Safe Travel Day

As I mentioned yesterday in my blog- Off To Fort St. John– we had a road trip taking us fairly far North in British Columbia. We left our home at 6am and made it into Fort St. John by 8pm. we made it in one word:

Safely.

That’s the key that I want to mention about this road trip that I always overlook when talking about driving. I love taking the roads through the mountains, deserts, countrysides and cities. Road trips are a good way to bond with my family on these vacations. But the journey needs to always be taken safely.

We left before the sun came out. But we stopped twice before even hitting the freeway. That’s because I was uncertain about one of the front straps on the kayaks I had mounted to the roof. Because of my anal retentiveness- this prevented any possible issues during our drive. Every time we stopped for gas- I rechecked the tie downs. All was good.

After about eight hours of my hand at driving, I realized I was becoming extremely tired and had my wife take over. I hopped into the back seat with our son, while our daughter sat up front and played “DJ”.

After a couple of hours driving on the single lane roadways- my wife was behind a slow moving vehicle. When an opportunity arose for her to pass the RV, she signaled and began to pull around. At which point the truck behind her also decided he wanted to pass both our car and the RV. He had no signal and a lead foot. My wife had to jerk back into our lane narrowly avoiding hitting the front side of the truck and the rear bumper of the car in front. There was no reason for the guy behind us to try and run us off the road. But he felt he was more important.

My wife remained calm and then passed the RV. The other truck was now barreling down the road ahead of us at close to twice the posted speed limit. Oh well.

About an hour before we were to get to our destination- there was the remnants of a bad accident. It looked as though a train had collided with a semi trailer at the only train crossing around. The flag people were in position alternating the flow of traffic. We weren’t held up for very long.

Needless to say, we encountered a few indiscretions during our fourteen hour drive. Road trips are long and can be tedious. But keeping your occupants and fellow drivers around you safe should always be number one. We preach safety at my work, and I take that home every day as well. I’d much rather get to our destination safely than in a hurry.

So we made it to Fort St. John safely.

Time Off

I’m about to enjoy 17 days off. It seems like I always have vacation time off from work. I kind of do I guess. Five weeks of regular vacation every year. I try and set aside a week every couple of months. This year was a bit different. I have been enjoying summer a lot and still have more to come!

As I’ve mentioned, most of my time off this year is to support our son. First was a week in March for a Speed Skating competition. Then was June so that I could chaperone with Grade 7 Camp. A week in July in order for him to skate on the Olympic Oval. And next week is another Speed Skating camp in Northern BC.

The last week of August will be a summer wind down. With some camping and R+R to slow down our busy lives before returning to a September schedule. Taking a week in June, a week in July, and two weeks in August is a great way to keep the summer vacation going. Even if we aren’t traveling to exotic locations- the time spent with family and friends is extraordinarily worthwhile.

How are you planning on ending August? Let me know in the comments.

I Missed My Wife

My wife was out of town for a work function over the past few days. I missed her tremendously. So I’m throwing her a BBQ party tonight!

Ok, I’m lying.

The BBQ is for my friends and coworkers. Many of my friends are my wife’s friends as well.

But I still missed my wife while she was gone. So I plan on having a great time laughing and clowning around with her at the BBQ. Time to go get ready to entertain!

Happy Friday Everyone!

On Her Own

On Friday our oldest got her N which means she can drive without supervision. Today she left for her work on her own. To my wife and I- this is a big deal. It’s the start of a bit more freedom. Freedom from chaperoning the kids everywhere.

But it was also tough to see our oldest leave without us. Even though we could’ve slept in- we had to make sure she left the nest and got to work safely. So we made her text us once she arrived at her job. Being a parent means we still worry.

And worry we will.

Forever.

Camping is Planned

British Columbia has some of the most beautiful forests and lakes in the world. People love to go camping as well. Getting away from the busy life and enjoying nature is revitalizing. Many of the popular campsites book up quickly in the Spring for the entire Summer. These are the easy access sites with full amenities.

For the past few years, we go camping at a spot that’s a bit further out at a place called Twenty Mile Bay. It requires about an hour drive down a logging road. Not the kind of drive that most small cars could do which makes it more secluded and private. It’s also the kind of place where you pack in/pack out all trash thus keeping the campsite pristine.

The only downside is that we can’t book a spot that far in advance for this camp ground. We only get 30 days ahead of time to book a spot. The other day we missed our opportunity to get our first choice spot. However, we did get to book our favorite double site spot. We are looking forward to our regular summer break on the lake. This time we may have a friend join us with his family adding to the adventure.

Have you enjoyed camping in BC? Any favorite spots? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to explore more of this beautiful province.

Drumheller

This afternoon, we made it to Drumheller, Alberta. The journey was through the mountains and past farmer’s fields.

We stopped for gas partway through and the kids were visited by Prairie Dogs. So they fed them some bread pieces. Then it was on to Dinosaurs!

Drumheller loves their dinosaurs. There are Dino statues everywhere. Including the “World’s Largest Dinosaur”. This town is a Dinosaur lovers haven. But there’s more to check out than just fake reptilian creatures.

The Hoodoos in the Badlands are breathtaking. It was neat to wander around the land formations. Respecting the natural beauty is paramount in order to keep this place attractive.

Up the road from the Hoodoos is a town called “Wayne” with a population of 29. We stopped at the “Last Chance Saloon” for a bite to eat. We were treated like family which was awesome. Inside was one of the most unique attractions I have ever seen. (I used their write up, because why not). The “Band Box” was an old school animatronic puppet show while 1940’s music played.

Click to see: Band Box Video

So far Drumheller is a neat little town. Next is a visit to the Royal Tyrrell Museum and really get our Dinosaur knowledge upgraded! Check out what our adventures will be tomorrow.

Revel-STOKED!

We left our home early in the morning and drove six hours up to Revelstoke, BC. It wasn’t really the destination we were pushing for. But it was just a stop along the way during our journey towards Alberta. So we decided to make it as much fun as possible!

We booked a cabin with a private hot tub for our overnight accommodations. Ballin’! I mean, honestly- a Mountain backdrop and our own hot tub in a cabin? Totally spoiled ourselves- on a budget… Check out Glacier House Resort for your own cabin if you find yourself wandering through Revelstoke.

What do you do when in Revelstoke, BC? Try the Mountain Pipe Coaster of course! Down a mountain at 42km/h without a helmet? Sign me up! It was a ton of fun. Plus we went up the gondola a few times for fun (that was included in the price of the Coaster). Check out the video my wife made (ignore her cursing , but enjoy her cackling!)

After the run down the mountain, my wife and I went to sample some beers at Mount Begbie Brewery. We found three that we enjoyed. The kids shared a snack with us of nachos. A perfect dinner snack before heading back to the cabin.

After filling our growlers, we went back to the cabin and watched the sunset as we relaxed in the hot tub. We popped a cheap sparkling wine and toasted one another for our 18 years of chaos- I mean marriage. Mixing booze and hot water after a day in the sun- my wife and I were done. Sleep was calling upon us. Our kids were also pooped.

All-in-all a great day. On to our next adventure!

Queen + Adam Lambert

Yesterday for our 18th Anniversary, my wife and I took the kids to see the Queen + Adam Lambert Rhapsody Tour. Since I’ve always been a huge Queen fan, and the show was on our Anniversary, we had to check it out.

I haven’t been to a concert since my wife and I married. So spending $1000 on tickets was a shock to the bank account when we bought the tickets back in December. But as a coworker said to me, it’s the experience that the kids will remember for a lifetime. And she was right.

The show was amazing. Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen still rock after all these decades. Adam Lambert was an excellent addition to the group. While he is still no Freddy Mercury- Adam Lambert is a showman all unto his own and respected the group’s iconic style.

Here’s a clip of how the show began:

Because this was Queen- the crowd singing along with almost every song was astounding. Myself and family included. From Radio Gaga to the encore of We Will Rock You– the venue was energized. My favorite part was singing Bohemian Rhapsody with the crowd.

We left the show with ears ringing and hearts pounding. I loved the experience and would easily wait another 18 years if I could see a concert like that again.

18 Years

Today I celebrate 18 years of marriage to my wife. It has been an amazing journey. With far more ups than downs.

I have loved every moment. Even that time when she stabbed me in the face with her finger nails and tried to apologize acting all sweet and cute.

Or the time she thought I was taking a selfie and wanted to show that she brushes her teeth- so I took a selfie with her.

I love that ten years ago, we went on our first family trip to Disneyland. I never knew that an inner child was a real thing until I saw my wife gushing with pleasure and excitement as we wandered the parks. This also started a continuous desire to return as often as possible to Disneyland. Whenever we are having rough emotional patches- we talk about previous trips and future plans of traveling to those Magical Lands.

Through 18 years of marriage, we have created and cultivated a beautiful family. Our three kids have been a source of pride for us both. We love to joke and laugh with them. Our kids have become extensions of our personalities- sharing love into this world the same way my wife and I do.

Our love for one another has grown tremendously strong over the years. I’m lucky to have such a great partner. She is as crazy as I am. She even lets the crazy loose more when I’m around.

May our journey together not be restricted to just these first 18 years of marriage. We have a bond that I feel will last a lifetime.

Happy 18th Anniversary Lee-Anne! I love you with all my heart.

Sincerely,

Josef

Breaking a Tradition or Breaking a Promise?

Today is July 4th and with it is the American Celebration of Independence Day! Up here in Canada, my family and I celebrate by watching ID 4 every year since I can remember. It has been a favorite Tradition of ours.

I love it because the film is so cheesy and fun and I’ve watched it every year since it came out back in 1996 when I was 20. That’s 22 years so far of watching this film for me. We even made a trip on the Extraterrestrial Highway a few years ago so I could see a time capsule for the film.

But today we may not get to enjoy it as a family- thus possibly breaking a tradition and that makes me kinda sad. It seems like plans and schedules could be interrupting our family movie watching.

My wife and our oldest daughter are working during the day and won’t be done until 6pm. I made a commitment to an old friend and a coworker to go and see their first live musical performance gig this evening. I even bought a couple of tickets in advance. I’d really like to see how good they’ve gotten.

So do I cancel on the family? With our teenage kids growing up and having their own lives- these moments we share are rather important and starting to dwindle. Can I just stop a tradition that is decades old and one that I enjoy?

Or do I cancel my plans to support my friends and their first ever show? I’ve seen my old friend perform over twenty years ago on many occasions, it’s just that this is his new band. But it’s also in Vancouver which is a 45 minute drive there and 45 minute drive home late tonight. I bought tickets for my wife and I, but I hadn’t confirmed if she wanted to go when I did.

So what do I do? Cancel on family or cancel on friends? Who is more understanding? I think I know the answer now that I’ve written out my dilemma. It seems kind of obvious now.