We left Edmonton 7 days ago now. It seems like yesterday, and it seems like an eternity. Right now I am sitting in the basement arcade of the Thunder Bay KOA Kampground, and while I will never stop hating how they use Ks with so little regard to Korrect spelling, it’s been a nice stay. We were only slated to be here 2 nights, but thanks to an overly full Kampground (ugh) and a substituted one-night hotel stay in what may have been the sketchiest Super 8 in Winnipeg (possibly all of Manitoba?) we had an extra day in the schedule. We decided to spend it here.
Yesterday was… not great. I learned some things about myself, things I’m not super proud of. Things like- without adequate sleep and/or caffeination, I am not a very nice person. I mean, weÂ knew this, but still. Let’s just leave it at- yesterday (and more than one moment from days previous, really) was rough.
So now I’m deliberately taking a step back. I’m intentionally relaxing my attitude. To be totally honest, I am letting all kinds of crap slide that just would not work on a regular basis, but you know what? This isn’t a regular basis. This is a cross-country move, a two-week camping road trip, it’s 2 adults and 4 kids and a dog all crammed into a Mazda5, which SHOCKER isn’t actually the ideal vehicle for these types of treks. And so I have to say ok when they won’t eat anything but grilled cheese Happy Meals. And I have to say it’s alright when we stay up until nearly 11 every night. And I have to take a step back when they want candy before dinner. And after dinner. And sometimes with dinner. Are they going to be insufferable when we start settling back into normalcy? Yeah, most definitely so. But that transition was always going to be total shit. At least I won’t have spent my entire
monthÂ summer hating life.
But seriously. Our Minion count is at…16? I think?
Thanks for that, McDonalds. Super nice of you to come out with a noisemaking toy just in time for our big summer road trip. Excellent.
And now how about a day-by-day smattering of the highlights?
The actual day of moving. I thought I had maaaaaybe a couple hours worth of things to do, then the cleaning service was coming at 2 and the landlord was coming for the keys at 7, and we’d be set! Oh, how wrong I was. After a day full of the most amaxing neighbors I could ever possibly ask for, who watched my children and fed my entire family and promised to haul all the rest of my stuff to the Eco-station after we ran out of time to finish it all, we finally hit the road a couple minutes before midnight. When we finally arrived in Drumheller around 3am, we all collapsed into the Super8 for what remained of the night.
Day 2 started later than I’d hoped, but it was a good way to start off the trip. The first stop was the Star Mine Suspension Bridge, and a bit of climbing on the other side. Violet loved the bridge but hated the climb, and Fiona couldn’t get enough of the climb but whimpered the whole way across the bridge. We also had ice creams and climbed inside a big huge dinosaur, and went swimming at the hotel pool. Violet did the water slide at the pool three times by herself! And even Bianca did it once. Not pictured: Fiona sleeping through our first stop at the HooDoos, me pouting in the car through lunch.
Since our first try at the HooDoos was a bit of a wash for half the family, we decided to stop off there one last time on our way out of Alberta. This time everyone was awake and not cranky, and though Nate did have to make a quick drive back to the hotel to locate one Â abandoned shoe, we were all able to have a good explore before hitting theÂ road. Stopped at a little nowheresville gas station/Chinese restaurant for lunch, got to our campsite stupidly late, but we got the tent set up and managed to complete our third day.
For our first non-backyard tenting experience, I’d chosen a campground in Manitou Beach. It’s known as “the Dead Sea of Canada” because it’s a big salt lake. It was a sleepy little town, and luckily we got a chance to hit the beach before the storms rolled in that afternoon. We thought it had passed when it cleared up at dinner time, but then it began again with a vengeance as we drove to go grab takeout for dinner. Rain, thunder, lightning, hail- it was not kidding around. But our tent held, and we ate pizza and spaghetti inside the tent (I know, I know, but we had no other option!) and it did finally clear enough to do a fire and marshmallows before bed. So I’d say it was a success.
Day 5 began with the dog puking on her blankets inches from my head on our way out of the campground, and that’s pretty much how the day went. At the end of the day we had reached Winnipeg, and that’s about all I can say about that.
After a decent night’s sleep in Winnipeg’s finest Super 8, we hit the road again early, this time headed for Thunder Bay, Ontario.
The drive took longer than I’d hoped, but was largely uneventful and we got in in time to pitch the tent AND buy firewood, so we were better off than the first camping stop. We also had hot dogs this time around, so dinner!
After a really miserable morning, which was largely the fault of me and my bad attitude, we managed to turn day 7 around at lunchtime (thanks in no small part to a massive cup of cold brew iced coffee). We picnicked at the Terry Fox Scenic Overlook, played a game of chess while doing up the laundry, had hot dogs and sausages for dinner again, and just chilled out. It was at this point that we decided to use our extra night to stay here and relax for a day. It was a good choice. We leave again tomorrow for Sault Ste. Marie, so we’ve got a little more time to relax before we have to get everything organized for the car again. At the halfway point, this trip is back to looking like a good idea.
*The wifi at the kampground wasn’t quite up to snuff, so I had to finish up this post once we’d hit the road again, and now it’s Tuesday? I think? I’ll update again soon(ish).