Day #2 Back tracking to Sudbury

Temperature outside

Temperature outside

Although it was stifling hot and humid during the day (high 30’s), we found that we needed our sleeping bags as it cooled down quite a bit overnight.  I envisioned us just needing a sheet at night and the sleeping bags would simply be extra cushion underneath.

London was absolutely petrified going to sleep tonight as she was concerned about BEARS coming into the campsite.   I tried to reassure her that we are pretty safe in this campsite and that all the food was packed in the car and that bears don’t like to visit these types of campsites. I was hoping that I didn’t eat my words later.  I tried to joke that if a bear does come into this park it would visit other campers first and she duly noted that our neighbours had RV’s (i.e. hard shells that bears can’t get through).   We had the tent windows down to let the nice breeze flow through and she insisted that we close them up so that a bear couldn’t peak in. I had to  hold in my laughter.  She then insisted that she switch places with me as she was closest to the tent wall. I complied and for a few more minutes tried to calm her mind that was obviously racing with fear.  Mike and I had a good laugh about it later.

Once she was settled we tried to drift off to sleep but one  downfall with Chutes Provincial Park is that  you are pretty close to the Trans Canada Highway – less than 1km.  As a result you can’t help but hear the swoosh of the cars and trucks go by but eventually the Sandman took us away.

As expected our backs were out of sorts from sleeping on the air mattress in the morning but after getting up and moving around all was good again in no time.  We ate breakfast, packed up the car and headed to Sudbury’s Science North.  En route to Sudbury all of a sudden we smelt this bad eggish smell and Mike and I shared the same concerned look that Reilly just had a bout of nasty diarrhea and our first concern how do we deal this and of course we jumped to what does this mean for our trip. We pull over at the first safest spot and check out Reilly and to our relief it wasn’t her.  We felt bad that we assumed it was her and apologized profusely to her but it is not like we hadn’t had past terrible experiences. All good we head out again.

The Science North had a Ripley’s Believe it or Not special exhibit on display which was a lot of fun to go through.  We got to see many different marvels and interesting displays before we headed on to the rest of the Science Centers regular attractions.  London’s top 5 attractions/activities were as follows:

1. Long snake displayed in the Ripley’s Believe it or Not exhibit

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2. Butterfly section – Reilly almost went home with on her shoulder.

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3. All the movies we saw on Level 4. I must admit I was quite taken by how much of an impact they had on me, especially the one on the Great Lakes and Climate Change.

4. The Running and Stepping up dash activity

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5. Spacesuit picture

Since this trip we have become members at Calgary’s Science Centre and in the distant past have visited Toronto’s Science Centre. Although all are great places to visit, I have to say that Sudbury’s Science Centre ranks as my favourite one.  Although the girls had a great time I think Mike and I enjoyed it just as much if not more.  We spent quite a bit of time at Science North so all we had time to do was to drive to the Big Nickel and take a picture as opposed to being able to go through its centre.

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Day #1 cont…

Day # 1 cont…  

chutes2After we set up camp we were longing for a swim and that is when Mike asked if the park had a swimming pool. What? I know we are both city slickers but I thought he would have known that provincial parks like this wouldn’t have such glamping resources such as a chlorinated pool.

So off we went for the park’s swimming location, not sure whether it would be a lake, river or maybe even a large pond. At that point we were ready for anything that would cool us down given the high 30’s temperature (celsius).   The best way to describe the swimming location is that it is a swimming hole with a chute/water fall in the background.  There was only one deep section and the rest was only to my mid thighs which was great for the girls.  It had a sandy bottom but lots of bark vegetation so water shoes would be recommended.

 

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Where the deeper section (far side) was where a current flowed and if you have a floatation device you would have had a lot of fun starting in the deep end and floating downstream.   Although London is a good swimmer we put a life jacket on her just in case.  Needless to say the water was extremely refreshing and the girls had a great time.

London enjoying the water

London enjoying the water

Reilly chilling at Chutes.

Reilly chilling at Chutes.

 

Day #1 was a success on all fronts!  The plan for tomorrow – Day #2 – is to back track to Sudbury as it is going to be another very hot and humid day (Reilly doesn’t do well in the humid heat), so we are going to bask in an A/C environment at the Sudbury Science Centre and also visit the Big Nickel.  

 

 

 

Day #1 Destination – Chutes Provincial Park

Sunday, July 14th

We stayed at Mike’s parents place the past two nights as our house was now empty.  It was great for the girls to spend some quality time with them as Mike and I spent most of Saturday doing the final cleaning of the house and preparing for the impending adenture trip.  Part of the preparation involved us packing up the car with all our stuff a couple of times to ensure that everthing fit.  In the end we contemplated putting London on top for we were quite full.

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We joked that maybe we should take a picture of how we finally organized things so we could remember every time we had to pack up again,  and in retrospect we wish we had for it seemed like things expanded or multiplied along the journey.  In the end we decided to bring our bikes, the Wike (for Reilly and London), Reilly’s collapsible wheelchair, tent, and camping basics and reluctantly gave up the eating tent. 

After bidding the grandparents good-bye at 9.00 am, we headed out excited to embark on this trip. 

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Part of what makes this an adventure for us is as follows:

  • We are City Slickers and have only camped 4x as a family, 2 nights at a time with another family except one experience. 
  • We have a child with sever special needs, who doesn’t talk, walks occasionally with support, and thus needs to be lifted and carried most of the time, oh and is in diapers – this is an important point for later.
  • We have never vacationed this long as a family together
  • Lastly, we only had the first three nights mapped out and only had two main attractions dotted on the map – Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park and I am not the type of person that likes to wing things.

So our first destination is Chutes Provincial Park, which is only about 4.5 hours away. What we did agree on in advance is try to limit the driving time to about 4-5 hours a day as we knew we would be stopping quite a bit for rest breaks and seeing different things.   So 2 hours into the drive we stopped for a bathroom break and wanted to make sure we gave Reilly an opportunity to walk so we put on her new AFO’s. We literally just got them a few days before and they need to be gradually worked in, so we thought we would use them on our breaks. As you can see they are pretty much like a set of legs and going forward that is what I referred to them as ‘putting on Reilly’s legs’. The only problem is that because of Reilly’s special car seat and Mike’s height (6 foot 3 inches), she can’t wear them in the car. So for every stop we had to put them on and take them off (with shoes of course).

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We ended up arriving just after 3.00 pm at the camp grounds and it only took about an hour to set everything up. We felt pretty good and still very excited about this whole trip. Hey, we can do this. 

Day #1 to be cont…

I’m Back

Right now I am sitting in my sister’s kitchen in Calgary, AB typing up this post after an unintended three week computer diet.   I had great intentions to document the adventures we had more or less real-time through my Blog as we travelled from the Toronto area to Calgary, AB but it proved to be challenging for a few different reasons.  So instead where we could we posted quick updates through Facebook (never used it much before) and kept a journal.

As a result, over the next few weeks I will be going back and reliving our adventure, one that involved covering over 4700 kilometers with two kids, one with special needs who doesn’t walk (Rett Syndrome), one minivan filled to the brim, one credit card, a will to succeed, and a sense of humour.

In the mean-time we are anxiously awaiting to take  possession of our new house this Thursday, August 1st.

Pushing the boundaries, literally

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This past Easter weekend we went to my parent’s home which is essentially a year round cottage on a lake.   Needless to say we had a great weekend and on Easter Sunday after indulging in a few yummy chocolates we decided to take advantage of the sun that was shining and go for a walk on one of the rail bed trails.  Now most people with a disabled child, especially one that doesn’t walk well or at all, wouldn’t even consider such an activity for most wheelchair’s can’t handle this type of terrain, as you can see the trail still had snow on it, but where there is a will, there is a way and our way is the Wike which is what you see in the picture above.  We bought the Wike over 5 years ago after seeing another family with a daughter with Rett Syndrome use it.  Instantly we fell in love with it for we saw its potential benefit in allowing us to continue with many of the activities we previously enjoyed – walking/running/biking.

The company behind the Wike is Canadian and they are located in Guelph, Ontario but I believe they ship all over the world. They manufacture quite an array of different type of strollers and trailers and due to overwhelming demand in years gone by they have created a couple of special needs trailers.   The only difference that I can see between a special needs trailer and a regular trailer for a typical child is the size.  Essentially they have built two sizes of trailers that will accommodate individuals with special needs up to their adult years.  We bought the large one as the height max was 5’4″ and didn’t think Reilly would grow much beyond this in her later years and also half expected that later in her life we would have to buy a new one anyways.  They also have an X-Large that can accommodate a passenger up to 5’10”.  Our trailer has been big enough that we have sometimes put both girls side by side in the seat without any issues. Well maybe that is not completely true. Reilly sometimes gets a little too cozy and curls up to her sister much to her sister’s chagrin.

Based on our lifestyle needs, we purchased the options so we could either walk, run or bike with it.  Our Wike is well loved and has seen quite a bit of terrain, including camping expeditions, numerous biking day trips, walks to the park, and various venues.    Because of its size it is not ideal to take into stores but it does fold down easily and compactly so you don’t need a minivan to transport it.

Although the Wike provides a harness system we don’t use it but Reilly does have slumping/slouching issues so we eventually bought the seat wedge and two bolsters that make her sit up right.   We sometimes will need to put a blanket rolled up to one side of her to improve her posture further but I guess we could purchase another two bolsters from the company and/or try the harness for additional support.

The  most important thing about the Wike is that Reilly loves to be in it.  It is roomy and offers a lot of protection from the elements by taking advantage of the bug or the rain barrier cover.  It is also big enough that we can put some of her toys in with her, or music or sometimes the ipad with one of her favourite movies playing.

I know some people might look at the price tag which is close to $1000 CDN with all the little extras as too big too swallow but I can almost guarantee that you will have this trailer for several years and when you amortize the purchase price over 7-8 years minimum and then add in the intangible benefit of being able to include your loved one in your active lifestyle, it is more than affordable.    I don’t get a commission on any purchases of the Wike nor am I affiliated with this company in any capacity.

My goals with this post are simple:

To spread the word that there is a cool trailer out there that others would love if they only knew about it and to to eliminate any excuses for families to stay active together.

Whether you use this trailer or something similar, just imagine the message you are sending to your other children (if you  have others), other family members, friends and/or the public at large that witness you being active with your loved one that you are not letting the disability obstacle stand in your way of living a great life.  You are pushing (or pulling) beyond boundaries that are often self-created and the power in knowing you are actively challenging them will give you further motivation to try and experience other things!

Note: I recognize that some loved ones with special needs are medically fragile or have other considerations where being in a trailer is not appropriate but this message is for those that don’t fall into this category.

 

 

 

To Ski or not to Ski

When I was in Calgary I went for a short run in my sister’s neighborhood and just around the corner from her I came across this fence made up of skis. I remember seeing this same house in one of those photo galleries awhile back but at the time didn’t pay much attention where this particular house was located and to know that it was more or less in my sister’s backyard.   After my run I went home and told my husband and kids that we have to go for a walk and take some pictures. So we did with my husband on camera.

For those interested the house is in the Altadore area within Calgary.  Pretty neat attraction. I am sure the neighbors are not impressed, especially since this area is considered one of the ‘desirable’ areas to live with all the infill homes being built. All I can say is that it put a smile on my face.

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London and Mr.C posing in front of the ski fence.

London and Mr.C posing in front of the ski fence.

Reilly, Mr. C, and London sitting on the bench made out of skis.

Reilly, Mr. C, and London sitting on the bench made out of skis.