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Anniversary Road Trip Recap

August 11, 2010

We made it home alive!

As an inexperienced camper, I must say, I believe I earned my stripes. I even learned how to build a fire! I told Joe I want a scouting sash with badges. I earned the “build a fire” badge, the “play cards in a tent when it’s raining” badge, the “drive the early shift without falling asleep” badge, the “most mosquito bites one can accumulate on one foot” badge, the “don’t yell at the loud neighbors having sex” badge, and the “name every woodland creature you encounter” badge.

We spent our first evening roasting brats on the campfire and learning how to set up camp. Our woodland friend at this site was a red squirrel named Gerald. By the end of the week, we could break down camp in under two hours… this routine included enjoying oatmeal and coffee, showering (when available), doing dishes, and packing up EVERYTHING. We were efficient.

Monday morning, we awoke to a rainy day. Good thing we brought rain gear because the deluge wasn’t going to stop us from experiencing Mackinac Island! As soon as we got there, we set out on foot. Bikes and fudge could wait. We walked to the end of town, through a neighborhood, and into a park. This park is where I saw my very first loons! I was excited.

By the time we walked back into town, it had started to rain. We retreated to an Irish pub for lunch. Nothing tastes better than a Guinness and pub fries on a rainy Michigan afternoon. Unfortunately, the rain never really let up (until we were on the ferry to go home), so we didn’t get the chance to rent bikes to ride around the island. But I still think the day was a success since we came home with way too much fudge and saltwater taffy!

Driving back to camp after Mackinac, we saw a sign that read “Lumberjack Show 7:30 tonight.” I told Joe, “We should go!”  I found a coupon in our visitors guide and exclaimed, “I have a coupon! We HAVE to go!” Seriously, thank goodness we went, because it was one of the absolute highlights of the week. Adorable young lumberjacks with terribly corny jokes delivered perfectly sawing and climbing and balancing on logs in water… it was awesome.

After a night of very little sleep thanks to the tent in the next site drinking and fornicating loudly, we set off to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. But we messed up. The campsites were scattered all along the lakeshore but the ranger station was at the far west end of the park. We thought we had to go there to reserve a site. Nope. We could have gone directly to the campsites… The ranger told us one of the campsites was already full but if we hurried, we might be able to get a site at another one. So we hurried east. And it was full. So we drove through a nearby state park. And it was full. I was crying… wouldn’t you? I’d had very little sleep and all I wanted was to camp along Lake Superior and hear the loons, but we effed it all up. We finally turned down a dirt road and three miles later we came upon an empty campsite. We picked the biggest site and set up camp. It turned out to be our most beautiful and my favorite site of the week. Our woodland friend at this site was a chipmunk named Herbie. He had a hole next to our fire ring. We left him presents.

After a rainy night here, we awoke to loons (yay!) and set out on our journey to Pictured Rocks. We loaded up my little Mazda sedan and set out down the dirt road….. only to find it flooded. Noooo! We stopped Little Miss Molly Mazda (that’s my car’s name) in front of a massive puddle to investigate. Can she do it? Will we get stuck? I threw my arms up in the air and told Joe he had to make the executive decision. So he gets in the car, sits up straight, I close my eyes, and he drives right through mini Lake Michigan. I die. Then we reach another massive puddle. I die again. We make it. After four total puddles, we’re back on paved ground and Little Miss Molly Mazda thinks she’s a freakin’ Jeep Wrangler.

We make it to Pictured Rocks, have PB&J for lunch, and set out on our hike. It was absolutely beautiful. The trail led to a beach, where we sat for awhile to rest and rehydrate. We skipped stones and waded in Lake Superior. (The only Great Lake I have yet to experience is now Lake Ontario.)

We spent Thursday night at Bewabic State Park where we had a great dinner of tinfoil veggies, beer, and giant marshmallows. Our woodland friend was a chipmunk named Bert. After a good night’s sleep, we set out for Minneapolis Friday morning to hang with the fam.  We surprised my sister-in-law at the airport. She flew in from Tacoma for the weekend to see us, act as my witness for our Catholic marriage blessing, and get a break from work. On Saturday, Fr. Jim blessed our marriage. He told us “Jesus likes that seal,” when he handed us our official Catholic marriage papers. He played the wedding march on his iPhone while we were getting adjusted. He was great. No wonder Joe insisted he do the blessing! I didn’t bring our camera to the blessing, so here’s a photo I stole off Facebook from my mom!

My in-laws threw us an open house anniversary party where I got to meet lots of friends, neighbors, and see family I hadn’t seen since Thanksgiving. It was very nice and we came home with a ton of leftovers.

On Sunday (our actual anniversary), we left Minneapolis and stopped at the Leinenkugel’s brewery in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. For Joe and me, this is Mecca. We love our Leinie’s. My favorite beer of all time is the seasonal Summer Shandy, with their Sunset Wheat as a close runner-up. We had a great tour and a great tour guide. I’ve toured two other breweries in my life (Budweiser & Two Brothers), but I think this was the best tour yet. Plus it was free AND they give you samples at the end. They had brewed a batch of their seasonal Oktoberfest early so we got to sample that! We left with a pint glass each and a bottle opener keychain each. Then we headed home.

It was a wonderful trip and I actually really loved camping. Maybe one full week on the road was a little overwhelming, but we made it work. I’m looking forward to weekend trips where we set up the tent once and load and unload the car once. It will be nice to be stationary for our next camping trip.

Our anniversary wasn’t anything TOO exciting. We didn’t do gifts and we haven’t cracked open the top of our wedding cake yet… but it was a great vacation and I have LOVED spending so much quality time with my husband. 🙂

11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 11, 2010 11:01 am

    Sounds like a fun trip!! Happy anniversary!

    And I’ve seen lots of loons before, but none of them looked like birds 😉

  2. August 11, 2010 11:10 am

    Sounds like an amazing trip! I’ve never been camping, but I think something like this would be fun for my husband and I.

  3. August 11, 2010 11:14 am

    Camping is so much fun especially to unplug from the world. Happy Anniversary!

  4. August 11, 2010 11:30 am

    So glad to hear your trip was such a smashing success – you look absolutely RADIANT in every photo! Happy anniversary, and props to Little Miss Molly Mazda for making it through the mini lakes. 🙂

  5. August 11, 2010 11:45 am

    How fun! I haven’t been camping in ages. I’m glad that you made so many friends amongst the woodland creatures!

  6. August 12, 2010 7:55 am

    Sounds like a GREAT anniversary!

  7. August 12, 2010 9:33 am

    Aww sounds wondeful. Happy Anniversary!

  8. August 13, 2010 10:21 am

    Happy Anniversary! Jesse and I roadtripped as well – though to get to a wedding, not to have an awesome adventure such as yours! Congratulations!

  9. August 13, 2010 11:57 am

    You two are such a cute freakin’ couple and also HI to your mom! She’s adorable 🙂 Glad you had such a great time, well-deserved indeed!

  10. Mom permalink
    August 18, 2010 12:37 pm

    Squirrels and chipmunks and loons! Oh my! Glad you didn’t encounter any bears!
    I had fun in Minneapolis. You two are a hoot! Love you!!

  11. Adorable Mom permalink
    August 18, 2010 12:41 pm

    P.S. Thanks, Nora!

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