Road Trip!

The last week has been a massive road trip from Bracebridge, Ontario to Sedona, Arizona.

Chillin’ in the paddleboat in Bracebridge

First we went to my grandparents’ house in Kingsville, a small town outside of Windsor. Then we went to my aunt Mary’s and uncle Kevin’s house and got to meet their crazy dog named Sophie who jumped on everyone at least five times. Next we went to my uncle John’s who is living the American dream. He is big into hunting and has nine guns; when we showed up he had a revolver on his chest and a knife strapped to his pants. That same day we stopped at a hotel in Rolla.

Hiking the Petrified Forest National Park

The next two days we drove to Amarillo and then to Albuquerque, which we stayed at for two nights and then drove to our home in Sedona for the next three months.

My first day of school at home in Sedona.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park and Albuquerque

What a fantastic day! Leaving Amarillo this morning we took a side trip to Palo Duro Canyon State Park. It is the second largest canyon in the U.S. after the Grand Canyon, and we hadn’t even heard of it until we arrived in the hotel in Amarillo. It was breathtaking. Unlike the Grand Canyon, cars are able to drive to the bottom of the canyon, which gave us fantastic views and photo opportunities. We signed up for zip lining across the canyon, and the plan was for Joe to tandem with Dan.

However, when we got to the top of the platform it was too scary for Joe. But hey, look at me go!

June zippin’ across the canyon

Such a shame! The ziplining was great, and the rest of us had a blast – great views and great times. 

One of many fantastic views of the canyon.

We have a couple of days in Albuquerque, and desperately need a day off from driving! After the cold summer we Canadians had, the temps of 38 C and full sun feels wonderful. 

Deep in the heart of Texas

We had a great time visiting Dan’s sister Mary and her family in Edwardsville, Illinois. Joe and Jack were in dog heaven, with two Brittany Spaniels to love and play with. After a visit to Dan’s brother John’s country place in southern Missouri, and a night in Rolla, Missouri, we had a very long travel day today (over 1000 km). We are spending the night in Amarillo, Texas. Of course, that meant Texas steak for dinner. Tomorrow, on to Albuquerque for a couple of days – hopefully including some rafting on the Rio Grande. 

It is starting to sink in to the kids that they aren’t going back to regular school. That could be good or bad, depending on how tough things get in “Dad School.”


Post Cottage and Camp Rest

Checking in from Kingsville Ontario where my parents live. Jack had a great time at Camp Big Canoe as a Senior Camper for the first time. We picked him up yesterday, with more mosquito bites than I thought a body could bare! He also had tons of rain during his 12 days in a tent, but still had a fantastic time. 

Our last few days at the cottage were rainy, again, but we visited Minden and Haliburton and made the best of it. On one of our final days, Joe took to feeding one of the ducks with worms meant for the “stupid fish.” Here is a video clip of him hand feeding the mommy duck. Unfortunately, we were out of worms when she returned the next day with her babies!

Stupid Fish

Joe here. A few days ago, we came to the cottage and it is a really cool one. But there’s a little bit of weirdness to it. The lake here sometimes acts like a river and the main topic: the fish.

One of the dumb fish


The fish that live under our dock are the dumbest fish ever known to mankind. It was only three seconds before another fish would bite on my hook. So Dad said “I am not putting any more bait on that.” So, I put my hook in bare, with nothing on it, but I still caught a fish. There are rock bass, striped bass, sunfish and bluegills and they are all stupid!

Catching the stupid fish!
Cool loon on our lake

Cottage Report

We are well into week 2 in the Haliburton Highlands area (I am posting from the Haliburton Public Library). The first week saw the great views of the “super moon” we had in the area, followed by 5 straight days of rain. Dan, Joe and I were in a nice warm cottage, but Jack is at Camp Big Canoe and was sleeping in a tent the entire time. 

Super Moon seen from the dock

The weather for this week looks great, and we are exploring the full area, including Minden and Haliburton. The cottage came with a canoe and a paddle boat. We all love the paddle boat, and it easily seats three!


Enjoying Oblong lake from the paddle boat



Week in Toronto

It was wonderful seeing the boys again after their trip to Germany. They had a blast, and they were very well taken care of by Eno and the rest of their billet family in Germany. They even got to attend the last day of school with the kids in the family (Joe to elementary and Jack to the Gymnasium/high school). Sounds like the festival was wonderful for them, and we are thankful again that Original Kids Theatre is in London – they did an awesome job on this trip, and with our kids.

Joe took to the camera, coming home with more than 50 pictures. Jack, on the other hand, says that cameras “ruin the moment.” Here is a small view of the International Children’s Festival (and some of the Original Kids) through Joe’s eyes.








This week we are visiting with my sister Judy and her family. Yesterday was the (crowded but wonderful) Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto, and tomorrow we head a little north for two days at Canada’s Wonderland. Saturday, it’s off to 2 weeks at the cottage for Joe, Dan and I while Jack heads off to 12 days at Camp Big Canoe. I am hoping for some semblance of summer weather while we are there!

And they are off!

Jack and Joe left for Germany with Original Kids last night. After a day filled with last minute thoughts, packing ideas, and advice for them both, I thought I was prepared. We took them out for a late lunch/dinner, a walk around the river and downtown, then met the group for a bus departure from Covent Garden to Toronto airport. 


Both kids seemed excited and confident. Being with friends helped a lot, but I don’t think they would have been too worried either way! Lots of smiles and laughter, as OKTC staff handed out matching red hats to the cast (easier to keep track of everyone, and a brilliant idea) and small bags of Canadian merchandise to trade or give to new friends from around the world at the festival.


Rogers Television has been following the Dream Journey process from the beginning, and will be creating a series this fall for broadcast. In his final interaction, Joe already seems like a media pro.


It was surprisingly difficult to come home to the house without them. I travel away from them for work a fair bit, so I wasn’t really prepared for how different it would feel to be in our house without them. But it won’t be long before we pick them up in Toronto (Aug. 2), on the way to our next adventure!

Getting close now

We are less than two weeks away from the first part of the boys’ adventure. Jack and Joe are part of the Original Kids Theatre Company group that will represent Canada in the International Children’s Festival in Lingen Germany. So they leave London first, July 23.

On another front, this weekend we meet the man who is renting our house (with his family) for the year. He’s spending a year in Canada from Australia, so it will be nice to meet another adventurous family!

Lots of details still to take care of, such as five visas for each of us. But, we have had our immunizations, taken care of lots of details. Much more to come, but taking it one thing at a time.

June's chronicle of Semester at Sea 2022