(Getting lazy - This blog covers Sunday 22nd and Monday 23rd August....) (Second point - this blog is done on David's Apple MAC - I'm a PC !! Aaarrrgghhh !!!!)
We left Canmore after trying to wake up as early as we could - 7 hotels in and it's getting more and more difficult to get up early, have breakfa-st and pack our bags and load the car !! we seem to be gathering more and more rubbish as we go - Claras pile of magazines is growing by the day and the number of leaflets, tourist guides, maps etc we have gathered would supply a small travel agent for months. Today (Sunday) we set off and headed for Red Deer. As you leave Canmore and head towards Calgary it's hard not to notice that you are leaving the Rockies. One minute you still have the magnificent (if somewhat hazy) mountain views to either side and then its FLAT, FLAT, FLAT all around. We skirted Calgary to the north and headed north to Red Deer on Highway 2. At 12pm we stopped for a cup of tea (very British I know but you can get a surprisingly good cuppa out here) and to phone Dave and Bet of the tsunami heading their way - 60 mins and counting. Amazingly we found the house pretty easily, down to David's instructions - which included a "turn left at the Mohawk Garage" - this will trigger a memory for the Matty's who were here in 1975 - Matthew and Daniel were sent to the Mohawk Garage to flag us all down when we arrived in town way back then. Arriving at 4754 - 56th Street there was another arrival just pulled up - Daniel, Shona, Foster and Morley (Dog) were on the drive with their beloved Westy (campervan). Foster has grown a lot since we last saw him and is a bundle of energy - he immediately took to Joe and Clara who took turns playing in the garden. First time we have met Morley - a huge beautiful dog. After welcomes all round it was time for a tour of the house and our bedrooms for the next few nights. We were also introduced to Toby (dog) and Lizzy (cat) - Clara and Joe have quickly become attached and the "can we have one" chants have already started. We are honoured to be staying in such a wonderful house, a historic house on a historic street, named "son-in-law" avenue after Rev Gaetz, an original Red Deer founder and land owner (i think) who built houses on this street for 3 daughters and 3 sons. We spent the afternoon and evening catching up, had a great Chilli, and eventually crashed out.Monday 22nd was our designated - get to see Red Deer day - after breakfast of David's home-made blueberry and cranberry muffins and home-made marmalade and blackberry jam started with a visit to Cronquist (sp?) House - a historic site that Betty and David played a huge part in rescuing (and moving from one side of the Red Deer river to the other !!!). We visited 3 Mile Bend to look for Pelicans (nope!) and then off to the Mall for lunch and a hike round the shops. By 5pm we were all worn out so back to 56th Street for drinks in the Garden. By 7pm we were off out again - to Montana's Cookhouse - where small is large and large is extra large - steaks, chicken, meatloaf, ribs - good old Canadian food for all. We are now back at 56th for drinks... all looking a bit jaded I must say. It is so relaxing here (probably not for David & Bet!!)- we have realised how much we have really covered in the last few weeks - on the go pretty much day after day, from town to town, hotel to hotel, covering a huge distance - great fun and seen a lot but gosh it's nice to slow down for a few days. Did I say slow down ??? well we've planned the next few days and I don't think slowing down is much on the agenda - tomorrow it's a 2hr drive out to Seven Mile Flats where we're really looking forward to for a picnic, campfire etc. Wednesday is a shopping extravaganza - West Edmonton Mall, one of the worlds largest - waterparks, rollercoaster, etc etc included inside.Thursday is Drumheller û Dinosaur hunting and then off to Calgary to Dan's for a BBQ. Friday we fly back. Stay tuned though - we'll try to get more blogs done this week...