Sorry that this is so long. It’s just there was so much that we got to do and see and enjoy. It was now Friday, October 23, and we needed got get on the road. I had another wonderful nights sleep in the best bed ever! I was up before the sun. I sat in the chairs facing the windows and just watched. All 3 kids sleeping soundly.
It was So beautiful. The mist was so thick. There were huge birds from everywhere diving into the mist. I could not figure out why. With my iPhone I couldn’t seem to get them. The top left was one bird! But there were hundreds. I wondered why they were doing this? Shower? Catching some sort of bugs in the mist? Or drinking it? Whatever they were doing it was an amazing morning to watch.
I began waking up the troops… But this next phase is what got them stirring! The sun!
It was bright, shining right into the room and warm. Again very beautiful. As they began waking up… “Mom, can we go to the falls again one more time?” “Mom, can we go to that gift shop that is by the falls? We never got to because it’s always closed?” “Mom, I’m hungry.” Then Kodi signing “more eat” So we texted the valet early because they actually do take longer than 10 – 20 minutes. But we understood why everyone ruses them and they are very busy. We got all packed up, watched the falls a few more minutes and began our decent from 11th floor to the lobby. We were happy to see our car was there parked and ready to go. We were filled with mixed emotions. All of us felt at home in Canada and would have loved to stay. We didn’t want to go home. We didn’t want our vacation to end.
We drove down and parked. Went in the gift shops and watched the falls from inside. It was really coming down and was like it was raining so it was nice to feel dry. We were in that gift shop and Kodi fell face first on the floor. The staff was very quick to get us ice. He kind of cried. Colt right away took him out to the car and began feeding Kodi more food and water. Symone and I were not far behind. We then headed into Canada further to cut across to Flint, MI. First though Colt begged to see what a Bass Pro Shop was along the way. He’d never been in one. It’s very much like our famous Cabelas with animals and fish. It was so cool to see. My favorite thing to see? This huge fireplace…. The top of the opening was taller than me.
We then asked the people where we could get food. They told us a food court around the corner. The kids went in… I should have them tell this story… I was not inside and wondered what was taking so long…. They ordered 4 cheese burgers and fries and water. Well, they got the hamburger (fresh) and formed the patties, then chopped the potatoes into wedges and cooked, sliced the cheese, onions and tomatoes, and on fresh daily made bread put it all together with fresh lettuce. When they brought it out I was in disbelief it took so long. Fast food was not very fast. Then they explained the process that happened right before their eyes just like a Chipolte or Subway. Yes it took longer. But I really have to say it was the best burger and fries I ever had from any restaurant. Hands down we decided that would be worth moving to Canada. (Well it was that good!)
So going through Canada this way we got into some farm country. We passed wind farms, wetlands, cattle ranches, vinyards (greenbelt area) and some wildernes. The trip didn’t disappoint. It was still so beautiful. But we must have been antsy because we had to keep stoping at travel centers. Stretch legs, use the”washroom” as they call it in Canada, get gas, um and well get snacks. Kodiak enjoyed every bit of it.
We finally got to customs. The line was long. We were told to turn off all cellphones as they are not allowed. We thought this was odd as we finally all had cell coverage. But we tried to comply… Tried. people were calling and texting us….
It was finally our turn after about 30 minutes. The officer asked for our passports. I handed him all 4. He asked our names, where we were from, (all on the passports) then he wanted all of us to speak. He was wondering where Kodiak is and I explained he is backseat passenger side and is DeafBlind. He wanted Symone’s backseat window rolled down. Then he asked what all the stuff was in the way back. I explained we were on a long road trip and headed home and it’s was dirty clothes and blankets. He still kept asking questions. What were you doing out east? So the kids are missing a lot of school? Why did you go into Canada? When did you enter Canada? Was it busy? Did we like the falls? Did we take any tours? Did we have any fruit or weapons with us? Did we visit friends or just tour? Did we stay in a motel or with friends? Where are we headed now? I said “home.” And he said “Not all today yet right?” I explained “No, we are headed up to Mackinaw City to stay the night and then keep heading home?” Then as if we were not a threat to the country we are citizens and residents of he handed back our passports and said “Drive Safe.” After shutting all the windows and pulling away we passed several more police cars and Symone says from the back seat, “Wow! I’ve never felt so guilty for something and we didn’t even do anything wrong!” Deep breath! Welcome to Michigan! We kept heading east until we reached Flint. Then we headed north. But the sad part was it got dark as we entered the pretty mountains. So we saw nothing! We got to our motel. Checked in, unloaded only what was needed. And for the first time the whole trip we had food delivered to us. I ordered Pizza. We all stuffed ourselves. It was raining and we had a balcony with a door. Kodi was a pistol. He was going nuts and Mr. Pizza mouth was getting his face on everything. Since Symone was in the shower we didn’t have anything to wipe his mouth with…. Ugh! My dad said we have to go this way to cross the 4 1/2 mile long bridge… I hate bridges and we crossed hundreds already. We decided to book a ferry to Mackinaw Island for the next day.
I didn’t sleep well. Partly the anticipation of the bridge, partly the beds, and partly the stress to make it in time for the ferry ride at 9:00 am. We needed to get back on for the return trip to mainland at the 11:00 am time and drive on home.
THE BRIDGE! I was so glad I didn’t tempt it the night before in the dark. The construction was a little confusing. The kids got this photo as we crossed. So happy to get on the other side. WELCOME TO THE U.P.! We drove right to our spot, parked, and realized we really didn’t have warm enough clothes. It was threatening to downpour buckets on us. But once aboard the ferry we were inside and it was warm. The heaters blasting. The windows fogged up. The wind from the storms created huge waves. This presented an opportunity to sign again to Kodiak. “Boat water waves wind rocking” He was laughing and bouncing all over.
The guy that was talking to us was hilarious.
Once on the island we were told to get fudge. First things first. We needed Starbucks. Hot coffee for Symone and I. Hot cider and hot chocolate for the boys. Kids wanted to take the horse-drawn buggy ride, but one of the guys driving them yelled at everyone to get on the sidewalks and off the streets. We were along the edge and decided he was to crabby to ask how much or how long the ride was. So we went looking for fudge. We got it to take home. Then we just went looking in shops. We found a shop that was custom sweatshirts and shirts. That lady was so nice. She wanted to do something for us plus they were closing down and had sales. She did a sweatshirt for us all. We were warm in there and it was dry. We tried to do a bear for Kodiak. So instead she gave us a bear shirt for him. But we all got a sweatshirt. Now we were warmer. LAYERS! We hurried back to find out the ferry we need doesn’t come until 11:30. It was pouring. The kids left me with Kodi to get more coffee. The line was too long so they came back. Kodiak was so cold he even had my jacket on and his Nordic hat.
He learned this pose from Nana or its in his genes. ?
While the kids were running around another couple came and sat down across Kodiak and I. They told me they were on their 25th anniversary. I told them I would take their photo if they would take ours. They were so impressed with Kodiak.
It felt so good to get back on the boat. HEAT!!! I don’t like to be wet. Cold and wet I’m not a fan. It was pouring. But then Colt begged to go up on top. He did. I asked the guy who we talked to from the first ride if he is safe alone up there. His response was only funny. “I’ve never lost anyone overboard on accident. He is just fine. He won’t last up there though because it’s raining so hard.” I have to say I was still concerned. I asked Symone to just go by the stairs and watch. Just as she was about to go Colt came down. He was happy to get his photos he wanted.
Kodiak kept signing “more”. But we didn’t know what he wanted more of. It was an even rougher ride back. Once at the dock we had to rush to our car. Now we were really soaked. No place to dry off and no dry clothes to put on. Good grief. Crank the heat, crank the tunes and program the GPS to home. No more motels. Just a nice beautiful drive home. After a ways out of the town we came upon the north shore beaches of Lake Michigan. The kids just HAD to stop. Many other cars did as well. Some of the photos from the beaches. (It was raining so I stayed with Kodi in the car where it was mostly dry.
The drive was soothing and beautiful. The colors were not as bright anymore but it was still beautiful. It was raining and windy and cold. Kodiak was so happy to be snuggled back in the car. He was in his blankie from my cousin, his woozy hat and he was happy.
The mountains proved to be amazing as we expected. As the sun began setting it was hard to see the deer. The first one we saw was a huge buck and he ran across the road right in front of us and he was running fast. He must have been camera-shy… We saw many more. Then once it got dark we saw even more deer. But we were much closer to home. We arrived home about 8:30 pm.
I hope you enjoyed our journey. It was way to much to post about but we all had a really good time. Kodiak was bathed and we got him ready for bed. He was both happy and confused. I think he was clingy and just wanted us nearby…
Goodnight Bear Cheeks! Sorry couldn’t resist!
Chow for now!
PS: I have found other photos, so I will be updating the other vacation parts with more photos…. I also want to thank the generous people who helped make this trip possible. Gifts, rental car and gas money, as well as those that donated to GOFUNDME on behalf of Kodiak. We are hoping now to get to some of the projects needed to help Kodiak learn. Thank you everyone that donates and continues to help in what ever capacity you do so. Even the encouraging comments help keep us going.This kid has so many that work with him hands on. It’s appreciated everyday you spend helping him learn. THANK YOU!
PLEASE feel free to send us a note if this inspired you, you know more details I can add or just encouraging comments or your own stories. We have a PO Box you can write to. ?