How is it done? I can hardly tell you, only that it is, in fact, DONE! All of us (including the 5 pets) made it alive and well to Edmonton. I am taking a detour from my usual blogging of deep thoughts to share some photos of this extraordinary event and some things we learned along the way.
It begins with a truck--which is later packed with the fine-tuned skill of a master artist by an amazing brother-in-law and a big crowd of friends happy to give up a Saturday morning to haul books.
Clear out the house and deal with a cranky car carrier that was NOT, in fact, "easy to install" before departing.
Enjoy rainy Chicago on the way to Wisconsin:
Travel through Wisconsin to Minneapolis at Ray & Janel's house to spend the night. Lovely to have relatives who do not fear the descent of 6 people, 5 pets, and 2 vehicles into their space. Now that's hospitality!
It really helps to have a dog who happily trots around rest stops...
... and is equally happy to hop back in the car (along with the guinea pig and gecko in their cages)!
And the cats? In their cages in the back of the camper. Seriously annoyed but helped by large doses of catnip and Feliway (the "happy kitty" phermone). I kept sniffing it but it didn't seem to help me.
Apparently we were in North Dakota. This is about all I remember:
The key to any successful border crossing when immigrating to Canada: get one agent who is more interested in giving your kids a flag than looking at your paperwork and another agent who asks in amazement "hey, where'd you get this, the internet?" when you hand over your paperwork and told his friend "look, they already did this--so I don't need to look at their stuff, then, right?" That's right, buddy boy.
Night at a lovely hotel in Manitoba made peaceful by a ridiculously lenient pet policy (if only they knew how far that $5 pet fee took us...) and by some welcome presents from adoring aunts:
All I can say about Saskatchewan is the prairies are drop-dead gorgeous...
But there's not much to do but count hay bales.
And besides going on FOREVER, they do not believe in rest stops. Or any kind of stop. Except tiny little gas stations like this one, which were quaint in theory but not really in reality. But it's amazing how 4 hours with nothing in sight but more hay bales will make you welcome even this little shack with rejoicing and great anticipation.
And after I have no clue how many HOURS and KILOMETERS (don't say miles--this is Canada, remember?), we finally arrive in Alberta.
And to Edmonton and our new house with all 4 of us and all 5 of the pets alive and (mostly) well!! If that's not worthy of amazement and wonder, I don't know what is.