Every time I thing about our fateful trip across Canada in 1967, I think of my poor mother.
We had a 1963 13 ft. Wrambler trailer that my Dad bought for the four of us (my then 11 year old sister Debbie reluctantly came along) so that could go up into the great Ontario north in comfort! (Did you see that this trailer was 13 feet long? For four of us??)
We travelled for six weeks along the highways and byways of Canada so that we could sink our feet into the Pacific Ocean at Mile 0, in Victoria. Three weeks to get here, three weeks to get back. I think my Father travelled at lightning speed to get back (just to get this trip overwith) that we got back a week early.
We had a wonderful time. I was 8 years old, so I remember everything!
It started out well enough, all of us eager and trying desperately to be quiet so that Dad could drive… all eager…. except my Mom.
Unbeknownst to me, Mom was terrified. It had taken a lot of work to get all of us ready for this excursion – clothes, bedding, food, and things to keep us (me) occupied so that we (me) wouldn’t get lost or throw something through the car window at other cars. And I think the sheer terror of spending 6 weeks in cramped quarters with the family would have driven most Mother’s into drink. Thank goodness my Mother didn’t drink, although the term ‘Mother’s liitle helper’ was I think, made for my Mother.
As I said, it started out well enough… and then we had a flat – in the trailer. I never realized how much a 13 foot trailer can swing around when hurtling down a highway at 80 (mph). And low and behold, we (Mom) realized what that little pin was for on the fridge door!…. Eggs, milk, everything, all over the floor.
“Hey Dad! Mom says we have to go shopping…”
And then Winnepeg. Burned out transmission… on a holiday weekend – Canada weekend I’m thinking. I never realized how windy Winnepeg gets. At least we had some Dutch friends of Mom’s where we could stay for the week it took to fix.
“Hey Dad! Mom says we should hurry up and get moving…” (You see where this is going.)
So we camped, and drove, and camped, and drove. Dad had us all planned with campgrounds where we ‘had’ to make it to by 5 otherwise they would be full. We only had to camp in the overflow parking lots a couple of times. All this without the Internet! He as an organizational master. We made it to the Calgary Stampede – on the last day because of the transmission thing. We tobogganed down a glacier in July which was cool. I was all over that.
I think the longest we stayed in one spot (except Winnepeg) was two days, which was a marvel considering. I remember my Mother ‘recommended’ that we stayed put for a couple of days here and there because the kids (me) were going stircrazy in the car and it wasn’t fair. But looking back I think my poor Mother needed the break more than any of us.
We all made it back from that trip. No one died. No major injuries or breakdowns (mental or otherwise) and my memories as a kid where all good, except the underlying tensions between Mom and Dad. I don’t blame them, we have a small 20ft 5th wheel and having Jazzy with us (she’s 6, and a girl) makes it very cramped at times.
We did another trip the following year to Washington DC. So it couldn’t have been that bad. But my memories of eggs swirling around the floor and Dad cursing at the jack, still make me laugh. Did I mentioned that I still wet the bed at the time…..? (Hadn’t started stuttering yet though…hmmm)
Treat your Mother’s well! They are amazing and households run much better (or at all) with them in it. So here’s the plug:
Bring your Mom to Union Street this Mother’s Day. We have a great Menu with lots of things for the whole family! Gluten Free is totally available and we have a great play area to keep the kids (me) occupied.
Thanks for reading.