Noah had the option of going to Aikido camp with Sophie for four days while I whizzed to Edmonton to pick up Erin, but he chose to do a day of camp instead and then come with me on the long drive. "I like travelling," he said. He certainly copes incredibly well with it. Does he like it? In some ways, I guess. I brought the camera for him. He made liberal use of it, at times. Like the engineer that he is, he spent a fair bit of time trying to figure out how the auto-focus algorithm works. Taking pictures of mirrors, through glass, of moving vs. stationary objects, large vs. small, central vs. peripheral, trying to figure out exactly what it was that told the camera "focus here."
Because we were meeting Erin's plane in Edmonton before heading to Calgary we took the alternate-route option and drove part of the way on the Icefields Parkway through Jasper Provincial Park. The last time I drove it was 2001, when Noah was a preschooler and we were on our way back from the Yukon. (Reminder to self: merge the Yukon travelblog with current blog before the former gets deleted from cyberspace.) We loved the vermilion lakes that are so plentiful in this part of the country.
I really love having Noah along. He tolerates, even shares, my weird obsessions with various music. Most lately ... Les Violons du Roy: Piazzolla and Mike Ford: Canada Needs You. (Thanks, Karen, for turning us on to the latter!) The former is sizzling Argentinian music arranged for string orchestra by a contemporary Russian composer, the latter a edifying, entertaining and humorous album of Canadian history music recorded in a variety of music styles with brilliant songwriting and production.
Not only that, but he plays along with Fiona. They tickle each other, they make fun of each other, they joke, they play games, the talk ... all of which means I have considerable assistance in providing entertainment for my firecracker of a 5-year-old. They played "I'm Thinkin' of a Number" for at least two hours. Fiona got really handy with negative numbers and deciding if -100 was "too big" or "too small" a guess for -14. I listened to Noah trying to stump Fiona with 'negative pi.' He's a great coach and explainer. She's a good sport and so is he.
There were big Rocky Mountains as usual, but they were different ones from those we normally see. The glaciers were more visible and more impressive along this stretch of highway. There were bright blue lakes rather than bright blue churning rivers.
We loved the too-blue-for-words lakes, and an hour later the too-yellow-for-words canola fields.
And there were oil wells. I tried to convince Noah and Fiona that canola oil comes from the roots of the plant, and is extracted underground by huge pumps which create negative pressure beneath fields of yellow.
They did not buy this explanation for a minute. They did, however, enjoy seeing the oil wells pumping away. As we burned gosh-knows-how-much gasoline. I don't even want to think about that.
They crashed in a crappy motel and on someone's basement floor, and ate fruit,m and Tim Horton's everything-bagels with herb&garlic cream cheese and life was just fine. Keep the Argentinian Tangos rolling and we'll be home in no time.