Guest blog by Susie Kellogg
We’re a tight family of 14 (12 kids, 2 parents and a dog) and we all reside together in a 36′ RV. It’s been 25 months and we’ve logged over 59,000 miles, visited 30+ states, and 3 provinces in Canada — Ontario, Montreal and New Brunswick. What began as a fun vacation has transformed into a way of life! We wanted to show our children a different way of life. Working 9-5, living for weekends and 2 week vacations until we are lucky enough to reach 65 and retire does not sound like living, it sounds like existing. So we traded it all in for the unknown, a spontaneous, adventure filled dream that inspires us to wake with the sun in anticipation of the day ahead.
We are adrenaline junkies, it’s true, we love adventure, excitement and scaring the heck out of ourselves!! We climb, cave, snowboard, kayak, dirt bike, raft, you name it, if it’s something most people deem “too dangerous” we do it! We love it all, but our absolute favorite extreme sport is whitewater kayaking. When we first started paddling, it literally changed our lives. Today, it drives our travels and takes us all over the continent in search of new adventures.
And that is exactly how we found ourselves in Ontario!! The Ottawa River is one of the best and one of the biggest whitewater playgrounds in the world. It’s a world class body of water where regardless of the water level, there are a plethora of great surfing waves and so many different channels to take when running it, that it never ever gets old! It’s where part of the Whitewater Grand Prix is held (google this insanity), and it’s where the Freestyle Kayaking World Championships will be held in 2015.
The Ottawa River is one of those places that can light the hearts of any extreme kayaker, but it’s also one of the safest rivers in the world. It’s one of those unique spots where regardless of skill level, everyone has fun! Our younger kids were out on the river having a blast, alongside me and Dan and all our older kids! You know what they say, “a Family That Plays Together, Stays Together!” Maddy even got to surf a few of the rapids with her favorite kayaker, World Champion, Claire O’Hara!
It’s also a place you want to return year after year after year. And so, we returned, for the second year in a row, in August 2014. We ran several different channels on the river, surfed waves like Garb and Baby Face, Pushbutton and Corner Wave and even had the opportunity to take a family trip down this epic river with OWL Rafting! We would have stayed all summer if we could, in fact, next year that’s what we plan to do, but we partnered with GoRVing Canada (GoRVing.ca) to see a ton of Eastern Canada and so we were keeping to a slight if ever-changing schedule.
To watch a video of our rafting trip, follow this link.
As for Ottawa, you know, it’s definitely a small world out there when a family from the United States runs into a gazillion people they know on a river in Canada! While we expect to run into some people we know, based simply on the fact that the Ottawa River is a paddling mecca, we were floored to see that our raft guide was none other than Fidel Moreno, from Argentina! who we actually met last year at the Freestyle Kayaking World Championships in North Carolina. We were psyched, he’s a whitewater paddler, so he gets us! He catered to our adventurous spirit and to make a long story short, we all had a blast and it gave Maddy (9) the opportunity to check out the river before committing to running it in a kayak!!
You can see her account of the whole experience in her blog .
Catch us on the following links kayaking some crazy extreme stuff, snowboarding, caving, whitewater rafting, climbing, riverboarding, surfing or just plain old being us.
Hope to meet you on the road someday!!
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