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05/12-13/2022 – Windypeg

Over the past six weeks one of the most frequent questions we’ve been asked is related to the boys’ education. Are we home-schooling? If you do the math (clearly I’m getting good at integrating the curriculum into our day-to-day), it’s pretty obvious that they are missing some school time over the course of a seven month road trip. When we return in the fall, Sullivan will be in grade 6, and Fletcher in grade 4 – will they be prepared? We like to think that they’ll learn all kinds of things they can’t learn in a classroom while we’re traveling, but we’re also trying to expose them to specific learning environments, like museums. On Thursday we went to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, here in Winnipeg, and it was phenomenal.

Totally worth checking this museum out if you have the opportunity.

The building is an architectural marvel, and the exhibits were thought-provoking, and even emotional at times. Some of the exhibits were pretty heavy – the Holocaust, for example – but it was obvious they left a lasting impression on the boys through the resulting questions and discussions. It was inspiring to learn about those who fought for their rights, and sought change. We were pretty confident this was an educational experience they would not have been privy to at home, at hopefully it enabled them to grow as individuals too.

The museum used a variety of media to facilitate the learning experience – it was really well done.
A series of ramps lead you up through the museum levels and exhibits. The design and location of the museum intentionally connect to the history of the Winnipeg landscape at ‘the Forks‘.

After reaching our daily learning quotient (admittedly, some days are more educational than others…), we turned our attention back to our cargo situation. Ever since the canoe, Thule box, and roof racks blew off the truck on May 6, we have been diligently searching for replacement racks. We spoke to or visited many roof rack dealers in Moose Jaw and Regina, but nobody had what we needed. Although we’re not fussed as to which brand of rack we use, especially at this point, it seems as though most dealers are carrying Thule products. It just so happens that Thule is no longer making the specific part that enables the rack system to sit properly on the roof of a 2014 Ford F-150, so unless we found those parts in someone’s inventory, we were out of luck. And ordering specific components for any brand seems to require weeks. I even had a dealer in Whitehorse trying to help me out with replacement Rhino rack parts, as the one who did the original install for us, but he was having trouble finding the right components. Upon arriving in Winnipeg we started working the phones – calling truck accessory dealers, bike shops, and canoe shops – anybody dealing with racks. After speaking to many sympathetic individuals who wished they could help, our luck turned. Wilderness Supply in Winnipeg, and specifically employee Tyler, turned out to be our saviours. Every once in awhile you run into someone that not only knows their stuff, but they are also willing to help – and Tyler went the extra mile for us. Not only did he have the right parts for our truck, he graciously walked me through the rack installation. It was such an enormous relief to have this problem solved as we look ahead to the second half of our eastern journey.

Tyler is THE man! No wonder his colleague suggested he wear a cape – definitely superhero states in our eyes.
If these ones blow off, the canoe is staying where it falls.

We were initially planning to continue our eastward progress on Friday, until we saw the weather forecast. It seems as though the predominant weather condition we have experienced since leaving Calgary is wind. I don’t know if it always blows like this in the prairie provinces, but we are ready for some good old-fashioned trees to provide some break from the constant blowing. Friday the 13th’s forecast was 50 km/hr winds, gusting to 80, and let’s just say we are a little bit gun-shy on this whole driving in the wind situation now. Call if wisdom, call it fear, call it whatever you want. So we spent the day running a few errands – the hot water tank is slowly leaking so we found a replacement plug for it, we got the oil changed in the truck (#2 on the trip already), and we did a bit of shopping at MEC – our first time in-store since it went from Mountain Equipment Co-op (one of our favourite stores ever) to Mountain Equipment Company. Although much the same, it was somehow underwhelming (Why do all the pants have a 32 inch inseam? What happened to the tall sizes?) and certainly had a different feel to it. Anyway, they still took our money (we got Rad pants for Sullivan! Likely meaningless to some readers, and very meaningful to others. They were my go-to pants for tree-planting, and scream 1990’s – just like our haircuts). Meanwhile, we left the canoe with our trailer in the RV park – no sense pushing our luck. We returned to a canoe that was tied to our trailer – it wasn’t tied when we left (an oversight, admittedly), and there were bungie cords helping to secure the canoe – bungie cords that were not ours. Clearly, the canoe was having some more wind-assisted adventures without us. Shortly after our return we received a visit from what turned out to be our helpful, yet somewhat grumpy neighbour. He told tall tales of a canoe sailing through the air (mildly PTSD invoking for me), and really emphasized how much work it was for him and his daughter to wrangle the canoe back to our site and tie it down. I must’ve thanked him half a dozen times, but he seemed to want more. I guiltily returned his bungee cords and lashed the canoe to the picnic table and tree (in a manner he did not agree with, but let’s be honest here, I know how to tie down a canoe). Some people’s kids…

From inside Sunset we watched the wind tear the tin off the wash-shack roof. It was more entertaining than you might think, especially once the ‘repair’ crew arrived with their tractor, golf cart, and step ladder.

Our final Winnipeg adventure (I hope) took us back to the rink – the Jets didn’t make the playoffs but their AHL affiliate – the Manitoba Moose – were facing elimination against the Milwaukee Admirals. The game was played in the Jets’ rink, and we had a great time as the Moose cruised to a 7-3 victory, tying the best of five series at two games apiece. The boys were completely over-stimulated, and loved every minute of it. You would think they were lifelong Moose fans from the way they were cheering and carrying on, it was a great atmosphere with the home team winning. And we even made it onto the Jumbo-tron!

If only those kids in front of us would sit down and stop hogging all the attention. Lienke the photographer somehow managed to stay hidden. I had popcorn in my teeth.

If these hurricane-force winds have subsided somewhat, we’ll be Ontario-bound tomorrow. And for the foreseeable future; that is one LARGE province. We’re really looking forward to the blackflies, and to leaving Winnipeg’s brutal roads behind us (seriously, they are worse than Saskatchewan’s and that is saying something).

The BEST holidays

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