Road trip to Alberta
July 14, 2007, Saturday
3:00 a.m. I wake up. My family is going on a road trip to Alberta. This is our first family trip ever, first for me actually. We are going with my sister’s family and my mother. We decided to leave at 5:00 a.m. since it’s a 14-hour drive from Winnipeg to Alberta.
4:00 a.m. I wake hubby and kids up so they can start taking turns in the washroom. Reggie alone takes half an hour in the bathroom. We also have a quick breakfast of cereal and toast.
5:00 a.m. We start loading our luggage and bags in the car. Mama’s already here. We load some of our bags in her trunk. I think we have too many stuff. But we are going to be there for six days.
5:15 a.m. Sis and family are still loading their van.
5:22 a.m. The three cars finally pull out of the driveway. Reggie and Agnus (Ah-nyus), my oldest niece, are riding with Mama. Our two youngest kids are with hubby and me in the second car. Sis and BIL have six kids in their van. We have three walkie-talkies, one in each car. The van is at the front. BIL is navigating us since he’s the experienced traveler. Mama in the middle and us at the back.
Around 6:00 a.m. We encounter dark heavy clouds and then it rains. Ryland has his blanket over his head. After we pass the rains and as we are driving under the clear skies, Ryland says, “Mommy, I was scared of the rain.” I say, “Oh, is that why you were hiding under your blanket?” He replies, “Yeah.” I say, “That’s okay, it’s behind us now.”
6:33 a.m. We stop at Tim Horton’s at Portage La Prairie, still in Manitoba. Mama needs a washroom break. Some of us also go.
8:00 a.m. We stop at Brandon (Manitoba) to fill up the cars. Washroom break, too.
11:30 a.m. Gas fill up and lunch break at Regina, Saskatchewan. We eat inside our cars.
12:00 noon. We leave Regina.
1:00 p.m. We pull over to the roadside to switch drivers because Mama is falling behind. The speed limit on the highway is 100-110 kmh, but the speedometer reading of Mama’s Toyota Corolla is not right. She has to drive at 120 kmh to catch up with the other two vehicles but she insists on driving at only 110 on her speedometer. We have five drivers by the way: hubby, Mama, sis, BIL and my 19-year old niece, Agnus.
2:30 p.m. We pull over to switch drivers again. Sis is falling asleep on the wheel. Hubby also needs a break.
This is mostly the view on the prairie highways, flat lands and fields. Very boring and it will really make you feel sleepy. We do see cows, bisons, hay, haystacks, irrigation pipes sprinkling water on the fields, and once in a while trains. But that’s about it.
But doesn’t this canola field look so pretty? The yellow look so lovely against the green. We pass by a few of these fields. This picture is taken from a tinted glass window and doesn’t really give justice to how beautiful it is. But you can see much better pictures of canola fields here.
3:45 p.m. Gas fill up and washroom break near Medicine Hat.
4:23 p.m. We reach Alberta. We finally see hills and horses.
7:27 p.m. We arrive in Calgary. We see mountains here and there. We are enjoying the view in Calgary. We see houses built on top of the mountains and also more horses. I imagine Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger filming Brokeback Mountain here and I have the sudden urge to watch this movie again which I’ve seen twice already. We see the mountains in the horizon and we think that’s Banff.
As we enter Banff, we are driving in winding roads in between The Rocky Mountains. The view is so breath taking!
9:05 p.m. We enter Banff National Park. We pay $17.80 per family/vehicle. It’s only 8:05 p.m. in Alberta.
9:40 p.m. We check in at Banff International Hotel.
July 15, 2007, Sunday (Alberta time)
9:00 a.m. We hear mass at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
11:00 a.m. We check out of the hotel and then we go sightseeing around downtown Banff. And then we head to the Banff Gondola (lift car) ride. Fees: Adult – $24.95, Children (6-15 years old) – $12.50. Sis is having second thoughts since she has an equivalent of four adults and 5 children. I tell her that since we’re already there, why not take advantage of this opportunity to take the ride and anyway it looks like the fee is all worth it. And it is. The ride and the view on top of the mountains are so cool and awesome!
Let the pictures and videos speak for themselves. Enjoy!
Banff Gondola ride