Journaling our first big family road trip with our
old and rusty well-loved Dodge Caravan.
(Minnesota – North Dakota – Manitoba – Dugald). Road time: 8 hrs
June 26 (Monday).
We came down at 7:40 AM for breakfast. The dining area was packed! We almost went down to the lower level of the inn because we couldn’t find a table. The sign that I noticed last night now made sense.
Two men drinking their coffee gave us their seats when they saw we have 2 little ones with us. It was very kind of them. And we were grateful. Another person gave us a spare chair for Mira. I nodded and gave him thanks. We didn’t see any high chairs so Diane ended up on Ian’s lap. We all shared the small table, and had bagels, muffins and cold cereal for breakfast. I had a cup of hot chocolate. Ian had coffee as usual, and the girls had apple juice. We ate in a rush to give room to others who were waiting for tables to be available. By the time we finished breakfast, the swimming pool was open for the day.
The inn had a big pool. Surprisingly, despite the crowd in the dining area, the pool wasn’t busy. Maybe it was still early. So we took advantage of that. The girls had so much fun! Mira tried her flotation device for the first time. She was pretty excited going on the water wearing them. The arm floats were still a bit big for her arms so it keeps slipping. Eventually she didn’t want to wear them anymore.
It was warm and sunny when we left the inn at 10:40 in the morning. Diane hit the snooze button as soon as we were moving, and had an hour nap. She woke up whining. But her whines soon turned into babbling and giggling, which was quite entertaining to listen to.
We stopped at Outpost Bar and Grill in Deer River, Minnesota for lunch. The service was slow, but we quite enjoyed our food, and the lady serving us was very accommodating. I ordered steak with 3 sides. Ian had a burger with onion rings and fries. The girls split chicken fingers and fries. Diane happily ate, and left crumbs all over the table of her high chair down into her seat. Mira, after eating, asked me for a napkin so she can wipe down her table. When everyone’s done, we left with full tummies.
We tried not to stop anymore after our big lunch to make it to my in-laws farm in good time. Diane didn’t like it as much. We went through a cycle of whining, eating, screaming, sleeping, and repeat for 5 hours with her. Mira had her Paw Patrol show on repeat to keep her entertained when singing, colouring, or playing with the toys we brought on the trip, don’t seem to work anymore. She didn’t mind seeing the same show over and over, which made the DVD purchase worth every penny.
We drove in North Dakota for about an hour. Shortly before 7 in the evening, we entered Winnipeg.
We stopped at a convenience store to grab a jug of whole milk for the girls. Around 7:30 we made it to Dugald where his parents’ 80 acre farm is located. It was situated well, being just 15 minutes away from the city, and yet there, all you would see is vast farm land. No traffic noise, just the beautiful sounds of nature.
Ian’s dad was busy moving some things in their opened garage when our van pulled into their driveway. The rest of his family came out to greet us, including Lucy, their farm dog. She’s a pure black Border collie who is easy to get along with as long as you leave her be. Ian’s dad took Diane and carried her in his arms. She came to him without any protest. Her grandpa grabbed a grass to chew on and gave one to her too. Diane took it instantly and started chewing the wrong end of the grass. She made a weird face, but kept chewing it. It was hilarious! If my cellphone had not been dead, and charging in the van, I would have brought it with me and took lots of pictures.
We all walked to the barn to see the animals. There were 4 adorable kids, 3 of them were born just 2 days before we arrived. Mira, even though was shy in her new environment, was excited to be able to pet the goats and the cats that were freely roaming. We exchanged stories standing in front of the barn, while chickens happily pecked on the ground.
The sun was still up when we headed inside. The evening was warm. And there were hardly any mosquitoes. For Manitobans that’s actually a rare occurence in the summertime. We hoped it would stay that way.
We visited some more in the living room, while our girls played with the toys they have provided just for them.
We’re glad we finally made it here. It had been quite a trip already. We’re amazed with how well our little kids handled the long drives in the van; the uncertain nap times; the late nights; the different sleeping quarters; etc.
At least for now, the long driving is on hold. And the kids can sleep in the same place every night. That thought brought us comfort. We all got ready for bed after eating a light supper. I don’t think any of us were hungry from the constant snacking in the van. Diane went down easily in the crib sitting next to our bed. Mira didn’t want to sleep on the bed that was set up for her on the other side of the room. She wanted to sleep near us so she climbed into the playpen we set up across from the crib. The lights were out before 11. Our room was dark and quiet. I closed my eyes and enjoyed all the beautiful sounds the farm had to offer. And this marked the end of our fifth day being away from home.