Sunday, September 07, 2008

Road Trip! Road Trip! Scouting out new possibilities.

Road Trip! Road Trip!

Imagine me loving to plan and execute long distance road trips, at least the added copious amounts we’ve experienced the past two years while living here in the east! Mom & Dad, can you just believe I like to do this now, all those years of bucking your own exploring thoughts in our family motorhome. Sheesh


If you've been following our blog, this is the first of several installments from a recent trip exploring areas unknown to us previously, as we discern where our roots will become established for work and medical reasons in the future. This is also the first trip of exploration, another is yet to come soon.

Complete hydration included cases of water
along with us during our many hours of driving

For ten days we drove, and drove, taking scenic routes along the way to meet up with my hubby, already in the central area we’d be staying. Once again we were puttering along, clocking up many miles on the family vehicle while exploring new possibilities for our future real estate area of interest. The added bonus of this road trip of late was the blessing of fine weather and not having to cart schooling on the road with us. This was going to double up as part vacation this time, on top of the rest of the preplanned agenda.

One of the questions within each of the emails flooding our inbox was “where” our areas of interest were located in Canada for this future move. It’s simple really. We have only one reasonable choice for all future medical care my husband will require, and that city is Toronto, Ontario.

History abounds all over the province of Ontario!

Toronto is where the action is, where our action will be over time, but on a negative flip it’s a city equal to Los Angeles in poor air quality at the very best of times. This is not a bonus for lung disease patients and something to avoid at all costs. Therefore, we have chosen not to inquire about any real estate within the greater Toronto area, hunting instead in a northern (western to eastern) arc over the city instead.

With so much area to explore, vehicle
living was varied and interesting...

Now where do you see this these days!

Big Momma's Soul Food!
Wouldn't you love to eat here!

We loved Orangeville and Caledon

The luck of the Irish are upon this town

We’ve driven from the Uxbridge/Whitchurch Stouffville towns in the east to Erin/Caledon/Orangeville towns in the west, and then all the way north from downtown Toronto to the city of Barrie.

Gas prices for all the westerners to gulp up!

Every town/city has a water tower for a landmark

Where history lurks, lovely cemeteries with stories to tell

The area encompassed within these towns (or cities) is HUGE! In fact, here’s a bit of trivia for you all out there in blogging land;

In the horseshoe edges surrounding Lake Ontario, if we travel from the city of Scarborough on the east side of Toronto, through the city and continuing along the map to St. Catherine’s and Hamilton regions on the west side, well – located within this Lake arc resides one third of Canada’s entire population! Imagine so many people living in such a large country all gathered population wise within this one smaller area compared to the rest of the geographical grounds within it. Wowza!

Our absolute preference now - country living

Realistically we are not “city folk” any longer. We’ve been bit by the country bug and prefer living in more rural areas, so it was a no brainer to get ourselves outside of the big metropolitan city after hearing of the rural areas in proximity to its core. We weren’t let down after spending many hours driving through each town, noting the historical buildings, the quaint city streets and friendly towns folk. In fact, we found plenty of lovely areas up for consideration.

When someone’s entire life’s future depends on state of the art medical and hospital care, obviously the distance from its location becomes a prime factor of concern. A work office also requires great food for thought concerning how long of a commute one desires, taking into consideration also the fatigue factor often visiting my hubby at day’s end.

Between the two of these factors alone, many of the sweet towns we fell in love with were crossed off of our list due to their distances. So we have to forget about browsing and dreaming about all those wonderful areas and concentrate on those falling into our new special parameters to include these most important factors.

Vaughan Mills - shopping extravaganza!

Eventually other towns/cities on our list had to be crossed off, not only for geographical locations necessarily, but also for alternative transportation possibilities, environmental areas of concern, and which amenities would be close by in case of a medical emergency. Most importantly outside of medical amenities and work locales, we needed to know exactly where the local parish would be nearby for plunging into a faith community and possibly meeting up with other homeschooling families within that same common area. Lastly add into all the important stuff, those items promised for keeping life as normal as possible - children’s interests in equestrian riding and ice hockey at the very least and the children are smiling through it all (and so are the

Mapping and driving the entire half
circular arc over the city

Hotel living isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, never is. One wonders about the germs lurking there right from the entry into a hotel and then again when turning the handle of the hotel room door. We travel with “germ guard” and prep our room with antibacterial force, anything looming over or under will be quaking in their boots to dash out the door as soon as possible once we bolt through the doors. :-)

Hail, the gang's all here!

Our hotel this time was practical for our family though they could only offer two joining rooms and not a suite as we preferred. We thought we would miss a kitchenette, but each room had a large bar sized fridge to keep our extra groceries and water we hauled in when necessary.

As soon as we entered the premises, everyone dashes to claim which bed will be theirs, and begins to unpack their suitcases into the drawers of the dressers and sends their luggage to the closet until departure time nears. We loathe living out of a suitcase, thus we dive in and get cozy immediately.

Luxurious hotel bathrobes were a BIG hit!

The girls thought it very special when noting the comfy housecoats displayed on the beds, and it didn’t take long for everyone to see the chocolates lying on the pillows to welcome us there.

Two pools awaited everyone, one indoor and the other larger one outdoors. Breakfast brunch buffet spreads were ready to feast on each morning, the price included with the room fees.

Business abilities over the weekend, then the laptop went back to his office. Boy, never again for us, we sure missed the research abilities not bringing mine along....

High speed internet was accessible for my husband on the weekends to hook his laptop into the receptacles. Silly me! I thought it was a grand idea to leave my laptop at home and take a break from the computer for our entire stay. It proved futile during the week when suddenly we had no ability to create mapquest directions for our outings planned on impulse, or to acquire more information from real estate homes of interests and so forth. It became a wee bit frustrating thinking we could substitute the hotel’s one and only business center computer instead because just as I sat any time to research and gather up my information, someone was tapping me on the shoulder to find out how long I would be before they could have their turn. I hated that! Note to self – bring the laptop next time - unless of course, it’s purely a vacation without any other sordid thoughts pending to sort out.

More driving sustenance - coffee and cookies
(they were supposed to be for the children)

We spent the better part of a full weekend as a family together exploring together, maintaining sustenance and entertainment in the vehicles before my hubby was to return to working each morning the week later. Staying at our hotel’s location gave my husband practical knowledge for the driving duties each day if we were to choose that particular area to move to. It was a great idea to stay where we did, the air was good for him there and allowed for outdoor events and activities.

The standard test to any town/city was for my husband to exit the vehicle and breathe the air in for a while, sometimes only to discover the need to cross off another possibility. It was a simple technique for discovery purposes and certainly in the dead of summer, a very valuable one for lung issues. It’s remarkable how that works for him, but for anyone else not suffering from such an easy thing as taking a normal breath of fresh air, his body tells him whether or not the air surrounding him passes the test or not. What a tough thing to have to do, but if we lived there we would hope he were able to be outdoors without extremely tough probabilities to deal with.

Being all together as a family then, there were some great excursions we stumbled upon during our explorations, most were on impulse and due to the elated delights of all participants, I’ll be sharing more with you in other posts as I go along this week.

The Canadian Martyrs Shrine Church

Several highlights come to mind but one in particular was our visit to the Canadian Martyrs Shrine in Midland, leaving us awestruck to the wonder of the Jesuit priests who gave their lives to Christ spreading the gospel in the New World living among the Huron Native people. It was there on those grounds where they were martyred for their faith by the Iroquois mostly, but nonetheless, what amazing stories of sacrifice they made for the purpose of the local people here.

Read on then to hear more...