Earlier this year I traveled into the wilds by myself with our three wild kids through Saskatchewan, through Alberta, to halfway through British Columbia. To Prince George, in fact. The place, not the child. As they say, it was an adventure.
On The Way to BC
It is not a small trip. Approximately 1200km, actually. This is not the first time I’ve done this trip without another adult with me. The difference this time is that instead of using the Pontiac Vibe (which is currently for sale, if you’re interested), which squished the kids in the back, we had a van. And it made a world of a difference.
I am not insane to do a trip this long with the kids. We had one overnight on the way, shortly before the green park space, also known as Jasper National Park. As of yet, I have not found a suitable place to stay on the way; there are a number of small cities and the place we stayed in wasn’t perhaps the best out of them all. I am still searching. I expand on the troubles I had further on.
The kids managed to be manageable. They were long driving days, sometimes with a mad dash to find a washroom. Perhaps too many Storybots songs. I used our portable DVD player when I could feel my nerves being frazzled. I tried to keep it away until close to my breaking point. The kids brought toys, we had lot of books. Maybe too many. I think having fewer would have been better for the books (they were often strewn on the floor and stepped on). I bought the kids these Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pads, which were actually really great, just not in the van. They were too large to stay on their laps, so they lost interest pretty quickly while sitting. They were played with more once we were out of the van. I remember having something similar when I was a little girl, and I remember loving it.
There were definitely stress points. I booked a hotel with good reviews, but turned out to actually in a bad part of town. It was the least pleasant part of the whole trip. It’s just not a good omen when you park in the parking lot and everyone around the edges of the stores and hotel watch you as you park. So they all just watched as I unparked and drove off, too.
But. We. Made. It.
Exploring Prince George.
I got to spend time with a couple dear friends from my younger days (and missed a few too). One of my best friends in high school and I actually got a chance to go out for a meal and then watch Wonder Woman in the theatre. Total highlight for me! The nostalgia really crept in when we drove to the coffee shop afterwards, which has hardly changed since high school. And lo! another friend’s mother was there having coffee. Small town life. Though it never felt small like that before.
We went camping. I have to say I had my hesitations. I’m not fond of tent camping with the kids so young, but my mum was sure that we’d be fine and I thought perhaps it might be in the end. Welp, it rained. It was cold. And I was grouchy and grumpy. The kids, however, had a great time. I just grumped in the van as it rained down.
They, however, roasted marshmallows. Felicity even came over eager to share her s’more with me. It was super sweet, especially since I was not a happy camper (oh my gosh, Jim Gaffigan’s bit sure comes to mind).
But really, I at least used to really like camping. We’ll see what it’s like when the kids are older. And more able to be put to work.
On our trip back, we stopped at the Ancient Forest. This seems to have become tradition when traveling with my mum. If you’d like to read up on it, click here for a page that looks like it’s from the year 2000. Here are our pictures.
We stopped at Miette Hot Springs. I always love that place – they have 4 pools – two hot, two cold. We had a great afternoon enjoying them. And since we were in Jasper, we also saw a bear, cause it’s the wilds. Why not. But we weren’t stupid like other tourists who were trying to get close to the bear. Nope nope nope nope nope.
And then, we celebrated Canada Day in Edmonton.
Boom. Trip over.
We had a great time. I think it was good prep for the kids for our long, arduous drive in August to Grasslands National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Laramie, WY for the eclipse. We spent some very very long days in the van on that trip. Buuuut, they had a dose of it from our PG trip, so I believe it helped. I also knew to save some books from near-death experiences this time.
What was your summer like? Did you travel with kids?