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Kimler Adventure Pages: Journal Entries
Grandpa and Grandma Pilley came out for the better part of a week, with their tent-trailer and Sasha, their dog, in tow. (Well, I guess Sasha got to ride in the back seat, but you get the idea). They had a great visit with their #2 grandchild, Alexandra, who was delighted with all of the extra attention. It's the second Edmonton visit for Gran Pilley, but the first for Grandpa and he got the nickel tour of our new home, shortly after he arrived.
Outings for the week included a trip to Fort Saskatchewan and we all took a brief ride east to see some Plains Bison at Elk Island National Park. It was a nice visit and we're extra thankful, because they sewed and installed a Roman blind in our bathroom. They also gave us two curtain rods for the two remaining curtainless windows (when we moved in there were NO window coverings in the house). THANKS!
Scott was absent for part of their visit, because he had to fly down to California to pick up our Honda Accord, which we've been storing at his parent's ranch. Wouldn't you know, they sold the ranch and are moving into a rental house, temporarily, until they can locate a permanent place.
The cows, sheep, chickens, pasture, orchard, garden, yard, watering and general caretaking has become onerous and down-sizing will allow them more travel time. After all, they're supposed to be retired! Anyway, with the sale of the ranch, the storage option for the Honda evaporated and Scott had to make a trip down to bring it up north. It was a long drive, but he enjoyed visiting with his folks for a few days, as well as stopping by to see an colleague from his oil-company days, now retired and living in Logan, Utah. Visiting was nice, but he missed Alex and Rachel and was happy to be home, after a week of traveling.
In early August, we packed up the bikes and Oop's tow trailer, headed south, and cycled from Canmore, through Banff & Jasper National Parks, along the Icefield Parkway. It was about a 300 km trip, which took us 5 days to complete. We were worried about Alex and how she would adjust to cycle-touring. We needn't have worried, because she adjusted just fine, as she normally does.
This was our only summer adventure, packed tightly between our big Edmonton move & the start of Rachel's nursing program at the Univeristy of Alberta. We nearly didn't go, because Scott felt there were too many things that needed doing before winter set in. Rachel put her foot down & said she was going to go anyway. "We need to do something this summer. We didn't do anything last summer, because I was pregnant and we won't have much of a chance to go anywhere during the 2 years I'm in the nursing program," she argued. You know what? When she's right - she's right. Scott capitulated and is very glad he did.
We had a great time. Though we started the trip with rain, the sun came out and great weather prevailed all week. The scenery was simply awesome. Alex enjoyed camping and was the talk of the town, as we received lots of kudos from fellow cyclists & auto tourists alike. She adjusted to camping more readily than we adjusted to her getting dirty (it took a couple of days before we stopped fretting every time she headed for a dusty patch). In the end, we learned to relax & though Alex was dirtier, she was happy!
Rachel kept a wonderful journal of our trip and it's posted in on a cycle-touring web site, along with a short slide show.
You know those postcards that people send while they're on vacation? The ones that have a picture of a warm, tropical beach and say, "Wishing you were here?" Well, we won't be sending any of those from Edmonton this year. As you can see from the photo, taken in the early morning light, it snowed last night, in Edmonton! Oh My GOD ... it's September 9th!! I guess we won't have to be worried about having a white Christmas this year? Shoot ... Scott's thinking he might get a white birthday (which would be a first)!
This is freaking us out (OKAY, mostly freaking out the California-boy ... the cat hasn't gone out yet, so he doesn't know. He won't be happy, that's for certain. The Oop could care less and Rachel ... well, she is Canadian, after all.) Nope, fun-in-the-sun, been-in-123°F, California-boy is scared he's gonna freeze before the New Year arrives! It's time to install block heaters, insulate the garage, put up the vegetables, get out the sweaters, buy electric socks, plan a Mexican escape and take a steamy, hot shower! Scott never thought he'd be jealous of a duck, but when he looks up in the sky and sees the flying "Vee", headed south, he's thinking, "There go some ducks ... smart birds ... lucky birds ... Damn - wish I was a duck!"
She continues to be a delightful source of fun (and frustration)! She is (generally) a very happy baby and has become our goodwill ambassador(ess) everywhere we go. Take her to the grocery store and she gurgles at everyone she sees, tries to make eye contact and even REACH OUT to touch old and young alike. "She's such a HAPPY baby," is what we hear everywhere we go. She loves to laugh and giggles at practically everyone and anything. Though we still hear a lot, "What a delightful little BOY."
As Scott says, "She needs more hair."
She's now standing (supported) and with that, her World has grown proportionally (read: Everything below 3 feet is now FAIR GAME). She's got a box of toys in the living room to play with, but NO ... pulling 100's of CD's off the CD rack is WAY MORE FUN ... or maybe slobbering all over the remote control on the coffee table ... chasing the cat ... or (her new trick) ... CLIMBING THE STAIRS!
The other day, Scott was working on the PCT slide show, in his office, and Rachel was taking a shower. Scott noted that things were WAY too quiet and went to track Alex down. He looked all over the living room, the kitchen, dining room (TWICE), wondering where his little girl could be. He looked in the steamy bathroom - no Alex. Where the HECK was she? Happily playing on the SECOND FLOOR LANDING - pulling books from the bookshelf. Oh MY GOD!! Guess it's time to put up that kid gate.
She bounces to music. "Dances kinda like her Dad," says Rachel. HA HA.
The poor kitty cat can find no rest and spends his days outside, avoiding the squealing, grabby, squirmy, crawling kid. She still loves the poor furry creature to DEATH and anytime she sees him, squeals and gives chase. We used to feed him on the landing, half-way between the 1st and 2nd floors, but we're going to have to find a new spot soon - as this one has now been breached (or should we say - REACHED - though, we're happy to report - Alex DOESN'T LIKE the taste of cat food). At least his food is safe. The same can't be said for his WATER DISH, though.
Alex has had her share of falls and her poor head just seems to take a licking, but thankfully, keeps on ticking. (At least, we think so! Her vocabulary hasn't grown very much - but her VOLUME HAS! She can play quietly for some time, but God forbid if we should try to carry on a conversation with someone - in person or on the phone it doesn't matter - she's got to chime in with her 2-cents-worth ... more like a DIMES-WORTH, if judged by volume. It does help get rid of unwanted telephone calls, however!)
Alex has now made friends in the neighborhood. Neighborhood community centers are a big thing in Edmonton and ours was celebrating it's centennial a couple of weeks ago. They had a big BBQ dinner outside the community hall and we thought we'd go and meet some new folks. Well, we didn't meet too many people, but while we were lined up to get our dinner, we let Alex crawl around on the floor and SHE met lots of people. One girl, Taylor, who - it turned out lives only 3 houses down our back lane - took a real liking to Alex and has been by to visit her, many times. She's brought friends by to introduce THEM to Alex, too. She's not shy and will even change Alex and plays with her nicely. Alex loves it when Taylor comes over - the more the merrier. Our little Ambassador(ess)!
We splurged and bought Alex a wading pool. We used it during our heat wave this summer (which lasted for a week). She loved it - as she loves her baths! Splish splash! We think that she can sink just about ANY boat we toss in, but it's not the toys she loves the most - it's the OTHER things (empty milk jugs, golf balls, anything really that's NOT a toy, it seems).
She still goes to bed easy and wakes up too early, usually around 7 AM ... but sometimes earlier.
She's a delight and a joy. We just wished that we had half her energy and a quarter of her enthusiasm. We never really felt our age before, but we do NOW, watching Alex squirm and move - nonstop.
Two years after we hiked 2,560-miles from Mexico to Canada along the PCT, Scott finalized the online slide show. We have added LOTS of new photos and they've all been modified to show at a higher resolution. Click HERE to see pictures and information about our 5-month long wilderness adventure. It was the experience of a lifetime!
(Scott has been motivated by Tom & Sheila, who've almost finished hiking the length of California. They're headed to Seiad Valley this week). We've been reading their online journal, which brings back memories of our 5-month-long hike. Just the motivation to get that slide show finished!