A long and winding road trip · bikes planes and automobiles · family fun

Day 115: Road trip winds down.

This is so typical of me. I start something with all the enthusiasm and with the best of intentions, and then I go on a tangent and never come back to the original goal. That changes today — either that, or “never” is now.

Huh. We really were in the middle of nowhere.

So… after we left Boston we drove through Vermont for a while. It was beautiful, but so isolated that there was absolutely no cell reception for several hours. We noticed it when my phone stopped displaying highways and arrows and started showing us someone’s geometry homework a blank Cartesian plane.

Lesson learned: Always take a paper map along on a road trip, even if you have GPS. And no, the printed map of our route that I laminated onto the kids’ clipboards was nowhere near detailed enough for us.

So on we drove, keeping our eyes peeled for road signs. The kids got hungry. Someone needed to pee. We decided to look for a friendly, local place to eat… and we found it.

The sign at the side of the road said “Good Food Here”, so we stopped to eat at The Old Hancock Hotel. We added Toronto to their blackboard of visitors’ hometowns and sat in a room that looked more like some Granny’s dining room than like a restaurant. The apple crumble was outstanding and the service was friendly.

The next day, after an overnight stay in a hotel with a pool (read: we stayed up late to swim), we drove to the Ausable Chasm for some spectacular views, hiking, and rafting. The kids moaned and complained about the long lineup; I tried to distract them by pointing out interesting lichens on the wall of the chasm. That worked for a bit. Thankfully the line started moving faster and we were soon on a raft.

The chasm was awe-inspiring, especially the part where you can clearly see where two huge sheets of rock met millions of years ago, resulting in one going up and over top of the other.

We left the chasm and drove to Montreal, where we checked into what would be our final hotel.

The next day started out at Pointe-a-Calliere, a museum and archaeological site that explains the history of Montreal. We saw some ruins and walked through an old sewer (now sewage-free and beautifully lit). The kids enjoyed an exhibit on pirates that included a model pirate ship to climb around and explore.

After a beef-and-chicken fondue for lunch — which, to our surprise, N ate and loved! — we went down to the Old Port and got lost at SOS Labyrinthe, a giant maze escape game. In the end K and T won, but a good time was had by all.

Once out of the labyrinth, we explored the rest of the Old Port. K and R chose to use their remaining pocket money to ride the zipline while the rest of us stayed on the ground. Dinner was frozen bananas dipped in chocolate.

On the last day of the trip, Mr. December pulled R away from packing to visit a Barbie Expo nearby. R was in heaven.

On our way out of Montreal we stopped for a picnic with Mr. December’s Aunt, Uncle, and cousins… and a surprise guest! One of Mr. December’s good friends who now lives in Montreal had arranged with our Aunt to surprise us at the picnic. We feasted, sat in the wading pool, and chatted; then we were on our way home with nothing between us and Toronto but an abnormally large apple and some excellent pie à la mode.

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