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Old 06-13-2011, 11:26 AM   #1
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Dinosaur Provincial Park - Alberta Badlands

We just returned from a 4 day trip to Dinosaur Provincial Park - Alberta Badlands.

This park is near Brooks, Alberta and is East and a bit South of Calgary (2 hours from the edge of Calgary). It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Much of the park is off limits unless you are on a tour (either bus or hiking). Last year the ranger led bus tour was terrific, this year not as kid engaging. (all 24 seats on the bus were filled with our group). The scenery is terrific - HooDoos everywhere! Early in the season there is still plenty of green in the riparian areas. We had a thunderstorm downpour for about an hour which reinforced the information on the force of water creating the fantastic rockscapes. The interpretive center is quite good - lots of interactive materials, a movie, as well as dinosaur displays. The campsites are quite level and most have shade from large poplar trees. The consession serves giant ice cream scoops - just the thing after bicycle ride, hike to the fossil beds, or trip through the interpretive center. Absolutely worth the trip. We will go back!

We camped there last year at the suggestion of another family in my twin's class. This year, we managed to convince 7 families to join us from their classroom. One family couldn't make it at the last minute, but we still had 35 folks. This was our first experience with a group camping and I will admit I was surprised at how much fun we all had. The children - who granted already know one another had a blast. The adults who know one another a little got to know each other better. I planned a craft project (each child painted a dinosaur on a tee shirt using a freezer paper stencil) which was fun and I think next time it would be good to have a craft each day. One set of parents took the children on a couple of bike rides each day with all but babes in arms tagging along, Even my little guy with training wheels flying! I'd planned one group dinner and a group breakfast (which I volunteered my husband to cook - sweet guy) but we ended up doing all meals together - easier really on everyone and the children behaved better than at their own tables. The kids with picky appetites also surprised their parents with the quantities they consumed. I so peer pressure in action "Everybody eat a tree!!" (brocolli disappearing) etc.
Our RV worked well - we had issues repaired over the winter including replacing the door that was hung crooked from the factory. Now the screen doesn't latch - but I'm sure that is an adjustment. The steps flying out as we drove down the road is cured. Awning works. My little boy (age 5) told us it was "a new awning with stripes this time" - it has been so long since we had it unfurled. Now I'm wondering if I have a picture of what it looked like before!

Issues were: GRIT dirt sand inside the unit despite taking off shoes at the door. Kids were covered in mud so their clothes were dirty (and yes I intercepted the worst cases and they stripped at the door. I swept, and wiped the floor several times a day - it was that crunchy. Any suggestions?

another issue I see with groups is getting your utensils & cooking gear back. I'm thinking of a thrift shop silverware / utensil purchase so there are lots of extras. Any great suggestions here?

The fresh water tank still siphons itself out when filling so we still need to do that fix which I am thinking is a loop up over the tank of tubing before it drops down.
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Old 06-14-2011, 01:36 PM   #2
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for the grit, vacuum it up! soon as you mop the grit it will mix in with the water, look clean but then as it dries its back again!

neighbours gave me heck for putting down 3/4 midas for my driveway, said it would track into the house all the time. after first rainfall its never tracked inside again! we had to vac it up everyday almost though lol.

maybe a good blocker is an area rug outside?
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:24 PM   #3
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Thanks for that write up; we are thinking of heading there for one of our next trips!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Susan View Post
another issue I see with groups is getting your utensils & cooking gear back. I'm thinking of a thrift shop silverware / utensil purchase so there are lots of extras. Any great suggestions here?
This is one of my peaves; especially seeing we often camp with my wife's friends- who are all new to Canada. What that means is that as inexperienced campers they are always borrowing stuff from me. Personal favourite was our first trip when nobody brought any kind of lights; no flashlights, lanterns, candles- nothing. Of course I had several spares. And at least they have a bit of a sense of humour about it- the one guy commented that I have to go camping with them; otherwise I'd see them on the news as the family that got eaten by a bear.

As for cheap utensils; Dollorama usually has some decent stuff. I also picked up a bunch of semi-disposable items at the liquidation store on MacLeod Trail and 69th ave; behind the new Co-op gas bar. They had BBQ tongs that were decent for $1; as well as a few other odds and ends.

The other thing is watch for Canadian Tire to put things on sale for 70% off. Over the winter my wife was always frustrated that I was continually coming homw with something else "for the trailer." However that frustration turned to pride when one of her friends kids said "See- anything you could possibly need; Uncle Ken has in the trailer!"
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:07 PM   #4
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Ken I'm laughing - this weekend we were the go to folks. I'd picked up the multipackks of the butane firestarters (I don't know what they are actually called - lighters with a long snout) Everyone else had forgotten theirs. Our water hoses came in handy when someone needed to refill their tanks, we had the 3 burner campchef stove that got used the whole weekend (and the 2 burner grill box and 3 burner griddle) etc. It's kind of fun to feel like you have it nailed. I also brought a rotary iron (mangle it's sometimes called) to put the freezer paper stencils of dinosaurs on tee shirts (Michaels had a 50% off sale on those) and did the craft with the fabric paint. The kids were all adorable with their matching shirts and Albertasaurus (think T-rex) shirts. Yes a rotary iron is over the top, I will admit that.
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