I’m no stranger to road trips. I’ve done all sorts of road trips. Growing up in southern Manitoba we had a chicken farm with about 8000 hens in one barn for laying eggs, 4000 chicks in another barn that we would raise for laying and during the summer another 1000 “meat birds”, we called them, that would roam the yard until their appointed time. All the barns had different rotations, but there would be one point during the year that all the barns would be empty at the same time and that was perfect for a road trip.
There were bike trips to Oklahoma or BC. Mom had her bike with sidecar, Dad had his bike with sidecar and all of us kids (and depending on the year there were gradually up to 5 of us) would have our helmets and climb into the sidecar and off we’d go. On rainy days we’d have a cover that would snap on over the sidecars where we’d stay dry. We also had rain suits that my mom sewed for us for extra protection.
There was the one year we drove down to Bradenton, Florida with another family for the dads to attend a short seminary course. We were 4 siblings at that point and we took our “coupe” that whole way (no seatbelts, baby!) and lived in a camper for 3 months. I can still remember the warnings to stay away from the water just close to our camper in case an alligator would eat us. Kinda wondering now if that was legit or something exaggerated we were told to keep us away from the water.
My sister sent me a picture this week while we’ve been travelling of all 5 of us siblings in an RV that we rented one year to drive down to Brownsville, Texas. Check out that carseat!! My sister called it a 5-gallon pail with straps. Pretty much describes it. I showed my girls and the oldest is now royally jealous that she doesn’t get to have the RV style road trip. I don’t blame her. I love our travel trailer, but as a kid it was SO much fun to have that space to move around in the back while we drove. No confined seating. I can still picture us flying down the interstate with mom bracing herself at the stove as she cooked up creamed corn and I sat in the dinette reading one of my 33 Hardy Boy mystery novels that were lined up along the full back of the camper. Now, I don’t know much about RV life and rules as that trip was my only experience, but my gut tells me the cooking part of that memory probably wasn’t allowed. MAN, those memories are hilarious!!
I went on to love road trips when I got my own car and license. A month long trip circling around North America, a rented car taken all over Europe, driving the perimeter of the island of Bonaire just north of Venezuela, weekend trips where it was nothing to drive 16 hrs one way only to spend a day and turn around to get back for work Monday.
On a good number of these trips the one thing that I rarely experienced was rest stops and lunch breaks. My dad is and has been for almost forever, a trucker. And truckers have point A, point B and a deadline. So I became accustomed to long drives with no stops for any reason. Sometimes it was all day and then all night as well. Hey, if you can make creamed corn while driving, why on earth would you stop?!!! (I’m fairly certain there was a pot of wieners boiling there as well.)
Now, in the present, as we’re driving along I’m fully aware of every time we are able to stop and take in some of the stops along the way. I’ve been so thankful for the times that we’ve been able to see a sign for something and stop right away to check it out. Even the times we’ve stopped to eat just off to the side at a gas station have turned out to be moments of fun. Erick agreed the other day that it’s made the long days of driving a lot less of a chore and it’s something I really wanted this trip to include.
I’m not going to go into long stories about each rest stop, but I want to share pictures of some of the stops along the way so I’ll try to keep the descriptions as short as I can and let you enjoy the scenery. Heavy on the pics today.
This is Little Limestone which was actually before we had even picked up our camper, but we have driven past this hidden gem for 9 years and never took the time to stop. Trish told us they stopped for a picnic here earlier this summer so we thought “How relaxing! Let’s stop too!”. Oh. My goodness! I live in bush, but I have NEVER seen that many mosquitos coating my legs at one time. This little detour lasted 39 seconds and included what appears to be a quick interpretive dance that I fondly refer to as “One Trillion Mosquitos: Trish Clearly Lied About the Picnic”. I’m afraid there was simply no time for artistic impression through photos. Just dance.
Gas station lunch in Ontario. This is what happens when the girls see the other camper pull in.
Lookout point in Ontario.
You may have already seen some of Trish’s pics of our lunch stop at Aguasabon Falls, ON. Here’s just a couple of ours.
Now, here I have some Ottawa pictures and you may be thinking, “Sherri, that’s not a rest stop.” and we might get into a small discussion about technicalities. In my opinion, it is. Yes, we had planned to go all along, but due to our delay in Sault St, Marie we had all but decided to skip Ottawa. We couldn’t miss our ferry to Newfoundland and Ottawa was supposed to be our only 2 night stop along the way with a full day to go and enjoy the sights. Instead, it became a rest stop while we motored on thru Ontario.
Trish already mentioned about the parking fiasco (apparently we can’t always trust the visitor centre info). Erick and I had ourselves quite the little drive in downtown Ottawa with our trailer and the whole time I kept thinking “Yankes are going to hate maneuvering down these streets with their longer trailer!” I’m so glad we were far enough ahead to stop them from getting too far in. We eventually found a Wal-mart and took a cab from there. While Trish mentioned asking permission at “thier” Wal-mart, we chose to Park and Pray. It seemed to work.
When we got back from our walk around the Parliament building we dug into the budget for some well deserved treats that just happened to match the girls’ clothes. It’s fun and also a bit disturbing somehow, but only to me. The girls were oblivious to thoughts of food dyes.
The abandoned campground in Quebec. We stopped to get gas only to find no gas and only the most quaint little campground with garbage still in the garbage bins in the cabins and weeds grown up in front of the doors so you know no one had been there for awhile. It was so curious. Erick found a french sign up somewhere that he was pretty sure said it was a bank closure thing which is so sad. A perfect place to stop for lunch and get some fun pictures.
Just past there was a sign for the longest covered bridge in the world. So we stopped. It was in a tiny little town and the roads weren’t necessarily made for big rigs. It was another of many moments where I’ve been glad our trailer is quite small. I rarely feel like we are too big to fit. That said, we parked the car and trailer in a parking lot close to the bridge. It was a steep decline down. Too steep for us to see to the bottom whether or not there was a spot for us to turn around. Though there was a good chance we could fit into the tunnel, we didn’t want to get to the bottom and find out we couldn’t and then have to back all the way up that steep hill. Those are situations camper nightmares are made of.
And I’ll end with 2 look out points in Nova Scotia as we got closer to the ferry. Everything just gorgeous! We knew when we were planning this trip that the maritimes were going to be somewhere we wanted to stay. And that is definitely the case. There’s a whole lot of conversation around the campfires about moving to Newfoundland. I’ve checked into the housing market and spent a good hour in the laundry facilities last night talking with a resident about taxes here, winters, road conditions, housing… all the things I’d need to know. I joke. But then again, #EpicRoadTrip2017 was just a joke at one point too….!!!