Monday, June 28, 2010

Holland, MI

Yeegads - Google Maps said it would take 4 hours to get to Holland from Strathroy, but it took 9! That didn't include the 2 h wait at the border, including a very friendly yet overly thorough border guard, or a 30 minute detour because we missed a key turnoff. But still, we are clearly not going to 'make time' on this trip.

So about the border. It was fine, but the wait was long. On top of that, we picked the wrong line (isn't that always the way?) For every two cars that go through other lines, our line advanced by one. The border guard was very friendly and took his job very seriously. For example, he inspected our fruit. Then we had a very long conversation about dog food - how much did we have, was it in its original packaging, did it contain lamb? Then he talked to us about how real birth certificates were better than photocopied (no matter what the homeland security website states). He was very interested in our dog, and spent a bit of time talking to him. He was concerned about how long the lineup was and encouraged us to use the Welcome Centre to give the dog some water and a pee break. I could feel ire of the people in line behind us. 15 minutes later we were on our way - the wrong way as it turned out but we fixed that alright.

Arrived at 8 pm in Holland and had an awesome pork kebob supper with my dear university friend and her family. Spent all day yesterday along the Michigan shore and enjoyed the sandy dunes. Last night we had a cook out and DD1 and my friends 6 year old enjoyed playing the waves while DD2 and my friends' 3 year old played in the sand. Picturesque and very relaxing.

For the first time in 5 years, DH and I both got to sleep in as all 3 kids slept past 8. I don't think I have ever felt so refreshed in the morning!

More beach time today. Got groceries to stock up on the trailer as we leave tomorrow to camp our way to Regina.

Having trouble loading pics but will try again later.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Our lovely hosts and their lovely home:

Went to 3 parks today. Started with Gibbons Park in London for a picnic with a dear university friend and her kids.

Also checked out a new park in Strathroy.

Went to back to my BILs (brother in law) for a dip in the kiddie pool followed by after-supper play at the park across the street.

So if you want to know our secret for doing big road trips with kids, here it is: we stumble along and somehow avoid total disaster.

Like today. I have been planning this trip for months, knowing we would be crossing the border to the US. Did it once occur to me to make sure passports were in order? No. Did I make sure the kids had proof of citizenship? No. I made a panicked phone call to DH at 1:30 this afternoon as I was leaving Gibbons Park. We are supposed to cross the border tomorrow at lunch.

It just so happens that we had our passports in our glove compartment - left over from our last trip. The girls' had expired and their birth certificates were at home. As luck would have it, kids only need proof of citizeship to cross land borders and photocopies are acceptable. Since we have a scanner, we asked our housesitter to email us scans of the birth certificates. See? Disaster averted. Wonder what the next hiccup will be?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Strathroy, ON

We arrived in Strathroy safe and sound. The drive was uneventful but incrediably took us 10h to drive 700 kms!

It doesn't help that we have to get gas every 3 hours, and that refuelling time and nursing time for DS (dearest son) did not coincide. Plus every stop takes at least 20 min and more like 45. Started watching for licence plates today - Nova Scotia, Alaska, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Wonder if we can get all provinces and states?

Had a nice lunch stop on the side of the road. Must teach girls how to pee on the side of the road by resting their butt on the car. DD1 tried to pee in the grass today and ended up with it pretty much everywhere. Dad took her, and obviously isn't attuned to the physics of peeing while crouching....

Girls were very excited to see their aunt and uncle. DD2 asked if she could sleep in her bed at home and I had to explain that we wouldn't see again for two months. She'll be fine once she is back in the trailer.

D Day

Departure Day!

Finished packing around midnight (why must it always be that way) but kids were up a lot with the heat, so I'm running on about 3.5 hours of sleep. Luckily DH (darling husband) will be doing the driving. 7h drive to Strathroy (near Sarnia) to stay with DH's brother - one of our longest drives of the trip. Also one of the worst - I hate the 401 and driving through Toronto. Not really an open road when you're surronded by traffic the whole time.

Will wave to all the G20 protestors and the 'fake lake' as we drive through Toronto.

DD2 (darling daughter number 2) is up and at 'em and asking me "is it a camping day today?". Gotta get running....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Blog Begins

So its Wednesday morning and I have been up since 5 am because I am so excited/nervous about our big trip . I have been thinking/planning/dreaming about this trip for over a year and it starts tomorrow. When I tell people about our roadtrip, the almost universal response is "you're crazy". What's crazy about camping for 2 months and driving 11000 kms with 3 little kids (5 y, 3 y, 9 months) and a black lab? Nevermind, don't answer that.

I come from crazy parents, I guess, because I grew up on road trips and camping. In fact, I did this trip when I was 11. They are my best memories, and define 'family' for me.

Follow us on our adventure, and see if we're as crazy as everyone claims!