Monday, June 15, 2009

Northbound And Down (or, The Road To Pembroke)

This week's road trip to the Ottawa Valley--our first extended stay away from home as a foursome--was a bit of an experiment: would--could?--the boys remain peaceful in their car seats for the better part of a 5+ hour ride? Would the 401 traffic cooperate so that our first stop would coincide with their first cries of afternoon hunger? And would Carter and Nathaniel be as much of a hit in the low-key climes of Pembroke, Ontario as they've been on the mean streets of Toronto? The answers were yes, yes, and yes.

We opted for a Monday escape to avoid weekend traffic and hopefully be welcomed by empty roads. Of course, anyone with any experience living in Southern Ontario knows there's really no good time to enter or exit the city, but the drive was largely stress free.

Tweed--population 1,540 and the rumoured home of Elvis (who, if still alive, would be 74)--was our halfway point and the Tim Horton's staff there were very accomodating to heat up the boys' still unthawed frozen chow.

Once we exited 7 onto Highway 41, the blacktop was pretty much ours and ours alone all the way to Eganville. Interesting--I've been traveling these roads for more than 25 years and I'd never seen so much roadside wildlife in a single one-way trip--well, wildlife that was alive and breathing, that is. Some exotic birds, a deer, even a turtle!

We had to make a few quickie stops--somewhere along the side of the road past Khartum, and then again at the turn-on to Kaladar, but overall, the boys slept soundly and we effortlessly navigated to the labyrinthian roads of the Land O' Lakes region to some vintage 70s and 80s tunes all the way to Renfrew County...

...and by the time we passed The Big Stop, the boys were starting to stir...

When we finally arrived in my parents' driveway, the boys were restless but immediately warmed up to the main reason for the trip: Nanny was there on the step within seconds, anxiously to finally meet her newest great-grandchildren after she had to cancel her Feb. visit when she suffered a minor stroke. Months later now, her recovery has been spectacular, and from the way she handled and played with the boys, you'd never know such a thing ever happened. Of course, Grandma and Grandpa were anxious to get their hands on them, too.

Soon, cousin Kayla was over and was thrilled to finally meet the dynamic duo in the flesh, having relied on Facebook updates these past months. Clearly, it was going to be an exciting and stimulating week for the boys, and a bit of a relaxing one for Lidia and myself as well.

With all of this love and attention and round-the-clock manhandling, the boys would soon grow accustomed to a routine we couldn't possibly maintain when we headed back home--after all, we're only two people!

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