Friday, August 5, 2011

Lessons from the Road

We're one week into our road trip holiday. I'm happy to report that my itinerary has been livable for everyone involved. We took a week to drive to the Sunshine Coast in BC, traveling with my parents and their camper trailer for the first few days, then staying with my sister and other friends in the Okanagan, before making the rest of the way here.

Before having kids, I was famous for over-scheduling a holiday, meaning that we would return from our 'getaway' completely exhausted. It's a bad idea to do that with kids, to say the least, and so I did my best to plan in some rest time, but I didn't know until we actually got on the road whether my estimations for optimal travel times were accurate. Turns out 4-5 hours of driving for a couple days in a row is not unreasonable, so everyone was more or less a happy camper.

I am having to learn to let go a little when it comes to food. It's a big challenge to convince D that it is time to eat whenever any of the following events are competing for his attention:
• prairie dogs to chase in the picnic site we're stopped at
• rocks to throw in the mountain river
• there's a swimming pool to swim in
• a playground is in sight
• a beach is in sight
• a toy is in sight
• kids to play with are in sight

Not to mention that we have to hit that tiny window of opportunity where we stop to eat before he has snacked too much in the car or gotten too tired to focus. He doesn't appear to have eaten much besides goldfish crackers in the last week. Plus a meal of fried fish that Grandpa cooked for us, and a catch-up meal of a whole bbq chicken breast, all the rice he could find, all the carrots he could find, one coconut milk frozen juice pop and half a peach, on a day where we actually hit the hunger window bang-on. Still, I'm not too worried. We kept the snacks as healthy as possible. Although the whole grain rice and peanut butter balls were popular when D got to help me make them, he rejected the idea of actually eating them while on the road, which was the whole point of me making them...

Tonight's experience was a good example of how the trip has been going. We were hiking in the morning, and at the beach in the early afternoon. Our lunch consisted of 7 layer dip, nachos, hummous, baby cucumbers, cheese, smoked salmon bites, and blueberries, cherries and raspberries. D grazed a bit, but was mostly interested in playing soccer, chasing kids on bikes, sliding on the slide, and building sand castles. We snacked on everything again before we left the park, around 3:00. The second we got in the car, he fell fast asleep, and slept right until 5PM. I had plans to make a spot prawn stir-fry at our little cottage, and he came upstairs saying, "I'm really hungry!" He loves noodles, loves shrimp, so I figured a noodle stir-fry with prawns and veggies would hit the spot. He tasted the noodles and looked at the shrimp, and announced he was full. What can you do? Well, we fed him a frozen coconut pop, some cereal and yogurt for an evening snack and called it a day.

I learned a painful lesson about my own digestive limits on this trip as well. One morning in Kelowna I planned to go wine touring. While I waited for my mom and sister to meet me, I drank three cups of coffee. Then our hosts brought home caramel macchiatos for everyone. Then we headed to Mission Hill winery for lunch. There was a wait. So we did some wine tasting instead. We didn't have lunch until 3:30, by which time we were starving, and perhaps a little tipsy. We shared a delicious charcuterie plate, I ordered a steamed seafood platter, and then we shared a lavender creme brulee. Then we had more wine. I went back to our friends' house and agreed that we would skip the regular supper meal and instead order Indian food after the kids were in bed. So at 10PM, I sat down to more wine, and some super hot curry. The next morning, I woke up feeling awful. My stomach rebelled. It wanted no coffee, just plain toast and nothing else. So there is a limit to what I can consume—I've often wondered, and now I know. Intense coffee and wine consumption followed by late night hot curry is not a combo I will try again.

Tomorrow we're going to try to fit in fish and chips for supper, and we're invited for lunch to a long-lost friend's house in Robert's Creek, just up the road from our cottage. Then on Sunday, we're continuing on to our final destination: three nights with more good friends on Hernando Island.

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