Thursday, July 29, 2010

# 85- Take a Family Vacation Every Year Part I

When I included this on my life list, it wasn't because we haven't been going on vacation, because we have. We had gotten into a bit of a rut in our vacations. For many years our summer vacations have consisted of going to visit the in-laws in Quebec City and a couple of days of camping with friends.

Last summer during our rainy visit to Quebec I realized that we had been visiting the same places with the kids every summer for what seemed like forever. Time for a new plan, time to see new places, have new experiences, make new memories for the kids. I began planning our 2010 summer vacation to Alberta immediately. Our plans were ambitious, involving long driving days in the car, taking us through 5 states and 4 provinces in all. We planned on camping for the majority of the trip, with a few nights in hotels to break things up. I anticipated that it would not be a relaxing vacation, in fact, in the weeks leading up to our departure, I expected the worst. In some ways I was right, but in others I was happily proved wrong.

Packing the car proved to be our first challenge. Our rooftop carrier, which had always proved to be perfectly adequate to our normal travelling needs, holds a lot less stuff than either I or Ylal anticipated. This meant that there was way more stuff in the car itself than we had planned, which placed the kid in the back row in the precarious position of having plastic boxes full of food or camping gear, beach towels or sleeping bags fall on them as we rounded tight corners.

notice the precariously balanced pile in the back right corner of the van

The next set of problems presented itself on our very first day of camping. Although I had made list upon list of necessary items we were missing a couple of essentials for camping, namely a jug for water and a tub for doing the dishes. Not a big problem, since there seemed to be a Wal-Mart in every town and village we travelled though in our first few days. Later, water jug and dish washing tub acquired, as we prepared to spend our first night in the tent in Bemidji Minnesota, the thunder began. It continued, accompanied by heavy rain, wind and lightning all night. I awoke the next morning, thankfully dry, but very uncomfortable...the Aerobed that I had borrowed from my parents had sprung a leak. This necessitated another trip into town, where we found an outfitter and I came to be the proud owner of a camp cot, or the princess bed, as it came to be known for the rest of the trip.

Surprisingly, not a problem, were the long days of driving required to get to our western destination. For this I have to thank J.K. Rowling, as the Harry Potter audio books provided us with hours (we listened to 182 chapters, all of books 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) of bicker-free and whine-free driving time as well as providing bedtime relaxation every night of the trip.

Next post...our favourite places...
 

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