Last I wrote I said we would be back at the lake in two weeks, then two weeks later going on the trip to the annual Bird family reunion happening in Saskatchewan. Our planned trip to the lake didn't happen as we were a bit under the weather, with almost everyone having a summer cold, but we did make it to the family reunion, and it's actually just over and we're driving back from Saskatchewan as I write. We're currently getting close to Golden on the way back. Read on for the description of how we got here and what's to come.

We left home the evening of Friday, July 31 after work and headed to our cabin. We got there at about 1:00 in the morning. We got up early and left and we stopped for breakfast in Three Valley Gap and then ran around in the field behind the hotel/restaurant and played in the playground. We had three of Kayla's Teddy Bears with us, Guiness (or more commonly known as Guinny), Sandy, and Fluffy. At this time, Fluffy was the favourite and he came to play in the Three Valley Gap playground and even got a ride on the swings. We then continued on our way, and in order to avoid having to pay the fee to stop in one of the national parks such as Banff, we stopped in Field for lunch. This was our first road trip with a road map GPS, and we took advantage of the Tomtom to have it lead us to an alternate picnic area than the popular one just off the road.

We arrived in Calgary that evening at Susan's parent's place, where we were to spend one whole day before continuing on our way to Saskatchewan. We went to the playground, had some nice meals at Susan's parents place, and of course went downtown for some dim sum, and wandered around downtown after dim sum. Susan's Aunt Minnie's niece Maggie gave Kayla a new bear, which we named Pan, that quickly became Kayla's favourite for the following days.

On the holiday Monday morning we left Susan's parent's place early, followed our GPS directions along some smaller back highways and ended up in Drumheller for breakfast at Whifs Flapjack House, a restaurant in Drumheller that Susan suggested after reading about it in some CAA brochures. After breakfast we continued on our way, stopping for a run-around mid-morning break in Oyen Alberta, then a while later for lunch in Kindersley Saskatchewan. At about 6:00 local time, we arrived in Saskatoon Saskatchewan. Truthfully we never switched timezones from Pacific time, in order to try to keep Kayla on more of a regular schedule (as regular you can be when taking a crazy busy trip like we were). Susan was booked in to Aunt Aggie's Bed and Breakfast in Saskatoon, while Kayla and I were planning to continue up to St. Louis where we would meet up with my parents. When we planned the trip, due to Susan being pregnant, and at the time of planning there being a heat wave on, Susan decided she didn't want the extra 3 hours round trip up North to St. Louis, since the day immediately following we would all be heading south of Saskatoon to go to the reunion location which was Elbow, Saskatchewan. So on arriving in Saskatoon, we checked Susan into Aunt Aggie's and then walked over for dinner at Earls. After dinner and walking back to Aunt Aggie's, we said farewell to Susan and Kayla and I got back in the Borrego and headed North to St. Louis. Kayla was quite unhappy for the first 30 minutes of the trip, due to possibly leaving mom behind, or maybe the ache of spending more time in the car seat. While in Saskatoon, Susan had a good time, seeing Saskatoon scenery, including some balloons being launched, and the parade that celebrated the start of the Saskatoon Exhibition (sort of like the Calgary Stampede). Kayla and my trip north was very interesting as we were again following GPS directions for fastest route, which took us on a route we never would have conceived of. We followed the fast highway 11 for the first while, then the GPS directed us off the highway at unnamed/unpaved road that said it was heading to Batoche. After about 5 kilometres we followed directions around a corner and found ourselves at the edge of the river, with a ferry across the other side. Seeing our arrival on the shore, the ferry made it's way across and we got aboard. We later discovered this was the St. Laurent ferry, and it was a short couple of minutes crossing to the other side. On getting out to stretch my legs I found Kayla in the back seat with a chocolate covered face, as I had given her a few Oreo's to calm her down on our departure from Saskatoon. A few minutes later we found ourselves going down highway 782, again unpaved, towards St. Louis. After about 25 kilometres we came to St. Louis, and went across a very neat old bridge. A few kilometres further found us at the GPS coordinates Glen's parents had given, and we found great Aunt Shirley's farm. Rebecca was with Glen's parents, and all found Kayla's face very funny, and I got her cleaned up a few minutes later. There were a number of visitors to Shirley's that evening, but it wasn't long before it was time for bed. Kayla was up early the next morning, and thouroughly enjoyed her time looking at the goats and rabbits, great dog Perky, and Grant's collection of John Deere tractors. Glen's dad left at about 9 in the morning, and went down through Saskatoon to pick up Susan. Glen, Kayla and Glen's mom all spent time looking around St. Louis family properties and also went up in to Prince Albert for a look around.

After a couple of stops in Prince Albert, including one at Ricky's for lunch, Kayla was getting pretty impatient with all the stops and starts and in and out of the carseat, so we headed South to Elbow. We got in to Elbow, again following GPS directions, in time for dinner. Glen's dad, Rebecca, and Susan had arrived a number of hours earlier in the afternoon, and Jim, Ellen, Zachary, and Jessica had arrived about 20 minutes earlier than us. That evening while Jim, Zack, and Glen's dad golfed 9 holes, I went for a short bike ride with Jessica, which was nice as it was the first bike ride I had had in a few years.

The first day of golfing was beautiful weather, and Glen was on a team with Skip, Helen, and Berniece. Even though a year earlier at Sylvan Lake was the last time I had golfed, I was happy to find I was golfing better than I had been then. Kayla and Susan looked around downtown Elbow and spent some time on the beach of Lake Diefenbaker. Dinner both nights was good. In a beaver lodge meeting, it was decided that in 2010 there would be a ski trip instead of golf, and the next golf reunion was to be in 2011 and was to be hosted by Jim and Glen in BC. On the last full day, Glen's mom gave Kayla a new small bear we named Tiny, and that bear became the new favourite.

We left early on Friday morning, but on getting a kilometre down the road, realized we didn't have very much gas, and knowing it a bad idea to drive around Saskatchewan with little gas, we pulled into the Elbow gas station, which sadly didn't open for another 30 minutes. Asking in the cafe which was open, there wasn't any certainty as to whether there would be another gas station on the way to Swift Current, which was a few hundred kilometres away, so we waited until the Elbow gas station opened. We also chatted with Lyall, and another family member, who were in the cafe having coffee. We found that there were 3 other gas stations on the way to Swift Current so we probably would have been OK if we had just gone, but as I said, not smart. We arrived in Calgary in time for dinner, where we bought Kayla some new shoes. We again stayed at Susan's parents place, and on Saturday morning were on the road early. We had breakfast in Field at Truffle Pigs restaurant, a trendy place next to which we had had picnic lunch less than a week before.

We got in to Anglemont Saturday afternoon at just a moment before five, after stopping at De Mille's corn. We had promised to be at the Anglemont Marina at 5:00 to meet our friends Kirsten and Detlef, with their daughter Jule. Kirsten and Detlef we had got to know 6 years earlier when we met them while hiking the Chilkoot Trail, and they had visited us at our cabin. In 2003 they were spending a year of holidays travelling in their RV around Canada and the States. This year, they were spending 6 months in their new RV, with their daughter, a year older than Kayla, travelling around Canada and the States. So we again parked their RV in Glen's parents yard, and brought them up to our place for a good BBQ dinner. On Sunday, we enjoyed a pancake breakfast, then for the first time, used the Borrego to launch Magic Carpet, and spent the day on the lake going to the Albas Falls where we hiked and saw some nice falls and then spent some time swimming. Kayla had a rough day, being bit by a bee, a couple of mosquitoes, and falling a few times while hiking the Albas falls trails. By the time we got back to Anglemont, got the boat out, said goodbye to Kirsten and Detlef, repacked all our gear in the Borrego, and got on the road, it was the latest we have ever left the cabin. It was about 6:30 when we left, and we had dinner in Kamloops at Arby's at a few minutes after 8:00. It is 10 after 10 as I write this and we are just now approaching Hope. Tomorrow we are back at work and daycare.

It has been a great holiday (very full). In two weeks we go to Pender Island with Richard and Grace, and then to our cabin for a week. Boy this summer is going fast!

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