This past summer was one for the books. We did a crazy amount of crazy stuff in a crazy amount of time. In January this past year, our first son was born. We knew before he was born that we would give him a life full of adventure and excitement starting from a young age.
I know what a lot of parents are probably thinking. “Yeah, they say that until they actually have the kid. Then they’ll realize just how much effort it takes to bring a baby on vacations without losing your mind.” Oh, we lost our minds, but the memories we created were well worth it, and what we lost in mind we made up in heart. This trip drew our family together in ways we never expected.
So to begin we might as well start at the beginning. In the spring of this year, we got the crazy idea to take a road trip to visit my grandma in Ketchikan, Alaska. For those of you who don’t know, Ketchikan is a small city on a small island on the lower string of islands in Alaska. It was the first city in Alaska and was famous for its red-light district called Creek Street (the more you know).
We couldn’t afford to fly. There were 6 of us, including our now 7 month old baby named Fox. Our mother and brothers also came with us. We couldn’t all fit in a car, and we thought about how fun it would be if we did the trip in a RV. The trouble was we didn’t own a RV.... so we found a half decent, mostly crappy RV on Craigslist and gave it a complete overhaul. Doing that with a 5-6 month old baby is another mind-losing adventure, but thats for another post.
Fast forward 3 months later, we’ve got ourselves a freshly remodeled RV that we named Harvee. We decided that if he talked he would have the voice of Sam Elliot. We got all the family loaded up, hit the road, not knowing what lay ahead.
The truth: He hated being in his car seat. Just walking near the car seat made him grab your shirt and try to get away almost like he was thinking, “Please not the chair. Anything but the chair!!”
Along the road, it basically consisted of Dad driving the entire way, and mom trying to keep Fox happy. We wanted to keep him in his car seat as much as we could, but he had other ideas. Every time we stopped, we took him out immediately to crawl around and nurse as much as he could. We kept asking ourselves, “Why are we doing this? This is so crazy.”
Once we arrived in the mountains, near Banff, AB, we realized why we made this trip. We thought about all the dreams we had for our son while mom was pregnant. And this was one of them. We were living our dream for our baby boy. The hard moments were tough, but these moments, showing him the mountains (even though he probably couldn’t care less right now) made us remember why we made the trek.
One of the things we were most excited about for this trip was seeing wildlife. We knew before going that the island of Ketchikan is filled with black bears. We wanted to see one so bad!
Well, one night, we were pleasantly surprised by a visitor. Our RV was parked next to two garbage cans which were sitting right outside our Grandma’s apartment building. They had bungee cords on them to keep them shut, specifically meant for bears. We asked my Grandma about them and she said that the bears don’t get into her garbages, they just kind of toss them around. We thought that was a great idea!
We were relaxing one night and dad saw a black, chubby, figure crawling towards the neighbor’s garbages. It was a black bear! We were stoked. The bear stood by the garbages on his hind legs, opened the lids, looked inside, sniffed around, and shut the lid and walked away. Must not have been what he was craving. The bear was walking over towards our Grandma’s garbages. It came around our RV, walked up to the garbage cans, and opened those garbage cans like a bag of chips. It reached inside for a bag of shrimp skins, grabbed it and ran away with it. At this point we were all in the front seats of the RV’s laughing our butts off and wanting to take pictures of this bear.
We waited and prayed that the bear would come back. Sure enough mom sees him and says “he’s back! he’s back!” Dad grabbed a video light to shine on the bear to light it up. (From a very careful angle so it wouldn’t attack the light) We’re both dying laughing and taking photos of the bear. We got some keepers to say the least and the best part was our son was right there with us laughing and loving all the excitement, we got to share so many great things with our son on this trip.
Some may say, “Well yeah, but he won’t remember.” WE will remember. He will grow up (everyone says) in the blink of an eye. And he will have adventures of his own with his family, but we as parents will never forget the memories we created on this epic road trip.