Courageous Travels: Winnipeg, Canada Trip

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6

Day 1

Good Evening Courageous Travels

Our adventure to Winnipeg Canada has begun and everyone is so excited. At about 3pm today Volunteer Treva met Rolo and myself at Camp. We gathered the necessary items for pick ups, loaded Henry and headed toward Davenport for our first pick up. We met Delores, Paul and Bill (BJ) at this first stop. They were all packed and ready to go. Rolo checked in med while I got all the paperwork signed. We made sure everyone had their passport for crossing the boarder. Treva took temperatures and made sure everyone was healthy for the trip. We loaded their luggage into the back of Henry and headed off to our next stop, Atalissa, IA. We pulled into the Pilot Travel plaza. Just as we were finding a spot to park Dean H pulled in. He was packed and ready for a great week. We got him all checked in and were on the read again about 20 minutes ahead of schedule. By the time we got to McDonalds in Coralville the group was ready for a restroom break and to stretch their legs. Were were waiting when Jerry arrived. He was so happy to see Rolo he had a big smile and a hug for him. Jerry got all checked in and after a restroom break he loaded onto the bus. We met a new traveler, Courtney at this stop as well. We completed some paperwork, gathered his passport and visited with him for a few minutes about our travel procedures. Courtney had a few questions and was ready to meet some new friends and make some memories. Once everyone had a chance to restroom and stretch we set out for our last pick up spot,  Marion Walmart. We greeted our volunteer Mike at this location. We also checked in Dusty who was so excited to go he almost forgot to hug his grandma bye. Shane also arrived at this stop and after visiting with him and his parents we were loaded and heading to camp. Our last travelers, Bartek, Katie and Jerry checked in at Camp Courageous. Thank you Melissa who picked up Jeff and brought him to Camp. Once everyone was in Pitlik cabin, teeth brushed, meds taken, pj’s on, everyone settled in for a good night’s sleep before the day of travel. We are all excited about the adventures we will have this upcoming week. 

 
Good Night, 
The Travel Team

 

Day 2

Good Evening Courageous Travels

The travelers, staff and volunteers woke about 6:15am at Pitlik cabin,

well rested and ready for the day of travel. Once the bags were packed and loaded on the bus the excited group set out for Winnipeg Canada 🇨🇦, with a few stops first. Once we were on the road, Rolo, Treva and Mike made sure everyone got some breakfast bars, poptarts, granola bars and drinks for breakfast. We made our first stop at the Elk Run Heights Flying J travel plaza near Waterloo. Everyone used the restroom and/or stretched their legs a bit. We then headed north into Minnesota. Along the way Rolo, Treva and Mike passed out portable DVD players for anyone who wanted to watch a movie.  At about 11am we stopped to eat at a Culver’s just before Minneapolis.  Everyone enjoyed their fresh meal and just visited with their new friends and staff. When the meal was over the group loaded into the bus and was ready to continue the adventure. Rolo took over driving at this point. As we traveled north into Minnesota it began to rain, the travelers were all comfortable with Rolo’s expert driving skills. He kept the group safe and still kept us on schedule. We arrived at Sickie’s Garage Burgers at about 5pm. I went in to see if our table was ready. They were just finishing up. Our group came in and used the rest room and we were all seated. Our waiter was new at the job, but he was polite and patient with our group. He was surprised to see where we were coming from and even more surprised to see where we were going.  The meal was great, the service was great, the atmosphere was great, everyone had a great time. After dinner we loaded into the bus for the last time of the day. We rode for another 90 minutes and stopped in Grand Forks, ND for the night. This city is about 2 1/2 hours from Winnipeg. We are very close. Everyone got ready for bed with excitement and is now resting for a great adventure tomorrow.

 
Good night all!
 
The Travel Team

Day 3

WELCOME TO CANADA!

 
Our travelers woke ready for their Canadian adventures to begin. Everyone was packed up and ready to go about 6:30am. We ate some of the amazing breakfast the SpringHill Suites in Grand Forks, ND offered. Everyone had their fill of eggs, oatmeal, sausage and a variety of fruits and breads. Once everyone was finished the group loaded into the bus and set out for Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Our experience crossing the boarder was easy as ever. We drove up to the boarder, parked the bus and waited. After a few short minutes a Canadian Border officer came out, looked at our passports, asked a few questions and took a copy of our Itinerary then wished us a great vacation and we were on the road. We stopped at the Manitoba welcome/visitors center. The lady there was great. She took our pictures as a group and then gave us the best directions that saved us time on our first activity, visiting the Assiniboine Zoo. Everyone gathered the informational brochures and thanked this nice lady for her help.  We reloaded the bus and when everyone had their seatbelts on, we headed toward Winnipeg. The Zoo was our first Canadian activity. Everyone loved the zoo. We found lots of cul-du-sacs with great exhibits to explore. Bartek liked the melocks and smiled for a great picture. Shane love the vivid colors of the peacocks. Everyone was amazed to learn that the Male peacock was the gender that was the most colorful and beautiful. The female is quite plain  and does not stand out. Jeff liked the Kangaroo and thought it would be a good idea if our Volunteer Mike would box the kangaroo like in the old cartoons. Mike declined. Paul likes the emo and was impressed by the size of the animal. Courtney really liked watching the butterflies eat the fresh melon they were given. Who knew Butterflies liked melon? 
BJ, Dusty, Katie and Delores couldn’t stop watching the polar bear exhibit. They all laughed as they watched the 2 bears play fighting in the water. Jerry and Dean were impressed by the size of the draft horses on the barn that pulled the wagon. We ate lunch at the zoo and almost everyone found a great souvenir from the zoo gift shop. When it was time to leave we loaded the bus and headed out toward the Canadian Royal Mint. Our guide Stephanie walked us through the process of making money, not just Canadian coins, but coins for countries all over the world, even the USA. Everyone got to see the process from start to finish. After the tour everyone went to the gift shop and purchased their souvenirs.  We then travelled a short distance to Ye’s buffet.  A great Asian buffet. Everyone filled up and enjoyed every bite. When the group had cleaned out half the buffet it was time to go check into our hotel for the next 3 nights. We got all checked in, cleaned up, meds taken and our exhausted travelers slept. What a great day! 
 
Stay tuned for more from Winnipeg tomorrow!
 
The Travel Team

Day 4

Hello Courageous Travels blog followers,

Day 4 of our Winnipeg trip started out with every one getting to sleep in a little. They came to the hotel breakfast area and got their breakfast. We set out for the Heart of the Nation tour given by the Winnipeg Trolley Company. We arrived early enough for everyone to use the restroom. We boarded the trolley at 10:30am for our 2 hour tour. Our driver Gary introduced himself and we set out to find out more about Winnipeg. The trolley was a 1920’s replica with original seats and interior. On the tour Gary informed us that the shopping/dining area we have been to already and will continue to visit several more times to eat and shop is called The Forks because this is where two rivers meet. Dean thought this was facinating.  This made it a natural market area for the trappers and natives to conduct business. 
 
Now over 4 million visitors come to The Forks per year. Winnipeg was once 12 small cities that merged together to make the city of Winnipeg we toured today making it the 8th largest city in Canada. Everyone enjoyed learning about the different areas of town, especially Shane, BJ, Jeff who loves learning about history.  Katie and Delores enjoyed seeing the residential district that had some of the oldest homes in the city. They were beautifully built and maintained so they were updated and lived in today. The tour drove through Assiniboine park. This park was created in the 1880’s and started with the purchase of 270 acres for $18. It has now grown to 650 acres and hosts a zoo, out door ampitheater, lodge, trails, shelters and playground areas. The park also has free parking and a trolley that will take you to and from the Forks throughout the day. Paul, Bartek, Courtney and Jerry liked all the sights the trolley tour showed us. As we were making our way back the trolley driver Gary was telling us all the famous people who came from Winnipeg or did something to help the area. Dusty liked a story about the creater of the Simpson’s cartoon show was originally from Winnipeg and his father was still living there today. This person even named his character after his father, Homer. So, for that reason, Homer Simpson was made an honorary citizen of Winnipeg. As we were returning to the Forks, Gary told us one last story. A citizen of Winnipeg, Sir William Stevenson was a spy during WWII, He went on to work in New York at the American office of the English Interpol and through this helped to create the CIA. Sir William loved fast cars, beautiful woman and drank martinis. He was a close personal friend to a writer named Ian Flemming. Ian Flemming went on to base his character, James Bond, on his friend Sir William Stevenson. So, James Bond was not British, he was Canadian, and from Winnipeg! 
We returned to the Forks and ate our lunch at Empanadas and Co. The food was amazing, Katie, who tried an empanada. She said she loved it. After everyone ate their lunch and rested for a little bit we traveled by Henry to the Manitoba Museum. This museum had so much information about Manitoba and the surrounding area. Everyone loved the exhibits. There were some hands on exhibits about dinosaurs and others about animals that lived in the area, Paul especially liked the zebra. Delores and Courtney enjoyed watching as the northern lights illuminated a polar bear in the Arctic Gallery. Jerry, Jeff, BJ, Katie liked the little ship in the Nonsuch Gallery where they got to step aboard a 17th century ship that helped start the Husdon Bay Trading Company. Dusty really liked seeing where the captian slept. Dean enjoyed the sit down exhibits that told the story of a missing exhibition that was never found. After everyone who wanted to shop had purchased their souvenirs we got back into the bus and headed for the Old Spaghetti Factory in the Forks. We were seated right away. The service was great and the food, oh the food, so good and even a scoop of ice cream to settle our tummies after all the pasta. As we slowly made our way out we noticed music coming from outside. We, love music and a having a good time, so we went to investigate. What did we find, a swing dancing demonstration. They would learn a few new moves then practice and dance. A few of our travelers danced a little in the area we were standing. We danced a dance or two when Jerry asked a nice young lady to dance. He danced on the dance floor and loved it. Before I knew it so many of our Travelers were dancing, and not just with us. They were being asked to dance by other people dancing. This brought tears to my eyes and made my heart swell.  If you are reading this blog that tells me that you have a love for someone, or many, who have special needs. So, I know you will understand the joy we, the Travel team, felt as our travelers were accepted into this group without question. Well, there was one question, “Can he dance?” Was a question asked when Jerry asked another nice lady to dance. When I told her he could she said, “oh good, cause I’m not very good, he can teach me.” Bartek is an amazing dancer. One of the instructors danced with him and he was able to follow most of her moves. Katie danced with Rolo, Treva danced with Dean, I danced with Jeff and Bartek. Anyone who wanted to dance was! This was so far the highlight of the trip! After everyone had burned off a few calories we returned to the hotel, tired, happy and loving this trip!
 
Good night
 
The Travel Team

 

Day 5

Oh what a trip this has been! The travelers started the day with a great breakfast of waffles, eggs, canadian bacon (or maybe they just call it “bacon” here) and the usual complimentary breakfast items. When everyone was all full and ready to go we boarded Henry and headed to Fort Whyte Alive. There we went on a nature walk and learned about how the native Americans lived over 500 years ago. We went into a Teepee and all were told an amazing story of a bison encounter from out volunteer Mike. Everyone was so entertained. After the story Jerry told everyone why white bison have more fur than brown bison, the sun keeps the brow bison warmer so the white bison need more fur. Then Jerry showed everyone his Native American dance. We teased him that it looked a lot like a rain dance and if it rains tomorrow then it would be his fault. He just laughed. We then proceeded up the path to the bison viewing area. The bison were really far off into the distance. Dusty, Dean and BJ tried a bison call but they just ignored them. We walked a little more on the trail then returned to the cafe in the visitors center. Everyone placed their order and while they were waiting for their food some shopped in the gift shop. Delores found a sleeping shirt she liked. Dusty found some postcards and some candy. Paul bought a t-shirt and some magnets, Shane bought some T-shirts. Katie was saving her money for the Forks. Jerry, Dean, Bartek have no interest in shopping anymore! When I told Jerry we were going to look in the gift shop he rolled his eyes and asked, “Again?” Then he laughed. After everyone had finished their meal and shopping we board Henry we left Fort Whyte and headed to the Forks. Once we got there anyone who needed the rest room, or washroom as they call it here in Canada, went into the forks while the rest of the group waited to board the Wonderful Winnipeg City Tour bus. Once the entire group had gathered we were off on our tour. We met our great guides Bill and Wendy who began the tour with a bottle of water for everyone and a fan to use incase the temperature got too hot. Yesterday we learned the Forks got it’s name because it was the “fork” of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. Many years ago the Forks area had been the meeting place for many native Americans. After some excavating was done some of the items found dated back nearly 6000 year. Many settlers from Ireland, Scotland and England began building in the area because it was an excellent place to conduct business with the west beginning to become more popular and the easy access to the trading because of the rivers. Many people saw this as an opportunity to make a good life for their family. Bill informed the group that Winnipeg became the capitol of Manitoba in 1874. Winnipeg is in the exact middle of Canada, making it the Heart of Canada. Winnipeg means “muddy water” which is appropriate because the two rivers meeting makes the water appear muddier than other rivers. We learned a lot about the history of Winnipeg but the favorite story of the group was of a bear named Winnipeg. In 1914, young world war 1 calvary soldier named Harry Colebourn from Winnipeg was on his way to Valcartier to report to the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps. Along the way he purchased an orphaned bear for $20.00. He named the bear, Winnipeg or Winnie for short, after his beloved home town. Winnie accompanied him to Valcartier and all the way to England, becoming the mascot of the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade Headquarters. Before leaving for France, Colebourn left Winnie at London Zoo.Winnie’s eventual destination was to have been the Assiniboine Park Zoo inWinnipeg, but at the end of the War, Colebourn decided to allow Winnie to remain at the London Zoo, where she was much loved for her playfulness and gentleness. Among her fans was A. A. Milne‘s son Christopher Robin, who consequently changed the name of his own teddy bear from “Edward Bear” to “Winnie the Pooh”, providing the inspiration for his father’s stories aboutWinnie-the-Pooh. When the tour was over the group did some shopping at the forks. Anyone who wanted to shop found some great souvenirs and gifts to take home. The last activity for the day was a Celebration Dinner Show. The group arrived at the Canad Inn hotel and when they saw what the billboard read they were so excited. “Mamma Mio, Here We Go Again, a celebration of the wonderful music of ABBA, and other classic bands of the era, as we tell another tale of love lost, love found and love rediscovered. Take a step back to the crazy 70s when our characters first met and see how lifelong friendships began.”  When it was time to be seated the stars of the show came and got us. They welcomed Courageous Travels to the show and ushered us to our tables. The tables had, “Welcome Courageous Travels” signs on them. We were introduced to our server, who was dressed like Madonna, who promptly took our drink order. After the drinks arrived we got our soup, a delicious Italian Wedding soup. Bread arrived and shortly after that so did a salad. During this time the stars of the show were walking around introducing them selves to the customers. Our group with all the travel shirts was not hard to pass by. They asked our travelers lots of questions, where they were from, how long they were here, where they traveled before. They were genuinely interested in our group and it made the Travelers feel like VIP’s. After the salad, Madonna came by and cleared our plates away. She then asked what entree we wanted. We had the choice of roast beef, chicken Kiev, Caribbean fish or 3 cheese pasta. Everyone placed their order and then the lights began to dim. The show was about to begin. In Act 1 we learn that Norman, the father of 2 young men, had been keeping his past from his boys and a woman from their father’s past could be their birth mom. Then it flashes back to Norman and his 2 friends as young men on a vacation to a remote greek Island. The men met some nice young woman and they all seem to like each other. While telling the story they were singing the songs of the 70’s. The travelers LOVED it. They were singing along, clapping their hands and dancing in their chairs. After Act 1 there was an intermission and our entree arrived. Everyone loved their meal choice. After the food was eaten the show began again. At a point in Act 2 the performers were singing the song, Stayin’ Alive they called our group to the floor to dance. Barek, Jerry, Dusy, BJ, Kate all danced with Rolo and I. Everyone loved being part of the show. After Act 2 everyone received their dessert. Orange or chocolate cake. They were both amazing. Once the final act started everyone was so full and so excited to see how the show would end. At a point in the last act the performers were walking through the croud one of the performers took Jerry by the hand and Jerry walked with the performers dancing all the way. When he was supposed to come off the stage and returned to his seat he didn’t. He continued to be up on stage. Everyone, including the performers thought this was great. I assisted Jerry off the stage and everyone was cheering and clapping for him. He raised his arms and smiled as we walked past. When the show was over some of the travelers wanted signatures from the performers. They visited for a little while then used the restroom. Rolo brought the bus around and safely transported everyone back to the Humprys’ Hotel. Everyone was tired and ready for a good night’s sleep.

Good night

The Courageous Travels Team


 

Day 6

 

1 Response

  1. leanne mayhew says:

    glad they had fun