___________ May 26, 2015 ___________

Vacation Time!

((day one: to the bridge!))

Whew!  Well, as always, I have waited until we’re home to tell you that we’ve been gone for a week on our annual spring vacation.  I don’t like people to know when we’re not home.  I’m just a little leery of that.  But I blogged the entire trip while we were away, and the goal is to share everything this week… with pictures.  ((Adding the pics will be the fun part.  I took 900-ish, Lydia took 600-ish.  There’s some sorting/editing to do…))
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Two Saturdays ago was our first day of vacation.  It. Was. packed from the moment the alarm went off until the moment we hit the pillow, that Friday night.  Craziness.  But then, you know me.  I’m the type that has everything planned out to the most minute detail.  Which reminds me… I should start this by posting our itinerary:
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Have I mentioned I’m a little anal?
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I should back up.  Every spring, we do a week-long adventure trip, to see what there is in a specific region.  We want to see our great nation, and figured working out from where we are is the best way to go.  We started a few years ago (when we finally were out of diapers and didn’t require a port-a-crib and the like).  We started with the west side of the state one year, then the east side of the state another year, and the tip of the state/east part of the U.P., together another year.  Last year, we took the ferry over and did the east coast of Wisconsin.  I should go back and do post series on each region that we’ve done.  ((They’re in my photo albums at FB, in the meantime.))  Anyhow, this year, we decided to do the middle of the Upper Peninsula (or U.P.).
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There’s just too much in the U.P. to visit in one week – it’s an amazingly beautiful part of the country.  If you’ve never been, you have no idea.  So it has sort of worked out to split it into three parts… the east U.P and ‘tip of the mitten’, the middle of the U.P., and then the Porcupines and west side of the peninsula when we do northern Wisconsin.  And I research everything there is to see.  Gardens.  Waterfalls.  Lighthouses.  Historical sites.  Quirky stops.  Tours.  And being a homeschooling family of seven on one modest income, it has to be affordable.  It’s doable – it just takes some time/research.
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Anyhoo!  Thursday night we took care of everything outside – mowing the lawn, weed whacking, clean-up, changing out the plates on my car, finishing Brian’s side job work in the barn, making sure critters were prepped for vacation.  Friday we cleaned inside, because we had to have all laundry done, kids bathed, dishes done, counters wiped, trash taken out and/or burned, etc.  Friday night when Brian got home, we packed clothing and non-perishables.
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Saturday morning we got up, gussied, and Lydia and I went to a dance recital for Lydia’s friend Grace.  I just like to go and hang out with Ramona, Grace’s mom.  She’s my BFF, if I were to say I had one.  We just get along so well.  And I took over 500 pictures, so there’s that, too.  But we couldn’t dally – had to get home, where Brian was preparing a Shabbat lunch for us, all ready for when we arrived.  We ate, packed perishable things (and bathroom stuff… things that need to be put in last).  I cleared off my camera, and we got on the road.
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Saturday night we drove up to the Mackinac Bridge.  We actually stopped off at one roadside park and climbed a look-out to stretch, but mostly we just wanted to get the five and a half hour drive out of the way, so that Sunday morning we could start our vacation fresh.  So the goal was to get to the bridge, that night.  We did stop in Mackinaw city to have our picture taken WITH the bridge, but it was so buggy, we just snapped the pic and got back in the car.  Then we crossed the bridge… and we were in the U.P!!!
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I wasn’t sure how this trip was going to go.  I’ve been a little… weird about it, being that I was going home for the first time in twenty-two years.  See, I grew up in the U.P., mostly.  Haven’t been back since Pop (my stepdad) retired from the USAF.  It’s been a long time.  I’d been really nostalgic the two weeks of planning.  It’s not just vacation, it’s a return, you know?  And I was already a basket-case, I’ll have you know.  I started crying in Gaylord… we weren’t even out of the mitten, yet!!  GAH, I figured going to be insane by the end of this trip!  The good news is that I was just getting the emo out of my system ahead of time.  Everything else went smoothly, without any breakdowns, so… *whew.*  Glad to have gotten that out of the way.
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We decided to stay over night in St. Ignace – the city on the  U.P. side of the bridge.  It’s less busy.  Also, when I was a little girl (and my mom had to take us for visitation to my dad in G.R.), we always stayed at the Million Dollar View Motel with a view of the Mighty Mac (big bridge).  So I kind of wanted to at least SEE that motel, maybe stay near it.  Nostalgia…
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Anyhow, it wasn’t there, anymore.  IMG_5629 (655x777)So we stayed in a Super 8 that was about the same place as the Million Dollar View Motel was.  When we went inside, Brian pointed at a sign behind the counter.  It read, “This Days Inn is owned and operated by the owners of the Million Dollar View Motel”.  I said, “OHMIGOSH… they tore it down, and put this up in it’s place?!”
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“They did.”  The lady behind the counter agreed.  “But they kept two of the old units for storage… you can see them out back.”  And she gave us a room with a ‘million dollar’ view of the bridge.  Room 217… my favorite number, scrambled!   She was so surprised that I stayed in the old motel.  “It’s been gone so long… I don’t believe you’re old enough to remember it!” she exclaimed.  Well… I’m apparently older than I look.  ((snort.))
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The hotel had a pool, so we went for a swim, and there were three elderly people there.  They LOVED watching the kids play, and then we had a chat in the hot tub with them – they’re from Battle Creek (south of our home), and were going to the Island.  They loved talking to our kids about our critters and our trip.  And then we headed back up to our room to sigh over our million dollar view.
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More tomorrow…
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