Break Up the Road Trip, Seriously (Canada)

I don't know how it took me years to figure this out but travel is SO MUCH EASIER when the road trip is broken up along the way.

Especially with fatlings in carseats.

A couple of years ago, Taylor and I lived abroad in Russia for a few months. It was such a hard, defining experience for our family in numberless ways. We lived out of 3 suitcases, ate cheaply made dinners, and allowed a different culture to enhance our education of the world. We did not live a tourist life whatsoever. Our mission was to live in the culture, shop the grocery stores, speak the language, and walk the land of their history.

Also, Arrow was a really adorable baby and if there's anything that melts a Russian's outer shell, it's a fat little person.

Now a couple years later, we're tying up another living-away stint, this time in Canada.

We took a good road trip to get there.

We left early in the morning, having been delayed several days when Archer's passport didn't come in the mail on time.

We were able to punch through a few hours before the kids woke up and realized they'd been tricked into their carseats.

So we stopped for breakfast at a pricey bagel shop near Idaho Falls. I tell myself it was in the name of supporting the small guys.

Then made our way over to the Idaho Falls Temple to walk the grounds for a while.

Chaun: Babe, did you know that when you touch the temple, it touches your heart?

Arrow: Mama the temple isn't going to fall on me

Chaun: ???

Applejacks were the choice of bribery when strapped back into their car seats.

That afternoon we made it to a lake park in Montana for a much needed cookie break.

I took selfies. Obviously.

There was a duck there that tried crawling into our laps for a share of the cookie. I don't Archer has ever been so pleased with life as when a duck wooed him.

After a grand total of 8 driving hours, we crashed into a Great Falls, Montana hotel and fell asleep at 7 PM. 

My, I must be getting soft.

After a hotel breakfast and hot showers, everyone was recharged and ready to finish the trip. Canada was only a few hours away at this point, so we took our time finishing the drive.

Rainbow Falls
Great Falls is built around the Missouri River, and features some surprising waterfalls in its course. Driving there is surrounded by plains, plains, and more plains... all yellow and ready for harvesting. I was suspicious that the Rainbow Falls were a mean trick.

But then this appeared.

The 100 ft falls run through a deep gorge in the Montana plains. You wouldn't have guessed it by the miles and miles of yellow grasses. (Captain Clark of Lewis and Clark had the same experience, but on foot.) They were beautiful, although admittedly tainted by the dam and low water levels complimentary of a hot July.

This view was captured on the edge of Ryan Island. It's one thing to find waterfalls in Montana. It's another to find an island.

You only have to cross a mere swaying bridge hoisted over many feet aboveground to get there.

I think I hate bridges.


This was a large pavilion on the island. Absolutely perfect for family reunions if I could ever convince my people to meet out in the middle of Montana for it.

This entire morning I felt so light and peaceful and happy. It just felt so good to be with my little family.

Finally it was time to make our final destination. Just a quick stop at Satan's gas station, and we were well on our way.

Gas prices: 666

We checked into our Airbnb apartment (click that link for discount travel stays) early afternoon, unpacked, bought groceries, and did otherwise very boring adult things.

But hey, we made it to Canada!

We've been here only a few weeks, and haven't had the same everyday life experience as in Russia, but our family's been molded in different ways. I think in ways that we probably needed more, anyway. 

Time has felt like it's stood still for us and that's pretty magical.

Anyway, this post was meant to be about the road trip. I'll share more about Canada soon.

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