Friday, June 30, 2017

Ohio to Michigan to Minnesota to Illinois and Home: Part 1

We headed out on vacation on June 7 this year.  Our goal was to see Theo and Miles (the girls’ cousins) get baptized.  Our destination was Minneapolis.  We went there in 2013 when Jason (Jeremy’s brother) and Niki were married.  That trip, we went via Chicago, did Navy Pier and the Aquarium.  This year, Chicago was looking okay, but we wanted to mix it up.  Jeremy as travelled a lot into Michigan in the past year or so for work.  He knew of a car ferry that you could take across Lake Michigan.  So, we looked into it and planned our trip to include it.  We camped at Ludington State Park on the shore of Lake Michigan for two nights.  It was a beautiful state park with a great beach. Then, we set up camp.  It was the first use of our tent outside of Wayne County.  We camped in our backyard last summer. Then we used it earlier in the month for an overnight at Camp Luz with our church.  The days and nights were perfect for camping. 

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We checked out the beach as soon as the tent was set up..

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We did a short hike on a trail that had over 150 stairs to get to the boardwalk!  Talk about a workout!  From here, we could run down (and crawl up) a big sand dune.  This was definitely a highlight for the girls.  On the way back we saw many deer and fawns in the woods which was cool.

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We ate supper out, started a meager fire, roasted the customary s’mores, and headed to bed. 

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The next day, we took off on a hike to see a lighthouse.  The trail started through the woods and was beautiful.  The last 3/4mi was in deep sand to get the lighthouse.  It made for shoes full of sand, tired girls, and hard walking.  But we made it!

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We had a much deserved lunch before inquiring about going up the 130 stairs to the top of the lighthouse.  We bought four tickets up.  Ellie couldn’t quite make the narrow stairway and holey stairs; she and Jeremy turned back.  Madison and I plugged along

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The view was spectacular.

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On the way back, we took a dirt road to a different trail that eventually connected us to our original trail.  It was a better route with less sand. 

Once back, we wasted no time dressing for the beach.  It was a beautiful, but windy day.  The wind made it cool for me… I wore a fleece to lay on the sand!  The girls just played in their suits. It was very relaxing.

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We ate supper at Big Boy, a nostalgic restaurant for Jeremy.  Then, returned to camp, showered, and headed to bed.  We needed to be up with everything packed up, and at the ferry by 8:00 in the morning.  The night brought rain; we stayed dry.  Our tent was wet to pack up, but it would have to do.

We arrived to board the S.S. Badger with time to spare.  It is a huge boat.  They load your car for you, and you enter up a ramp.  What had started as an overcast day turned into beautiful blue skies… with some serious wind on the stern of the boat!  The boat was untethered and we took off!

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It was a fun four hours – BINGO, kids play room, food, scavenger hunt, movies (that we didn’t watch), and a ship to explore.  The girls had fun, and so did we. 

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We arrived in Wisconsin at noon and headed on to Minneapolis.  Five or six hours later we were at our destination and happy to be out of the car!

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