that can take the shape of people. It freaked her out for a few nights afterward.
Monday, May 22: When we woke up on Monday, we packed up and headed for home. We stopped in Radium for lunch and had pizza and ice cream. That was a long stop, and the service at the pizza parlor was terrible. On the way back home we made a brief stop at Banff to get some pop to drink. Then Amanda and I got separated on the road, and I ended up getting stuck in horribly slow traffic going east on Hiway 1. Slow traffic for hours is not a fun experience on my air-cooled Road Star, that needs a brisk wind to cool the engine. It was very hot and frustrating with how slow the traffic was moving.
When I got home Amanda was already there, and so was our friend Alyssa Erickson, in town for a friends photoshoot with Amanda the next day.