Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Summer of Sunny

End of summer family gathering at Teresa's farm. It was wonderful to have so many cousins, aunts and uncles all in one place for a few days. 
With September upon us, I am able to reflect on what will surely be remembered as one of the best summers of my life. I thought I'd recap some of the highs (and a few of the lows) of our time wandering like a family of gypsies through the Maritimes. And what a time we had.

In total, the four of us have spent 22 nights together sleeping in Sunny. There have been probably an additional 10 nights where 1 or more of us have spent the night, but as a family - 22 nights is a number that I'm quite proud of! With me being back to work, it will be hard for us to beat this record, but I feel like we knew how precious this summer was and we were all set on making the absolute most of it. 

We have been through the 3 maritime provinces, to 5 music festivals, in several campgrounds and even in a few driveways. I love the outdoor lifestyle that camping literally brings to your doorstep. I have gone swimming more this summer that probably the last 5 summers combined. Ocean, lakes, rivers and pools - we have done it all, and as often as possible. We have had too many campfires, outdoor meals, hikes and card games too count and I'm proud to say that Caleb didn't mention tv or video games once! We rarely had to rush, so we enjoyed the back roads, we snuck in some extra, unplanned nights on the road and really took time to enjoy our surroundings. The best part, and what I will definitely miss the most, is just the time together. Time as a family to be together, talk, laugh, play games, explore...what we were doing didn't really matter as much as the fact that we were all doing it together.

Putting our cooler to good use on a hot day at the farm!
We did have a few bumps along the road, however. For being a 1986 motorhome, Sunny held up amazingly well, although we did have a few scares. The first one was when we ran out of gas on our way to our very first festival of the year. Everything works very well in Sunny, except for a practical little piece of gear known as the gas gauge. At first glance, Sunny has a full tank ready to go. The problem is she ALWAYS shows a full tank and it took some trial and error to figure out just how big that tank was. We puttered to a stop on the side of the highway near Middleton, about 30 minutes from Annapolis Royal, unsure of just what the problem could be. Did we just run out of gas, or was it something much more serious. Turns out, through Alan's extensive bluegrass network that runs deep around rural Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, we were able to call a friend, who called a friend, who showed up with a jerry can of gas within 15 minutes. We filled Sunny up and were off on our way with relief and gratitude in our hearts! 

The next slight issue we encountered was driving from Grand Manan to Fundy Park in mid-August. Luckily, I was driving the car as we were heading back to Nova Scotia following our August tour. I got a call from Alan and Caleb near Rothesay saying that Sunny was stuck in first gear so Alan couldn't drive faster than 40 km/hr.  I turned back to find them and figure out what we could do late on a Saturday afternoon when we were supposed to be in Fundy that evening. Once again, Alan's bluegrass connections were called and help was on the way, spare part in hand. Unfortunately, the part wasn't what we needed and we ended up having to leave Sunny in Sussex for the weekend. But karma turned out to be on our side again, because thankfully we had the car with us so we weren't stranded and we were able to stay in an 'O-tentik' in Fundy for 2 nights. We jumped in the car with a handful of clothes, made it to Alan's gig and still had plenty of time to enjoy the park. We headed back to Sussex to find out Sunny's fate, definitely fearing the worst and scrambling to come up with back up plans in case Sunny was unable to continue the road trip with us. Miraculously, the mechanic managed to fix the broken part in 40 minutes first thing Monday morning and we suddenly found ourselves back on the road!! It was amazing to have our 'home' back and to be able to continue our planned adventure! The greatest part was how positive we were all able to stay. Caleb held back tears at first, but then we set out to make the best of a bad situation, and we ended up having a great weekend and getting Sunny back on the road for the rest of our summer adventures. 

An unimpressed Caleb watching while Sunny was raised on lift at the garage. See our poor girl in the background?!?
Odin kept his spirits up, even while we spent 5 hours in a Canadian Tire parking lot trying to sort out our mechanical issues. Odin was handing out 'high fives' , making us laugh and helping us keep things in perspective. He was particularly impressed when he received an entire plate full of pickles from the A+W across from Canadian Tire. How could anyone be sad after that? 
So thank you for the memories, Sunny. And thank you Alan, Caleb and Odin. I couldn't have asked for better travel companions. Now we need to figure out a way for me to have every summer off work so we can do it all again next year!


Grandma Linda said...

GREAT blog Ashley! Love you all so much. You all can teach someone else in my family a thing or two about making the best of difficult situations :)

John Booker said...

I'm sure there are many "suuny" days ahead for Sunny and the whole family. Spring 2016 will be here before you know it, bringing more adventures with your home on wheels. Glad your family has found the world of RV'ing. Your leisure time possibilities are endless. Happy Trails.