This update is coming straight to you from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Home of the beautiful Lake Detroit, the Davis family, the Olds family, and some pretty great pizza at Zorba’s. We are here to enjoy family over the 4th! Like many vacationers, we decided to drive instead of fly. It was a great choice for our family. Here is how we made it (the 17 hour drive) work:
1. No travel timelines: We decided to stop in Munising, Michigan because I adore this city! I may move my family here in the future. The Pictured Rocks and many gorgeous hiking trails full of waterfalls make this a perfect destination (or in our case, layover) for the outdoor friendly family. My kids waded in the frosty Lake Superior, skipped stones with their papa (who was there for a kayaking tour), hiked the beach with their Meme, and swam with their loving parents in the Holiday Inn before getting back in the car for the remainder of the journey. We enjoyed our stay and decided not to stress over making it at checkpoints like we have done in the past. Stop frequently for the kids to stretch, run, play, whatever. It helps. It works! If you see a cool playground, pull over and enjoy it.
2. Be creative. The kids did not mind the drive at all, and even were caught pretending most of the trip. I heard a lot of you “You be the baby and I am the mom,” or “You be the driver and I the tourist,” or “You be the teacher and I the student.” They NEVER even needed the electronic devices such as Leapster, movies or IPOD because they read to one another, conversed with each other, and imagined they were anyway but a car!
3. Be prepared. I have friends who make entire meals and pack coolers for the trip. This saves time and money. I forgot band-aids and Kleenex, but keep a bag handy with all the necessary items you and the kids may need along the way. For example, toilet paper!
4. Try taking the back route and stop at anything but a chain…we have met some of the nicest people in mom and pop restaurants. We stopped in at a bakery in Bessemer, MI just before crossing into Wisconsin for lunch, and ate sandwiches with some of the best homemade bread I have tasted! We left with 2 loaves and our total bill still did not meet $20.
5. Sing. The kids and I sang, Paul and I sang, Paul sang alone, I had my time for solos, and we all sang together. Music makes the trip memorable and continues to make our family think, talk, and truly listen. Often music says what we wish we could say, and it sounds so much better!
I hope you have a safe journey wherever you are headed this holiday weekend. Sing along with a little Kate Nash and Eminem while the kids nap, and outlaw the phrase, “Are we there yet?”