Howdee! I'm Becks from Crunchy Can Feel Good. I'm terrifically excited to be writing for Valorie today. Even though my childhood summer vacations weren't fabulous and all over the world like Valorie's, I have travelled all over my British Columbia and Alberta, so I guess that counts for something?
You know those roadside community museums, or interactive centres full of local history that you drive by on the side of the highway while wondering "who the hell goes to those?" The answer is simple: My father.
My dad is a delightful man who wanders around the house on a regular basis saying "meow meow meow" under his breath while he subconsciously talks to the cat who may, or may not be in the vicinity. His favourite things are secretly feeding his children shredded turnips, hoarding Christmas chocolates from decades gone by, having heated debates about contentious subjects, and embarrassing my sister by showing her boyfriend whale pictures that he had taken on vacation. He has recently purchased a "man bag" insisting that it is not a purse because it's "not that big." He has also enjoyed proposing to my mum by putting her engagement ring in a bag of bananas, and as I mentioned before, single-handedly keeping all small businesses and museums in business by forcing his family to have an educational experience while on holiday.
So there we were. On the road somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, driving without any destination in mind other than "how far can half of our budget take us before we have to turn around and use the other half to get back home?" And this is what we saw.
Vegans and PETA supporters look away. Yes, those are gophers. Yes, they are dead. And yes, they are dressed up in cute little outfits, posed and have speech bubbles stabbed into their head to create funny, endearing and sometimes poignant vignettes of gopher life. This museum exists, and my family has been to it twice. I have the 1998 and 2008 calendars to prove it. I'm serious, this is a real place. It's in Alberta, and was created as a solution to increase tourism and decrease the gopher population. It even gets five stars on yelp. This place is magical.
I have been to historically re-enacted and dramatized "school" more than anyone else I know. None so hardcore as my fifteen minute long "day" at the O'Keefe Ranch in Vernon British Columbia. Boys were given caps, and girls were handed bonnets. We had to line up girls first, then boys, and from tallest to shortest. We practiced our cursive on slate boards. We had to address our teacher as "yes ma'am" or "no ma'am". My dad sat behind my sister in "school" and took her then long braids and dipped them into his inkwell. After my sister yelped and told on my dad to our teacher, my dad was lightly rapped on the hands with a stick and sent into the corner for misbehaving. Then we ate grilled cheese sandwiches, which are irrelevant to the story, but delicious nonetheless.*
Anywhere there is Ice Cream
Imagine another 1/2 scoop, and you have the single scoop at Summerland Sweets as I remember it.*
One summer my mum and dad asked us three kids where we wanted to go for our summer vacation. We had to pick somewhere in either British Columbia or Washington State. Almost at the exact same time all three of us said "We want to go to Summerland for an ice cream." Summerland Sweets has the largest ice cream single scoop that my family has ever been able to find anywhere. Even the advertised "Largest single scoop in British Columbia" about 25 minutes out in the middle of nowhere in some rinky dink gas station does not compare to the glorious magnitude that is a Summerland Sweets Single Scoop. But that does not deter us from trying to find one bigger! Every sign for ice cream, we have to stop and get a scoop. It's a rule.
Tyrell Museum in Drumheller
Drumheller has single-handedly ruined every subsequent dinosaur exhibit I have seen anywhere. There are so many dinosaurs. And everyone knows that dinosaurs are the best. This is one museum that we didn't hate. But I had to include it because ...
*Image sources: O'Keefe Family Ranch, Summerland Sweets, Tyrell Museum,