Monday, June 03, 2013

#157. or, Night at The Museum

 I settled in. My spot, tucked in next to the outcropping, gave me a good view of the camp as I unfurled my bedroll and took position to watch over my end of the camp. They made far too much noise for my liking and it made me wary. We were in dangerous territory and I was fully aware of the nest of Hypacrosaur eggs behind me and that the mother would be around to watch over them.

  As my eyes adjusted to the dark, I knew that the nest was the least of our worries as I could make out the shape of a Triceratops off to the left of the camp.

   For God's sake, if they would only quiet down, we might get through this night. But most of the crew was young and inexperienced, giddy even, to be out on site. And that might just be the thing that got us all killed. Because now, with my eyes fully adjusted, I was painfully aware that less than 50 feet away stood the fiercest of all the dinosaurs......a Tyrannosaurus Rex, we were all doomed.

  But not really. Mostly that was all me letting my imagination get the best of me,  because all of these dinosaurs were mounted skeletons, and my spot by the outcropping was really next to a giant pillar that held the roof up.  I was part of the grade 7 field trip to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller Alberta. Which was really cool, because we all got to spend the night in sleeping bags on the floor in Dinosaur Hall. Well, as cool as trying to sleep with a group of 50 some odd kids can be, after them getting up early enough to be at the school at 6:15 AM to get on a bus for a 5 hour ride, then spending the day learning about Paleontology, running them all into town for a quick swim, then getting them back and trying to calm them all into slumber at around 10:30 can be.  But it was all fun nonetheless.

all the comforts of home, without my comfy new bed

  Unfortunately, as it decided to rain on us most of the first day, we weren't allowed to go out on the badlands hike that was supposed to be a part of the tour. It seems, that a good deal of the badlands are made up of Bentonite. Which, while dry, is pretty much mild mannered dirt. However, when it gets wet it turns into, for lack of a better term, snot of the Earth. And as fun as trekking out into that with 50 grade 7 kids sounds, authorities with far greater powers than mine decided against it. Who am I to argue? I was there to drive the bus.

the wheels on the bus go round and round

  On the second day, the weather was a bit better and we took the kids to Reptile world as a part of their tour and to the suspension bridge where they were supposed to study it for an upcoming test on structures. I'm not really sure how they're going to do on that test, but I suspect, if they got tested on running up the hill on the other side of the bridge, they would all pass with flying colours.

  Overall, it was a good trip. I always enjoy field trips. (except maybe the one to the hair show, but that one wasn't so bad either.) Probably the worst part of the trip was having to clean up some kids pee off the top of the urinal in the museum bathroom. How out of control do you have to be to pee on TOP of the urinal. They're grade 7's, none of them are that tall yet.

  Having done a couple of these long trips now, one other observation that I've made is that a kids bladder will shrink, relative to the proximity we get to home, on the return trip.

  On the way down, we had one planned stop to have a bathroom break, refuel the chaperones on coffee, and have the kids spend half of their allotted souvenir money on candy and bucket sized slushies. (the candy and slushies weren't planned, more a side effect of putting 50 kids, free of their parents in a truck stop convenience store.)

  Coming home, we had more than a few kids, my own son being one of them, crossing their legs or doing the pee pee dance when we were still more than 45 minutes away from our scheduled stop. Of course, it didn't really help that everyone that didn't have to go was making wooshy ocean wave sounds and talking about every conceivable water related topic under the sun. Plus, while we were stopped, and it was suggested that everyone try their hardest to empty their bladders because we were pushing straight through to home, the other bus had to make a second unplanned stop for more peeing. Some of the kids (my son) asked if they could pee in an empty water bottle, but one of the teachers said that wasn't such a good plan.

  ............I had to agree. My son has enough trouble getting all of his pee into a 14 inch toilet bowl. Hitting the 1 inch opening of a water bottle on a moving school bus would have been damned near impossible.

Linking up this week with the Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom Bloghop. If you have some time, stop over and read a few blogs.  


  1. Hey friend!
    Glad to see you survived the trip to tell about it! Fun times for sure, fun times!

    Yes, I guess the bucket-sized slushies got the better of them, but then again, after having taken trips with kids and adults in large groups, it is dang near impossible to get everyone's bladders synced so that the one stop is all it takes. How'd you fare on agreeing where everyone ate meals, or was that decided? That can be a chaotic mess, unless one person finally takes charge and decides. In a gaggle of women, that is usually me - the one solid voice ringing out among the 'Oh, it doesn't matter. Where do YOU want to go?" Argh!

    Anyway, I digress...

    What a fun experience!!! Sad to say, but most schools around here are cutting field trips left and right so I am glad to hear that your son's school still has them. They are a lot of work but so worth it for the kids.

    Glad you're back!

    1. Hello, my friend!

      With the meals, we all took a bagged lunch on the first day, and had all pre-ordered from a selection at McDonalds for lunch on the 2nd day. We just arrived there and picked it all up and took it to that suspension bridge to eat. Supper, the 1st day and breakfast,along with some snacks were all provided by the museum cafeteria. It was part of the package the school set up.

      It was the same way with swimming pool on the 1st night.

      I know there has been some cuts here, and the school has lost some of it's fuel subsidy. I'm not sure how that will bode for field trips next year. I know there is a lot more parents starting to get their bus designation and as far as I know, (or with me anyways) almost all of my trips are done as a volunteer. So I think they save a bit there.

      I'm trying to be more back than not, I wish I could find more time to write and comment. :)

  2. Sleeping with the dinosaurs, how fun that sounds, even if there wasn't a whole lot of sleep involved! You are an awesome Dad to volunteer for field trips, especially overnight ones with 50 kids on a bus! Hats off to you!! :-)

    1. Hi Josie!

      I don't think that all of the kids knew where we were going to sleep, so it was a complete surprise to some, that was the fun part. :)

      The overnight ones are always fun. I have my eye on one that's coming up in grade 9, but it's a couple years off. Until then, I'm having fun on the day trips. There's another one coming up in the end of June. :)

  3. I've never been a big fan of field trips, but I do enjoy reading about others adventures in them :). Sounds like you had a good time :).

    1. Hi Annika!

      Fortunately for you, you don't have to come along and sleep on the floor, but can read all about my adventure. :)

      It was pretty fun. Some of the parents were a bit stressed I think, by the time it was over, but I think it went quite well. :)

  4. We made my son pee in a cup once on the way back from Vegas. He loved it. Thought it was the best thing ever and I bet if you ask him about the trip, that will be the only part he will tell you about!

    1. Hey Jules,

      That's awesome! Although, I'm not sure I would be too comfortable with a paper cup full of pee in my cup holder! At least in a water bottle, you can screw the cap back on tight and it's pretty safe in there?

      I'm glad your kid has that memory, it's the small things. (small things that makes memories, not saying anything derogatory about your kids junk!)

  5. I laughed so hard my husband was like "what are you doing over there?" At your son and his water bottle idea. There have been many times I've thought about peeing in a water bottle when the rest stop was closed for repairs or whatnot. Haven't done it though.

    Also, so jealous of the fact you got to overnight at the freakin dinosaur museum. Although I wouldn't have been able to contain myself and probably would have woken everyone up yelling "oh no the T-rex has come to life RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!"

    1. Hi Holly!

      Before we left the bridge, and all of the kids were encouraged to try to pee before we left, everyone lined up at the single outhouse to try. It was taking far too long so most of the boys just lined up along the fence and peed into the bushes. Of course, that's when cars started showing up.

      You can take farm boys to the park, but you, can never take the farm out of those boys! :)

      After all day with some of those kids and finally winding them down to sleep, if I would have woken them all back up screaming, I wouldn't have been too popular. :)

  6. When I was a teenager my friends and I would try to pee over our shoulders, not that successfully I might add. Beer was always involved in this process. Big or small, there's an idiot inside all of us.

    1. I had never tried that, I fear I may lack the velocity required these days.

  7. Hi Ken!

    I'm jealous of that field trip. Ever since I saw Night at the Museum, I've wanted to do an overnight in one (as so many others have, too, I'm sure!)

    I'm afraid to go on buses anymore, because my bladder likes to party party party when it least should. But I'd find a way to pee in a bottle if I had to, even though I don't have the proper equipment ;)

    1. Hi Kianwi!
      I have to say, I had a bit of inside knowledge on the sleeping arrangement so I jumped at the chance when I was asked. It was a pretty cool thing to do! :)

      I'm a little worried myself when we strike out on these long hauls. I was pretty careful about how much coffee I drank before we left and only opened my go mug when I knew we were in a safe distance that I could hold it.

      It's all in the planning! :)

  8. I'm so gullible. You had me goin there for a minute. Fun read!
    Cortne @ cocoinmagnolia

    1. Thanks! I'm happy that you had fun.

      I don't normally write anything in a made up story like that. I wasn't sure if it was going to work.

  9. I have to admit, I saw this post going in so many different directions when I saw that you had posted about our night with dinosaurs! Glad you recovered and thanks again for driving the bus and chaperoning our kids!
    -The Nazi Teacher who only plans one bathroom break in 5 hours and won't let the bus driver's kid pee in a bottle.

    1. I had a wonderful time and would do it again in a second! I hope I did the trip justice as there were so many other cool things happen, (like the casting) but I was worried about it getting too long.

      You made the right call about the bottle. It made cleaning the bus after so much more pleasant! :)

      Thanks for having me along.