We got up pretty early today to eat breakfast at 7am and leave the Lodge by 0730. Breakfast was delicious and I had the best pancakes I've had since I was living at home. They were not thick and cakey, but they were thin and crispy all around the edges, like when they've been almost fried in a pan of butter. Mmmm. We filled up with gas yesterday so we ate and got on the road fast. Driving around Muncho Lake we saw a poor sheep on the side of the road. I guess it got hit by a vehicle and one horn got knocked off. Well, if you remember the other day, Garrett had prayed for and visualized an incident where he was able to retrieve a bison horn -- so what do you think he thought of THIS situation? That's right! He got so excited seeing the horn missing. When we turned around to see if it was already dead, he thought he saw the horn laying beside the sheep and he wanted so bad to go grab the horn and keep it. Will didn't let him for a few reasons but bless his heart, he tried.
While the kids argued over whether the drive around Muncho Lake looks more like Summit Lake or the Turnagain Arm drives, we drove 40 miles or so down to Toad River Lodge where they sport a world-famous hat collection. They have a dry-erase board with the ever changing number of hats written on it. Today they have 11, 206 hats (mostly ball caps) attached to the ceiling of the gift shop, convenience store, and cafe of theirs. Ellie stayed in the car and was still not impressed when we came back with stories of how cool it was. It was literally a five-minute stop but now we can say we have seen it -- check that box. The next 30 miles of the road are definitely NOT my favorite. I do love mountains but I do not at all enjoy driving or riding around those mountainsides where you feel like the road will just slough off any minute and you'll fall off the mountain; or a 18-wheeler may rush by and blow you off the mountain; or a rockslide might push you off the mountain. Do you see the theme here? I started praying at Muncho Lake (well really about 2 months ago!) that God would just take the fear away from me. I am so tired of dealing with fear, facing fear, laughing at fear, pretending I'm not afraid, and whatever other advice I get from people. What I truly want is for my fears to just go away. Matthew 21:21-22 says "...if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” So I believed that He can take my fears away -- and that is exactly what He did today. Going up the mountain they have put new guard rails on the steep area that terrifies me and when I saw that I giggled and smiled and before I knew it, we had driven past it. Canada's DOT may as well have written "For Vanessa" on that guardrail because I know why they finally got installed - so I could get up that mountain without having a panic attack.
To console myself for the treacherous mountain I had just conquered, I treated everyone to one of those honking fat cinnamon rolls at Tetsa River Lodge and Campground. The last time I came through, I had to stop here because it was just me and the kiddos and I was getting really tired, and needed coffee. While I was ordering coffee the guy asked if I wanted a cinnamon roll. As I was saying "no", she came out of the kitchen with the most beautiful sourdough buns that were bigger than my fist, and I had to get one. It was dreamy. So I made the mistake of talking these rolls up for the last month and I had everyone pumped to get a cinnamon roll. But this time they were squeeze-wrapped in saran wrap and had been nuked, and were hard and chewy. It was so disappointing and now everyone thinks I'm crazy (well, not JUST because of cinnamon rolls, right Denise? lol). They just aren't what they used to be, but the cafe is a wonderfully cozy place to stop. The place smells of woodsmoke, has cool antiques, and is always busy.
We pushed on to Fort Nelson Visitor's Center for Will to use the internet. His online business is starting to pick up and he gets so anxious about checking on it. I guess orders come in, and he hasn't automated his email process yet so right now he does each one at a time. I don't really understand it all yet. When we got in the car to leave, we couldn't hardly get into the car because it was being swarmed by hornets, sitting in the parking lot. it was so weird, like a scene from Amityville. I think they were eating the bug guts on the grill but they followed us way down the highway and it creeped out the kids. I think they are getting tired of riding and so little things are getting bigger each day. We were supposed to stop at Mukwa River Bridge (the lowest elevation on the AK Highway) and the Shepherd's Inn (they sell homemade bread and pies) but no one really wanted to stop for anything but gas and potty breaks so we just hollered out as we passed. Garrett is such a nut and when I would say, "There is ...." , he would come back, "Wow that's truly amazing!" in the most sarcastic voice he could muster. Ellie would say, "uh huh, right Momma," and Will would say, "what?"
We got to the Holiday Inn Express in Fort St John and I had them all a surprise. We love Holiday Inn Express because we get good points, Alaska Airline points, free breakfast, they are always clean & nice - they are our overall favorite hotel. So this one had an early booking benefit for a suite -- it had a queen bed and in another room it had a bunk bed. Will rushed inside before I could catch him (because he is fast at doing things) and he almost let our room go because he had never heard of bunkbeds before (I hadn't either until I saw the offer). That room was COOL! The kids giggled and so did we because it did feel nice to be in a room with some space, after being in our car for six days now. The had a room (probably 12X12) with a TV of their own, and a door that shut (but didn't lock). THEN, we all wanted to go swim and when we got down there we all laughed out loud because .... there was a waterslide .... YES!! This room was the price of a normal room - we got it for booking two weeks in advance. I thought the NR Lodge was going to spoil my kids but this may be over the top. After we swam, we all got showered and we went to Boston Pizza for supper and to conduct our monthly Family Council Meeting (initiated by Ellie last month). During this meeting we discussed homeschool curriculums, schedules, and our family prayer time. The kids got upset when they realized that even though we have these meetings, Daddy still gets to trump any vote. It almost got rough for a minute but in the end it was a great lesson for them. Bless their hearts, they honestly thought that since Ellie created this monthly meeting, that she got to set the rules -- and the rules were that all four of us are equal during these meetings, and all votes count non-democratically, and any ties would negate anything (because they figured on being the ties). They are very smart these two!! Instead, we had to establish that the rules are anything can be said (respectfully) without punishment, all thoughts will be considered, all attempts will be made to satisfy each person, but in the end Daddy may still trump any decision. Lessons in submission -- better to start younger than older, I know that firsthand :).
In all today, we drove 391 miles and were in the car for 10 hours.