Who would have thought that cramming 25 kids into a bus and roaring across the country, camping under the stars every night would keep you so busy? Clearly, I over-estimated the amount of time I was going to have to keep up with this blog. Our daily hiccups haven’t helped add to the time constraints either…HOWEVER, I digress. I also apologize for not keeping everyone in the loop as well as I should have.
Day 5. To date, our most trouble free day. We continued our voyage across Saskatchewan and our first stop was to Roleau, AKA Dog River to those who are fans of the show Corner Gas. The people who now run the gift shop were extremely friendly and outgoing. They hooked us up with a lunch of hot dogs and a pop. Saskatchewan, we are told has had their tourism funding cut and as such they have informed us that they may have to remove the set…unless they can get a bit more popular. Please take a moment to ‘Like’ the Corner Gas Souvenir Shop on facebook to help promote what they’re doing and if you’re a fan of the show…it seems that a movie may be in the works as well. They took our picture, posted it on their page and tweeted it and even forwarded it to Brent Butt himself! We all got a glass decal for the road. Such lovely people.
Our next stop was Moose Jaw and the Museum of Western Development where they’ve moved the Snowbird exhibit. They easily could have changed the name of the museum to ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’. Some fascinating pieces though, from the very early days of transportation to current day. The woman was very concerned we were going to be crawling all everything…but we were good little boys and girls. I tried to get as many kids as I could in instagram pictures, but it was a big place so I’m sorry if I missed your son/daughter. Some of the are quite good at evading the camera while others seek me out.
We had hoped to make it all the way through Saskatchewan that day, but a longer then planned stop at Wal-Mart (ravaged by long weekend revellers) means we had to bunker down at Saskatchewan Landing, Lake Diefenbaker (may want to check the spelling on that). This has been my favorite campground so far, narrowly beating out the Rockies. Lake Diefenbaker inset into the prairies if that makes sense, and is surrounded by hills and lots of deer. Low trees, bean bushes and even little cactai to add to the desert feel. Nobody stepped on one thank goodness! What was odd about this place though was that as the sun went down, the wind came up. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon with places such as this we were told, but the wind was strong, and constant. It was like being in a little tiny hurricane without the rain. I personally found the sound quite soothing and slept quite well. I was sad when we had to leave the next day.
Day 6: Another bus repair requirement meant we made a bee-line for Calgary. The city looks good considering the terrible events that had happened in the last week or so. We picked up a fan for the engine that had malfunctioned, had some pizza for dinner and while the bus was to be in the shop we all decided to go for a swim. While we were swimming, Patrol Leader Jacob was demonstrating his Olympic form on the diving board when he caught a rogue wave from the north and belly flopped (well, side flopped really) heavily. While he seemed fine at the time (maybe slightly embarrassed), it prompted an asthma attack and muscle spasms. The paramedics were called and Jacob was taken to the local Children’s hospital for tests and observation. All results have since come back negative, although they have told us it seemed to prompt a bout of pneumonia, so he’s been admitted and been under observation since. Scouter Colin stayed with him for the night, before rejoining us in the Rockies the next day. Latest reports have him returning to us on Sunday at the latest where he will be able to join us at the Jamboree. The kids all pitched in and got him a card and a t-shirt while in Banff to help with the healing process. MEANWHILE, in a different part of town the mechanic who was supposed to fix our bus backed out, so Andy returned to the parts dealer to beg and plead our case. A mechanic used his dinner break to replace the part and when Andy asked what we owe him, it turns out that Mike was a Chief Scout in Leemington, and as such we owed nothing for the work done. AMAZING! I must admit that one thing this trip has done is renew a lot of my faith in mankind. Scouts are Scouts for life. Next we picked up Scouter Julio and continued on to our chosen campsite at Bow Valley just outside Canmore. We pulled in and after a few wrong turns in the park parked at what we what we thought was our booked site. I want to make sure I express this right because I still cannot believe what happened next. It was about midnight (so 2am at home). The site was a huge open field and our intentions were to just drop our tents right next to the bus and get to sleep…however, the mom’s group already there had other ideas. They made their way from across the field and informed us that there were tents all around the field (approx. the size of a football field) and when we explained our case, that we were from 4 provinces away, had 30 kids and would just drop here and be gone first thing to find a new site they said they had to ‘talk about it’. After a brief pow-wow…they decided that this was unacceptable. They paid a lot of money for this site and that they didn’t want us interfering with their ‘morning field time’. I’m not kidding, they TURNED US AWAY despite the copius amount of space that was there. I think we were all in too much of state of shock to argue, so we repacked our gear and went off in search of a new site…making as much noise as we could on our way out. In hindsight, we should have just stayed but we drove off and actually found a spot right close to the bathrooms and showers which turned out much better for us all. It was truly and honestly unbelievable. By the time we settled in, half the kids slept outside, while the rest stayed on the bus.
We are now about to pull into the stampede, so I will continue this story when we get back on the bus. Again, I’m sorry for the infrequency but as you can see our days have been jam packed full of excitement and adventure. The kids are all doing very well, still smiling. Once we are at CJ and we have a more fixed location I promise we’ll be better suited to post regularly.