September 1, 2012

The Big Move - day 12

Today is Aug 30th , day 12. We drove 198 miles today from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Port Huron,Michigan.

We had yet another good nightlast night, and I'm glad for it since I was pretty tired after a latenight of blogging. The kids were in fine spirits and we headed downfor our standard continental breakfast, this time in the non lobbylobby of the Fairfield. The kids had cereal and english muffins andthen we headed back immediately to the room to get ready for a swim.The boys went swimming in the hotel pool while Erica got a bit ofwork done on the computer. Its definitely tough that we've got thesethings hanging over us. I mean we're practically on vacation...practically but not entirely.

We had a good swim and got a chance totire little Calum out. Alec was just impressed that the workmen we'rein the process of changing all of the signs in the swimming area withnew ones. They all read exactly the same thing but he was entrancedwatching the workers take down the old and put up the new. He'sreally gotten into signs on this trip. He's had us explain what aU-Turn is so many times now, and he's really gotten it that when yousee a sign with a red circle and line across it that you can't dowhatever that thing is. We've even played the game in the car wherewe have to find a sign with a red line across it along the highway.The “No Diving” sign is one of his favorites because its tiledonto the floor around all of these hotel swimming pools.

After our swim we packed into the carand headed out. We have a plan in place for today that should make ita bit more interesting than yesterday. And our pan involves headingnorth west along the I-69 E towards Lansing, Flint and all pointsbeyond. Erica's research had definitely paid off because she found avery cool sounding spot along the way in Lansing, the kids sciencemuseum “impression 5” and that was our goal.

Calum slept on our way up to Lansing,which is always good. He's gotten onto a good sleep routine duringthe trip; back to two naps a day instead of his usual one. Once weget into Canada of course we'll have to adjust that again but thelittle guy has really held up remarkably well. Really they both have:) Before we made our way into downtown for the kids museum westopped at Target again. I know we we're just there yesterday but wedo love the place... actually we wanted to return the propane tanksthat didn't fit our camp stove and a few other small things. I stayedin the car with Calum until he woke up, then we walked over toGamestop for a visit. Fun all around.

Anyhow, pit stop complete we all headedinto the city to find this museum. It was definitely a bitcomplicated what with the construction and a somewhat winding riverrunning right beside our destination, but after a few detours andwrong turns we made it safely to the Impression 5. Now I know you mayhave been to a kids science museum before, but what is the one majorissue with those places? They never cater to a younger crowd. Reallyits not just science museums but a ton of activities. There are somany cool things out there for 6 – 12 year olds to do and virtuallynothing for toddlers. I understand that for the most part they'll behappy at a playground, but sometimes its really nice to go do a realactivity too. Science museums are almost always culprits of this. Butaside from formalized sit down style education there are a ton ofthings that really little kids can do in the realms of science. I'mthinking toys that explore physics and geometry, animals, andconnections. All things that easily could translate to toddlers.Maybe I'm just too used to Alec at his Montessori school in SF, butI'm sure you could say... find some cool toy-like way to get atoddler to see the effects of gravity and be entertained by it whilealso learning a new concept. With all that said, YES Impression 5 isactually designed specifically with litter kids in mind. They do havean infant room, on one end of the spectrum, and they do have someexperiments that are obviously for older kids, but the medium ofexhibits was distinctly skewed for a slightly younger crowd, maybe 3– 7. 


I was very impressed with all of thestuff they had laid out. Kids science museums are usually designed tobe hands on, but this one had more actual creative building andpiecing together than I've ever seen. Alec and Calum spent some timein the little kids section exploring, but then we ran out and aroundthe rest of the museum From bubbles, to music, to magnifying, andblock building we really did a lot of fun activities. This is a greatplace and I'd definitely recommend it of you're heading near Lansing,MI.

Everyone was pretty worn out when weleft the museum so we got ice cream at eh 7-11 and ate it in the car.I mean its such a mess anyhow at this point, whats a little spilt icecream. Alec has been wearing his cowboy hat pretty continually in thecar and the cheapness of it is really starting to show. I mean thisis definitely a $3 hat. There is straw from it coming out all overthe place. Ah well, we weren't expecting the stuff to stay clean,that would be too much to ask. Just so long as we make it there happyand still sane.

We drove on east on the 69 throughFlint and onto Port Huron. For all their troubles, Ive nothingagainst them, but I don;t really have any interest in stopping inFlint. We've got bigger fish to fry. Alec played the cowboy game (asdetailed yesterday) a bunch more and then we played the naming game abunch. This is a new game Alec made up where we all name something ina category that he picks. Some examples include all of us pick aflower, then all of us pick a tree, color, street sign, iPhone game, animal, and day. There didn't seem to be a winner ever, and he madeus stop after one round always and move onto a new picking game.Seemed like a good game to us. Pretty straightforward. Finally weplayed the animal game again. This is the one where Alec or wepretend to be an animal and then the others guess what animal it is.Alec is so funny because he will often just copy whatever we saidlast. Sometimes he'll say totally wrong attributes to an animal too,or say exact attribute and then actually be a mog instead of a dog.It can be pretty tricky playing games with that kid sometimes.

We drove on through until we finallycame to the border town of Port Huron. This is it, our journey isfinally coming near its end! Very exciting and sad too. Tomorrow weleave the States for good.

We checked into the Best Western andwent to start cooking right away. One of the reasons we chose theBest Western in Port Huron was because it was located immediatelybeside a park, and I called and asked before we got there. The womanat the front desk told me they had a playground AND BBQ pits at thepark. All true this time thankfully ;) So we grabbed our BBQing gearand headed over to the playground. 

It may look like a normal playground,but it was actually pretty weird. I'm not sure what the company thatmade it was thinking. Maybe just that it was a playground probablyprimarily designed for tourists staying at the hotels nearby whowouldn't bother complaining, but there was some real weird stuffgoing on, especially with the slide. 

Check out that slide. It looks greatright? Well looks can be deceiving. Sure it may be a three storywhite metal curly slide, and the curls are all well and good, but itsthe grade of the floor that's the issue. This slide is perhaps theworst designed slide I've ever been on. Maybe its better for kidswith small legs, but there is no way you can go down that slide andnot end up facing sideways or backwards at the bottom! Seriously, thesteepness, and more importantly the angle were totally screwed up onit! How does this happen? I mean don't you have some sort of engineerlook over the plans for a weirdo custom slide like this before youbuild it? Don't they play test it at least a few times beforeinstalling? Why is this slide so terrible?! These sort of thingsshould not exist and as someone who really knows his playgrounds thiswas pretty lame.

Erica cooked the BBQ dinner of chickenand salad, with bread, guacamole, and cherry tomatoes. And while shecooked I took the boys on a walkabout to see what the other side ofthe park, the side across the street looked like. Frankly though itwasn't too interesting.

There was a flock of Canadian geesehanging out on the lawn on the other side of the park though whichwas pretty funny, since Alec started running after them trying tocatch them. Of course they all ran away too fast for him, which madehim a bit sad. But we moved on to exploring the nearby bulrushes andhe was again ok.The sun was getting low over the hills and it reallywas very pretty. We headed back across the street soon enough to seeif dinner was ready and I ended up carrying both boys. Calum hadreally had enough walking, and Alec freaked out after I told him tokeep an eye out for goose poop. He didn't want to be anywhere on thegrass after that.

When we got back it was about dinnertime and we sat down to eat. Unfortunately just as we started digginginto our meal we were accosted. Accosted by wasps. Yes WASPS. Therewere only 3 or 4 at first, but then there were more. Never a whileswarm, never to the point where I felt threatened. But you can onlyhave multiple wasps land on your food so many times before it becomesunbearable. And Erica is some kid of quick-shot dead-eye. She killedlike 3 of them. And that's when I started to get worried. Don't waspshave some weird kind of telepathy or something? I mean don't youthink that one dying would seriously annoy the rest? Doesn't Ericaknow about the hive mind mentality?! I've seen enough sci-fi to knowthat when you kill someone like the Borg you are just asking fortrouble. 

So I suggested we make a hasty exit andthat's exactly what we did. We grabbed our plates and cutlery andheaded into the lobby of the best western to eat. They already hadtables there (set up in time for tomorrows breakfast) and althoughit was admittedly a bit like something the Griswalds would do we satthere and enjoyed our dinner as best we could.

I went back to the table and securedour stuff. Thankfully the wasps hadn't quite taken over yet so I madeit out in one piece, but I'll tell you it was touch and go for a bitthere.

Soon enough we finished up and it wastime to get the kiddies into bed. We had a good long day and theywere tired. Getting them down can be a challenge even if they'retired though. Thankfully it was too bad this time. And once they weredown Erica and I did some very strategic repacking of the car and gotourselves as ready as we could for tomorrow. We're planing on gettingto the border around 9am, and we don't want something like aforgotten piece of fruit to hold us up. (FYI you can't bring fruitsinto Canada)

We collated our notes and then Eheaded to bed while I worked on the blog some more. This blogging hasreally been a lot of work and I know I won't have it all done beforewe get back to Canada, but I think a record of the trip is a reallynice thing; and ultimately it will help us and the kids remember aspecial time in our lives.

One more entry tomorrow after we makeour way finally back to the Great White North of Canada. Its been a fun ride, and I'm glad to have been sharing it with you. See youtomorrow :)

1 comment:

Rosa Mansell said...

Hi guys, I discovered your blog the other day on FB and it has been really interesting reading about your trip with two small boys... I love the way you have planned it out to make such a long trip interesting for them.
It makes me wish I had kept a blog of my trips with my two son, Jason and Lucien, when they were small. But in those days we didnt have blogging! So Geoffl it is well worth your late nights to keep it up to date and makes interesting reading! Presume you are relocating to Canada, love to you both, Ros in Spain.