Sunday, August 7, 2011
In twelve days, we visited Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia and Virginia and had wonderful time visiting loved ones and having adventures. We hadn't undertaken a extended trip with so many stops since Jove was two years old and we camped at the Finger Lakes in New York, visited Niagara Falls, visited my parents and camped on Lake Erie. Now, the kids are big and more prone to asking, "When will we get there?" countless times and backseat skirmishes erupt, of course. I planned ahead: we never drove more then 9 hours in one day, we had plentiful snacks and the kids had lots of fun lap games and books on CD to entertain themselves. The most hilarious road trip moment was when they were arguing about who would get to sing and Jupiter told them they would each take turns and sing for five minutes and then they sang the most hilarious, original songs for about an hour until neither of them wanted to sing anymore.
We stopped first in Sandusky, OH, home to Cedar Point Amusement Park, the one that my parents took us to every summer. It is a great park and we're thinking we may stop there every summer on our way to Michigan.
We drove up to my folk's place on Lake Huron and made two very important stops on the way. We spent the morning with Nan's family and met the newest addition to the family. We also visited my maternal grandmother so she could see how her great-grandchildren are growing.
We stayed with my parents at their amazing lake house. The kids spent every waking moment down at the beach and in the water. They both went tubing for the first time and loved it. I drove my dad's jet ski for the first time and it is so fun. The environmentalist in me wanted to not like it and happily return to just kayaking, but I'm hooked. Miranda and Jove got rock painting sessions and garden tours with their grandma. My dad was a trooper and did a lot of one-armed super-grandpa time with kids despite having a broken arm. My paternal grandmother spent the day with us and she really bonded with Miranda. They sat and chatted on the swing for quite a while. We spent one day visiting the NOAA maritime heritage museum and the Besser Museum (with a fossil dig) in Alpena and had a chance encounter with my old friend Eric at a Dinosaur Garden. The Great Lakes are so beautiful and we feel so lucky to spend time with my family on the water every summer.
Then we headed south and we visited my cousins Johanna and Butch, who live right across the Ohio border in West Virginia very close to where both of my paternal grandparents grew up. Johanna and my father are first cousins and I also got to see my great Aunt Betty. I hadn't seen any of them since before Jupiter and I were married. They were such gracious hosts and a lot of fun to spend time with that we didn't want to leave.
We drove across the mountains (or into the mountains) to my friend Katie's house in VA. Our families are great friends and our kids seem to disappear on us when they are together. They boys run off to collect materials in the woods, check on the chickens, look for the invisible monster, etc. Katie's daughter and Miranda were pretending that they were a family of lost children camping in the woods complete with costumes, made up pseudonyms and bags of pretend food. We had a very refreshing hike up Roaring Run complete with wading in cool river water and tubing down some small waterfalls. I got a lot of great chicken keeping advice and I think we'll be ready next year for a few laying hens of our own. Miranda loved tending the rabbits and chickens. She is such a mini-mama.
Then, before dawn, we departed at an hour carefully calculated to avoid all NYC traffic upon our return. Thank you to everyone who hosted us in their home or fixed us a meal along our journey.