Gluttons for Punishment


Most people who’ve recently spent the better part of 70 hours in the confines of their vehicle, would make a point of it to stay out of their vehicle for a significant amount of time. They wouldn’t, say, pull into Calgary at 11pm on Monday, only to start talking about a Saturday roadtrip three days later. Because it would seem the wise thing to do – to give each family member a bit of time and space to heal from the resulting post traumatic stress disorder. I mean, the Hen is still hoarse from all his screaming on those last couple of days. Not that it has deterred him from continuing to exercise his lungs this week.

But I’m not married to ‘most people’. So I wasn’t exactly surprised when my better half started talking about ‘taking a drive’ on Saturday. Maybe to go see some wildflowers. The thing is, a good portion of our possessions are still nestled in boxes and may not see the light of day this calendar year. Things like our maps and travel guides. So, on Saturday morning, when Jason asked ‘where are our maps’ I knew we were headed for trouble. Of course, said items didn’t appear, not even after halfheartedly digging through a couple of opened boxes.

He looked online for information about a wildflower festival that he’d heard about on the radio. It was a 3 and a half hour drive from Calgary, to this Waterton Wildflower Festival. I couldn’t fathom anyone but Mr. Johnson had the mental fortitude to sit in the car that long, so soon after coming back from Indiana. Much as I personally would have liked to see those little wildflowers.

So we got in the car-van and started driving, to nowhere in particular. ‘I heard ’22’ is pretty,’ Jason suggested. So we drove along 22, watching hundreds of bikers bike their little hearts and legs out, feeling fat and guilty every inch of the way. ‘Where exactly are we going,’ I asked our sweet driver. ‘I don’t know, I thought we’d just kind of drive and see what we could find,’ he replied. Not good.

Minutes later, our oldest son spoke up. ‘Where are we going…because I’m afraid this is going to be another long trip like when we went to Muncie yesterday.’ Bless his heart, and his incorrect usage of the word yesterday.

‘I don’t want anything for Father’s Day,’ Jason announced, ‘I just want a weekend to myself so I can drive without all you complainers,’ as he steered the car onto ‘549’ into the Kananaskis area. Where we drove, and drove, and drove and saw nothing of interest. Unless you consider middle-aged men riding around on ‘off-highway-vehicles’ an interesting sight, and fields of dandelions on the side of the road. ‘Are those the wildflowers you were talking about,’ I asked in a bemused voice.

Eventually we found a ‘trading post’ near McLean pond with bathroom facilities. So we stopped and pottied and snacked. The little man was fast asleep by that point, and our oldest got out of the van-car with his hammer in his hand. He was going ‘mountain’ climbing with a hammer – he’d brought it along expressly for that purpose. In his case it involved climbing onto one of the tiny rocks in the parking lot and hitting said rock a few times with his hammer. While eating a salami and cheese sandwich.

I consider it prophetic that his name literally means ‘mountain man’. Clearly we got it right.

After a nice stopover at Elbow Falls, and another potty break at the world’s slowest coffee shop in Bragg Creek, we headed home.

Until next time.


Happy Father’s Day J, if your penchant for aimless roadtrips is the worst thing your boys have to complain about, I’d say you’re doing alright.

2 thoughts on “Gluttons for Punishment

  1. I hear there are some awesome rock formations about 3 hours east…. how about it family… I mean if we are going to have this sweet van we need to get some use out of it.


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