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cowboys riding in their horses

Part of the reason I love to travel by car -other than the fact that I hate flying- is the experiences that you have along the way. We are experts at the road trip by now and beyond experts about road trips with children. That’s right, no false modesty here, folks 😉

As I mentioned, I hate flying. I have a deep-seated, horrible fear of flying that hasn’t been helped by all the usual suggestions. Yes, I’ve flown a lot, more times than I care to remember and I’m not used to it. Sure I could drink straight whiskey on the flight, but that’s usually frowned upon. Medication? I prefer to be lucid when the plane goes down, thanks.

What that means, is that I have driven more kilometres in the name of vacation than a vacuum salesman does on the job. If we still had door to door salesman, that is. If I had to add them up, I probably have done North America tip to tip about 6 or 7 times… or more.

Disneyland, Arizona, San Francisco, you name it, we’ve driven. There’s also a huge month-long trip in the works for Christmas that does actually see me heading all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

By car.

Do we ever love every single minute of it though.

Oh, the things you see when you are driving! Mike flies without a problem but he too loves road trips for the sheer beauty, excitement and adventures you have along the way.

Like my Idaho Cowboys.

Oh, this was a moment indeed, folks.

We had stopped at my favorite trucker breakfast stop the Flags West in Downey, Idaho. That truck stop does the meanest biscuits n’ gravy on the I-15 that you are ever gonna find. Since we travel the I-15 at least twice a year past Downey, I get those fabulous biscuits n’ gravy twice a year.

Mr K and my Rose hadn’t ever stopped with us for breakfast we realized, it was on our adults only trips that Mike and I indulged. We decided that simply must change and stopped in at the truck stop early one morning.

Then suddenly, these cowboy gentlemen showed up and we found ourselves in the middle of a real life cattle drive. The cowboy in front could have been straight out of a Western movie, from his well-worn boots to the tip of his cowboy’s hat, including a red bandana around his neck.

cowboys riding in their horses

Now I’m an Alberta girl but in all my years of living in the country, I’ve yet to see a real cattle drive like this. No machines, no trucks, just honest to goodness cowboys and their faithful dog herding the cattle down the road in the middle of the open country.

cowboys herding the cattle down the road in the middle of the open country

Almost the entire truck stop emptied out onto the side of the road to watch. Children with their parents, tired truckers with their cups of well-earned coffee, we all stood by the side of the road watching this amazing and rare sight. Everyone knew it was something special, something that we might not ever seen again. Camera’s clicked, children exulted to parents about the “real cowboys” and waved chubby little arms frantically at their heros.

The sounds, oh the sounds were like out of the movies. Cattle were stomping and bellowing, the sheer size of the herd creating enough dramatic noise that you could barely hear the cowboys yelling instructions to each other and their beautiful dog.

Watching a herding dog at work in the real world is something extraordinary to see. How fast, how smart and talented he was, never balking at his job, always knowing exactly what to do.

cowboys riding in their horses and a herding dog at work

We all watched them leave until they were tiny specks in the distance, our breakfasts growing cold on the tables, forgotten, completely not important compared to this. When we did return, all the children could chat about was the cowboys, the cattle, how huge they are and of course, the dog who was such a talented hard-working pup. My daughter wanted to take him home, of course.

cowboys leaving until they were tiny specks in the distance There are so many other moments like this when we road trip and every time we see them Mike and I turn to each other and say ” We would have missed that completely if we had flown.”

We also would have missed it if we hadn’t learned by now to take our time on the road and that the journey is part of the experience. We don’t zoom through every city or town, we explore and find delights on the way. I have favorite restaurants in every city from Great Falls to Salt Lake along the 1-15, know all the best places to stop and stretch your legs. We make time to explore the places along the way, investigating beforehand what might be in each city to see as a family. I’ve seen waterfalls and bridges and dams galore, all of them on the way and not the actual destination.

One day, I’m sure I am going to have to fly again as it’s a quicker way to get places, for some conference or event that I just can’t live without attending. Until then though, we are going to take our time and explore the road.



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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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  1. Lisa says

    Hi, what kind of camera did you use? Or what setting on the camera?

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      @Lisa I shoot with a Canon 7D but this is all about post processing the photos in Photoshop! It’s not a setting, sadly!

  2. Kandice Martinez says

    Well, it worked! You are becoming very talented with your camera

  3. The Kitchen Magpie says

    AW thanks! That was the look I was aiming for, not quite real life, very Old West.

  4. Kandice Martinez says

    The pictures in this post are amazing! They almost look like a series of beautiful paintings.

  5. Hilda Siemens says

    That’s awesome! We were camping last week and there was a real live cattle drive going right beside us too! I felt like such a city girl taking pictures haha.

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      @Hilda Siemens Haha I know, what a couple of city slickers 😉

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