Come play in my world for awhile!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On the Road Again!

It felt as though we had just gotten off the plane from Montana when we embarked upon our next trip to visit my parents. This year's trip to Canada was a new adventure. Since moving to the East Coast we are technically close enough to drive. And with airline tickets in the neighborhood of $700 a pop we decided that a 17 hour drive couldn't be that bad, right? And it actually wasn't! We managed to motor our way to the cottage, and made the whole trek in one day. Between portable DVD players, and Nintendo DS the kids were actually pretty quiet. Pat and I, on the other hand, covered every topic from foreign policy to retirement planning. We don't need to talk again for at least a month -- there's nothing left!

This year's trip was quicker than usual. A typical trip involves an abundance of lounging around with some quick day trips thrown in for variety and topped with a bit of water skiing for adrenaline's sake. Because year round school creates a truncated summer we really had to cram everything in to get it all done. So instead of 2+ weeks we had 6 days. You really need more time to enjoy the true experience! Next year we are going to do something different. I have no idea what, but it has to be different. We returned from Canada late this past Saturday (and yes, we did that massive drive in one day again. If I never get in my minivan again I would be okay with it.), and the girls started school on Monday. Exhausting.

We did a lot of kayaking this year. The girls are all accomplished enough now that they can pilot their own boat. This makes things exponentially more enjoyable! But kayaking is hard work... in fact you don't know how hard it is until you find yourself at the end of the day looking like this...

We did a lot of tubing, because the water wasn't good for water-skiing. Either that or I am a big wimp. Probably a little of both since I didn't even get in the tube this year! There was a fair amount of wind which creates choppy water. My rule of thumb is if there are white caps on the water it is too rough to ski. So the kids contented themselves with the tube and, if I do say so myself, they've pretty much mastered it. Tubing doesn't require a whole lot of skill, but you can steer the tube by shifting your weight and playing off the turns of the boat. Once you start to maneuver and jump waves it achieves oh-my-gosh-I'm-going-to-die-thrills even though it lacks finesse. This year the kids totally got it and spent their time jumping the boat's wake rather than passively being towed. It was great fun to watch.

This is how it starts...

...and this is how it ends!

For those of you not intimately familiar with my parent's cottage, let me fill in some gaps. My grandparents bought the cottage 60+ years ago. At one point there was a sturdy boat dock leading off the front of the property. Unfortunately, a solid surface dock in Canada isn't the best idea. The lake freezes in the winter and when the ice shifts your dock shifts with it. As a child I can vaguely remember when the dock was in one piece, but it is a distant memory. Somewhere along the line everyone gave up on keeping the dock in one piece. Now we have an elongated pile of rubble. This is bad if you want to dock a boat, but amazing if you are a kid. I truly don't understand the extent of the appeal. Rationally I can see that there are frogs and fish and birds and geese and sunsets to die for right off the dock. Some of these critters can even be caught with a butterfly net while standing on the rocks gazing at the sunset. My kids love the "rocky dock." They spend hours out there communing with nature. The down side is that the rocky dock takes payment in the form of children's skin. No other form of payment is acceptable. Looking at this picture you can see how payment is collected. Three of my children had to start the school year in flip-flops (which is against dress code) because their feet were too torn up to be put into regular shoes. She actually wasn't falling in this picture - just running like a maniac. But you can totally see how payment is collected nonetheless!

In return for payment this is what the dock offers
every evening. It is still a steep price, but you get what you pay for, right?

I love this place.....


Leslie M said...

I'm going to vacation with you guys next summer. This sounds great! I'm cursing my own vacation plans right now -- am at an Internet Kiosk at Narita awaiting a connection to Bangkok. What WAS I thinking?!!