Monday, May 27 to Monday, June 3, 2024 (Leduc, Alberta and North Saanich, BC)

It all started the night before we left for Whistler, with Dave (Leslie) Roche, Jim (Barb) Nelson and Steve texting each other while watching game 7 between the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers. (Oilers won. 😖😖) Jim suggested that we drive to Leduc as it's only a 12 hour drive, Dave responded it's more like 15 hours with the ferry, so Jim then suggested that we fly. Steve said no can do as we're going to Whistler for our anniversary. Then I received a text from Leslie saying she had found a cheap flight from Victoria to Edmonton for May 28. Jim and Barb are from South Dakota and are heading to Alaska arriving on May 29 at Dave and Leslie's...wouldn't it be fun to surprise them? Next thing I knew, Steve said book it Dano! So I booked return flights for us to Edmonton International Airport...about 15 minutes from Dave and Leslie's in Leduc. So excited...we're going to have a blast! And it will be nice to see their beautiful acreage one last time before it's sold.

Our flight on Tuesday (May 28) was supposed to leave Victoria International Airport at 12:05 but we received a notification in the morning advising that it had been delayed. The estimated departure time was now 1:15 but they asked that we be at the airport 3 hours beforehand...just in case it was able to depart earlier, I guess. So I ordered a taxi for 10:00...we arrived at the airport about 15 minutes later, check our luggage and grabbed a coffee and snack at Tim Horton's and our wait started...
Our first time booking with Flair Air, a discount carrier...and we quickly learned that you had to pay for both carry-on and checked luggage. A small personal item that would fit under the seat in front of you was free though. You also had to pay for seat selection...something we decided not to do thinking that they know we are together and should seat us together. Nope, even though I asked long before boarding they purposely seat you separately if you don't pay extra...anywhere from $15 to $35 each depending on the seat. It's only an hour and 40 minute flight, so I think we can sit apart. Afterall we've been together 24/7, 365 for the last 14 years and could probably use a break from one another! 😂 I lucked out though...I had an isle seat and once the seatbelt sign went off, I moved into one of the 2 empty isles of seats behind me. Not sure if it was allowed but nothing was said. Meanwhile Steve was at the back of the plane, at a window seat with folks in the other 2 seats beside him. I enjoyed my flight enjoying lots of room...and getting a window!

We arrived in Edmonton at about 2:45...they announced that we had landed in the international area and disembarking the plane would take a few minutes until an international flight had finished loading. Apparently, they could not have domestic and international travellers mingling, LOL!

We finally left the plane and then walked 10 million miles (slight exaggeration) to the baggage claim area. After gathering our suitcases, we made our way out of the airport, through the parkade (the regular pick up spot was closed due to construction)...another 10 million miles! LOL! Dave and Leslie pulled up...big hugs and we were off to their place! So wonderful to see them!

We carried our suitcases up to the spare bedroom and found our bed "decorated" with Edmonton Oiler t-shirts...we are expected to wear them for the game tomorrow night.
Ever since we went to Hawaii with Dave and Leslie 2 years ago, Mai Tai's are "our" drink...and Dave makes them perfectly! Sooooo Good! Cheers, guys!
We spent the rest of the afternoon chatting...so much to catch up on! Leslie made burgers that Dave grilled for dinner...so good! Unfortunately, I have gotten very lazy preferring to buy frozen patties...yes, Steve, I know, homemade are much better!

After dinner, Dave got a campfire going...awesome ending to a great afternoon!
Wednesday (May 29) morning we went for a nice walk at Fred Johns Park, the path takes you around the Leduc Reservoir...
We parked in a different lot, so didn't realize we had been here last July until we saw this...
It was a pretty breezy day (actually, it was pretty windy the whole time we were in Leduc)...
Jim and Barb aren't expected to arrive until 2ish this afternoon, so after our walk, we went for a little drive and then stopped at Barney's Pub and Grill for a bite to eat. Dave and Leslie have a big dinner planned for tonight, so we didn't want to have too much, but we had a brew and shared a couple of appies...perfect!

Back at Dave and Leslie's we talked about the best way for Steve and I to surprise Jim and Barb when they get here (no, I'm not going to crouch down behind the kitchen counter and jump up when they come in the room! LOL). It was decided that Dave and Leslie would go outside to greet them...and after getting the truck/camper situated and letting the dogs out, they would bring them in the front door. We would be standing on the other side of the counter...Steve video'd their entrance...
It was awesome...they were SO surprised! Completely flabbergasted! As Jim titled his blog "Shocked, Amazed and Confused".

Once the shock wore off, we all selected a beverage to put in the special 'Oiler' cups and went for a walk around the acreage...
We all gathered around the dining table, chatting and trying some different adult beverages...chocolate martini anyone? 
Time to get dinner started...Leslie and Barb...
Jim, Dave and Steve...
Dinner was fabulous...Dave grilled the steaks to absolute perfection! Delicious!
Then it was time for us all to don our Oiler t-shirts and gather in front of the TV. As we joined everyone Steve expressed how dirty he felt wearing an Oilers shirt! 😂 With our Vancouver Canucks out of the playoffs, the Edmonton Oilers are playing the Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup Playoffs...the Oilers won!
Thursday (May 30) morning we enjoyed a relaxing start...here are "the girls", Dakota on the left and Zoey on the right...
After fuelling up with a delicious breakfast, we all headed out for a little tour of the area...the guys in Dave's truck and the girls in Leslie's car (including Dakota and Zoey). 

We stopped for a hike along the North Saskatchewan River at Voyageur Park in Devon...
Back at Dave and Leslie's, Dave treated us to specialty coffees from their built-in espresso machine...latte, anyone?
Just before 3:00 we all headed to Rig Hand Distillery, a short distance from Dave and Leslie's place for a tour. It's an interesting combination of distillery and brewery...
Our tour guide explaining as best she can as she was covering for the regular guide...
If I'm remembering correctly I think they add flavouring to this gin still...
And these stills makes vodka and gin...

A variety of beers brewed here...
Of course, after the tour, it was time to taste all of their spirits...

Drinks and dinner afterwards...those are flights of Caesar's in front of Barb and Leslie...
On our way out, Steve took some pictures of the display of comical creatures...

A bull cooking a steak on a campfire with a pig on it's head having a swig of moonshine!

Back home, a campfire and some games of 10,000. Steve here: What a shot...the bag Jim just tossed is ummm...perfectly covering Dave's...! 😂
Zoey is so tolerant of Jim...
And a beautiful sunset!
Friday (May 31) was a particularly blustery day. We did manage a walk going partially around Telford Lake but it was not all that pleasant. It was nice once we got back to the vehicles and out of the wind!
This squirrel was enjoying the seed in this cool bird feeder...
A brew at Sea Change Brewing Co. in Beaumont...so Barb could add and rate the flight of brews to the Untappd-Discover Beer App. they have a limited menu so we headed to...
 Blackjacks Roadhouse for lunch...

A very cool bar...reminded us of Lutes Casino in Yuma. This place is huge with so much paraphernalia everywhere you looked that you could probably come here a hundred times and still see something different! Note the race car shell, there was even a dragster hanging in another area. The food portions were huge and very good!  
Back home, it was time to don the Oiler t-shirts for, what would be, the last game in the playoffs with the Dallas Stars...Edmonton won, so they go onto the Stanley Cup finals, playing the Florida Panthers. After a late lunch, we had charcuterie for dinner...
Well all good things must come to an end, so Saturday (June 1) it was time to pack our suitcases. Such a wonderful four days of fun, laughter, food and breweries! So glad we made the trip! It was awesome seeing Jim and Barb...and of course, Dave and Leslie who were incredible hosts! We had a blast!

With big hugs, we said goodbye to Jim, Barb and the girls and watched them head out of the driveway as they continue on to their Alaskan adventure. Then Dave and Leslie drove us to the Edmonton airport for our 10:35 a.m. flight to Victoria. We had a bit of a wait at the Flair Airline counter as they had earlier flights leaving and kept calling for them...I find it amazing how some folks leave it to the last minute to arrive for their flight!

We got through security quickly, found our gate and then stopped for coffee and a breakfast sandwich while we waited for our flight to board. It wasn't long before we were all on board and on our way. This time, we had paid an extra $30 and booked seats together 😄 No one between us, so we had lots of room...
An unusual looking control tower... 
Bye bye Leduc!
We landed at Victoria International, retrieved our suitcases and waited about fifteen minutes or so for Rob to pick us up. He was with Bryce at his baseball game, just a short distance away. Bryce is really enjoying baseball and loves playing catch with his dad...they were out in the yard for most of the afternoon. Bryce is getting really good at both throwing and catching the ball...he really has quite an arm on him!

Rob's birthday is on Monday but Conner made brownies for him...so this was a "pre" celebration...
Sunday (June 2) was a pretty chill day. Conner with Grampa...
Although the morning started off with rain, by later in the afternoon, Bryce had his dad back out playing catch...
Rob's birthday is tomorrow but since it's a workday, the celebration dinner will be tonight. Rob did his magic with four racks of ribs and put them in the oven at about 1:30 for a slow cook all afternoon. Don't they look delicious? They sure were... "fall off the bone" perfection!
Our dinner feast...ribs, roast potatoes, asparagus and carrots...YUM! 
Angie and Conner made the birthday cakes...Happy 41st Birthday, Rob! Love the glasses! (they can be changed to whatever birthday it is...Bryce wore them last month for his 9th birthday)...
We thought he should wear the glasses to work tomorrow...he didn't like that idea, LOL!
Monday (June 3) morning both Steve and I had major exams at our optometrist in Sidney. So we packed up our suitcases and the car so that we could leave right after our appointments. Our original plan had been to stay another night but since we had celebrated Rob's birthday yesterday, we decided to get home...besides after 2 weeks away, we were ready to get home!

It was about 12:30 when we hit the road...getting us home at 4:30, after a quick stop in Mill Bay for a bite to eat. We quickly unpacked and got settled back in....ahhhh....so good to be home after such a fabulous couple of weeks!