Day #8: Drayton Valley, AB to Lethbridge, AB

Today was just a hard day of driving and not much stopping. I'm glad we planned that because we ran into a great deal of road work, and spent alot of time slowing down for that. The smoke from forest fires is still covering much of the views, but there is no way it could mask the monotonous amounts of canola, oats, wheat, and barley we drove through. Miles and miles and miles of fields.

We made one "frivolous" stop today and just that little break (less than 20 min) was a great way to break up the doldrums of Alberta highways. We pulled in to Kayben Farms, near Calgary, and it made me want a nursery again. I don't think I will ever stop loving to propagate, to grow, to harvest, to make things from produce, and to share that education with others. As we pulled in, people were picking currants, kids were running through the rows, and a guy was set up at a tent in the field so that you could pick up baskets and pay for what you picked. We just stopped for the bathrooms and to make sandwiches out of our cooler. No one looked at us funny (like I was a bit afraid of at first) and if I was here again I would definitely stop by for an hour to get lunch, peruse the gift shop, and pick some fresh produce. We noticed how clean the place was -- everyone else noticed there was no trash laying around and I noticed there were no invasive weeds ANYwhere.

As we ate lunch and headed south, we began talking about Will's new online job and I got side-tracked and missed a turn. I have driven this entire trip and that works for both of us. Will doesn't like driving, and Garrett and I get carsick (much less when I drive) and it is a great deal for all of us. Since I know what aggravates the car sickness, I can tailor the driving to help out Garrett as well. Anyway ... we decided to take a guess on a new route and it was such a beautiful drive! It turned into dirt road (a nice one though, and not like Alabama dirt roads I grew up on) that went past one farm after another. The fields, the houses, the animals, and even equipment were so neat and landscaped that it was like each farm could have been a postcard. We drove 25 miles of this dirt road and came out near where we would have initially. This just proved the point that when you get turned around or things aren't going like they were supposed to, you just have to embrace the new way and find your way out from there. I don't believe in luck, chance, or coincidence. Instead I believe in God's active will in our lives. Do I think God made me miss the turn? Not really, but do I think that by just being content in the moment, and loving my family (by not hollering and getting upset), that God used that moment to bring blessings into my life? YES, absolutely. Sometimes God's blessings come when we just stop rushing and fighting for "our way" and we just soak up the moment that we are in, and enjoy the people who are with us in that moment. Days later, the kids still mention the jokes we had on that piece of road, and so I'll never forget that 25 mile dirt road that was a wrong turn near Calgary, Alberta that turned into the blessing of our day.

When we finally got to our room, we were so ready to get out of the car. The kids didn't even want to go swimming and boy was I glad because I am really getting tired of washing swimsuits or even waiting for them to dry before we leave the next morning. This transient lifestyle is a little tougher than it was 3-4 days ago. We went to A&W for supper and it was another reminder of how sheltered our kids are from mainstream America (not that that bothers me one iota). Ellie chuckled at the thought of putting root beer on a hamburger, which made Will and I laugh. We kept quiet so we could hear her entire thought process and it was hilarious that they didn't realize you bought the burger and got the root beer to drink. I mean, they are really smart kids but some things that Will and I take for granted as common knowledge, they are just learning. It get funny at times -- like our conversation at Legoland, San Diego, this Spring when we had to explain sales tax (there is none in AK) and their out loud questions like, "why would people vote on purpose for sales tax?!?!", "this is like theft - they are stealing my money because somebode VOTED for this???" Garrett was disgusted by the idea and he said ,"Well, I won't spend one more dollar in California! This is MY money!" As their questions (out loud) were voiced, you could see the amazement on the faces of bystanders. It was hilarious to me and I wanted to tell them, "Yep, even an 8yr old can figure this out so why do you still vote for taxes and the politicians who raise them?"

We got our hamburgers, fries, and root beer (separately, and not ON the burger) and took it back to the room to eat. No one even felt like eating in the restaurant. We went to bed earlier this night than any other.

In all today, we drove 321 miles and were in the car for 10 hours.