I am very lucky to have the time, funds, and support to do some crazy trips and this one definitely counts.
If you recall, Lars drove out with us and then returned home via Frontier Air (new route and pretty good, hope it stays). This left the kids and me in NY and we filled our time with friends and relatives and general good visiting things. My mom volunteered to help drive us all back and I planned an alternative way back.
So from our house in MN to my parents in NY is 17 driving hours with no traffic. We have done the trip many times and it goes more or less straight west across the country and then go north at Chicago and North West over to MN. The plan this time was to go North first and then drive West for a total of 20 driving hours. We angled North and had dinner with relatives and they outdid themselves with a giant meal. They also drove the extra 15min north to show us Lake Ontario, one of the Great Lakes. We hugged goodbye and drove west toward Buffalo and spent the night at a hotel.
The hotel was not the best… it had issues but nothing I could not look past until poor Fiona rejected the giant dinner and dessert and car treats and threw up on the floor and on the closed toilet lid. Not cool. Not at all. I called the front desk and apologized and asked for some supplies to clean and their offering was 3 washcloths and a spray. yeah. That was not enough. Mom got them to hand over a bucket and a vacuum but hey, gloves might have been nice, or paper towels or a trash can? I got it clean and as I was cleaning I got their floor cleaner then it started. Oh well, they do not get 5 stars. We moved on in the morning after a decent sleep to see one of the natural wonders of the world Niagara Falls. We got super lucky with a 30min break in the rain right went we got there so short trip but worth it.
I wish I had preplanned because it would have saved over an hour if we could have driven through Canada but we had no documents for the kids and given the policy right now I’m not even going near a border if I can help it. The travel program kept telling us there was “a faster route” for over 50 miles and finally, quit when we had driven far enough around Lake Erie for it to give up and let us go. The next stop was to see friends who are making a go of the homesteading thing. They are clearing land and using the trees to build their home as well as using the land for naturalized farming (using what will grow there rather than clearing). We saw their adventure and then went to dinner at a nice place nearby. The hotel was 2 hours north so we reluctantly left at dark, and that far north it was nearly 10pm, and tucked sleeping kids into a nice little travel hotel at midnight.
The final day of our driving took us on the car ferry across Lake Michigan, the third Great lake in as many days. I’m conflicted about the ferry. It was a very nice ship with great fun things like movies and a kid room and bingo and trivia as well as 3 places to eat and a bar and lots of nice places to sit and watch the water. These lakes are GIANT, I could see no land in any direction after we lost sight of the shore for over an hour and we were going across the shortest part. The negative is that it is expensive and only saves about an hour of drive time, however, you are going the equivalent of 4 hours down the road with nobody driving. Timing is also fixed and while it worked for us this time, it might not really in the future. Still, worth the experience and by day three we could use a driving break.
The last little bit of the trip, a mere 4 hours, went well and we got home to a nice dinner and a tidy house thanks to Lars (and vacation mom).
We were not exactly ‘back to normal’ because my mom stayed with us for a week so we had a different sort of vacation where we want to maximize the grandma time. We spent our time talking about things to come and house plans and getting some things planned. We went to the Zoo and the splash pad and one night Mom watched the girls so Lars and I could go out for his birthday and on Saturday we drove up to Duluth to get our 4th great lake viewed. Lake Superior is 5% of the surface water for the entire planet and is an impressive sight. We did the lake walk that is a couple miles along the shore with various historical markers then visited a very short lighthouse. Prima came along this time and was an icebreaker as everyone remarks on the cuteness and smallness of our dog. She made the walk through and slept well that night.
Mom left yesterday and today I moved into the next phase of the move where I really buckle down and get details done. I updated addresses for next months bills as I paid this month and arranged for service switches etc. Lars thought I was doing it too early but #1 its easier to just call as I pay each bill and #2 I found out it takes up to 2 weeks for the internet to be installed at a new construction. Glad I started early! This week we deliver the things we have been collecting like lights and hardware because next week they start installing things like that. Pretty soon things will really look like a house in there.
There you go, 2 weeks travel in about 1000 words. Time to get back to my to-do list and tomorrow is a holiday so if I want it off I need to finish.