Our stay in Niagara was unfortunately very short. The morning, as always, came too early and we were eating breakfast and repacking once more! I can’t wait until we can go awhile without repacking our bags every single day. I must say that we are getting much more efficient and knowing what I know now, I definitely would have packed differently.
We took off once more for the longest stretch of our journey – 15 hours to Manitouwadge, Ontario, to stay with friends there. Our intention was to get to about Blind River, part way between Sudbury and Sioux St Marie, which is a pretty long day of driving but would make the next day a little shorter. We actually made it “The Sioux” and were faced with the dilemma of stopping or ploughing on. The drive would be another 5 hours, but the kids were falling asleep and it would mean having the entire next day to relax and play. Stopping would mean spending on a hotel and then not getting out to our destination until probably 3pm the next day. *Some people* have a hard time getting up in the morning and then there’s breakfast and repacking so it’s usually 10 before we can pull away. We called Jeremy and Loreal, our friends there, and decided that since we would be staying in the house next door and not disturbing anyone showing up in the middle of the night, we would plough on. I of course got the wickedly foggy stretch! Barton took over just before Wawa and at 3:40 am, 15 hours plus rest stops after leaving Niagara Falls, we pulled into Manitouwadge. We found the house no problem and crawled like dying turtles into our beds.
We were treated to a pancake feast the following morning with Loreal and their 5 adorable boys. Us girls were fairly outnumbered and had to stick together! It was already scorching and the boys dragged Barton out for a bike ride. The little ones were left behind and Loreal and I visited and played. The boys showed up a few hours later soaking wet and waving their underwear like white flags. They had gone to a bike park and somehow ended up swimming in the local lake. Barton made them all tie their underwear to their handlebars, so they fashioned themselves a bit of a gang. We had some lunch and naps and headed back to the beach with the whole group for a swim. The boys, in typical boy fashion found some mud… it started innocently with just a few rocks tossed in. You know what’s coming right? Then they moved in a little… eventually every single boy plus a few locals were covered head to toe in black mud. Once everyone had been thrown into the lake and made their way back home, Jeremy showed up with BBQ. The bugs were quite bad so everyone was nursing some constellation of bites on their bodies. We had a great evening playing, visiting and more of the same in the morning.