Vacation

So, this week I went on vacation with my children….and my husband. What a joyful experience to drive for 4 hours with three children. Thank God for our DVD system in the car! I remember driving in the car on long trips with my own family. Yes, we played the games that all the children played back then….things like “I spy” and “ABC signs” and so on. But we also played “Pinch your brother” and “Poke your sister”. Parents would also get in on the action with the “Don’t make me pull over…” and the ever so popular “over the seat backwards arm swat that usually hit everyone but the intended target”.

Lets just say that Alberta doesn’t necessarily have the most fantastic scenery….at least not along the route that we were taking. We saw canola, then we saw wheat, then we saw barley. Oooohh, aaaaahhh.

So, the kids watched movies or played their gameboys. Oh, right, as dayhome boy reminds me every time I make the mistake of saying gameboy, “it’s a DS, not a gameboy.” I know it kid, I really do, but I’m OLD, and I revert to calling things what they were when I was a kid. I now understand why grandma always said “britches”.

Anyhow, we finally get to our destination, Three Hills. Not a big place by any stretch of the imagination, but nice. According to the information booklet in our hotel room, the population there was just over 3, 400. They have TWELVE churches….for 3000 people. Just in case you don’t know, I’m Muslim….and I wear a head-scarf. Let’s just say that I felt a little like a carrot that managed to find it’s way into a bowl of peas.

We got there on a Sunday evening. After a long, hot drive, we were looking for someplace to eat. There was the Mission Restaurant (which we later found out had been “closed until further notice” back in May), there was an Italian place (closed Sundays) a Greek place (closed Sundays) and a restaurant that “specialized in Italian and Chinese Buffets” (cause that’s always a great combo). The name of this place was E&W Buffet. When your restaurant spells “ew”, it’s not a place I want to go. It was closed anyhow. It was Sunday!

We finally find out that there’s a pizza hut, as well as an A&W, both were in the same food court (which consisted of Pizza Hut, A&W, and a slush machine). I walked into A&W and the restaurant literally fell silent. I’ve never experienced that before….like in a movie, when a character says something spectacular and private, and the whole restaurant stops. But, we ate our burgers and fries, took the kids out to a field to run around and then went back to our hotel.

The next day, we drove down to Drumheller. We went to the Royal Tyrrell Museum (which is really amazing). Baby (and actually, I should change that to Toddler now) screamed the whole time through. Well, not the whole time, because there were moments when he had to stop to take a breath. Daughter and Son quickly glanced at the dinosaurs and did the obligatory “wow” and moved on to the next item. Husband, however, sauntered through the place and read every last bit and piece of info on any little tag that was there. I’m sure that at this point, he could have an honorary degree in paleontology.

After the morning in the museum, we decided to spend the afternoon someplace cool and air conditioned. We went to Reptile World where the kids got to see lizards, snakes, and crocodiles. Still can’t figure out why they had frogs and salamanders (amphibians) in a place called Reptile World, but that’s neither here nor there. They got to hold a snake and that was cool enough for them. I had been to Reptile World when I was a child, and I remember it as being the coolest place with animals of all kinds. To go back to the same place 20 years later is a little disappointing. Quite frankly, I look at the cost we spent to get in ($25 for the family) and I see the cages, the pathetic decor and I think, “I paid $25 for this?” But again, the kids really enjoyed it.

After these two places, there really wasn’t a heck of a lot to do out there. Not anything that’s not screaming “tourists, come and spend obscene amounts of money on pathetic attractions here”. After a long, hot day out in the sun, I was looking forward to getting a cool and creamy Iced Cap from Tim Horton’s. Neither Drumheller nor Three Hills has one! Sacrilege, I tell you!!!

After an hour long drive back to Three Hills, we went for a walk (and found out that the Mission restaurant was closed) and managed to find a Subway. Mmmm…Subway sandwiches. Toddler managed to throw a fit there too. Tossing his food on the floor, squeezing his juice out of the box, and being….well, a toddler! We went back to the hotel, put the kids to bed and hoped for a better day…

We had planned for the next day in Drumheller to be our “out door” activity day. We woke up to rain, and heard on the morning news that there would be scattered showers in the morning and sunny in the afternoon. We thought that would have been perfect, as it would be cool in the afternoon then.

After another morning of the continental breakfast at the hotel (which was a good breakfast), trying to scarf down food while chasing after a toddler who’s biggest thrill is the giant automatic doors…we get in the car and head back to Drumheller. Problem #1, the rain did NOT stop. Probelm #2, the rain got really heavy. Big, fat, giant raindrops.

Well, we’ll tour in the rain, that’s fine, right? Problem #3, the Hoo Doo’s, by their very nature, are slowly eroding. Rain helps that. When it rains, the Hoo Doo’s are closed, you cannot walk through on the paths. They are like a sugar candy on a cake….look hard and sturdy, but touch your tongue to it, and you can feel it disolve. So, item number one on the itinerary was cancelled.

So were other ideas of taking a hike along the many walking/hiking paths. Instead, we drove. They have 2 “loops” that you can drive. We did both. We saw canyons and old mines. We walked on a suspension bridge (in the rain). We saw more canola, wheat and barley, too! There were some cool, old-style wooden bridges on one of the tours…that was kinda intersting. The kids? Oh, they didn’t notice. They had long since been watching Shrek and only looked up to say “I’m hungry” or “are we there yet?”

That night, we went to a place in Three Hills called Athens. It’s a Greek restuarant (duh), but the food was fan-freaking-tastic. Don’t let the measly little front entrance of this place fool you. It was amazing.

That’s it. I’m tired, but I’ve got another story about what happened today brewing in my head…gotta plan it out so that you stay interseted!!