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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Michigan Vacation Recap...

Wow, ok, I kept saying to myself that I'd sit down and blog about our Michigan vacation in full detail with pictures and links and everything.  And, well... it's been nearly three weeks and I have not had the time to sit and focus like that... nor do I see that opportunity arising in the future.  So, dang it.  This will have to do...

Route 1: Grand Prairie, TX to Whitehall, MI
Friday, Aug 3rd:
Michael arrived home from work later than expected and it took us longer to pack up than expected as well.  Late start, but finally on the road around 330pm.  We got about an hour into the trip and Preston already had to go to the bathroom.  Stopped for Dinner and bathroom in Greenville.  Then proceeded to drive all night.  Several stops for bathroom, drinks, snacks, diaper changes.  One particularly memorable diaper change occurred in the middle of no where Arkansas.  Callen started complaining that his bottom hurt quite vehemently, so we pulled over at the next exit... nothing but cornfields, not even a streetlight.  Oh well.  Proceeded to change the kid, who was neither wet nor messy (grr!), and approximately 1billion mosquitoes flew into our vehicle because of the light.  Oops.  That was NOT cool.  We also realized that we were getting very poor gas mileage and the wind noise caused by the overheard luggage was incredibly irritating.  We decided to stop, also in Arkansas, and take everything down from the luggage rack and cram it in the back so we could stop the noise AND get better gas mileage.  To our surprise, everything fit fine.  We didn't even NEED the luggage rack and cross bars, which we had purchased specifically for this trip because we though the back was simply too small for our luggage.  Sigh.  Anyway, other than that our overnight drive went rather smoothly and we arrived at our destination around 1130am on Saturday morning.

Saturday, Aug 4th:
Arrived in Michigan, then drove through a parade in Grand Rapids and finally ended up in Whitehall, Michigan - our final destination!  Left the kids with grandparents and attempted to rest for a while.  Enjoyed checking out "Grandma" and "Grandpa's" house, and the nice lake view out their back window.  And the kids fell in love with their giant basement.  Michael and I were able to slip away after dinner and have dessert by ourselves at Pekadill's.  Mmm!

Sunday, Aug 5th:
Church and lunch afterwards at... Pekadill's.  We got to spend some time with Great Aunt Laura there.  Great Grandma Kathy came over and Callen got to meet her for the first time in person!  Later we all went to Duck Lake and splashed around in the little creek there, and went out into Lake Michigan.  Callen LOVED the little creek.  However, as soon as we got a bit out into the "big water," and a large wave smashed into his face, he wasn't so crazy about the water.  Plus, it was a bit cool and he couldn't stop shivering, poor thing!  Preston loved every bit of it.  Michael and he ran up and down the sand dune, and thankfully didn't fall!

Monday, Aug 6th:
Michael's birthday!  He wanted to go sailing so he, Preston and Steve went over to a friend's house to borrow a boat.  Michael and Preston sailed a little ways, then the winds kicked up and pushed them into the shore... they had to abandon the boat and walk back to the friend's house.  And when the got there the friend and Steve were gone.  They had gone in another boat to tow back to the sail boat because they had seen what happened.  It was quite a little adventure for Preston!  After that we visited a little tourist town called Pentwater... it was so fun.  We visited the Cosmic Candy Company to get some pressed pennies for Preston.  And I scored some delicious Michigan Cherry Coffee, mmme!  Then we went out to Ludington State Park to get some more pennies and visit the dam.  We also went over to the SS Badger Car Ferry for some pennies.  Played at the park there and had a pizza picnic.  The kids were rather grumpy off and on even though the weather was nice and we were having fun along the way

Tuesday, Aug 7th:
We knocked ourselves out on Tuesday!  We picked blueberries... the boys loved that, so much fun!  Then we went to Mac Wood's Dune Rides, the Country Dairy and Lewis Farm to pet some animals.  At the Country Dairy we got to drink all the milk/chocolate milk we wanted, visit some cows and had some yummy lunch.  That place was neat... next time we'll have to go earlier to get to do the dairy tour (it was closed).  That evening we went out to see the sunset on the Lake at White River Light Station.  It was lovely. It was a full day of fun and being outside in the nice weather.

Wednesday, Aug 8th:
The boys, Michael and I went down to Holland to visit the little Dutch Village to get some pennies.  We had lunch, went out to see Pere Marquette and the Big Lake again.  Then went and visited with Great Grandma Kathy again.  And met up with Steve, Jill and Laura at the Unity Fest Concert.  We saw Manic Drive, Abandon Kansas, Group1Crew and Peter Furler and Phil Joel.  It was fun... and it drizzled on us.  

Thursday, Aug 9th:
Michael wanted to take Preston out on a canoe ride, but he wouldn't go (grumpy guts!) so Michael went with his Dad.  The kids and I just hung out around the house.  Later we went out to a little town called Bitely because they had a little shop there with a penny machine, and pretty much nothing else.  We stopped and ate at a restaurant called "Daniel's." And we dropped by an Amish store... with no electricity and all kinds of fun little things!  That evening, Michael and I had a date by ourselves for dinner at Sam's Bistro.  We shared a yummy pizza, and the owner of the store gave us our dinner for free because Jill always sent him so much business!  Yay!  We started packing up and getting ready for the return trip.

Friday, Aug 10th:
We left around 815am and had several stops to make on the way to our hotel.  After the long drive there, we decided we needed to break up the trip home.  We stopped in Arcola, Indiana at Rockome Gardens.  It was this neat attraction that had a lot of Amish stuff, old schoolhouse and shops, a Raggedy Ann & Andy museum and all kinds of neat stuff.  Would have loved to stayed and looked around a while, but since we were on a schedule we just had to get the penny and go.  We also stopped at some truck stops in Portage, Indiana to get pennies.  We arrived in Marion, Illinois, where we were staying for the night (Sikeston was completely BOOKED!).  Got checked into our hotel and walked across the street to the 17th Street Grill for dinner and pennies!  It was delicous!  Then we drove over to Makanda to get some more pennies at their Boardwalk, but it was all closed up.  Booo!  (I left a note with some money and they ended up sending us the pennies in the mail, yay!).  We went back to the hotel and swam in the indoor pool, boys had a blast.  The hotel was REALLY great for the price... it was  a Country Inn & Suites, and I highly recommend it!

Saturday, Aug 11th:
Left the hotel around 815am and our first stop was at Boomland for pennies and drinks.  Then we stopped by Lambert's Cafe, but they didn't open for another 1.5 hours and we didn't want to wait so we had to skip those pennies.  We stopped in Benton, Arkansas for a penny and finally made it home all in one piece.

Whew!  It was a fantastic trip. The weather was so nice it was very hard to leave Whitehall that Friday.  We would have loved to stay for a week or two more, but just couldn't do it.  The boys had a great time, even though the fussed and complained about a lot of things... I know they enjoyed it.  It was so great to just get away and do fun stuff and enjoy family up there.  I can't wait to go again!

See Preston's Pennies blog post about the trip here.

Here are pix... they're not exactly in order.  Enjoy!







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