Our bags are (mostly) packed, and we're (mostly) ready to go! I don't think I've ever seen a more excited bunch of kids than my six youngest and the slew of grandkids that are going with us.
We'll be heading out on Sunday, travelling about 5 hours' drive to Grenville, where we'll stay overnight in Grenville Park Campground. My brother Lorne and his family will be travelling down from the Ottawa area to enjoy supper and a campfire with us.
On Monday morning, we'll be packing up the trailers and heading to Quebec. On the way, we'll be talking about the Long Sault, and the bravery of Dollard. We'll point out the rapids on the St. Lawrence River, and talk about Champlain visiting Hochelaga in 1535. We'll discuss the geography of this part of Canada - the Canadian Shield - and point out the rocks and the rivers and the coniferous forests. The children will have maps to follow, so they can keep track of our progress, and before we know it we'll see the two bridges at Quebec. I will remind them that on the day my Aunt Ruth was born, the centre span of the old Quebec bridge collapsed.
We'll make our way to the Camp de la Joie, and hopefully, we will have our campsites set up in time to enjoy a nice supper and a bit of relaxation.
Tuesday will be a touristy day. I want to take the kids to Old Quebec, to point out the old wall, the Citadel, the Plains of Abraham, and so on. I want to drive them down by the river, in Lower Town, and show them the Island of Orleans. Perhaps the Aquarium will be on the agenda for that day, perhaps not. I want to point out the House of Parliament, and take them to see the big shopping centre and other spots I remember from my childhood. I wonder if the church the fat lady sat on is still there? Hmmmm.
Wednesday, August 29, is Adeena's birthday. We have scheduled the burial service for my Aunt Ruth on that day, so we'll be spending some time in Lac Beauport. Apparently there are no landmarks that I will recognize from my childhood jaunts through my grandfather's property. The massive trees are gone, the sand pit is gone, the buildings have been replaced by modern condos. It will be sad, but I am still looking forward to driving out past the house where we waited expectantly for my dad to phone with the news that my brother was born! I want to explore the woods near the house to see if "my" rock is still there. It will also be nice to visit with people that are only a memory from thirty-five years ago. They knew me when I was a teenager; such a change - 12 kids, 14 grandkids - a lifetime of living in Ontario.
Thursday will be filled with more tourism. I want to take the kids to Montmorency Falls, and maybe we'll drive to Tadoussac. A trip on the ferry might give them a chance to see Beluga whales! At least they will see the long, narrow farms, leading down to the water, which we studied about in History class.
We plan to head out on Friday, travelling to Bath, Maine, to see Rick's cousin Janet. We'll be staying in a beautiful home on an inlet, and Janet has promised to take us to historic sites, and to let us experience the culture and geography and fun of that part of the USA.
The following Wednesday, we'll pack up and travel to the Ottawa area, to visit our friends and my brother. It'll be fun to be on the dairy farm and help with chores. Linda hopes to go riding horseback with her friend, and I want to visit with Debbie! Friday will be our day with Uncle and Aunt and Cousins...then, we'll have to pack up for the trip home on Saturday.
I have been praying that the trip will be a memorable one; that the kids will learn a lot, and that relationships will grow and lives will be impacted.
Only two more days of packing, then we leave! I'd better get cracking.