It’s time for our annual trip to Iowa and Nebraska to visit Vivian and Nora’s American grandparents for Christmas. We left Kitchener just after picking up Vivian from school today, hoping to take advantage of a window of good weather and possibly get as far as Ann Arbor or Jackson, Michigan. Strangely enough, we left in a bit of a snowstorm, but we made good time. We went by the 401 all the way, on the chance that Highway 402 hadn’t been fully cleared from its closure (and airlift) earlier this week. The road conditions were dry, the border crossing at the Ambassador Bridge was super quick, and we ended up getting as far as Benton Harbor — almost halfway to our goal of Des Moines. Hopefully, this should make for a fairly quick journey tomorrow.

I do have to say, though, that going by Windsor instead of Sarnia gives you some indication of just how freaking big this province is. And yes, before my friends from Northern Ontario step up to point it out, we southerners have no idea just how big this province is until you make the trek up to Sudbury and beyond. Although travelling via Windsor shortens the trip to Des Moines by a few kilometres, it alters the pace of the journey, somewhat.

We count things down by border crossings. We know we’re making progress when we check off the journeys into Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. Going by the 402 to Sarnia is a quick two hour journey. Going by the 401 to Windsor is a three hour slog. And, strangely enough, the extra hour in Michigan (by way of the 402) doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. Coming home, we get the rush of returning to our home province an hour earlier, but then we keep on going and going and going along the highway. It gets a little hard to take, as you have the sense that you should be home already.

Anyway, we turned in at Benton Harbor after about six hours of driving. The kids were troopers again, but are having some difficulty getting to bed as I write this. Sometimes, when the fall asleep in the car, we can carry them to bed without waking them. Not this time. Nora is especially restless. Hopefully she’ll be asleep soon.

In the meantime, I would like to wish everybody the best of the season. I’m looking forward to meeting up with grandparents and cousins, opening presents, enjoying good food, the lot. And, of course, there’s the Doctor Who Christmas special to look forward to. In the interim, here’s an oldie but a goodie: a fan video that someone put together in 2008, marrying the parody tune “The 12 Pains of Christmas” to various images from the Doctor Who revival in a very funny way. Enjoy!

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