Are We There Yet? - Road Trip Part Two

Nipigon, Ontario is a cute little town just outside of Thunder Bay. It has a Tim Hortons, Bargain Store, and even a small Canadian Tire. Unfortunately, we were located just before you get into the heart of little Nipigon. Just far enough to make us feel uneasy walking with the kids along the highway. So our only option was the Husky gas station directly across the road from the motel for all our necessities. With no vehicle our options were limited to this one joint. Attached to the gas station was the repair shop our truck got towed to the night before. Rob went to check in with the repair shop and hand over our keys while the girls and I went to the attached restaurant to order some breakfast. It was apparent that we would be spending the day, if not two days, there for sure. Letting the girls stack the creamers and reorganize the sugars, I looked around the restaurant, taking in my new home for the next while. I like to try and guess what the relationship is between people, what their purpose of eating at the Husky gas station might be. Is it travel or work? Maybe a local to the area? Positive or negative conversation? Anything to keep my mind busy and off the stress of figuring out how we are going to keep moving forward. Rob joined us then only to report that they are making room for the truck in the shop and will give us a call once they have a diagnosis. More waiting... The restaurant's breakfast was surprisingly good. The waitress was amazing with the girls. I love when people take the time to interact with the kids. Sometimes even a minute interacting with the waitress or making smiles at the stranger a couple tables down can really take some of the heat off us parents to keep them seated and happy. 

We headed back to the motel to book another night and do some exploring of the woods behind the motel to waste some time. Letting the kids blow off some steam, collecting rocks and twigs. Wasn't even noon before Rob was itching to get to the repair shop and check if they have had a chance to look at the truck yet. So he headed there by himself to pick up some lunch and check in. The girls and I stayed back, watched tv and coloured. We had no reception in our motel room due to it being kind of in a walk out basement. Rob got back with Chester Fried Chicken that literally dripped grease and the bad news, they still hadn't had a chance to look at the truck yet. They said they would call Rob in a couple hours. No one had a big appetite for the chicken so we all decided to go for a nap. Rob was on the phone most of nap time with the repair shop and our families. The repair shop finally got back to us and the damage was fixable but they could not get one part in till the Monday which was when Rob was supposed to start his new job. We started pricing out our options to go by bus, train, plane or rent a truck. Deciding that we would worry about getting the truck another day. Renting a truck ended up being the cheapest option because we had no choice but to bring his tools and our computer with us which was all in the trailer. The closest place to rent a truck was back in Thunder Bay. When we went for supper we purchased Greyhound bus tickets for all of us for the morning (because there was no way I was going to stay a minute longer at that motel then I had to). One more night and we would be back on the road once more.

Morning rolled around and we packed up everything in the camper and asked the owner if the trailer was okay there till we got back (not that we had much of a choice) and headed to the Husky for our last meal there. We got on the Greyhound without a hitch and the rental company came to pick us up at the bus stop in Thunder Bay, which was awesome. We got some lunch for the road and headed to pick up the trailer. By the time we got back to Nipigon it was already 2PM and we still had 6 hours of drive time. Little did I know at the time it was going to be way more then that. Rob has always been paranoid over fuel levels in the vehicle and I am quite the opposite. We were at half a tank and Rob was wanting to pull over to get gas. Every time we stop though the girls want out and it is such a big run around so even if we could put it off till a quarter tank that would be ideal. So we keep going and going. We went through Longlac and decide we will stop in the next town for sure. We were both starting to sweat a little as we had no service and could not predict what was ahead of us at all. BAM! A camper tire blew... why!? We pull over to change it out with the spare hoping to get to the next town. A guy pulled over to help Rob with the tire which was amazing and then he informed us there was no way we were going to make it to the next town with the amount of gas we had left. He said we would be lucky if we could even make it back the we came with the trailer docked. "Didn't you see the sign, No Gas Station For The Next 200km. ...?" No! If it wasn't already bad enough that we are behind a day we now have to back track and hope no one steals the trailer with all our stuff and loose a couple more hours. That is the last time I question Rob on fueling up.  We got a new tire for the camper, (the spare was in ROUGH shape!) fuel and a bite to eat. Finally back on the road and no one stole our camper or broke into it. Rob quickly took the bad spare off and put the new one on, hooked backed up and we were on our way, yay! We finally finished the day in Kapuskasing and hit up the Super 8 almost getting put on the 4th floor with the elevator being broke down. Luckily Rob caught that and we got switched to the second floor. Bringing luggage up four flights of stairs is not what you want to be doing at midnight with two tired kids.

One more day of driving and we made it in one piece only to catch the flu one after another. Rob ended up missing his first day of work anyways due to him hugging the toilet all day. Both my mom and I got it at the same time so we got to barf our guts out in front of the kids. Unfortunately everyone got it. Now we are just trying to get a normal routine going and we are so happy those first couple weeks are over! Thanks to everyone who helped us out along the way. It seems in a crisis you can see how generous and good some people are and how everyone went the extra mile to help get us here in one piece. Also a BIG shout out to Rob's grandparents who flew to Thunder Bay and drove Rob's truck back for us on Easter weekend to boot. We have seriously been blessed with the best family. Sorry for such a lengthy post, short and sweet next time... maybe.

Safe Travels - Road Trip Part One

I honestly thought I wouldn't have a lot to share with everyone after the first day on our road trip to Ontario. Just the typical funny remarks from Olive and Maeve. We would hit a bump in the road and Olive would yell at Rob "Daddy stop it! Its not funny!" Maeve yelling "HHEEEELLLLPPP!!!" every time she can't reach anything or is wrestling with her carseat. Rob and I bickering back and forth about route, where were we are staying, when we are stopping. You know the usual road trip struggles. Wasn't till day two that I realized it could always be worse and that, that first day was nothing but absolute bliss.

End of day two parked in the Nipigon Tim Hortons parking lot we were weighing our options of staying in a two to three star motel or push it another four hours to the next bigger town to rest for the night. Well I knew where my vote lied with a toddler that puts everything in her mouth and the hope of a pool for Olive. So reluctantly Rob agreed and we decided to push forward. We were probably driving for about an hour or so before we notice the camper curtain waving our attention through the window. We pulled over to the side of the road make sure there was no serious damage to the window. No damage, the lock on the window must have shook loose or something, who is ever to know. We move on and all the sudden we start chugging obnoxiously bumping up and down something was definitely not right but as we picked up speed it lessened. Just as I say out loud "I think its getting better the faster we go." BAM!!! We had lost a tire, hit the pavement, and we were veering for the middle of the road! Rob yells out "We are going to be okay guys!" Is he ensuring us or himself no one could be too sure in that moment. He then eased us to the side of the road and we came inches from being pulled into the ditch. Luckily we came to a stop just in time. I hear myself finally breathe and state "We are ok..." I think we were all in shock and having a moment of silence taking it all in. Our rear driver side tire was the one that shot off. This is not something I like to brag about but I have been in my full share of car accidents and I have to say this one felt pretty minimal. We didn't hit anyone. We managed to not hit the ditch. Can you ask for much more!? Rob got out to inspect the damage and locate our tire. Judging by his face when he got back in the vehicle I knew it was not good news. Reality hit when we realized we needed to get a tow and we were smack dab in the middle of nowhere. We had a couple vehicles stop who gave us some names of some towing companies an hour back the way we had came. After about half an hour of phones calls later we finally found a towing company that could tow the truck, camper and hold all four of us in the truck. The truck was an hour out so  we took the time to thank God that we were all safe and sound and call our families to let them know we were okay. The girls were amazing sitting and watching Frozen on the iPad. 

The tow truck arrived and the girls and I piled into the back of the truck. Which ended up only being a big bench in the back of the truck. It was cold outside so the driver thought he would crank the heat for us. Holy crap, only took all of a minute before I was breaking a sweat trying to shrug off my coat without pushing the girls off the bench who are tired and confused (also sweating). Okay, if I didn't just almost die in a car accident, I may have just died of heat in that truck. Seriously how long does it take to load the truck! I was starting to panic and I was looking franticly for the heat control in the truck. I went to turn it down and the knob was stuck. Are you kidding me!? I really was going to die in there! I turned the fan off but why was it still blowing heat. Every time the driver came in the vehicle I give a "Phew, getting warm in here eh!?" and he just politely smiled back. Each time I progressively tried to be louder. Obviously struggling to hear me past the truck noise. Pretty sure the backs of my hands were sweating, I didn't even know they could sweat like that! Olive and I started letting out a "Nooooooo!" Every time he shut the door which she would then break out with laughter. I can be the pillar of strength after the accident, could laugh it off, encourage the kids and Rob that everything was going to work out, but if you want to see me breakdown just crank the heat and walk away, thats all you have to do. With my sweaty fingers slipping on the screen I managed to text Rob. I am going to die in this truck please come help me! HELP ME! The longest two minutes of my life later they finally got back in the truck and Rob mentions the heat and the driver managed to turn it off without me catching how he managed to do it. There was no where along the road for us to turn around so we had no choice but to keep moving forward for over 15 minutes till we reached a snowplow turn around and headed back to Nipigon. 

It was almost midnight night the girls both passed out on my lap. Feeling their little chests go up and down as they breathed, listening to the small talk between Rob and driver up front and I could have easily focused on how sweaty I felt or the twinge of pain shooting up my back and legs from sitting on that bench for over an hour. Instead I just couldn't help but feel so grateful. I just looked at my two little girls sweet, innocent, peaceful faces and just thought of how short life is and how I just wanted to embrace every minute of it I was in because you just never know when your last minute is. The tow truck driver was super accommodating (J Nichols Trucking LTD.) and the motel owner (Town Country Motel) stayed up later to wait for us to arrive. The girls went right back to sleep when I laid them down on the bed together. It was late and there wasn't much more we could do at that point till the repair shop across the road opened at eight in the morning. Get a good nights rest and deal with the who, what, when, where, and whys tomorrow.