We went to Osoyoos for Easter this year. Our first road-trip in our new (to us) minivan.
Our old one died last September with a ceremonial thud at the end of our driveway. Cost us a pretty penny to have her towed back onto it too. Yes, that’s right: towed back onto our driveway, but that’s what happens when the trans-axel breaks, she won’t budge, and the municipality doesn’t want a fancy traffic cone in the middle of the street.
There is never a good time to buy a car. Especially when you have three kids, a dog and a mortgage. But, the thought of not having a car to drive into the wild green yonder was worse, so off my husband went to forage for a vehicle.
He rustled up a nifty one too, as soccer mum vans go. A 2004 Toyota Sienna, steel blue: double sliding doors, lots of trunk space, tinted windows… We’d moved on up from the 1996 Dodge Caravan, and, more importantly, put distance between us and its crappy transmission.
The only thing this new (to us) van didn’t come with was the almighty DVD player. That, I’ve heard, is essential to roadtripping with children. Most families might miss it. Most families might not leave the lot until one was installed. Most families would flick it on with the engine. We aren’t most families.
Proudly, at least for the moment, we travel sans DVD players, iPods, and radios. Yes, aside from the spaceship-esq interior of our Sienna, our family vacations like we’re in the Dark Ages.
One day we might be singing a different tune; wire the van with a disco ball, Karaoke machine and sound blocking headphones; but until then, our kids are content, truly they are, to sit and watch the scenery.
Part of their contentment lies in the fact they don’t know any better. Another part is they are really excited to get to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. A third part lies with the fact they are really, really good travellers – something I hope to capitalize on once Miss C gets a little older.
The road to Osoyoos is windy. Fraught with switchbacks, steep ups and steeper downs, it’s a four-hour drive. Add a 1.5 hour ferry ride, three kids, and a dog, and that four-hour drive turns into 8 plus. (Roadtrip secret: take lots of breaks. Candy in Princeton doesn’t hurt either.)
Our car handled the twists and turns beautifully – one of the nicer aspects of this minivan vs the now defunct old blue.
On the way out it was sunny, blue sky, open highway, Miss S belted out her version of Baby Beluga, over and over and over again, much to Miss C’s delight… life was good. On the way back, Miss S and Miss C dosed but Miss Q was quiet, unsettled.
We thought it was due to her leaving her grandparents, the earliness of the hour, hunger. But just past Princeton, before the gates of Manning Park, we heard the famous words, “You need to stop.”
As I turned to see what the problem was, I was hit in the face by her vomit. A glancing blow: a mix of orange peels, egg and water. Thank you Grandma for the yummy breakfast.
Have I mentioned how much room we have in our new (to us) van? Miss Q was sitting in the way-back, over the driver’s side back wheel, I was the co-pilot. Sign her up for a watermellon seed spitting contest this summer. Thankfully (?) the rest of her stomach emptied on her lap, missing the four large stuffed Easter bunnies buckled in a pile between her and Miss S.
Safely parked on the shoulder of the Crow’s Nest highway, my husband and I sprung into action. He took the car; I took Miss Q.
All thoughts of sympathy puking vanished as I helped a shivering Miss Q out of her clothes and bathed her in Neutrogena facewash and water from our waterbottles.
“Your daddy and I used to do this to our parents,” I told her.
Well, I never warranted a wilderness bath, I thought. But I did remember being green around the gills thanks to the sway of my dad’s
driving maroon and silver van. Yes, I feel colour had something to do with my sickness.
The thought of being the same as her parents made Miss Q feel better, though she wasn’t happy with the pictures I snapped of our predicament. Nor did she find joy in the news she’d made a memory we’d re-live at her wedding.
Once she was clean and warm (there was still snow in the mountains) the next six hours of travel passed uneventfully: we by-passed Chuck-E-Cheese much to my dismay, were the second to last car on the 5:00 ferry, and made it home with enough daylight left for my husband to finish cleaning our now christened car.
Even with a cloud of motion sickness tailing us, I look forward to future trips with our girls. There’s nothing like cruising through the wild, searching for bears (them), searching for Big Foot (me), and being together, undistracted, as a family.
Somewhere on the Crow’s Nest, now known forever more as ‘That place we bathed Miss Q.’ (Looking east, we were travelling west.)