This was the vacation that we were debating about, the one where we were deciding whether we would bring Faith or not. In the end we decided that we were going to leave her home, in very capable hands, and spend some time focussing on the other kids...who have kind of taken a back seat to Faith and her appts and her life, in general;-)
Now, we all know that a Patton vacation wouldn't be the same if we didn't encounter some kind of tire issue...We thought, for sure this trip would be the one where nothing happened. We had everything checked ahead of time, got the tires sealed, and we even double checked. Nothing was going to go wrong;-)
We decided at the last minute that we were going to use a trailer for our belongings, so that we didn't have everything piled on our laps for this 10+ hour journey. We wanted it to be enjoyable. So this seemed like the smart thing to do...seemed...
A group of guys from our church used the trailer for a camping trip away, a few family members had used the trailer for their times away...it was our turn:-) We had travelled a good 4 hours or so and were making really good timing, when just before North Bay we realized the tire was done...there was no more rubber left and we sat at the side of the road, somewhat bummed...we hadn't checked the trailer tires before we left.
We were deciding what to do and how to handle the situation, and thought, we didn't have too far to go so we would drive slowly, with the hazards on, to North Bay, only about 10 minutes away. We would get a tire and then be on our way...that was when we saw the light...the flashing red and white ones...
Apparently we could have started a fire by driving on the rim, and we weren't allowed to do that...she was very nice, suggested we leave the trailer in the closed truck inspection station, drive into North Bay, get what we needed and come back. No ticket book showed up...which was kind of nice. She got to chatting and then did the unthinkable!!
She pulled out her smokes and lit up while leaning into our van, the van filled with 5 kids...and 2 non-smoking adults...we said nothing, she wasn't writing us a ticket, so we sucked it up...the smoke that is, and then went on our way when she let us.
We headed back up the highway, and managed to get over to the other side, I am sure illegally, but we would have had to drive forever before making it back to where we wanted to go...gotta love divided highways;-) We tried to remove the rim, but it was NOT budging, so after a few choice words, and the help from a nice man, we decided that we would phone the tow truck.
He was great, and only charged us for half the mileage, so, again...$150 total, tire and repair we were on our way. This is like deja vu!!
By the time we got to New Liskeard it was about 10:30 pm and we had been sitting in the van for approximately 12 hours...the kids needed a fun break of some kind and I saw the opportunity!!
Our next stop, the next day was about an hour away. We drove up to Cochrane, Ontario to visit the polar bears and see the Tim Horton "museum" since that is where he was born;-)
The polar bear was a definite highlight of the trip. Princess has talked non stop about polar bears over the past year. They learned about how they are dying off because of global warming and is constantly reminding us not to do certain things, or the polar bears will die...the pic above is of her with Nanook. The look on the kids faces made the exhorbitant entrance fees worth it;-)
I mean, how many people can say they have swam with a polar bear?
Cochrane was a whole different culture. You drive into town and I felt like we were in such a remote location. Which, I guess we were. I just didn't expect it to be like that. A lot of the houses were trailers, or modular homes. There were bear traps in various parking lots. The houses seemed to be raised. It was so different...there wasn't much in the way of trees or vegetation either. It was cool to see that in the same province life can be so different.
After the polar bears we headed to the Tim Horton Activity Centre and paid our toonie to go and see some of the memorabilia. It was cool to see it all but it was even better to see Mr. H and Pete in the Maple Leaf stands, cheering everyone on;-)
I am ending Part 1 here, because there is still so much more.