When the 6-hour road trip starts like this — with the mini-van loaded to the hilt, the ski box bursting with multiple tents and camping gear, and five man-sized teen boys along with your husband (over)filling the passenger slots — rest and relaxation are not at the top of the list of attributes for the weekend.
As a parent watching my kids draw closer to leaving the nest, though, I recognize these opportunities to spend time together are increasingly limited . . . whether it be time at home or time on the road. That is as it should be; as children grow up, they should develop that independence, set of interests and group of friends that slowly pull them from you. This means that as they grow up, time spent “together” may consist of the parent serving as the chauffeur in a situation which is a poster child for a Febreze commercial. With this in mind, we hit the road — destination: the NWIRA Championship Regatta in Kenora, Ontario.
Days are long at a regatta — upon arrival, rowers need to meet at the regatta site and help unload the trailer and rig the boats for the following day’s races, followed by getting settled in for the night at a campground nearby. Lodging for the next three nights consisted of a group campsite at the Anicinabe RV Park and Campground in Kenora. Kenora is a small city situated on the northern shores of the very large Lake of the Woods, so even though the campground is in the city itself, the setting is not your typical “RV Park” (a label which usually makes this tent camper cringe).
Just as days go long at a regatta, they also go early. Waking up to the loons calling across the lake is not an unpleasant alarm clock, although when I walked down to the shore of the Lake of the Woods to watch the mist rise off the lake as the sun crept over the horizon, I was only greeted by a gaggle of geese paddling around the bay of the swimming beach.
Thankfully, weather was good for spectating other than a bit windy at times. When you watch a team of talented rowers move their shell down the lake, it is an incredible display of synchronicity.
Two days, eleven hours of races each day. Making sure there was a row of fruits, breads and energy bars sitting out ready for a quick grab as the boys stumbled out of their tents and into the car for the drive to the rowing club at the crack of dawn each morning. Making sure the cooler was full of sandwich fixings and other healthy snacks (along with some classic unhealthy ones!) throughout the day at the rowing club. Making sure we parents had a Starbucks Grande Latte with extra shot of espresso in the morning so we could make it through eleven hours of races.
Rest and relaxation? Not quite, but a satisfying weekend nonetheless. Sometimes travel with your children is just about being there. And, sometimes, that is enough.
Happy travels! ~ Kat B.