Friday June 23, 2023
That's it, the big day of departure is approaching! The excitement is more and more palpable. I feel little butterflies in my stomach. We're going to the West for a real 2 months! Today on the agenda, preparation of all the luggage. It’s lucky that my boyfriend Oli had today off to help me, because let’s face it, doing all that with 2 young children is sport! I quickly realize that in terms of luggage, leaving for 2 months is almost as bad as a year in terms of the quantity of things to bring. Luckily we rented an already furnished condo. We go room by room in the house to make sure we don't forget anything. I'm very proud, we managed to be minimalist in all of this. We kept the focus on the main things, namely: cycling, climbing, running, Merrell hiking boots, warm and cold clothing (Petit Montagnard who accompanies us, of course 😊) and Thule bags for all occasions. That's it, all the stock is ready in the living room. Since it's sunny outside, we decide to enjoy the day with family!
We'll put everything away in the van tomorrow.
Saturday June 24, 2023
Bromont - Ontario
We really enjoyed our sunny day yesterday! Fortunately, because today it’s raining in Siaux! We pack the van when the rain leaves us alone at times. There you go, all the luggage is officially in the van. We see that there is a lot of free space left and we are very happy! We feel the frenzy in the air. Leo is excited! He's been waiting for this departure alone with me for 2 weeks. I have to say that I too am excited at the idea of going on the road and it makes it even more special to do it alone with my eldest, my handsome Leonard. On the other hand, my beautiful Tamara senses that something is brewing and that she will not be there for the moment. She is moody, she needs my attention and her brother's love a lot. Leo can't hold still! However, this roller coaster of emotions comes with a stomach ache and a feeling of fatigue. His body is playing a little trick on him, he will have to calm down a little. We stick together as a family and savor the present moment before we leave. I think about the itinerary that I organized with my employee. I have to be at the Calgary airport on Friday the 30th to pick up Oli and Tamara who will be joining us by plane. I then decide to move forward the departure for this evening instead of tomorrow morning. This will allow us to have a little more freedom in our trip. I will drive while Leo sleeps tonight, so it will be less dull for him!
It’s 7 p.m. and it’s an official departure!!! I drove 303km until 10:20 p.m. We are in Ontario, Mallory Town exit 678. We sleep in a parking lot on the side of the road near a gas station. It's not too noisy and there's plenty of free space. It's time to go to bed, because tomorrow we'll get up early to continue our journey!
$110 CAD for Diesel gas and road snacks
Sunday June 25, 2023
Ontario - Michigan
I wake up early. I do a little yoga in the parking lot. I wait for Leonard to wake up around 7:10. We're going to have lunch at Starbucks and then we're heading towards Niagara Falls! Yeah we're finally here. We took the boat for 20 minutes to get to the center of the big Niagara Falls. Leo was very scared, because there was a lot of wind, water and force! It’s true that it was impressive! I found it to be a really energetic feeling and a great fun activity to do at least once in your life. Niagara Falls is magnificent. Little anecdote: I joined a girl from the Petit Montagnard community who was finishing a year of road trip with her 3 children! They came on the boat with us. It was a great meeting! 😊
Wee stop and snacks $12
Niagara Falls boat $65 (adult and child tickets)
We then took the road to continue our journey. It was an extremely hot day, even with the air conditioning! It was 30 degrees and above. But the sun was good and there wasn't much traffic. We drove to Havens Lake Road where we found a beach called Port Glasgow in Elgin County, ON. We were thinking of swimming, but we ended up freezing! The wind is strong and cool. So we decide instead to play a little, eat a snack and stretch our legs. Oh and by the way, there are big fish at this lake if you like fishing!
Gas Diesel and snacks $125
We continue driving from 2:15 p.m. until 6 p.m., or 261 km. Another little anecdote: I was stopped by two men who told me that they no longer had gas and therefore no money on them. They want to give me their ring in exchange for money. I feel a little trapped and I feel like it's wrong, but I give $20. The two men still insist. I give them $5 and leave out of suspicion. Further on, I see the guys laughing together, but I would prefer to get out of there as quickly as possible, because I was a little scared!
Now we arrive at US customs! Everything is under control, but unfortunately I forgot that I couldn't bring plants!!! They kept my beautiful big plant that I LOVED. I cried for a good 5 minutes later.☹
We continue driving 232 km to Chelsea Carpool Lot. It’s 11 p.m. and we’re settling down to sleep. You can hear the highway a little, but it's super quiet, it's safe and comfortable next to a gas station. It’s bedtime, because tomorrow is another big day of driving!
Hot dogs and chips dinner $10.95
Monday June 26, 2023
Michigan - Chicago -Stuart
I wake up and there's a lot of rain. I decide to stay in bed a little longer. It’s 7:15 a.m. and I’m getting up! Departure from Michigan. We drive towards Chicago with three toll stations for the road one after the other... for a road that's not even that beautiful! We arrive near Millennium Park. Wow, there are so many people! I realize that I am no longer used to crowds and car traffic... We have difficulty finding parking for the Sprinter, but finally we find one with an open sky: yes! But… $36: ouch! I pay for it anyway because I've been going around in circles for 25 minutes. It’s 11:30 a.m., we get off and start walking so Leonard can go see the beach. Oops! There is no sand, but cream-colored concrete... a slight disappointment, because we would have liked to have fun near the water! So we decided to walk to the other attractions, but it was further away. Leo is tired (it’s his nap time) and he’s hungry. Since we wanted to go play on the beach first, it's a little past dinner time. Finally, we find some water games and that takes his mind off things. He has fun for 1 hour! We then went to grab a bite to eat in a pub restaurant and he said to me: “Ahhh! It's good for your belly! “The positive mood has returned.😊
We stopped a little longer than expected, but this little stopover did us good! So we leave around 3 p.m. My beautiful Leonard falls asleep quickly and we are stuck in endless traffic to get out of town. We drive until around 5 p.m. and Léo wakes up from his nap on the road. We're taking a little break to stretch our legs a little! I put gas and order McDonald's that we'll eat on the road. Léo likes eating in the van!
After 1h30, we decide to stop at a truck stop for a SHOWER! Total feeling of happiness. We feel energized and clean! We hit the road against a magnificent backdrop, a sunset over the wind turbines of Iowa. It’s in these little moments of life that I take the time to be grateful for everything I experience. We stop a few hours later at another truck stop just before the town of Stuart. We settle down behind a McDonald’s to sleep. It’s around 11 p.m. and bed is calling! We drove a total of 937 km! Ah and a little anecdote from the day: When we were driving on a trucker road, every time a truck passed next to us (because yes I was overtaken by the big trucks even if I I was traveling at 118km/h), I felt a big gust at my feet… I don't think it was normal! 😂🕺
Dunkin Restaurant Lunch US$20.56
Chicago road payment 3x = US$6.60
Chicago Pub Restaurant $34 + coffee and dessert $13 US
Chicago parking US$36
McDonald’s dinner US$8
Gasoline (we stopped on the road before Iowa City = 18h22 total drive) US$67 + $20 snacks
Shower + grapes $3.99 and $8 US
Tuesday June 27, 2023
Stuart - Wagodun
It's 7 a.m. We hit the road and around 10:30 a.m. we stop so I can work a little, because I have a lot of things to do. I'm in my week, I'm impatient and I'm finding it difficult. Leo just wants to play in McDonald's (he runs everywhere, jumps, goes under chairs...) I look like a bad mother! We get teased because we are barefoot. I go back to the van to get our shoes. I have to do at least 1h30 of work and it's very intense with my boy. I'm telling you, because it's reality...! Phew, finally finished! We're getting back on the road. There aren't many Sprinters on the road. People look at us funny. At one point, we get overtaken by the first sprinter I see! He takes the time to honk at us to greet us.😊 We then stop at a super nice place after the nap, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. It's called South Beach, Lake Maloney. It’s a beach with white sand and turquoise water! It's so windy that you feel like you're in a sandstorm. The water is hot. It's 30 degrees so we take advantage of it to swim and make sandcastles. Leonard is happy! I recommend this stop to everyone! It's 10 minutes from the highway.
We get back on the road and drive for 1h30. We stop in a small village, at a highway exit. On the menu: Pizza Hut tonight! I have to say that it’s one of the worst restaurants in terms of atmosphere, physically, decor… It’s empty and abandoned! But at least the food is good. It’s funny because in the US, even if you order a kids size, you get a ton of food!!! So we keep the leftovers for a snack.
After dinner, we continue driving and stop to sleep in a Rest Area in Wagondun Wyoming. I'm tired tonight. There was a lot of work on the road. I don't like driving when it's dark! My contact lenses are stuck. But we did 1100 km today, I’m happy because I wanted to do 1000 km! It's time to sleep and regain strength now. Good night!
Lunch and gas $60 US
Pizza dinner US$17.25
Wednesday June 28, 2023
Wagodun - Yellowstone
I wake up quietly and it's 5:00 in the morning. The sunrise is magnificent. We drive a little and stop in the town of Rawlins. We go to McDonald's for lunch. Leonard has fun for 30 minutes before we hit the road again! We continue on our way and I decide to stop near Jackson Hole. There is a Hot Spring in the mountains which is beautiful. On the other hand, the customer service is mediocre! Important note: you really need to book! We were super lucky that they accepted us without reservation. It smells a bit like sulfur, but Léo is having fun and loves hot water! (even if it’s 27 degrees outside!) After this pleasant stop, we get back on the road and pass through Grand Teton. Wow… My heart is skipping! It's so magnificent. We only passed through Jackson Hole, but we instantly fell in love with it. I definitely have to come back and find out in full. I was so excited to see the mountains. I even shed a tear because it touched me so much. We made several stops in Yellowstone while moving along the road. There's a lot of traffic, it's 80 km, but everything is so beautiful! We stop at the Geysers where there is hot water.
We walk, we see bison. It was just enough to see a lot in a short time! We have dinner and sleep in Yellowstone. Tomorrow will be a beautiful day!
Cross the parks: you have to pay for a pass = US$36 for the Hot Spring (2 hours, we had time for 30 minutes of swimming)
Yellowstone passes (1-7 days): US$35
Grand Teton pass (1-7 days): US$35
Snacks and gas US$47.61 + US$17.25
McDonalds US$15 (big children’s games too!) + Gas US$38
Thursday June 29, 2023
Yellowstone - Glacier National Park
It’s our penultimate day on the road! We get up at 5:30 a.m. It’s so beautiful the sunrise over the plain and the mountains. Leonard doesn't want to stay in bed, so we hit the road. He’s a bit of a marabout, because we got up early! 😉 I stop on the way to take videos at the falls, where there are hot springs. Leo doesn't want to go out so we get back on the road more quickly! We have 6 hours to go until our campsite this evening. The road is long today. Finally, we arrive and it’s 3 p.m. It’s magnificent on the big mountains. The view is breathtaking. The rocky beach, the landscapes… Léo has fun throwing rocks into the water! He swims a little, because the water is cold! There are mountain goats right on our campsite. There is a family with children. Leonard goes cycling and then we take the time to cook dinner together. We relax and then get ready to sleep. We're gaining strength, because tomorrow is our last day on the road, because we'll soon be arriving in Calgary to pick up Oli and Tamara! Yay!
Lunch after leaving the park: US$21.95
Fuel + lunch snacks: US$66
Glacier National Park entrance pass: US$35
Friday June 30, 2023
Glacier National Park – Calgary
It’s the last day!!! We get up at 6:30 a.m., a little later haha. We'll hit the road straight away. I don't have any networks, but I think it's a 4.5 hour drive to Calgary. Finally, when I have network, I see that there are only 3h20 left! Yes! 😊 We drive to the airport. We only stop at the drive-thru order, we don’t even go out to stretch, we just can’t wait to get there! Finally, Oli’s plane is delayed by 1h45… Shit! Well, in the meantime I decide to change the tires on the van (they're finished!), we're going to play in the park and we're going to the MEC store where we're spending a lot of money...!
Finally, we go to the airport to pick up Oli and Tamara! We are so happy to see each other again, it’s an emotional encounter, because we were very bored! 🤍 Little interesting fact: there is a golf course at the airport! You play and you have planes passing close over you, it’s super cool! It was a super pleasant trip with my big boy, we created beautiful memories. 😊
A&W restaurant: US$16.41
Gasoline: $86 CAD