Big Trip 2013 Edmonton to the East Coast Pre-trip January, 2013 Apparently, we're getting better at this 'separate-but-together' holiday plan thing (as previously chronicled in 2011 (to Ontario) and 2012 (to Vancouver Island, and the US Pacific NW)). Two years ago, we had taken (what we thought) would be our last bi-annual trip to the in-laws place .. With both their daughters and grand-daughters now living in God's country (also known as Alberta), they had decided to sell their lake house in the Muskoka region of Ontario and move west. Well, that was the plan. The softening of the economy made the lake-house market pretty sketchy, and after two years of half-heartedly trying to sell the place, they were still there. So we started thinking that, perhaps, we'd get a reprieve at visiting Dickie Lake. And so it was that we found ourselves chatting about holiday plans. On Jan 13, 2013, as we watched our valiant Seahawks (properly pronounced &"Sea - HAAAAAWKS!!!" battle the Falcons, in the middle of a cold, blustery, (ie. typical) Edmonton winter, the following conversation (mostly) took place. Mrs P4S: "What are you thinking for summer holidays this year?" Me: "Shhhhhhh. We're within scoring distance" Mrs P4S: "If Mom and Dad haven't sold the lake house by this summer, do you want to go to Ontario again?" Me, completely losing my shit "HOLY F***!! WE JUST TOOK THE LEAD FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE GAME, AND THERE'S ONLY 30 SECONDS LEFT!! COME ON WILSON!!" Mrs P4S: "You could ride again" < silence - as the Falcons kick a 49-yard field-goal in the dying seconds of the game, and my interest in the NFL vanishes for another season> Mrs P4S: "And if you wanted to use up some of your banked holidays and stop hoarding them like a little bitch, you could even ride to the east coast and visit your family in the Maritimes." <paraphrasing> < half-beat of silence - as visions of the Cabot Trail penetrate the quickly thinning football-fog between my ears> Me: "Done! Now hush woman, and get me a beer! I need to start route-planning!" <dialog completely fictional> At the time, I had a metric buttload of unused holidays, and could conceivably take an extended block of time off, if my employer would go for it. Oh well - I had 6-7 months to work on that. So over the course of the next few months, I began route planning. I had done the prairies before two years earlier, and could afford to haul-ass through there in order to allow myself as much time as possible out east. Based on the last trip, I knew it would be around 5 days to north-central ON, and I should allow myself around 5 days to return. I wanted to have around 2 weeks at the lake (you can't RUSH quality lake-time). I figured 4.5 to 5 weeks was all I could afford to be away from work (there were other things brewing on that front). This meant only having in the neighbourhood of a week to do the eastern leg (ON to the Maritimes and back to ON). Having family on the east-coast meant I'd need (and truthfully, wanted) to allow some time for visiting and catching up with whichever members of the clan would be around when I rolled through. I chewed on this one for a while - should I bother making a rushed trip of it? Or just say screw-it, and spend an additional week relaxing lake-side. In the end, I decided that if the in-laws do eventually sell their place, I may not have an 'excuse' to ride the AB to ON leg again - more than half the distance from home to the east coast. A rushed trip it would have to be! This was the plan up-until the day I left ... which then got forgotten within a couple of km's from the house.