1 (family of five) + minivan
x [Kingston ON (hotel!) + Grandparents (dogs & beach)] = ROADTRIP!!
One family of five (with three children aged five and under) plus a big white minivan times a work meeting in Kingston, Ontario (to the power of paid hotel room) times visiting Granny and Grandpa (and picking up the dogs and beach trip) in Smalltown, Ontario equals a roadtrip of epic proportions.
I counted about 21 hours of driving. There could be more. We couldn’t be happier.
Hubby and I were very excited about my work meeting in Kingston Ontario – what a great excuse for a road trip! My parents agreed to babysit our dogs for the weekend. The kids were excited about staying in a hotel. The cooler was packed with snacks, the van packed with kids, clothes, diapers and pacifiers – off we went!
Unfortunately as we left Friday afternoon a light drizzle misted the Greater Toronto Area, paralysing traffic and triggering a migraine of its own epic proportions. (You know it’s bad when the co-pilot is curled up in the fetal position with a sweater wrapped around her head.) I couldn’t even see the mapbook, let alone navigate. Nausea threatened at every stop, slow and lurch of the ‘stop and go’ traffic the GTA is famous for. We had to stop, and searched a strange city for a pharmacy for me and dinner for the kids. Eventually both my migraine and traffic abated, and we sped onward.
We arrived at our hotel in pitch black and made our way to our very non-descript room. Earlier I had told Mr. Sensitive about ‘staying in a hotel’ (he was worried about it). I explained we’d be staying in a room with big beds and a TV. As we do not own a TV, he was very excited about that. As you can see, the room really did just have big beds and a TV!
I had my work meeting the next day and Hubby and the kids (and Siri, you have to love iPhone features) toured Kingston. Kingston is a small city (population around 120 000) with a university, government and naval offices and a penitentiary. While we were there the place was crawling with face-painted university students cheering on a football game. The downtown has cute shops and restaurants. Hubby and the kids checked out the military monuments.
When my meeting was done we all visited the grounds of Fort Henry.
After an early dinner we hit the road again, hoping to return to our home in the Greater Toronto Area in about four hours of driving. We had a beautiful drive, admiring the Southeastern Ontario landscape in the sunset. We chatted, sipped coffee while the kids napped and listened to music.
We were looking forward to the two hour drive the next day to visit my parents and pick up our dogs. Why, the beach is only a short drive away! We could go to the beach too! What a great excuse for a road trip!
The next day we cruised through Ontario farmland and cottage country, admiring the few trees changing colour, clear blue skies and the golden fields of hay. Fall is one of the best times for travelling in Ontario.
As we drove Hubby and I talked about other road trips we’ve done, and ones we want to do. What if we packed the kids up and drove to Prince Edward Island? They’de love the ferry ride, the farms, and the beaches. Look, it’s only about 1700 kilometers, or 19 hours of driving. We could do that, no problem. We’d stop in small towns and camp along the way. We’d pack snacks, diapers, pacifiers…
It may not surprise you that I’ve read a number of books about roadtrips. Kerouac’s On the Road, Steinbeck’s Travels with Charely, and even Tom Robbin’s Even Cowgirls get the Blues. Stuart McLean’s Welcome Home could also be considered here. One thing these books have in common is that travelling becomes sublime, staying in perpetual motion become the reason for being.
Zooming down a highway, watching roadsigns flash by and eating up kilometers as you cruise across the pages of your mapbook is the real reason for travelling. Other things, like work meeting or visiting Grandparents are merely an excuse.
Did you see my post – Roadtrip Gene?
Do you have any roadtrips planned this fall? Any advice on travelling with kids?