Saturday, March 18, 2017

What I learned

After completing the amazing cross-country road trip with my family, I wanted to reflect on the highlights of the trip.

Before I forget, during the trip we stopped at 22 different playgrounds, we saw 23 bicycle tourists (in Canada only) and 1 hiker tourist.

A lot of people have asked what my favourite part of the trip was but it is so hard to choose just one thing. I loved seeing friends, the beautiful scenery, and the incredible activities we did. I especially liked spending time with my family. My husband and I make an amazing team, and it’s always nice to be reminded of how well suited we are for one another. My daughters grew and learned and I was able to witness their growth. Our dog is the sweetest companion anyone could ask for. As a family, we bonded in ways that are hard to describe. I truly hope this trip created a precedent that will be repeated.

The most difficult thing about the trip was (perhaps obviously) when the girls were whining in the car. This often happened after they’d woken up from a nap, but we still had an hour or two ahead of us. My worst fear was that someone would get sick or that we’d have car problems, but luckily other than the dog vomiting one day, we were fine.

Finally, I learned and was reminded of how simple life can be. I learned to be more flexible, living without a schedule, but I’m not sure I can keep it up! We also brought just what was necessary, and really, we don’t need much more than that! Also, kind of randomly, I’ve decided I will no longer be eating baby animals (veal, lamb, etc.) because they are just too cute! And poor mommy animals who have to be separated from their young… I may become vegetarian if I think about it for too long!

I hope you enjoyed reading about our adventure. If you want to do something similar don’t hesitate to ask me about it. And if you’re on the fence - just do it! It’s a lot easier than people think it is!

via Tumblr

Day 24: Montreal, Quebec

Last night after I posted we had to complain about the noise at the hotel we were at as the next door neighbours were partying! On top of it all they had a baby crying in their party, it was weird. They finally were quiet and we got a good night sleep. It was so nice to wake up to the beautiful scenery of trees and water, it was very serene. We had breakfast in Blind River at a restaurant called Seventeen, it was uneventful. We desperately had to buy baby wipes as we ran out last night, so we stopped for those and continued our journey.

We stopped for a picnic lunch at a playground in Sturgeon Falls.

We arrived in Ottawa in time to have a late dinner with our friends A&R. It was so nice to catch up. We had conversations about our trip and their future all while enjoying delicious food.

Montreal is only two hours away from Ottawa so we carried on after dinner hoping the girls would sleep in the car. Z did just fine, but baby A cried (really hard 😢) for the last half hour of the trip! I guess she was just done with being in a car seat, especially to sleep in. We had the most wonderful adventure and I have lots to say about what I learned and what I liked most and least, but it’ll have to wait as it is very late and I am exhausted.

via Tumblr

Beautiful Great Lakes!

Beautiful Great Lakes!

via Tumblr

Day 23: Blind River, Ontario

Whew! Another full day of driving! We had breakfast at Tim Horton’s in Nipigon and head out. During this trip, we’ve seen many wild animals, including bison, deer, geese, falcons, and a moose, but this morning, my husband saw a bear! It was walking along a side road and we drove past so quickly I didn’t get a chance to see it, but it’s exciting to know it was there!

We stopped for lunch at White River, where apparently Winnie the Pooh is from (the actual bear, not the story). Unfortunately it was raining so the girls weren’t able to play in the park, but the food was pretty good. We ate at a local diner.

Our next stop was very short but we just had to step out of the car and put our feet in the water of Lake Superior. We stopped at Batchawana Bay provincial park at a little beach. It was incredibly beautiful and calm.

We had dinner in Sault Sainte Marie. It was one of the best meals of the trip! I am definitely going to try to recreate it at home. I had salmon with spinach, red peppers, goat cheese and a dried tomato sauce. There was a live singer there and it was interesting to me that my husband and I had both created mental images of the guy based on just his voice.

We are sleeping at a beautiful motel on Lake Huron, I can’t wait to see it in the morning, as we actually have our own dock on the water!

via Tumblr

Day 22: Nipigon, Ontario

We are so close yet so far! Ontario highways are small (usually one lane each way) and 90km/h speed limit, which makes it seem like we are going so slowly (especially compared to Montana’s 80 mph!). Anyway, in the car today, as with most days, I was the snack manager and entertainment provider. Before our journey started, I had planned all the toys, and now what entertains the girls is ripping paper, saying “Maman” over and over again (we counted 6 times in one minute) and poo and pee jokes (au clair de la lune, mon ami caca).

We stopped at a beautiful spot for a picnic lunch right beside these gorgeous falls. We all dipped our feet in the cool water.

We stopped for dinner in Thunder Bay. We were hoping to find a restaurant near the water, since Lake Superior is spectacular, but all we found was McDonald’s! We drove for about an hour more and Husband saw the mark point where Terry Fox’s journey ended 😢. We are staying in a roadside motel tonight as the weather forecast was very cold and we didn’t want to risk being too cold in the tent.

via Tumblr

Day 21: Falcon Lake, Manitoba

I’m in a much better mood than yesterday. Today was an amazing day! After our yummy camping oatmeal, we set out towards Winnipeg - Z thought this was hilarious since her daycare educator’s name is Winnie. We stopped for gas and then at a rest stop for a picnic lunch. In case you are wondering, our lunches on the way to Vancouver were always peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so we got kind of sick of that! For the last two days we’ve made wraps with tortillas, hummus and sprouts. Tomorrow we have those ready-made tuna salads for lunch. I’m actually excited to try them!

I don’t remember ever having been to Manitoba, let alone Winnipeg, although I my have been when I was a child. It is prairie-flat. Winnipeg was a nice city. We stopped at a park in a French neighbourhood and we’re kind of surprised to hear the kids speaking French. We then stopped at Starbucks and drove on for another hour or so. There was a moment today when my husband and I sang along to the radio to the Backstreet Boys and Alanis Morissette, I think that was the highlight of my day!

We arrived at a provincial campground and the girls and I played in the playground while the husband prepared the tent and dinner (dinner consists of a can of hearty soup and crackers).

I was a bit worried that this trip (being so long in the car) would have a negative effect on baby A’s motor development, but I am happy to report she is now crawling on all fours! And she always wants to walk while holding our hands and gets mad when we set her down.

No internet yesterday (we were over our monthly data plan limit!) but this morning we woke up so well-rested and so late!

via Tumblr

Day 20: Indian Head, Saskatchewan

We’re camping right outside of Regina. We arrived here at 7pm and still had to set the tent and make dinner and everything. Now it’s 8:30pm and both girls are still awake and I’m feeling frustrated!

I’d say this was the hardest day so far. The beginning went well, we stopped in Medicine Hat for lunch at a park with a nice picnic area. We stopped again in Moose Jaw for a playground break and discovered Taco (the dog) had thrown up! Thankfully it wasn’t all over our stuff, but still. We were all dehydrated so we stopped at a gas station to fill up water bottles. Then we trekked on until here.

Tomorrow is another day. Hoping it’ll be better!

via Tumblr