Day 7 -   Today was the day to pack up and start for home.  We said our Good-byes to Opa, Oma and Uncle Rick's family and we headed back downtown to finish the Museum of Civilization.  The museum was a extremely enjoyable look at Canadian culture through history.  The new Children's museum is well worth the trip.  
Exploring the Pakistani Bus
Nadia poses by her self portrait. 
Exploring the Totem poles in the Great Hall, which has been dedicated to the Native people of Western Canada. 

We left Ottawa at about 4pm had started on the road home.  We crossed the border at Odgensburg in Northern New York.  If you are still counting, this was border crossing #4.   We decided not to cross the border again so our homeward route did not include southern Ontario.   We drove to Pulaski, New York and spent the night in the Super 8.

Day 8 - Today we drove through Northern New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.  This night the hotel was a Holiday inn with a Water park.  The kids were so excited.  Unfortunately, these are the photos that I have lost. 

Day 9- We played in the water park until around 1 in the afternoon.  We had bought ice cream and sandwiches at Meijer and headed back on the road.  Our drive today included Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.  We stayed in Morris, Ill.   

Day 10  Home at last!

Here's our trip summary by the numbers:

2 Countries
2 Canadian Provinces
4 Border Crossings
7 US States 
6 Nights sleeping the tent
3 Nights in a hotel
over 2500 miles and Countless hours in the van the actually driving time was over 50.

I am glad you are still reading along with me.

Day 6 - Canada Day.   We spent a relaxing morning and early afternoon around the campsite. 

Baseball Team Mates

Family Photo

The younger Tulps - minus Oma and Opa - headed back to Ottawa to take in the Canada Day Celebrations.   It seemed as if people had materialized over night.  The streets were so crowded we could hardly walk.   At Ethan's request, we headed to the Museum of Civilization for the horse exhibit.  Ethan enjoyed every single display in this exhibit.  He spent time reading and studying every plaque.  I was impressed, most of us, including the adults were finished long before he was.   We decided to forgo the rest of the museum due to the crowds.
Ethan's favorite   

Next up on the agenda was finding some dinner, which proved to be a little tricky with the people everywhere.    We were blessed to find a small pizza place, with a chairs to sit and rest our feet and feed our stomachs.

Pizza Dinner
  After dinner we ventured back across the river to secure a grassy spot for the fireworks show.  We watched the rest of the evening's concert on the big screen, including BareNaked Ladies.
Ben and the Bass player

Uncle Rick and Eric wait for the Fireworks
Nadia dancing to the music

The fireworks were some of the best we had ever seen.  It was a nice way to end the day.  
Day 5- We had a nice breakfast and headed into the city for a day of site-seeing. For the first part of the day we wondered around the city enjoying the sites.  Canada Day preparations were underway, which was a bonus for us, since we were nice and close to Bare Naked Ladies as they warmed-up.   We sang: "If I had a million dollars..."   If you have never heard this fun song from this Canadian Band, I suggest you take a quick listen.   You can find many versions on YouTube, here's just one:  If I Had $1,000,000 - Barenaked Ladies   Ben suggested they should be called:  Fully Dressed Men, but actually be Bare naked.....   If don't think so....

Barenaked Ladies warm-up

Here's the rest of Day 5 in photos
The Tulp kids on Parliament Hill 
Lunch in Byward market at an Irish Pub
The Americans in front of the US Embassy

The Tulp Clan poses for a photo. 

We headed back to camp and were warmly greeted by Andrew's Brother and his 2 boys. 

Day 4-  We woke up to more rain showers and lazied around in the tent until the showers subsided.  Our campsite was along the St.  Lawarence.  It was a beautiful spot.  The kids climbed the rocks and played by the water while we cooked some breakfast.  Thank goodness for the Maid of the Mist Parkas.  They came in very handy when the rain started again.   As Nadia and the boys were playing among the rocks, a bee became trapped in Nadia's hair.  It finally stung her right on the nose.  Her nose swelled immediately, and continued to swell all day.  (Thankfully, she did not inherit her grandfather's bee allergy).  The final destination for today was Qatineau Park in Quebec.    We crossed the border for the3rd time on this trip at Ogdensburg, NY.  Coincidentally, (Andrew would say Providentially) Andrew's parents arrived just minutes after we did.  That was really nice to find our spot together and help them get their trailer set up. 

We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon and evening at the camp.  The kids best memory from this day was the bold raccoon who stole our Marshmallows for Smore's.  The raccoons were very comfortable around the campsite and their very large size was proof of that.   They arrived shortly after we started cooking dinner.  They would come as close as 4-6 feet away and just watch us.  During campfire time, I set the Smore supplies between Andrew and my chair.  With great stealth,  a raccoon crept under my chair and grabbed the bag of marshmallows.  One of the kids yelled that he was there, but all  I saw was the marshmallow trail into the trees.  The only consolation was that he had the bag upside down and lost most of his treasure in his escape.  

Nadia snuggles with Oma


Day - 5   This was our day to tour the Capital city.    More tomorrow

Day 3 - Our final destination today was a State Park in Northern New York, but we had a few side trip along the way.  I guess that's the beauty of vacation.   We headed along Lake Erie following the Niagara Parkway.  It is a very scenic drive which follows the shore line closely.  Our first stop was at Lock # 8 on the Welland Canal.  We spent over an hour watching a ship pass through the canal.  When we first saw the canal, we thought it was only for smaller boats.  It was amazing how large the ship looked in comparison to the canal.     Here's what Wikipedia tells us that the Welland Canal is a ship canal that runs 42 km. from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.  As part of the St. Lawrence Seaway, the canal allows ships to traverse the Niagara Escarpments and avoid Niagara Falls.  We arrived at Niagara falls and spent the afternoon exploring the falls, getting soaked on the Maid of the Mist tour and eating pizza in downtown.  The boat trip was by far the highlight of our day.   We loaded back into the Van and headed for Kring Point state park in Northern New York.  (Border Crossing #2)  We arrived late and tired.  We set up camp and headed straight to bed.  

The Federal Seto in the Canal

completely soaked after our boat trip to the falls. 
Warning -  This could get very, very long!
I hope you enjoy reading it.  I plan to break it into several posts to ease my typing hands and your reading eyes.  So here we go.

We had a very nice vacation, We traveled to Niagara Falls, met Andrew's family at a campground outside Ottawa,  Saw Barenaked Ladies in Concert, watched fireworks and headed back home.   That's the short version.   The following posts contain the details.

Day 1 - traveled to Buchanan, Michigan and Warren Dunes State Park.   This park has become a little bit of a tradition for us.  We love the mountainous sand dunes and  cool lake.  (I would suggest the Lake is cold).  We cooked dinner on the beach, climbed the Dunes, cooled off in the water, collected rocks (Nadia and I found a rock with a fossil) and watched the Sunset over the lake.

Climbing the Dune
Made it to the top
Gorgeous sunset
Ready for a good night's sleep

   Day 2 -  Drove through Michigan to Ontario.  We decided to venture through the tunnel at Detroit / Windsor for our border crossing.  We usually avoid this crossing, but it was not bad maybe because it was a Sunday morning.   Once across the border we enjoyed a little walk in Windsor.  We went down to the waterfront and watch a couple ship pass.  We also spot Joe Louis Arena (where the Red Wings play) across the water.   On our walk back to the car it started to down pour.  We found shelter in a Tim Hortons and enjoyed a doughnut.   Upon arrival back at the car, we discovered that Ethan has left his window open.  His seat, and box of toys was completely soaked.  After a small clean-up we headed for Rock Point Provincial Park located directly on Lake Erie.  Unfortunately,  The storm followed us, which meant we set up camp in the pouring rain and cooked supper in a picnic shelter. 

The boys posed in front of Joe Louis Arena as a large ship passes

Ethan enjoys a Canadian doughnut

Tired of Vacation

It's funny how tired we get while on vacation. defines vacation this way:

va·ca·tion –noun 1. a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday:

 Then why is everyone so tired?  When I get the photos organized, I will update my daily photo album.  We enjoyed our time away, but were ready to be home. 

We are slowing adjusting to life back home.  The Stauffer family was here when we arrived home.  We have spent a week hanging out with them.  We have enjoyed Pokemon video games and a few trips to the pool.  We also spent a day at Adventureland.   CKC (A Scrapbook convention) was in Des Moines this weekend.  Erin and I spent  Friday and Saturday taking classes, shopping and scrapbooking.  We had lot of fun enjoying our free time.  

That's a quick summary of our last few weeks.  I will post a more detailed description of our vacation when the photos are organized.   

We only have 5 weeks of summer left before school and work resumes for the fall semester.   We have lots of activities packed into the next few weeks.  Art Camp, Orchestra Camp, Bible school.   etc...  Summer will end very quickly.