Road schooling Canada 2015: Day 3 & 4

DSC_2683We woke at Spruce Wood Provincial Park Manitoba. We had arrived there in the middle of the night and pitched a tent as quietly as we could and everyone fell immediately asleep. In the morning we lit a fire and Hana cooked a quick breakfast  so that we could find the time for a long hike through the Spirit Sands and then find somewhere to swim because it was already starting to get very hot.

The Spirit Sands are a series of Sand dunes sacred to the traditional people of this spectacular part of Manitoba. Home to the “Devil’s Punchbowl”, the hognose snake and many pincushion cacti, it is definitely worth the 4 km hike – because with small children, you MAY wonder at some point, while climbing sand covered steep hills that feel like mountains in the sweltering heat, if it is worth it.

After returning from the hike we headed for Winnipeg and straight for the Forks. We shopped the market and picked up some fresh food for the van. We played in the gardens, and then hit the road for Ontario and drove through the whole night, and stopped at the day sight at Kakabeka falls for some shut eye. When we realized we’d pushed it too far, we headed to Thunder Bay for some coffee and breakfast, and then on to Sault Ste. Marie.

When we got to Marathon we discovered that the Highway was closed due to an accident, so we had to hang out and wait. We decided to head to Shriber Beach on Lake Superior. Wow. We had a picnic there, collected beautiful sea glass and did a little hike of the coast.

Eventually the highway opened back up and we headed towards the Saulte where our family lives, and spend a couple of days there hanging out before continuing the journey East.

Adventures in Roadschooling Day 1,2&3

imageDay 1: After  coffee with friends,  we  started our adventure.  Our first stop was Rotary park in Whitecourt, where the kids got out to run and climb for awhile. the weather was beautiful, and everyone was  in high spirits.

Our next stop was the legislature building in Edmonton. The kids had a blast. There were rabbits running through the park, and a big fountain to play around. the kids  explored the gardens and interesting sculptures and art work in the park.

We then headed to our campsite in Elk Island National park. It was much more than I expected – lush and green. We saw some bison hanging out at the side of the road. We pitched the tent, had a fire, some beans and boiled eggs for dinner, and then laid down under the stars for a wonderful sleep. They were not calling for rain so we left the fly off, and it was fantastic.We fell asleep listening to two owls above us, and coyotes in the near distance.

imageDay 2: We packed up and hit the road around 6am. Our first stop was Vagraville, which is a Ukranian settlement about a half hour from Elk Island. Everything was still closed, so we toured around and  hit the park to get some excercise. Next was Lloydminster, the border city half of which is in Alberta and half in Saskatchewan.  We visted the Saskatchewan visitors centre and stocked up on brochures.

Then to Saskatoon, where we were going to visit the Weneskiwin heritage park, but it was pouring. On the way out of the city we got stuck in the mud and a flurry of Saskatooners came to our rescue!

We  arrived at Lake Manitou in pouring rain. It is a very interesting little town, with funky little shops and kitch that features a salt water lake. It has a mineral content higher than the dead sea, and you simply can’t sink in it. We set up the tent under a giant tarp, and headed out to “forage” for food,(at the Burger Buoy).

After we had dinner, we played on the beach for awhile. It was cold and windy, so we headed in to the mineral spa where they heat the lake water in mineral pools. We soaked in there for awhile and then we headed to Danceland which was fantastic. It boasts the only dance floor made of horse hair.  We watched square dancers from the balcony, and then did a little dancing ourselves.

After that, we headed back to the tent (which was in a puddle), packed it up and hit the road. Ahead of schedule and budget.

Day 3:Drove through a prairie lightening storm which was beautiful and scary at the same time.  Eventually we pulled over and slept in the van. It was amazingly comfortable. We hit the road at 4am – the kids slept peacefully through everything. We arrived at Riding Mountain National Park early in the morning and rented a Otentik. We walked the bordwalk, swam in the lake and ate Beavertails on the beach. It was Solstice/Aboriginal day, so we attended a Pow-Wow. We had the whole day to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. It started to rain around campfire time, so we had to bring dinner into the van to finish, and then Eric and the kids went fishing. When they returned, we all cuddled up and fell asleep to the sound of the thunder and pouring rain.