The Camping Trip

It started with a list days before. Every time we thought of something we’d need we’d add it to the list. By the time we were done we nearly needed a 26′ U-Haul. I swear we had as much stuff for a 3 night camping trip as we did for a two week trip to the States.

On the highway, DW likes to spot eagles soaring overhead. She’ll point them out when she find them. Then this happened…

eagle copter

We laughed and laughed and laughed…

Then on the Ferry to PEI the boys found a puppy to sit and pet and talk to. Five month old Riggs was a good dog. An English Bulldog. They played with him for a solid hour. The owners thanked our boys for entertaining their dog during the trip. Likewise, we thanked their dog for entertaining our kids.

Back in the truck and en route to our campsite Bang was restless and bored and so he decided to look for trouble. He usually doesn’t have to look hard. This time he put his hand in his mouth and tried to wipe it on his big brother. DW told him to keep his hands out of his mouth since he was just getting licked by a dog who had probably licked his hole.

Bang replies in complete horror… “I didn’t lick his hole!”

The weather was fabulous, though a bit hot. The nights were cool and perfect for sleeping. Even if our camping neighbors talked until 12:30. Even if the sun acted as a damn alarm clock at 6 am. We really didn’t spend much time camping. Our 8 person tent was more of a bedroom than campsite. Once we were awake and had breakfast we weren’t back at our site until bedtime.

Do you know how hard it is to cook pancakes on a BBQ? Once you get past the whole needing something to cook it on because a grill won’t hold pancake batter, you better have something to make it non-stick. I used a tin bowl. At first I just poured the pancake batter in. It cooked up like a loaf of bread. Except it was still liquid in the middle. And the top wasn’t cooked because I couldn’t flip it over. So, being above average intelligence, I cut the tin so it would lay flat, then poured the batter on. Worked like a charm until it was time to flip it. It was stickier than a toddler with a roasted marshmallow.

We went out to eat for breakfast.

After breakfast we went to visit Anne Shirley’s house. She’s the character created by L.M. Montgomery in Anne of Green Gables. The boys really enjoyed it. The house was set up as Lucy would have envisioned it in 1908. There was even a girl dressed as Anne and in character!

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After this we joined DW’s brother and his family and went to Sandspit – a small, carnival-like amusement park. There were lots of laughs, lots of screams and endless rides. It was so hot there was barely anyone there as they were all at the water park. We could ride a ride, get off, and get right back on. No lines.

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lovebirds atop the ferris wheel

Then it was off to supper to feed hot, hungry, thirsy (a deadly trifacto) people.

Then back to DW’s brother and his family and the trailer they had rented for a week. A dip in the campground pool, a bonfire, and meeting up with new and old friends. A friend I went to high school with in Maryland, now lives in Ottawa. She and her family happened to be in PEI at the same time as us and even camped at the same campground! So we got to play catch up on the last 20 years.

Then back to the tent to sleep.

Day 2 started with another attempt at pancakes on the bbq. We borrowed a bottle of olive oil and I used that to keep the cakes from sticking to the foil pan. Worked like a charm. Other than them taking 15 minutes to cook…

We spend most of the day hanging out with family. The kids visited the campground store for treats. They rode scooters and bike and played on the playground. They were inside and outside and back inside and back outside and back inside then kicked back out.

It was hot. We were hoping to go to Shining Waters, the water park, asap. DW’s brother said, “Nope. You don’t want to spend the day there. You are going to be there for a couple hours and then you’ll be done and ready to leave.” He was right.

The lines were long. 45 minutes long. Bang rode a big water slide with mom in an inner tube built for 2. He was skipping and jumping and hooting and hollering the whole way up the stairs. He was singing a different tune on the way down the slide.

He hated it. Both times. Both slides. I’m pretty sure he was convinced his mother was trying to kill him. After that he wandered the park with his older cousin to ride some rides that had neither water nor slides.

Then Saturday night happened. The wind picked up. Gusting at 50 kph. 31 miles per hour. Not really all that bad unless you’re in a tent under some trees. The boys were fast asleep. I lay my head down to sleep after reading (I’m reading The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay) and then a thought crossed my imagination and my stupid brain decided to wreck havoc and tell me that with that wind a tree might fall. Stupid stupid brain.

We woke Sunday to overcast skies and the wind still howling. Then it started raining. Not so bad in the tent. We were dry in there. Except that it was Sunday and time to take the tent down. We packed what we could and I backed the truck up as close to the door of the tent as I could without running it over. With my history of backing up, that was an impressive feat.

We got it down in record time. It didn’t fit back in the tent bag, but I didn’t care. It was down, packed in the roof top carrier and I was in the truck, mostly dry and ready to drive.

We stopped in Charlottetown for some more Cows ice cream and to visit the Provincial House which is under construction. So we visited the replica at the Confederation Centre of

 

the Arts. This is where Canada’s forefathers came together from across the Great White North to create the country now known as Canada.

 

One forefather and 2 foresons…

While the Province House wasn’t all that exciting they did have Lego sets so the boys could build their own Lego Province House….

 

That’s our trip in a nutshell… if a nutshell were 1,140 words.

Of course there was excitement over riding the ferry and seeing cousins and being allow far more freedom at the campground than they’re allowed at home.

We’re home now. All unpacked. We set the tent up in the yard to dry out. It’s now raining…

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The whole gang (minus Nanny Moe and Pop)

Questions I Asked My Kids

Kids are fountains of youth and knowledge. I ask mine questions all the time while they still know it all. We leave for a short camping trip with DW’s brother, his wife, and their 4 kids in 6 sleeps. The boys are as excited to see their cousins as they are to sleep in a tent for 3 nights. We’ll be visiting the neighboring province, Prince Edward Island. Home of the fabled Anne of Green Gables, PEI potatoes, Cows Ice Cream, and an alpaca that, four years ago, scared a certain 2 year old for years.

PEI 2013

We will try to recreate this image from 4 years ago…

1. What are you most looking forward to doing in PEI?

Crash: Hanging out in the thing… the tent and trading Pokemon with my cousins. And going to Shining Waters
Bang: Roasting marshmallows (he doesn’t eat them, just roasts them)

2. Who is Anne of Green Gables?

Crash: A girl and she was in a bunch of movies but I completely forget who she is
Bang: Pime Minister?

3. How long will it take to get to PEI?

Crash: Probably about 75 minutes
Bang: 18,000 minutes
(It will take 4 hours)

4. What is something we should do while we are in PEI?

Crash: Go to Shining Waters
Bang: Ride our scooters

5. How many S’mores will you eat in 3 days?

Crash: 10+
Bang: Zero because I don’t like them with marshmallows on them

6. What is something you want to learn about while you’re in PEI?

Crash: Who Anne of Green Gables is
Bang: Being safe

7. What is something you remember from last time we were there? (4 years ago)

Crash: That I got my Cows Ice Cream shirt that said “Gangnum Cow”
Bang: I got scared by the alpaca (an alpaca was laying behind a wall and stood suddenly when Bang approached scaring him. For the longest time we kept him out of places (such as basements) by telling him there alpacas in there)

8. What will we do if it rains while we’re camping?

Crash: Me and my cousins will trade Pokemon cards
Bang: Go in the tent

9. What’s your favorite animal?

Crash: Cat because they’re stealthy and cool
Bang: Camel because people can ride on my humps

10. What country would be fun to visit?

Crash: Houston, Texas
Bang: Alberta… no wait, Newfoundland!
(Seems we need some geography lessons)

Alexander Graham Bell

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Beinn Bhreagh (I say Ben Bree-uh) Alexander and Mabel’s home

He is more than just the inventor of the telephone. He’s an expat who came not just to Canada, not just to Nova Scotia, but to Cape Breton Island. Just like me. Though he was born in Scotland, not America. He was a teacher for the deaf. I think my kids are deaf, sometimes. He was an inventor. The only thing I’ve invented so far are new ways to annoy DW. In that I am excelling.

Alec came to Canada, originally to an area near Brampton, Ontario, in 1870. This is 130 years after the British destroyed the French Fortress of Louisbourg. Once here, he continued working on methods to teach the deaf. He created the System of Visible Speech which helped deaf students learn to speak by allowing them to visualize the sounds.

Mabel Hubbard’s inability to hear inspired her father to work with those who were also deaf. He also founded the first school for the deaf in the US, the Clarke School for the Deaf. She eventually became one of Alexander’s pupils. Because she was educated in both Europe and the US she learned to speak and lip read in four language. When she was 19 and he 29 they married at her family’s house.

One story says that during arguments Mabel would turn her back on Alec so that she could not read his lips effectively making his argument null and void.

On March 10, 1876, just 3 days after receiving his patent, Bell spoke to his colleague, Thomas Watson, through his telephone

Come here. I want to see you.

Watson heard him clearly on the other end of the line. Wouldn’t they be impressed to see how far advanced his telephone is today? No wires needed. Though maybe not. Shortly after the telephone’s success, he and a partner developed a way to transmit a voice message on a beam of light. He would later say that that was his greatest accomplishment. Little did he know this achievement would directly lead to fiber-optic communication.

That wasn’t all of Bell’s accomplishments.

He created a metal detector which was successfully used on a patient to find a bullet, though the patient died. Unfortunately, the patient was President James Garfield.

He created hydrofoils – a slight combination of boat and plane.

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He worked extensively with kites. His favorite being tetrahedral (triangular pyramid) that were so big they had to be towed with a boat to gain lift.

In 1909, Bell and his associates witnessed their plane, The Silver Dart, take flight from the frozen Bras d’Or Lake, becoming the first powered flight in Canada.

Amoeba

What’s even more is that we where it all happened. Baddeck, Nova Scotia. There is a museum dedicated to Alexander Graham Bell’s life and works. The boys got to make their own kite. They got to see exactly how Alec lived and taught and all that he created. They saw a life size hydrofoil. They saw the Silver Dart.  They got to see the 37 room house of the Bells (from the outside). They got to take a ride on a 67′ schooner, the Amoeba, on the lake where Alexander performed his experiments with kites and hydrofoils. On the lake of which The Silver Dart took flight.

 

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Fun Fact Bonus!

Beinn Bhreagh means “beautiful mountain”. The house has 37 rooms, 11 of them are bedrooms. It has 17 fireplaces. It cost them $22,000 1893 dollars to complete and sits on 600 acres.

 

A Living Museum from 1745

©Eric Wood/allinadadswork.wordpress.com

Imagine living in a remote location, possible across a cold, giant ocean. Also, it’s 250 years ago. The village you have settled is among the best fishing waters in the world. Your village’s currency is now cod. Though, you yourself still deal with your native France’s livre. In the summer there would be 7-8,000 people. Just 1 or 2,000 come winter time. It was so successful, so profitable that walls 30 feet high were built. 800 soldiers are commissioned to protect the fishing grounds and the village. 400 fishing vessels fill the harbor every day.

Today, just one fifth of that village and it’s reconstructed buildings exist. Its inhabitants are merely actors, characters to educate. Today, a living museum stands in its place. It is a very interesting piece of history.

Settled in 1713 by France the fishing port grew and by the mid 1740s it was the 3rd busiest port in North America after Boston and Philadelphia. The British, seeing it’s success, laid siege to the fortress in 1745 and won. The French tried and failed to take it back the following year. In 1748, the British returned it to France for lands in Austrian Netherlands and a trading post in India. In 1754 a few skirmishes developed into the French and Indian War which expanded into the Seven Years’ War in 1756. In 1758 the British regained control of the fortress after a six week siege. Two years later the British systematically destroyed the fortifications to prevent the French from using the port when peace returned to Cape Breton Island.

Upon our arrival a French soldier greeted us in full uniform complete with musket. He informed us we needed to be out by 5:00 before the gates closed. Should we not be out before the closing we would be stuck inside the fortress but not to worry, there would be plenty of space in the jail to sleep. Our poor little Bang, seeing a soldier in uniform with a gun five feet long, didn’t understand that he was just an actor and he couldn’t stop his tears. Fortunately, the soldier was kind-hearted and gently explained that he was only kidding. He showed him hat (which had fake hair on it to make it look like he had a pony tail) and his gun. Bang was good after that.

On our journey to the Fortress we told the boys that they could ask questions to the people there. Anything they wanted to know they could ask. All the people have French names so they could even ask them that. They are in character and will answer your question as if it is 1740. The Blacksmith, for instance, started working with his father in the forge when he was 7.


FB_IMG_1500347450259There was a cannon demonstration, too. Atop the fortress wall, from the hill upon which the top picture was taken, were two cannons (though they faced outward, of course). Once was loaded with six pounds of gunpowder and fired. The boys (and their parents) were seriously impressed. After the firing we were allowed to approach the armaments to see them for ourselves and to talk to the soldiers in charge. We were informed that the cannons could fire a cannonball 2 miles and it would take about 22 seconds to reach its target. Though the cannon was only accurate at a mile and a half. Again, we were impressed.


After that we listened to another soldier tell us about the muskets. How they work, how to use them, and how to fire it. We even got to see it fired. We were told that musketballs were extremely inaccurate, 50 yards was their maximum range. Soldiers weren’t to fire until they could see the whites of the enemies eyes. This demonstration was Bang’s favorite part of the day.

Just before we left, just before the gates closed, we saw a smaller cannon fire. The boys were impressed by the sound of it. Just think of what it sounded like with all 100 cannons firing along with those on the ships that were storming the harbor!

It was definitely a learning experience and one I hope the boys remember if not forever, at least for a very long time. Characters, questions, cannons, muskets, costumes, buildings, animals, blacksmiths, bread makers…

One busy port

This Summer’s Schedule

I love summer.

I love winter, too. But summer is way hotter.

Unfortunately, it’s not conducive to blogging. The kids are home all day. They either need entertaining or forced encouraged to clean something. They magically get along when they’re told to clean. It’s like a miracle.

Then there’s traveling. We don’t go far. Basically, around the block. Though we did make it to the beach yesterday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, we got home a bit late and after a day of sun, sand, surf, and supper, blogging didn’t make the to do list.

Then there’s the later than usual bedtime every night because “It’s still light out!” and “My friends get to stay up until dark!” By the time they’re finally asleep all I have left is to watch as many Game of Thrones episodes we can fit in.

Which is usually one.

There’s also baseball. It’s going to take up more time than a Lord of the Rings extended version trilogy marathon. Actually, that’s about the same length as just one game. This year, however, I have stepped into the role of Coach for Crash’s team. Yes, I’m a Coach Daddy. Except for baseball. I’ve coached soccer and wrestling and golf. This is my first stint at baseball. So far, so good. We haven’t lost! We won one and tied one. We have three games next week. Sunday. Monday. Tuesday. So we’ll be spending a good portion of our summer on the field of dreams.

The boys have been begging to go camping. I love camping and used to camp frequently. I’ve never taken along two rambunctious kids. I would love to teach them what I know about camping and the wilderness and the night sky without light pollution and about cheese filled crust pizza (but not while camping). There are a few day trips we’d like to take and trip to visit DW’s brother and sister-in-law. The boys love playing with their cousins.

I’ll be TweetingInstagramming and Facebook our adventures so feel free to follow along. What will you be doing this summer?

Sorry, South-of-the-Equatorians, what will you be doing this winter?

Go Ask Your Father: Universe, Rubberband Balls, Owls, and the Inevitable Travel Question

This is our last sleepover for this trip. Tomorrow we’ll attempt Hope for Wildlife and then make trails for home. The boys are excited to see in real life what they’ve been seeing on TV. There are the animals which they love and the rescuers/vets they’ve met through the show. I’m kind of excited, too. DW’s brother say they have a talking crow. We call him Russel or Sheryl. You know… famous Crows.

1. How big is the Universe?

Freakin’ huge. I can’t even begin to fathom the size. It’s measured in distances that light can travel in years. In one second it can travel 186,000 miles. With every tick of the tick tock clock light can travel around the Earth 7 times. So you can imagine the distance it goes in just one year is pretty far. The known universe is estimated to be 13.8 billion years old. This is 3 times older than Earth. When the light left the stars of the farthest galaxies Earth didn’t even exist yet. However, while looking at light that 13.8 billion years old, the universe has moved to 46 billion light years away. This puts the known universe somewhere around 92 billion light years in diameter. Or about the same as Trump’s Ego.

2. How are rubber band balls made?

These are easy. If you happen to have enough rubber bands on hand and an equal amount of time, you can make these fun things on your own. Start with one and simply twist and fold it into a tiny ball. Continue doing this with other bands, wrapping them around your starter. Eventually, you’ll have a ball of rubber bands. The largest one made weighs 9,032 pounds and is 6 feet 7 inches tall. About the same size my Ego.

3. What’s a screech owl?

There are Eastern and Western screech owls and they are very similar. They average the same small size, 6 inches in height or 9 inches  and 4-8 ounces in weight. Adult plumage is a combination of brown, black, and white. Nesting screeches are grey and fuzzy. It’s their voice that sets them apart. If you hear it you would compare it to a kid screaming. Just looking it up. It’s haunting.

Listen to a screech owl

4. How much farther?

If you’re lucky you won’t hear this question get asked before you even leave the driveway. You hope to never hear it during a three hour trip. But, without a doubt, it will be asked. Even if you’re only driving 10 minutes down the road. We’ve made a few side trips since getting here and without a doubt the youngest always wants to know where we’re going and how long it’s going to take to get there. I do my best to give them my best estimate. But sometimes I tell them, “The Promised Land and we’ll be there in 40 days and 40 nights.”

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Field Trip

 We’re going to spend 3 hours in the truck tomorrow with 2 oragutans. Wish them luck. We’re headed to the city for a few days. Part 1 will be a stay in a hotel. A free stay! DW discovered our room last time hadn’t been cleaned properly – hair on the bathroom floor. They gave us a complimentary stay. During this part we’ll also try to visit the science museum – The Discovery Center. 

However, a friend of ours went yesterday and reported that they had to wait a half hour to get in and then weren’t able to do much once inside because it was so busy. It is March Break and every kid in Nova Scotia is out of school this week. We’ll test our luck as we love science and know the boys would love this place. 

During the second part of the trip we will be visiting DW’s brother and sister-in-law and their four kids. The boys LOVE playing with their cousins. 

The third and final part will be a visit to Hope for Wildlife. This is a wildlife rehab center. There is a show on TV of the same name and center. The boys will be excited to see first hand what they’ve seen on TV. They will be just as excited to meet the Vets, too. Perhaps I’ll drop off a couple orangutans if they misbehave.

I’ll have my GoPro when I can and hope to record what I can. That’s more of a heads up to DW than to all y’all. 

Questions I Asked My Kids: Travel Edition

We’re on the road today and tomorrow. Our favorite DW is at a literacy conference so we joined her on her journey. Traveling with kids is always an adventure, isn’t? We were only on the road for two hours this morning. Listening to the 5 year old, though, you would have thought we were on the Oregon Trail. Today’s questions are brought to you from the hotel…. here goes…

1. What is your favorite thing to do in Truro?

Crash: Go swimming
Bang: Go swimming

2. What is your favorite part about staying in a hotel?

Crash: It always has a few fun things to do 
Bang: The hair dryer

3. How many rooms do you think are in this hotel?

Crash: about 250
Bang: 300

4. How many times can you jump from bed to bed?

Crash: 500
Bang: 1600

5. What time are you going to go to bed tonight?

Crash: 1:00 in the morning
Bang: 7:39

6. What is something we didn’t bring with us but should have?

Crash: I don’t know
Bang: pictures

7. What did you buy with the $10 Nanny gave you to spend on our trip?
Crash: I bought Hotwheels minecraft cart, creeper and armor Steve with a diamond sword
Bang: Car hauler

8. If you had more money, what would you have bought?

Crash: I would have bought a scene for them
Bang: The race track set that was ginormous

9. We’re eating supper in the hotel. What do you want to eat?

Crash: Pizza
Bang: I ginormous pancake

10. If you bought the hotel, what color would paint the hallway? 

Crash: Orange
Bang: Blue

Bonus:

What animal do you want to be?
Crash: Shark because they eat tons of fish, have big sharp jaws and can swim very good.
Bang: An elephant so I can be loud

H is for Hotel and Questions I Asked My Kids

If you remember from last year, I wrote about this place already. Except last year was mid-April. We were on H in the A-Z Challenge because H was for hotel (it was also for Hyper). If  you missed it or forget what happened last year, you can read it here. It was slightly embarrassing.

We weren’t able to get checked in until 3 today, but DW’s conference started at 11. This left the boys and I up to no good for 4 hours. We hit up Wal-Mart for a few forgotten items (my bathing suit being one). Then the mall. Then the park. Finally, we’re in our room and the boys are aching to jump in the pool, but we’re going to have some supper first.

Anywho, on the questions. We both know it’s what you came here for.

What makes you happy?

Crash: When you tickle me
Bang: Jumping on the tramperline (that’s how he says it)

What makes you sad?

Crash: When I get hurt
Bang: Hugs

What would you like to do tomorrow?

Crash: Go swimming, go for a walk so I can 11,000 steps, play tablet and hang out in the hotel
Bang: Go swimming

What do you like to watch on television?

Crash: The Gaming Show (In My Parent’s Garage)
Bang: Team Umizoomi

How much money do you have?

Crash: Only $10
Bang: 49 and 80

What do you do that is naughty?

Crash: Everything! Being mean to my brother
Bang: Whining (contributed by his big brother)

What is the best job in the world?

Crash: Being an engineer
Bang: Cleaning

What’s the best part about Truro?

Crash: Staying at the hotel
Bang: Swimming (I’m sensing a theme here)

What’s the best part of staying in a hotel?

Crash: Swimming and the restaurant in the hotel
Bang: Going swimming and going on the elevator

Bridge

 

 

Traveling (the final days)

Before our two weeks of travel began I had seen a picture of a waterfall that our friend’s girls were playing under. After seeing the picture I wanted to go there. I needed to go there. It helped that Pennsylvania is between Virginia –all the farther the farthest south we would be traveling – and home in Nova Scotia. I sent along a message asking if they would be around the weekend we were passing through and if they could take us to that waterfall. You can imagine my excitement when I found out that a) they would be around and b) they could take us!

What should have been a four hour drive from Virginia to Pennsylvania wasn’t. The traffic around D.C. and Baltimore was incredible. Poor DW was stressed to the max – though I was doing the driving and I was in pure city driver mode. 12 lanes of traffic-six in each direction, a couple toll booths, some accidents and bottlenecks and many idiots who swerve in and out of lanes like Mario Andretti make it difficult to relax. One bonus? We got to go through the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel – a tunnel (duh) under the Baltimore Harbor (duh) that is 1.45 miles long. Of course, windows had to go down so we could listen to it. Anyway, we made ‘er though D.C. and B’more unscathed and made a quick stop for a late lunch.

Six hours later we were there. Their two girls were quite anxious for us to get there so we could all go swimming. We were just as anxious to get there and be done traveling. We did get to see the hydroelectric plant.

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After that we were in Amish country. Tons of farms, and just as many horse and buggies. Anyone even remotely familiar with Amish country will understand the humor of this song:

IMG_2658We finally arrived at their house, hung out for about 10 minutes then took off to the waterfall. The water was chilly – really no different than Nova Scotia water. Too cold for Bang’s liking. He splashed around, but he wouldn’t venture too close to the falls. Crash, on the other hand, loved it. Did we take home a Pennsylvania rock from this waterfall? You betcha!

Afterward it was back to their house for a BBQ, let the kids play for a bit, then bedtime for them. We were starting our trek home in the morning. This afternoon Bang asked me “What house were we at that I slept in my little bed?” I told him and he asks “Next time we go there can we play ‘McDonalds’ again?” All I did was sit inside a play house while Crash and Bang drove around it like a drive through while I took their orders in the most ridiculous, redneck, hillybilliest voice I could. Naturally, what I ordered for them would never be found a normal McD’s menu. Fresh roadkill with a side of salted slugs. And such.

To make a long story short not as long, we got the kids to bed, had quite a few laughs playing Cards Against Humanity then went to bed ourselves. By 9 the next morning they had left for church and we had left for our next stop, Bangor, Maine. We didn’t get there until 10 PM. The next morning there was a huge, delicious free breakfast. We got our fill, then hit up a liquor store for the cheap liquor the US is famous for and booked ‘er for home. We crossed back into Canada with no problems and were back home at 7:30. DW’s mom (Nanny Moe) had supper waiting for us, and there is where we ended our two vacation.