Home! I'm feeling fat and sluggish and happy to be home. All that food we ate - ah, it tasted so good. But now I'm restricting myself to a diet of water. Maybe some vegetables and fruit. Possibly some cereal with skim milk. But I'm not sure what we'll do with the leftover Tim Horton donuts, the Coffee Crisp candybars, the homemade fudge and lemonbars, the Mr. Maple cookies, and the Ketchup chip crumbs? What to do, what to do...
Another late night led to sleeping in again this morning, which is appropriate for our last day on the road. We rushed to breakfast before it closed at 10am, just like the day before. However, now we only had an hour to pack up and checkout of our room. Fortunately Tara has a gift for that kind of stuff. And lucky for her, she has me to help! :) By 11:30am we had the van loaded up and we were ready to get a few more souvenirs in town. We said our goodbyes to Mum and Dad, Shirley and Faye in the hotel parking lot - they were heading back right away. Before the farewells, Dad presented the kids with a true Canadian gift: a soccer ball! It was orange with purple spots on it - Emma and Levi's favorite colors!
Jerm and Maria met us at the Mills Chocolate Factory (which was highly recommended by Jason Vanderklyen), where we purchased some tasty treats. This was after we had stopped by a shop to get my Port Elgin t-shirt, and after Tara took a picture of Emma posing by a streetsign with her name on it! We ate our chocolates at a picnic table next to the ice cream shop. We were waiting on Jerm's crew to get there so Levi and I could have one more scoop of that delicious Garbage Can ice cream. Once we had all cleaned up from our ice cream cones, we loaded up the vans once more, hit the McDonalds drive thru, and then headed out of town for the last time. Our last destination before we headed for the border was the Shiloh church in sparsely populated Bruce Township where Dad pastored. For a time, he had two churches he ministered to - North Bruce UB and Shiloh UB.
Jerm and I reminisced about the mimeograph machine in the basement, the big kitchen counter, and the infamous bathroom in the back of the church where I let out my famous cry during Dad's closing prayer: "I'm doooooooooooonnnnnnnnnne." Then it was off to Sarnia, via one last Tim Hortons! I could go for more coffee, but no more donuts for awhile... The trip to the bridge was uneventful, just a long, busy, slow highway through some beautiful towns and rolling farmland marked off by the imposing Lake Huron. After a long fifty minute wait on the bridge, the borderguard finally let us through with only a few questions. After a quick stop at the Michigan Welcome Center, Jerm led the way home. For dinner at a Michigan McDonalds we got out and stretched for a bit, then gassed up across the street. We said our goodbyes to Jerm and Maria, Eva and Lydia - they headed home ahead of us from there.
The last two hours went like the first six hours: the kids watched movies and Tara kept reading. Tara actually finished a book! And then she climbed to the back of the van, dug through the bottom of the luggage and dragged out another book to read - while I'm speeding down the highway. Crazy woman. But I love her - especially after she found my iPod. I had lost it on Tuesday; searching through luggage proved fruitless. Today I called the hotels in Kitchener where we had stayed, but they had not found it - but they would get back with me. Within a few minutes after I hung up with them, Tara found my iPod in a bag I hadn't searched yet! Whew! So while Tara read all the way home, I listened to some podcasts on that final leg of the trip through Michigan and Indiana. By 10pm we were rolling into the garage. Literally. I forgot we had the big storage container on top of the van, so when I drove up the driveway, I heard a huge crunch! It was then that Tara and I remembered.... So I backed out, and then backed the van up the driveway and stayed out of the garage. No damage to the storage container, but there are some nice gouges to the wood paneling of the garage entrance. Tara just smirked!
The van is unloaded, the kids are sleeping, some of the stuff is put away, but most of it is sitting in organized piles. We'll have lots of laundry tomorrow, and lots of junk food to store away for later. But now it is time to go to sleep and spend Saturday relaxing, watering flowers, mowing the grass, putting stuff away, and taking it easy. Thanks Dad and Mum for suggesting the Canada trip and taking care of the hotels! Thanks Shirley and Faye for souvenirs and ice cream money! The many pictures we have to sort through will remind us of the valuable moments we spent together remembering our family history. Thanks Dad and Shirley for reminding us where we came from.