We took a week to drive through Canada last week, it was awesome. I am really proud of my family, we did an amazing job, taking all ten of us, 2 parents and 8 kids ages 15 – 2 all over Canada and camping to boot. Huge thanks to my husband for unloading, setting up camp, taking down camp and reloading again every day for 6 days. The 7th day we stayed in a motel and the last day we just drove home 7 hrs. straight. Everyone did amazingly well camping and touring. I think the kids learned a lot and have had their horizons opened. Canada is actually a really cool place. Quebec is just like Europe, French and all. There are no English signs, most the people speak fairly good English, but it is with a strong French accent, and they speak French to each other. They were all very nice though and we got lots of compliments on our large family, one lady at the Musee deux beau-arts, said “congratulations” when we told her they were all ours, and at the Basilisque de Notre-Dame, they let one of our kids in for free because he said we have a large family. It was really nice. Just about everyone we ran into was very nice and helpful. I’m so glad we were able to take this kind of a trip and that it all worked out so well.
It took us an awful long time to clean our house and pack, so we didn’t leave until Sat. afternoon. We called ahead and found a campground with openings at Sampson State park near the Finger Lakes in New York state. We stopped for Subway sandwiches on the way and the girl at the counter about fell over when I ordered 9 sandwiches! Fortunately there was no one else in line until later and then that guy ordered 10, just as a joke. It was pretty funny.
Here’s camp with the big van. Our van worked out great, we keep the last seat out and there was plenty of room for our 2 tents, camping gear, and food. The other 3 seats fit the 8 kids with one space left over. We got the van tuned up before we left and we had no car troubles, that’s super nice!!
Sunday we visited Palmyra, where Joseph Smith lived when he had the First Vision in the Sacred Grove and received the gold plates from the angel Moroni on the Hill Cumorah. The visitor center was quite nice, although there were some annoying attitudes displayed– it really wasn’t too bad and didn’t really bother me ( but yes, we know we need passports to get into Canada, and yes we have them for all our kids )
The kids loved rolling down the Hill Cumorah, it’s pretty high, they ran all the way to the bottom and wanted their picture taken.
We toured Joseph Smith’s house and barn and farm and the frame house and saw places where the gold plates had been hidden. i especially liked the Sacred Grove. It was quiet and peaceful and the Spirit was there. I think Joseph really did have a vision there.
That afternoon we crossed the border into Canada and stayed at our first campsite which was a private campground I found online. I mostly wanted it for bathrooms and laundry, but since it was only our second night we didn’t really need to laundry, and it rained the night and morning we were there so the cool playground and pool didn’t really matter either. The bathrooms were nice though, and the shower felt good and I was even able to give 2 little ones a bath. That is the secret to camping– shower every single day!!
Niagara Falls was super awesome. We saw them from the Canada side and we did the boat tour and got up close. So much fun! All the kids liked it very much.
We decided to see how the provincial parks would be for camping though (Canada’s equivalent to our states is a province, so these were like state parks). They were all very nice. The bathrooms were not as good, but they worked and every shower felt great. The first one we stayed at was called Sibbald Point. We got there after dark and after the park rangers were gone. So we drove around and a bunch of the sites were empty but they had tags on them. We didn’t want to stay in someone’s reserved spot, so we took one without a tag, but the whole road was also empty and there were tons of trees, it was very private, but made me a little nervous. But I fell asleep quickly and it was fine.
We then drove to Toronto the next day. We toured the CN Tower which was the tallest building in the world when it was built. When you look out, it looks like you are in an airplane. Pretty cool!!
To be continued….