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.
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?”
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.
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)
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: https://teamadventurers.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/patriotic-playlists/
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.