So my story starts in a few different places. First for a while my friend and I had been planning a day when both our husbands were off so we could go to the beach at Sylvan Lake, 1.5 hours away. So yesterday was the date we picked out. Also my Sister in Law and Brother in Law had been planning a time when they could take my oldest daughter for a few day visit to their house. It worked out that they were up visiting this past weekend and would take her back home with them down near Red Deer. We would then all meet at the beach and pick her back up to come home after a few days.
Yesterday comes along and the weather has been up and down with its promises. As my husband is on nights and we figured afternoon would be better for all with babies and our kids, we didn’t figure to leave until 1pm. The forecast tells me that about our ETA it is supposed to turn grey and rain then storm. I called my friend at 10am and told her my findings. She is ever the optimist and a huge Alberta weather doubter so ahead we go with beach day more planning towards picnic and playing in the sand if it isn’t as warm or sunny.
We load up head out just after 1pm, and trying to pick a different route as we no longer have access to one of our main roads connecting out of the city we hit some back roads, only to hit construction. Only a little off course we forge ahead. I call my sister in law around 2pm as we pass Leduc to let her know where we are and she can then prepare Diana and in a bit head out to meet us.
We finally arrive to Sylvan Lake sometime after 3pm and my sister in law pulls up in behind us. As the weather promises it is grey and starting to spit. We decide to get out anyways and walk along the beach front, much of which is under construction itself. By the time we make it to the water slide area we are now feeling rain and hearing thunder. We turn back towards the vehicles. My husband the ever enthusiastic geocacher wants to try for a quick close grab and runs off. We walk back towards the cars trying to cover up babies as best we can as it rains on us. My friend and all our daughters have to go see the sand and beach so off they go. Some how we all by accident meet up at a change area out of the rain. Even Dave walks by as he realized he had the van keys and didn’t want me out in the rain with the boys. He was right at ground zero for the cache when he realized and left it to keep us from getting further wet.
So we all head back to the van with a new plan, eat some of the many snacks we brought and head to the Collicutt Centre with the awesome swimming pool and water slide. It is now pouring as we all leave the beach. The rain slows a little as we drive to the pool. It catches back up with us as we park and prepare to get out. My sister in law dashes inside with the girls and Dave and I grab the babies in the now pouring rain and dash in ourselves. A minute behind us in the now sheeting rain in runs my girlfriend, her husbands and 2 kids. My sister in law realizes at this point Diana’s bathing suit was forgotten in her vehicle so she dashes out in the rain with a little girls rain coat to fetch it. We all head up to pay our admission and are denied as it is now hailing and we have to go to a soccer pitch for safety since the centre is full of glasses windows and sky lights. Herded like storm refugees we all head to the pitch. The girls run around, and the babies play on towels as we now figure out our next course of action. The pool is closed from major flooding and won’t be opening after the storm ends. It is now 5:30 so we just want to eat.
McDonalds is the answer with a playland. We try to figure out where one is close by, but now also have to take a different route since the roads are flooded in the most direct way. We all head out now that the rain has stopped. On our way (thankfully mostly on the other side of the road) many cars are flooded out and stranded in swimming pools on the road. Cars have resorted to driving on the grass since most road areas are impassable. We drive through a few swimming pools ourselves but with vans and not as deep of water are all fine. We finally get to McDonalds to find that playland is flooded out and closed. Since my girlfriends husband has reached his point of tolerance we decided to just eat here anyways. The kids run around crazy inside and climb all over the only place they can, a life-sized Ronald on a bench. We all eat our McDonalds and just sit out the next wave of the storms, just heavy rain in this case. From here my friend decides they will just head home and we are going back to my brother in laws to dry off our boys, give them some bottles and maybe something to eat before we regroup and head home ourselves.
Around 8pm we look out and see more storm coming in and Dave and I decide to pack up all the kids and get back on the road before the storm hits us if we can. The boys pass out and sleep the whole way home. The girls fight off and on and are excited to be reunited, eventually colour then quite down and even fall asleep when we are 30minutes from home. During the drive we went through a few more heavy rain storms and just took it easy. When we reached the Edmonton Airport, the sun was breaking out behind the last of the clouds and setting to a beautiful orange and red sky. As we crossed over the bridge towards Devon a wonderful full rainbow is in the sky. The kids are sleeping and we quietly enjoy this last part of the day.
We finally pull up to the house just around 10:15-10:30pm, put the kids to bed and sit for a moment before I head off to bed and Dave to stay up all night, to prepare for night shift. And that is the story of how we drove to Red Deer to eat at McDonalds!