At least we didn’t have to get up too early today, Choo Choo, and you let us sleep a bit longer. That helped rest away the many kilometres behind us. We hit breakfast, also at the Chicken Chef (there ain’t a lot of option in Whitewood), and then loaded up once more for our push to Winnipeg.
It took a lot longer than I thought to get here.
We kept our stops few. Beyond the stop at the Manitoba border (where we should have turned our watches forward, but forgot), we stopped only in Brandon for coffee and our sandwiches for lunch, and in Portage la Prairie to eat our lunch. The last stop was far too short, as we had very little time left to get to Winnipeg before our evening event. That was a shame, since Island Park is truly a wonderful place for a picnic, mosquitos notwithstanding. You got to play there a bit, Monkey. Maybe on our way back, you’ll get a chance to play a bit more.
It was after we left Brandon that you had your first real problem with the trip, Monkey. You’ve spent nearly half of the time since we left Calgary in your car seat. Sometimes, it’s hard for a little Monkey to be patient. You’ve been so patient on this trip, honey, but eventually you have to hit a limit. You were, shall we say, upset. It took a few minutes for you to calm down so that we could drive again.
You didn’t have a nap today, either, which would lead to your second problem — a real full-scale meltdown at bedtime. It just reinforces the need for you to sleep during the day. I’m not sure how much you’ll sleep in the days to come with all the activity that’s planned, but hopefully we’ll find a way.
With some direction from Grandpa’s cousin (and the man who had married Mommy and I), we found our way to our hotel in Winnipeg, the Holiday Inn on Pembina Highway. It was only when we got inside that I realised that it was the same hotel I’d stayed at in 2002 when I was last in Winnipeg, with the CBC TV 50th Anniversary VIA Rail train. I’d had a drink in the hotel’s lobby bar after a hard day, just before our worst day of the tour.
Mommy suggested that I have a shower. Almost right afterwards, we all hopped back in the Sienna again (sometimes, I’m sure it feels like we never get out of the car, kids) and drove out to the Immanuel United Church on Kimberley Ave. in eastern Winnipeg. There was the first of three Aicken-Campbell family reunion events. This is important for you two, since you’re descended from the Aicken family, and this year is the 100th anniversary of the Aicken family in Canada. That’s why we’re out here.
Choo Choo, you became the Belle of the Ball, being handed from person to person without so much as a single sound. Monkey, you made near-instant friends with Rachel, who is your third or fourth cousin (we’re not really sure) and followed her around almost like a little puppy. You also made friends with Micah, Mary’s little boy, and the two of you squealed as you rolled around on the carpet.
Dinner was simple, yet scrumptious: skewers of lamb and chicken, salad, and potatoes, all from a local Greek restaurant. You had KD, Monkey — the elders had enough sense to know you weren’t going to eat Greek.
Tomorrow is another big day. We’re off way up north to find the old Aicken family homestead, which is where much of the Canadian branch of the Aicken family began. Sleep well, I think it’s going to be a long one.