Day 1 (Ontario) CBC R3 song of the Day: Hawksley Workman, Safe and Sound

Day 1 (Ontario) CBC R3 song of the Day: Hawksley Workman, Safe and Sound

As a tribute to Canada and my love for Canadian Indie music, I’ve not only created special provincial playlists for my Cross-Canada road trip but I will also be featuring a:

“CBCR3 Song of the Day”

Every day I will showcase a CBCR3 artist from the province where we happen to be travelling. (the rules are simple; simply because I’m too tired for fancy)

Today is Day 1, we are (still) in Ontario and CBCR3 Song of the Day is…… (drum roll please)

“Safe and Sound” by Hawksley Workman.  This not only one of my favourite songs but it is also is a road trip essential.

Today, this song took on a new meaning for me.  During our travels Hawksley’s lyrics sang right to my heart as we were reminded of our recent and tragic loss.

This is for Rain and Moxie, You’re safe and sound with me.




Day 1: Mississauga-to-Sault Ste. Marie (700ish kilometers)

In one word: Success!

In more than one word … well let’s see how many I can fit in before I fall asleep…

Rain woke me up around 6am to let me know it was time to get ready. Already?? Yes, this was the plan but I was pretty beat. Sleep has not been an easy thing for us these last couple months and last night was a rough one for Moxie and myself. But hey this is road trip day so I get up, shake it off and get ready for our Road Trip Adventure!!

Thankfully I’d loaded most of our stuff into the car last night so getting ready was blissfully mindless. We left the house just after 7 and after a quick stop at Starbucks, we hit the highway.

On The Road Again –

(Rain had requested to start the trip with “Celebration” but alas that is one tune we don’t have…although stay tuned for tomorrow’s start off song)

starting mark: 047085 miles

starting mark: 047085 miles

The entire ride went really well – kids barely squawked in the backseat all the way to the Soo. They drew, read books, listened to music, played travel games and I indulged them in letting them play their ‘devices’ without much restriction. Rain was so helpful and helped Moxie whenever she had questions about how to use her Kurio since I was driving. (Okay let’s face it; Rain is always the go-to guy in the house when it comes to gaming/device questions.) They were awed by the scenery and I don’t think they actually believe me that the Rocky Mountains could possibly be bigger than the ‘mountains’ today. {Those minds are about one week from being completely blown away – and I can’t wait to see it!!!} We stopped for a stretch at a rest centre a couple hours into the trip and then a couple hours later we stopped for lunch. We stole some space at picnic tables at one of many Trading Posts between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie. I made peanut butter sandwiches and carrot sticks (this might be a common meal for us this month). The kids are thrilled because I bought the ‘junky’ peanut butter – with sugar – as opposed to the all-natural peanut butter I serve at home.
First stop - stretch legs and breathe the fresh air

First stop – stretch legs and breathe the fresh air

Lunch - Peanut butter sandwiches - yum!

Lunch – Peanut butter sandwiches – yum!

At around Parry Sound we started a new game – count the Canadian Flags. From what I hear, our final tally today was 42 flags! I think we should start taking bets for a final tally by the end of our journey… Any takers? Winner gets a jar of Maple Syrup!

The Sudbury-Sault Ste. Marie leg was unexpectantly emotional. Their father used to take them up here to his parents camp every summer. I hadn’t been up in years but every once in a while I saw something that would trigger a memory and consequently an emotion. (There’s the picnic table Rain fell off and smashed his ice-cream cone, I remembered hiking for wild blueberries with Moxie in a baby carrier so we could bring them back to camp and Grandma would add them to her pancakes). I remembered times of visiting when Rain was a baby and then again when Moxie was a baby. We used to bathe them in bins out on the deck with lake water we’d heated on the stove. Jason loved being out at camp and was always his most peaceful state while there. We pulled off the road in Spanish at the corner of the road leading up to their camp to take a picture but time did not permit us to go any further. This is probably a good thing because the kids would not have wanted to leave. At least not without fishing for a couple hours. One day I’ll come back and have a beer on the dock for him. Cheers Hoop. We miss you.

Road to Papa's camp

Road to Papa’s camp

Moxie and her Daddy out on the lake at camp

Moxie and her Daddy out on the lake at camp

Rain and his Daddy fishing at camp

Rain and his Daddy fishing at camp

Moxie in the 'tub' at camp.

Moxie in the ‘tub’ at camp.

There were talks of stopping for ice-cream but it didn’t happen; mostly because we were so excited to just get to the hotel and go swimming!! Also about an hour before our final destination the sky opened up and torrential rains poured down on our Ford Escape. We actually had to pull over (along with most other drivers) for about 20 minutes waiting for it to let up a bit. This gave me a bit of time to search for the hotel we were booked at. Somehow I had misplaced that tiny tidbit of information… Ah yes – Comfort Suites!!  We found our accommodation without any difficulty (8 hours of driving and not lost once)


The kids and I immediately jumped into the salt-water pool and agreed it was the greatest feeling EVER!! They chose to stay in the pool longer and eat food we had brought with us rather than get out now and find a restaurant – I couldn’t agree more.

So after a great swim, we showered up and got into our pjs. Then we ate a strange feast of whatever food we had in the car. (microwaved leftover sausages on bread, KD in a microwave cup, tail mix for dessert). I helped the kids highlight our days journey on their Ontario maps. Rain was amazed that we had driven so far – “We drove right off the map!”

Tomorrow the plan is to get to Thunder Bay which is another 8-hour journey. And in saying that I guess I should find us a hotel room and get some …zzzzzzzzzzz…..

"Look where I fit - Moxie close the door!" boys...??

“Look where I fit – Moxie close the door!” boys…??

The greatest feeling in the world after an 8 hour car-ride!!

The greatest feeling in the world after an 8 hour car-ride!!



We drove right off the map!!!

We drove right off the map!!!

so tired..must highlight map...zzzzzzz.....

so tired..must highlight map…zzzzzzz…..

Pre-adventure Adventure: Pick up rental car (it sounds so easy…)

The Plan:

  • My dad will drive from Grimsby to Mississauga and pick up me and the kids. (Thanks Dad!)
  • We will drop off kids in Grimsby with my mom. (Thanks Mom!)
  • My dad and I will continue to Buffalo Airport and get rental car (this should be approx 1 hour each way).
  • Back to pick up kids and head home.

The Reality:

  • We forget until too late that this is a long weekend which = border crossing Hell.
  • As a result we wait at border for 2 hours, not counting actual travel time.
  • Pick up Ford Escape (nice ride!)
  • Can not connect my iPhone/music….!?! mild panic immerges… that’s okay Erica keep calm, we will sort it out when we get to Grimsby until then I will find a good station on Sirius Radio.
  • I try to close the trunk and can’t reach it… hmm… (yes, okay I know I’m vertically challenged but I think something’s wrong.. again we’ll sort that out in Grimsby)
  • My Dad and I share directions which seem quite simple to get back to the Peace Bridge and we take off separately.
  • I pretty much immediately get lost.
  • Since we are in the US and I don’t have a data plan I resist all temptation to turn on my map app. Surely I can figure this out the old fashioned way. I had grabbed a tear off map from a car rental place so I pull over to take a look. Apparently it helps to really know where you are if you want to use a paper map.  But from what I can tell I am definitely going the wrong way but I do have a couple options so I head back on the highway and take a chance.
  • I end up at a toll booth that I am certain we didn’t pass on the way to the airport.
  • I ask the toll-dude,

“Am I going the right way to the Peace Bridge?”

“No, you are not.”


“Where are trying to go?”


“Where about in Canada?”

“Anywhere in Canada would be fine.”

“Go straight ahead and take exit 25 to the Rainbow Bridge.”

“Awesome – thanks!”

  • exit 23…exit 24… exit 25A.. Exit25B…Exit to Canada … WTF? How did “take Exit 25” become so complicated?
  • According the sign I have 3 miles to decide what to do .. Canada seems like the logical decision but the last time I went against the specific directions and trusted my gut instinct I ended up.. well .. here. So maybe I should take exit 25.. but A or B..? And how long is 3 miles in kilometers? Oh. THAT was 3 miles. crap. wrong exit.
  • Thankfully I find the Border within minutes – whew! and even better there are only 3 cars ahead of me – Oh Happy Day!
  • Border Guard, “How long were you in the United States?”

“Just long enough to pick up this rental car.” I have nothing to hide.

“A rental? You do know you have to pay tax on it if you want to bring it into Canada, right?”

“um… no..?”

“Why did you rent it from Buffalo if you are driving through Canada?”

“Because it was cheaper.”

“And that’s why you are taxed for it in Canada.”

“Oh. Well that sucks. But I don’t really have a choice now so I guess I’ll pay the tax.”

“You do have a choice; you could return the car.”

“But then how would I get home?”

“I see your dilemma.”

  • So I go to the inspection centre and pay my tax. Thankfully it still ends up being much cheaper to have rented from the USA and frankly I’m still much more concerned about still not having access to my music (and I can’t find a decent channel on Sirius Radio to save my life – where is the CBC R3 station???)
  • In no time at all, I’m back in Grimsby. Despite my challenges I’m only slightly behind my Dad. He is much more upset about the tax than I am; all I want is to figure out how to play my music!! I have over 50 hours of driving ahead of me – music will help keep me sane. (okay okay… I said ‘help’ keep me sane)
  • My dad has also realized that the reason I can’t reach the trunk of the Escape is because the handle is broken.. the good news is he thinks I should have enough space for a step stool.  As a back-up he ties on a rope as a makeshift way for me to close it.
  • Then me, my Dad and his helpful neighbour try to get the Bluetooth to work. It works and then it doesn’t. But then it works again. Hooray! By then my mom is cooking dinner for her unexpected guests (we are totally overstaying our welcome by now – sorry mom and dad!!). I take the car for a spin to the grocery store to pick up some last minute items for the trip. After some fiddling I somehow get the music to play on the way there but on the way home I can not make it play. And in my frustration I get lost on my way back to my parents.
  • I roll into their driveway on my last nerve. I’m cool with getting lost, I’m cool with unexpected taxes, I’m cool with trunks that I’m too short to close but for the love of God – do NOT fuck with my music!!!!!!!! (insert hissy fit)
  • My dad sends me in the house so he can try to figure it out in peace. (read: GO TO YOUR ROOM UNTIL YOU CAN MANAGE!)
  • After my time-out I go back to the car and we somehow figure it out together.  It’s not a perfect solution and my dad insists that there must be a better way to make it work but I beg him to stop fiddling. I can play my music. That’s all I care about. (my breathing starts to return to normal.)                       

The Lesson Learned:

  • Planning is over-rated but maps can be helpful.
  • I get lost. A lot.
  • It’s okay because I seem to be able to find my way out.
  • Everything will be okay as long as there is good music. 

Are we there yet????


Team Adventurers have mascots and fans! (And super amazing friends)

Lots of love to our friend, Kim (and Dottie and Tim) for these amazing surprises in the mail. They came with a fantastic journal that we will definitely use to document our adventure! We are totally stoked to see Kim, Dottie and Tim on our big adventure out West!!!




Trial Run: Distraction

We are 7 sleeps away from our road trip adventure and I may be starting to panic. Just a little. All of a sudden, driving from Mississauga to Seattle in a mere 3 weeks doesn’t sound like enough time. But then again, I still need to consult a map in some sort of detail.

Last weekend, rather than get ready for our real vacation, we went on a trial run mini road-trip and it went swimmingly. It was completely last minute and a bit random but the opportunity was too good to pass up. One of my friends had discovered this fantastic event called Bands on the Run: A perfect mesh of running, amazing live music and the great outdoors. It looked a little like this:

1. Drive to Huntsville, a charming North of Toronto vacation destination.
2. Run a 5km (or 10Km or ½ marathon) race while bands play live along the route.
3. Enjoy free outdoor concert (with proof of run) in the afternoon, featuring Canadian Indie artists, Danny Michel, Whitehorse and Matt Mays

It was impossible to refuse. An added bonus was that it also happened to coincide with the dreaded Father’s Day weekend. I’d been grappling with how we would celebrate their dad; a month after his tragic death. This seemed like a perfect distraction (my typical coping method). I picked up the kids just after lunch on Friday and we made our way to beautiful Huntsville.

Ribs for my carnivore!

Ribs for my carnivore!

We settled into our room at the Comfort Inn and went into town. After a walk along the waterfront and nice rooftop patio dinner, we went back to the room to relax. I was lying on the bed reading a book and kids were watching TV when I noticed out our drive up patio door that a girl was getting out of a car with a guitar. “She must be playing in one of the bands along the route”, I thought. Then I looked again and realized that it was actually Melissa McClelland from Whitehorse. And of course unloading his own guitar was her husband and band mate, Luke Doucet.

“Whitehorse is staying in the room beside us?!!”

The kids were confused but not surprised to see me start jumping around the hotel room. I was so excited I jumped right out the door. Right at Melissa and Luke. Without a plan. Or shoes for that matter.

“um Hi Melissa and Luke….” I started. “I know you’re in the middle of unloading but do you think you could come over and let me take your picture with my kids once you’ve settled in?”

Whitehorse - our friendly neighbours

Whitehorse – our friendly neighbours

And in a matter of minutes, Luke came knocking at our door. Moxie chose not to be in the photo (which blew my theory that this was all about the kids) but instead she became the paparazzi and snapped about 30 pics in under 30 seconds of the rest of us. Luke was going to be running the ½ marathon in the morning. He seemed less worried about the hills than I did but he had quit drinking all week in preparation. Meanwhile, I’d just enjoyed a nice cold Muskoka Craft Lager with dinner. I think I’ll stick with my 5km.

and we're off...

and we’re off…

The next morning I ran the race with my pal Christina while her BF and our friend Mumtaz watched my kids. The hills were not as daunting as I’d feared and the live music was a huge motivator. We finished strong and we went back to our rooms to shower and pack up. After a yummy brunch at Soul Sistas we went to the park where we found prime real estate for the concert.



Danny Michel was on stage first. Rain loves his song, Feather, Fur and Fin and has drawn an amazing picture of his interpretation of the song (and if I can find it I’ll post it). After his outstanding set the three of us charmed ourselves into a pic with one of our favourite artists. (okay. true confession time. This might be my 3rd picture with him this year. I also saw him with Stuart Maclean in Sarnia and at the Dakota Lounge in Toronto. Thankfully Danny did not recognize me and we avoided that awkward “don’t’ I know you/maybe I should call security” moment)

Danny Michel

Danny Michel

Whitehorse was next up and put on a kick-ass performance! And before you know it, we not only survived our trial run road trip but also thoroughly enjoyed our first family music fest. This is especially good news because I have a weekend pass to Hillside in Guelph this summer and am planning to bring the kids. (read: an entire weekend of amazing Canadian music and maybe even camping!)

What I learned about family road trips:

• My kids eat a lot. Like a lot. And often. And a lot.
• I probably need #Starbucks to sponsor me one this tip. Well to be fair, I probably need #Starbucks to sponsor my daily life.
• Rain and Moxie love sleeping in hotels.
• The continental breakfast is a huge advantage.
• Great music is critical!!! I have amazing CBC R3 playlists already created and of course Danny and Whitehorse are already included in the Ontario Playlist:

Back in my own bed on Sunday morning I woke up knowing it was Father’s Day and that I still had to think of a way to celebrate this with Rain and Moxie. We were all in a very Zen mood (or maybe we were just really tired?) so I grabbed a handful of markers and we hit the lake. I had a vague idea of what we would do when we got there but had no idea how they would react. I had the kids collect stones at the beach and I started by drawing a heart on one. We wrote messages to Jason on rocks and threw them into Lake Ontario. Private messages were thrown directly into the water while others were set aside and photographed before being thrown out to the world. It felt good. No distraction needed.

Father's Day messages

Father’s Day messages

Here's to you, Dad..

Here’s to you, Dad..

Meet the Team

Introducing the members, in accordance to birth order:

Moxie, 7 years 11 months

Moxie is a free thinker. She’s creative, dramatic, independent and sweet.

And she very well may save the world one day.

Rain, 10 years 4 months

Rain is a problem solver. He’s athletic, thoughtful, artistic, and analytical.

And he very well may discover a new breed of reptiles one day.

Erica (me), 38 years 1 month

I love Canadian Indie music, adventures (obviously) and writing. I have a day job at a children’s treatment centre. I could talk about my job for hours. But I won’t. Confidentiality is one of the few things I take seriously in life. I like to laugh and think I’m hilarious.

It’s just the three of us (unless you count Lucy, our crazy cat). And we are tight. Their father and I separated just over 5 years ago. I have had primary custody but the kids continued to see him on a very regular basis. Last month, their father took his life. The initial shock is starting to wear off. We are sorting this out in our minds and hearts. This is an unexpected journey for us but it is one of healing and love. We will help each other through this.

Why Team Adventurers?

Because we are not just a family; we’re a team. We help each other succeed. We make each other laugh. We work hard together.

We came up the team name last summer on a bike ride. We are curious about the world and have adventures every day. Most of them occur within 30 km of our home.

This summer our wanderlust will lead us to the beautiful West coast. It will look a little bit like this:

June 28th – pick up rental car in Buffalo and bring back to our home in Mississauga, ON.

June 29th – Start driving West.

**A bunch of really cool stuff and lots of driving.

July 19th – Fly from Seattle – Buffalo

At some point before June 29th I will take a good look at a map or guidebook. But for now I’ve at least created some kick-ass playlists. Check them out here:

Initially I started this website to write exclusively about our upcoming roadtrip. But our every day adventures need their voice heard too. I write as a way to commemorate our experiences and share them with friends, family and fellow adventure enthusiasts.

Peace, love and rock ‘n roll,