The scene is Sunday morning. Tomorrow’s a holiday.
Lauren: “So what should we do today?”
Rob: “We could go somewhere. How about Drumheller?”
Lauren: “Hmm, a 3 hour drive with a rambunctious toddler and a 2 month old who has recently decided he hates his car seat? Sounds awesome!”
Rob: “And let’s do it as a day trip, just for fun!”
You’d think we would have realized this was a foolhardy plan…But we did it anyway. Sometimes we have pretty silly ideas. But that’s how we find ourselves on some pretty great adventures! And, y’know, it builds character and all that.
So Sunday morning we packed up the van with snacks and diapers and spare clothes for all, and set south towards Drumheller, in search of dinosaurs. A road trip is really one of my favourite things to do. I love seeing the scenery roll past the window as I’m sitting snugly in my seat. There’s just so much to enjoy, even in the flat plains of Alberta. Max, our 2 year old, sure thought this train crossing the road was exceptional! Choo-choo!
Our plan was to head to the Royal Tyrell Museum to see dinosaurs (but only the nice dinosaurs, as we reassured Max). The line of cars waiting to get into the parking lot was our first clue that our spontaneous road trip was perhaps a bit too…spontaneous. When a parking spot proved elusive, Ollie and I hopped out at the entrance to wait for the bigger boys to find a place further away. I watched the line to enter the museum get longer and longer, so when Rob called to say that he still couldn’t find a spot, it was time to adjust our plans.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from travelling, and especially travelling with wee ones, it’s that you need to be flexible. Things (often) don’t go as planned, and the ability to adjust is key to a successful adventure. So we ditched our museum plans, picked up ice cream (an essential consolation) and headed off to see the World’s Largest Dinosaur, who ever so conveniently happens to be located right beside a spray park. Max splashed, Ollie napped, and we did it all under the watchful stare of Mr. T-Rex up there.
After we were thoroughly splashed out, we hopped back in the van to check out the hoodoos. Aren’t these gorgeous?? Although some quick research just now seems to suggest we missed the actual hoodoos…oh well, all the more reason to return!
We love road tripping in our Japanese Adventure Van! It has space for days, and you need that with all the stuff little ones seem to require.
After a full day o’ fun, it was time to head home. And for 30 blissful minutes both boys were fast asleep, the light was golden, and the prairies rolled past the window. I sighed, relaxed, and looked forward to a quiet ride home…
Then Oliver woke up. And he let us know that he disapproved of this plan – quite vocally.
So, with both boys awake once again, we pulled over to give them some time to stretch outside of the car seats. Ollie was much happier about this plan.
I think frequent road side stops are a part of our new reality as travelling parents…
But hey, when this is what it looks like to travel with all these wonderful guys, I’m not going to complain.
Once back on the road, and after an extended squeaky toy puppet show, Oliver drifted back to sleep, Max watched a movie, and we made it home with our sanity mostly intact. This daytrip was probably a bit ambitious, but we had fun together, got some great photos, and introduced Oliver to the joys and challenges of travel. He’s got a lot more of it in store – gotta start him early!