Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day One: You are here...

...but you should be here:

So...the plan was originally to leave early on the 15th and make it to Calgary, or possibly to drive through the night and let the kidlets sleep through the boring (sorry Saskatchewan) part of the trip. Neither happened.

Final packing - despite the amazing PACKING SKILLZ of Dianna, took longer, the house needed to be put in order for the new renters, last minute errands like police checks for Ken's new job, blah, blah, blah. Bottom line, after buying some portable DVD players, a bike rack and picking up the kids' bikes we set out for midnight.

About one half hour outside of Winnipeg, Di's mom tracked us down on our cell. (By the way, we're keeping our cell account, so you can reach us at (204) 981-7211. We're on a decent plan, so don't be afraid to call). Once dear mom found out that we were planning to drive through the night while the kids slept, she put an end to that nonsense and had a motel already booked for us when we reached Portage la Prairie. Oh well. I think Brenna put it most succinctly as we pulled up to the motel when she said, "Are we at least out of Winnipeg?".

The weather in Portage was balmy and pleasant, not like the weather we left so far behind us...

Fast forward, and the pictures will help tell the story, we arrived in Airdrie, AB and stayed with our dear friends Jay and Katherine Brandt who just moved there from Winnipeg. The kids all got their own fishing rods at the coolest sporting goods store in the world (Bass Pro Shop/Outdoor World. Matt Klassen, if you're reading this, you would have sold your house and moved into this store).

The kids got to go fishing at a little stocked pond in Airdrie and Will got a nice sized rainbow trout on his first time fishing, on his first cast. He's ruined for life. Jay, not to be outdone, caught his own, slightly smaller, rainbow trout. Brenna added her two cents by naming the fish Fred and Ted. Fred and Ted were to be barbecued the next day, but we never quite got around to it. They now lanquish in the deep dark recesses of a freezer in Alberta. Oh, the humanity.

We had a day at the Calgary Zoo (outstanding) and drove through and toured Banff and Lake Louise. Will, when asked what he thought about the view at Lake Louise, said he couldn't tell me because there weren't any words for it. I think he gets it. Jay has by far been most taken with the mountain panoramas as we snaked through the Rockies. Every few minutes you heard "HOLY!!! Look out starboard!" (We got tired of left and right). We overnighted in Golden, B.C., then in Kamloops and yesterday we arrived at Magic Grandpa and Grandma's in Tsawwassen outside of Vancouver. "Magic" because Di's dad is a professional magician. He's tried to turn me into someone more suitable for his daughter a number of times, but he hasn't managed it yet - I've read too many Harry Potter books.

Today we went to the ocean and beachcombed for seashells and sand dollars. Jay of course, came back with a sea snake and a jellyfish. He simply has to outdo everyone. We just set up Jay's tent (a birthday present from Magic Grandpa and Grandma) in the backyard. Poor kid had his birthday on July 2, and got presents that we immediately packed up and mailed before he could even use them. He'll have the last laugh when we get to the Yukon though - Dianna and I bought him a drum kit. Yikes.

So, that pretty much brings everyone up to date, should you choose to follow this ongoing saga of our (mis)adventures. Feel free to add comments if you'd like - it'd be nice to open up some two way communication with friends and family.

Here's some pics of the journey so far. Check out Ken's oh-so-sexy new hat in the Lake Louise pictures. I'm reinventing myself. The old me was so....Manitoban.

Cheers for now.

Ken (on behalf of the Syms.)

First fish

Hooked on fishing

One with nature

"Been fishin' long?"

The family caravan


The last spike

Really....this is our country!

Beachcombers at the ocean:

"Magic" Grandpa and Grandma:


  1. Ken
    Glad to hear your travelling is going well. Have a safe journey, and maybe we will see you up there, where ever there is. Ron

  2. I'm so glad you decided to do this blog, I am REALLY looking forward to sharing your adventures! I miss you guys already, but am incredibly happy you get to experience all these neat things. Have a great time and I look forward to seeing and reading ALL about it!

  3. You guys haven't changed a bit. How exciting and How scary is this adventure. I look forward to following your experiences over the next year. All the best...Bob and Cheryl

  4. So awesome to see you all having a blast!!! I had sushi from SS the other day and thought of you Di!!! sob sob Nice hat Ken! J would love it.
    Love ya, Kate