Friday, October 24, 2014

Trevor's Travel Binder, Part 5

Here's Part 5 of Trevor's Travel Binder! (To see it from the beginning, go here.)

On Saturday 11/14, we had a scheduled sea day. It was supposed to have been the only sea day of the 10-day cruise, but weather conditions had prevented us from visiting two scheduled ports. We enjoyed the relaxing day and took advantage of all sorts of shipboard activities. A highlight was watching my nephew Timothy compete in an egg drop competition. 

That night at dinner, Trevor asked everyone in our group to name their top 5 favorite things from the trip. It was very hard to pick just five! We went to so many interesting and beautiful places and learned so much. We ate great food and had lots of fun. I ended up listing the fall colors, Eckhart in the City scavenger hunt, Acadia National Park, Toronto, and Quebec City as my top 5, but there are at least 10 other things I could easily have substituted for any of those. This truly was a wonderful trip.

It was great fun to compare what each person had said they were looking forward to on Day 1 with the actual highlights they listed on Day 15.

We sailed into New York Harbor at sunrise on Sunday 10/12. The Statue of Liberty has never looked so beautiful. And our view of the New York skyline with the new World Trade Center couldn't have been better. We got off the ship at 9:00 am and took a shuttle to the Newark airport. After a 6 hour flight, a tense 30 minutes of searching for a missing piece of luggage, waiting for a shuttle, and an hour-long drive (interrupted with Trevor announcing he might throw up, which fortunately he did not), we were finally home. As Trevor wrote in his journal, "This wasn't a fun day, but the whole trip was very fun."

Here's a look at some of the "Cool Stuff" Trevor put in his Travel Binder.

We gave Trevor $80 to spend during our 16-day trip. All souvenirs, snacks, or extra activities he wanted would come out of that budget. We weren't sure how that was going to go; in the past, Trevor has been eager to spend money right after receiving it. But he did an amazing job of budgeting. He thought about how many cities we'd be visiting (10, although two ended up being canceled) and decided that he could spend around $8 per city. He thought about every purchase very carefully and made excellent choices. More than once, he commented that he would have bought a particular item if it had cost X, but it was not worth it to him at Y. 

Here is how he spent his money. He got a great variety of items, including a postcard to send to his classmates and $2 worth of Canadian nickels to pass out during his class presentation. He came home with $15.93 left over. 

We gave him $10 and $5 Canadian bills to put in his binder.

He kept one coin of each denomination to put in his binder as well. I showed him how to sandwich the coins between clear contact paper so that he could see display sides of each coin.

Trevor used his Travel Binder to create a slideshow and presentation for his class. He started by dictating everything he wanted to tell his classmates, then we went through the photos together to match them with his text. He did an amazing job. If you'd like to read his text, you can see it here.

This was such a wonderful project. I am so grateful to his teacher for giving him such a creative assignment. Trevor loved doing it and has a record of the trip that he can keep forever.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Trevor's Travel Binder, Part 4

Here's Part 4 of Trevor's Travel Binder! (To see it from the beginning, go here.)

On Wednesday 10/8, we visited Halifax in Nova Scotia. We took a Duck Tour, which was great fun and one of the highlights of the trip for Trevor. We spent the rest of the day exploring Halifax and walking on the boardwalk.

The Question of the Day asked, "How was your day?"

On Thursday 10/9, we went to Bar Harbor, Maine. Because we were returning to the US after Canadian travel, we had to clear immigration first thing in the morning. Then we went to Acadia National Park. It was gorgeous. We had a wonderful hike that took us through different biomes. Then we went to the top of Cadillac Mountain. It was a fantastic day.

Trevor asked us, "What did you mainly like in Maine?"

On Friday 10/4, my mom joined Trevor and me for a guided walk along the Freedom Trail while Steve took a culinary tour and the rest of the family went to Fenway Park. This was my first visit to Boston and I was thrilled to finally be there. I was supposed to have gone with my students in early 2002. After taking fifth graders on a very successful trip to New York City and Washington D.C., my coworker and I started planning a New York City and Boston trip. Our itinerary was set and plans were in place, then September 11, 2001 changed everything. Our deposits were due, but we didn't know what air travel would be like in the upcoming months, nor which historic sites would be open. Parents were concerned that it wouldn't be safe to travel, so we canceled the trip. 

Even though Trevor has not studied American history yet, he was still very interested in everything along the Freedom Trail. 

That night at dinner he asked us all, "How was Boston?"

Tomorrow I'll share the last part of Trevor's Travel Binder.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Trevor's Travel Binder, Part 3

On to Part 3 of Trevor's Travel Binder! (To see it from the beginning, go here.)

On Saturday 10/4, we were scheduled to visit the village of Saguenay. We arrived to clear skies but lots of wind. Our ship was anchored, so we had tender service to the dock. They sent one group ashore before declaring it too windy for safe passage on tenders. The port was canceled and the group brought back as soon as it was safe to do so. We were very disappointed to miss Saguenay. Trevor and I were planning a hike at Saguenay National Park, while Steve was going to go sea kayaking with my sister's family. But it was nice to have an unexpected day at sea for reading, relaxing, and all the onboard activities.

Trevor's Question of the Day asked us to rank Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City from our favorite to least favorite. Of the 9 who answered (18 month old Allison was asleep and wouldn't have understood the question anyway), 8 of us ranked Toronto tops, Quebec City second, and Montreal third. My dad was the only one who had a different opinion.

On Sunday 10/5, we were supposed to stop at Gaspe, but once again it was too windy for us to safely get ashore. We'd been planning to visit Forillon National Park, so it was once again disappointing to miss our hike. But the ship really stepped it up with onboard activities to make up for the canceled port. Steve and Trevor both entered a paper airplane contest. Out of the 30+ people who entered, they were the only two to successfully fly their planes from Deck 7 through a hula hoop on Deck 5.

The Question of the Day asked us to each name one interesting fact we'd learned about Canada so far.

On Monday 10/6, we visited Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island. It was a wonderful city. We took a guided trolley tour in the morning, then spent the afternoon exploring on our own. We stumbled on a super-cool scavenger hunt that ended up being a highlight of the trip for us. We enjoyed some Moo Crunch and Fluff N Udder at Cow's, an ice cream shop ranked best in Canada and best in the world. Well-deserved, in our opinion.

That evening, Trevor asked us "How was your tour?" Our group of 10 people had done three different tours, so we answered in groups. It was great to reconnect in the evening and share our day's adventures.

On Tuesday 10/7, we were in Sydney, Nova Scotia. We visited the Cape Breton Miners' Museum. What an amazing tour! We learned so much from our guide, who had actually started working in that very mine at the age of 8.

Next, we headed to the Glace Bay Heritage Museum, where we sampled some extremely tasty oat cakes and then enjoyed the museum. 

Trevor asked each of us about our favorite thing of the day. He really had to think about his answer, since he'd enjoyed it all so much. He decided the oat cakes were his favorite part. He announced that he wanted to make them for his classmates during his oral report. They were a huge hit.

On to Part 4 tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Trevor's Travel Binder, Part 2

On to Part 2 of Trevor's Travel Binder! (To see it from the beginning, go here.)

On Tuesday 9/30, we took a five-hour train ride from Toronto to Montreal. I knew to expect Quebec to be very French-speaking, but I was still surprised by how very dominant French was there. As we crossed from Ontario to Montreal on the train, the announcements switched from being English first French second to French first English second.

For the Question of the Day, Trevor asked our group the following trivia questions:

  1. How many time zones are there in Canada?
  2. Canada has the longest ___________ and _____________ in the world.
  3. What baseball item was invented in Canada?
  4. What animal is on the Canadian quarter?
  5. What percent of the world's maple syrup is made in Quebec?
  6. How many points are on the Canadian flag's maple leaf?

The answers (and who got each question right) are on this page.

We spent all of Wednesday 10/1 exploring Montreal. The highlight was visiting the Underground Pedestrian Network. I had no idea that such a thing existed. Another fun thing we did today is to start making a list of differences between Montreal and Toronto. Aside from practically everything being in French in Montreal, we also noticed far more smoking, more litter, more graffiti, pay phones, different emergency vehicles, and more fall colors. Toronto was more child-friendly.

Trevor asked each of us to rate Montreal from 1-10 (with 10 being the highest) on eight different criteria. We overwhelmingly agreed that Montreal was different, but our responses on the other topics had quite a bit of variety.

On Thursday 10/2, we took a three-hour train ride from Montreal to Quebec City. The view from the train was gorgeous. Quebec is stunningly beautiful in the fall. When we arrived in Quebec City, we walked about a mile to board our cruise ship, the Ruby Princess.

The Question of the Day asked how we liked the ship. We all loved it.

Overnight, our ship moved from one pier in Quebec City to a different pier just a mile away. We spent the whole day exploring Quebec City. We toured a sugar shack and ate fresh maple taffy, visited Montmorency Falls and walked on a bridge over the falls, and explored the streets downtown. It was a great day.

Trevor asked everyone what Montmorency Falls was like. He'd used one of my random clear stamps to create a checkbox. I chose happy, pretty, real, genuine, joyful, loud, strong, and perfect. 

Part 3 tomorrow.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Trevor's Travel Binder, Part 1

What a week it's been! We came home from our 16-day trip to eastern Canada and New England on Sunday 10/12 and have spent the whole week juggling the normal post-vacation stuff (laundry, bills, neglected work, etc) with Trevor's Independent Study assignment. He finished his 49-page travel binder, then I helped him prepare a one-hour presentation (!) that he is giving to his class today. It's been a lot of fun, but really intense.

Here is the first part of Trevor's Travel Binder, starting with the cover:

Each evening, Trevor wrote a summary of the day's activities. On Saturday 9/27, we flew from San Francisco to Toronto, then took a taxi to our hotel. Trevor's summary mentions that the hotel was not expecting us, but it does not mention that the hotel was already completely full even though we were holding papers in our hands confirming our stay. They ended up letting us sleep on cots in their boardroom. Not ideal.

Part of Trevor's assignment was to conduct interviews of his traveling companions each day of the trip. The Question of the Day for 9/27 was "What are you looking forward to?" It was really interesting to hear each person's answers.

On Sunday 9/28, we took a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of Toronto. It was fantastic. Toronto was safe, clean, friendly, interesting, beautiful, and child-friendly. We could easily have spent a week there.

The Question of the Day asked "What did you like in Toronto?"

On Monday 9/29, we took a bus tour to Niagara Falls with stops at some interesting places along the way. The highlight of the day was taking a Hornblower Cruise right up to the falls. It was incredible.

The Question of the Day was "Describe Niagara Falls in one word."

I'll share the next part of Trevor's Travel Binder tomorrow.