The “Family” Trip

Over the summer, the GF and I took a series of trips. One of which, revolved around the North Country Trail Run in Wellston, Michigan. As luck would have it, a family member has a cabin only a few miles from where the race was being held that we were allowed to use for the weekend. Without the added expense of a hotel room we got the crazy idea to turn this into a (gulp) “family” trip.

Now, the GF and I have been together a while and we had a few trips that included either hers or my children, but never the group as a whole. We had integrated the family under one roof with reasonable success and decided we will survive the weekend or die trying. The GF and I are very different travelers: I am very touristy while she is more loungy-on-the-beachy. So I did my best to incorporate both of our needs plus the needs of a 5, 8, and 11 yr old boy.

The day 1 drive was about 5 hours to reach the cabin. So to ease the boredom and break up the day, we decided to pit stop at Frankenmuth for the afternoon. Betsy had never been and my kids and I haven’t been there in a while so this was a great opportunity for us. The first stop (naturally) was Bronners. I am a Christmas junky and I also collect an ornament from every place we travel so I was loving it. The GF’s son, “little B”, was also in awe of all of the decorations and even “talked” to Santa on the north pole hotline. After that it was on to town.

As I said, I haven’t been there in a few years and from outward appearance nothing seemed to have changed. We shopped, and shopped, and shopped some more and I began to realize that hardly any of the stores were like I remembered them. Even from my earliest memories of Frankenmuth they’ve sold touristy trinkets and useless knicknacks but now it was almost ALL JUNK! Dollar store garbage priced at $10, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Most of the really great stores had closed up and new “garbage” shops sprung up in their place. It hurts my heart, the magic was gone… we ate dinner and promptly left town and continued on to the cabin.

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Day 2 marked the Trail Run for Betsy, leaving me with “little B” while she ran. This was the most “iffy” part of the whole trip as we didn’t know how he would react to letting his mom out of his sight for several hours. In the beginning we thought it was going to be a disaster because he was NOT on board with this what-so-ever but a few cleverly placed distractions and trickery and we had a happy 5 year old cheering his mom on from the sidelines. After an interesting breakfast at a VERY small, very local, very back-woodsy “restaurant” we returned to see Betsy finish and we made our way back to the cabin to freshen up.

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On to the fun! We wanted to spend the day near the water so I picked a city on the map at random and headed there for our day in the sun. Ludington was the name of the city, and it looked promising because of it’s beaches, but it also had what was described as a “huge playground” for the kids to play. When we got there, we were not disappointed! The park was stunning, and the playground was, in fact, gigantic and overlooked the water. The kids played, we had ice cream, and then went to the beach. The sand there was the softest I’ve ever felt! Like a very fine powder, and the water of Lake Michigan was crystal clear. I would like to say the day was perfect, but this was a trip with children involved and they were trying on my patients until I eventually cracked. After an uncomfortable mess of a dinner we piled back in the car and headed to the cabin.

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Day 3 was here and we planned an extra special surprise trip to Michigan’s Adventure! I had never been and the tickets were discounted to a can’t pass this up price so this was a no brainer. We decided the best course of action was to split up. “Little B” was not tall enough to ride anything but the little kiddie rides so this was “mommy time” for him and a chance for me and my kids to have some fun. The layout was a little confusing at first, and some of the lines were unnecessarily long because they were only running one train on the coasters.

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Mid day we switched over to the water park which is where the REAL fun was had. My kids were having a blast! “Little B” was having a blast too but he was stuck on going on this one little area over and over and over which I don’t believe was much fun for Betsy. We freed them from the kiddie pool to try and get him out into some of the other areas but eventually he returned to his little kiddie paradise where he felt most comfortable.

We dried off and ventured back into the park for more rides. Betsy and I had a little miscommunication regarding our dinner eating arrangements. Meanwhile my youngest was being overly dramatic about the last ride making him sick and how he couldn’t walk, his brain was bleeding, you name it… and my oldest was back at his super-gourmet-fine-dining-only antics where just a burger wasn’t enough he needed to have the sirloin steak burger …and yes, you guessed it… I cracked again! Let’s just say a have a habit of doing this… its in my wiring somewhere I can’t help it but I’m getting better at handling it. We ate, caught a few last min rides, and piled into the car for the ride home after a long and exhausting weekend.

All things considered… this trip was a success. We piled our 2 families into the car and spent the 3 days as one single unit and came out alive!