Usually I post pictures on Facebook of our vacation adventures, but that didn’t happen this time. I just could not stomach it. It would be careless and negligent of me to post anything here, in fact, without adding some words about the horrific, hateful actions of white supremacists in Charlottesville over the past weekend. Or the lack of any morals in Donald Trump. For the most part I keep views off my blog, but that’s not acceptable right now. What transpired, the aggression and beatings and the car violently plowing into counter-protestors: it’s not acceptable to ignore this.
We cannot stand by quietly and allow this kind of hatred, racism, bigotry, and Antisemitism to occur, not any longer. “White oppression” is not a real thing: in reality, they are nothing but hateful people blinded by their white fragility (and yeah, that’s an actual psychological phenomenon; Source). And the rest of us standing silently by, shaking our heads, that is not fixing the problem.
I ask everyone, and this includes myself: say something. Do something. Stop this hate and prejudice while we still can. I read In the Garden of Beasts on this vacation, ironicially, and let me tell you: the parallels between Hitler’s early reign and what is happening in this country right now are absolutely chilling. While there is time, we need to put a stop the evil that is rising in this country.
UGH. Anyway. I’m off my soapbox, for now.
Well before all those precious snowflake assholes took to the streets, we started our (mostly-Internet-free) annual week of vacation. I’m splitting our vacation pictures into at least 2 posts because there are just entirely too many pictures for any normal human to handle. I don’t want to run y’all off or anything.
So! Vacation time! Last year we headed north; this year we went the other direction, and rented a lake house in Michigan. Actually a ‘dune house’ because it was at the bottom of a 5-story sand dune, that we had to tackle to get to the beach.
I mean, check this thing out:
(It was also v. cute on the inside, even though we spent minimal time inside.)
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We were looking at a 5-ish hour drive around Lake Michigan to get there, and Chicago just happened to be at the half-way point. Which meant a Chicago stop to run off some energy all over Logan Square, then get some fried chicken. Because: vacation diet.
I love walking around these ‘hoods you find some curious things.
And then Parson’s was open and then we got our Southern Fried on.
We ordered the pimento toasts, hush puppies, and an order each of Amish chicken and Nashville hot. It was all amazing. I could eat those hush puppies forever: smoked ham hocks, cream cheese, roasted scallions, OMG HEAVEN.
WHY ARE YOU USING A FORK FOR FRIED CHICKEN DUDE.
So after filling ourselves to the brim with the Southern heart-attack special, we were off again. Through Chicago… through Indiana… on to Michigan.
Please note in the picture below: we had to do 3 loopty-loops at this intersection
And then we were finally there.
First matter of business: get some groceries. We went to Meijer, a type of store that we don’t have in Wisconsin but came up when Googling “grocery stores”. It appears to be the Michigan version of Walmart-meets-grocery-store. The beer selection was abysmal but beggars can’t be choosers I guess. By the time we were done shopping the kids were STARVING TO DEATH so we grabbed some grub from the 50’s Drive-In down the street. This place is a legit old-school drive-in, where you pull up and turn on your lights for service and they bring all the food on a tray that sits on your window. Oh, and the kids meals came in little paper cars, which was a nice touch. We were all just tired/cranky and wanted to inhale food in the comfort of our own kitchen, though, so got it all to go.
I will never tire of watching that child eat, he’s just so strange.
Also! I got the “olive burger”, which is apparently a Thing in Michigan. I kinda get the appeal, the olives-meets-mayo flavor was intriguing, but GOOD GOD IT WAS SO SALTY.
Then we kinda goofed around on the dune, trying to figure out how to master the climb. It’s tricky. Also climbing is just not pretty.
That about sums it up, if the gif also included heavy-breathing-crab-like-walking, followed by clawing up on all fours.
Also after the first climb, Peter tried to run down and totally wiped out, face first, and then rolled the rest of the way down. Wanna know what was a nice feature to the rental? An outdoor shower. Pete broke that sucker in right away, and we used it every day after hitting the lake.
Anyhoo! Climbing the dune sucked, but the view was not too shabby.
Linus and I also checked out the awesome 2nd-floor deck situation, which wrapped around two sides and included 2 dining areas.
End Day 1. We all slept like the dead, and then had a lazy morning, which included our traditional “first day on vacation biscuits and gravy”.
Then Scott and I sat back, read our books, played around on our phones, and the kids went bonkers on the dune.
Oh yeah, we also had a Bloody Mary #whenonvacation
After my own Bloody Mary, I climbed the dune with Pete. Once. Then went down, changed lenses on my camera, and went right back up again. That second time almost killed me I won’t lie. I was done dune-climbing for the day, yup.
Those were with my 50mm. The following are with my 24mm.
Fun times. After that we went inside to cool off a bit, fed the kids some cereal, and decided to get in the car and explore a little.
Off topic side note alert: Now might be a good time to introduce you to our vacation beers, I mean as long as I took pictures and all that. We brought some Moon Man with us (IPA; tasty and low ABV), and then got a few more low-alcohol brews to have on hand: Dogfish SeaQuench (sour ale), and Bell’s Oatsmobile (solid APA).
Oh, and Scott found this beauty at a random gas-station-meets-fishing-supplies-meets-liquor-store on the side of the road. You can’t turn down a beer with a random 90s reference.
ANYWAY WHERE WAS I. Ah yes. So, in the end we headed to Kalamazoo, because WHY NOT. Actually we wanted to go to Bell’s, that was the only reason. And it was supposed to be scattered showers anyway, so a good time to run off and explore.
Linus is a weird little ham hock that loves to kiss the rare soda treat to show his appreciation.
We settled in, ordered some beers, and also got some apps because MOM AND DAD ARE STARVING. Smoked deviled eggs, bottomless popcorn, and poutine, mmmm. The popcorn had a garlic-brown-butter drizzle and that was divine. Totally going to try that at home.
DUDE IT IS POPCORN I MEAN WHY.
What does it say about us, that the majority of my son’s hats are from breweries? Actually don’t answer that. We decided to walk a little to walk off some of those calories, and ended up getting some $17 super fancy (and yes, very good, BUT OH MY GOD SEVENTEEN-DOLLAR) coffee. Vacation splurge Numero Uno. There will be more to come (unfortunately).
There were legit maybe 2 sprinkles at the lake house, then clear skies. So we went ahead and had a nice little fire, and made slacker-S’mores. (That’s not an actual term, but what I’d like to call it when you just buy some fudge-stripe cookies and call it a day.)
Then showers to rinse off all that bonfire smell, and then time to get ready for bed. Linus LOVED the outdoor shower. He insisted on taking all his showers out there. We only got him in the actual civilized bathroom shower on our last day there.
(Oh, and that wall canvas painting thing in the picture below hung outside the boys’ room, and it was Linus’ most favorite thing. He named it “the boat accident” and would look at it for spells of time, telling long elaborate stories about how all of the boats found themselves in the accident situation.)
Cartooooooons! The kids were so happy to have Nickelodeon. We watched nonstop Paw Patrol and The Loud House (omg, and I still need to tell my brother that he needs to watch The Loud House. It’s about an only boy in a family with 11 sisters, I am pretty sure he can relate).
So we were pretty remote, I should mention that there was zero WiFi (wtf), spotty cell service, and no cable – instead, DirectTV. Was was fine and good and we got the Discovery ID channel. So I have many fond memories from this trip wherein we would get the 2 punks off to bed, sink into the couch, and watch nothing but murder stories all night long. I mean, when it wasn’t raining. We had storms a few evenings and that knocked out the DirectTV (DAMMIT I WAS WATCHING A REALLY GOOD ONE ABOUT BODY-BUILDER MURDERS WHEN THAT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT).
(He’s not watching my murder shows right there I promise.)
(Also: the kids’ room had bunk beds with those giant Cabela fish pillows, and now I think I know what Santa is getting the boys because they LOOOOOOVED those giant creepy things.)
Finally: Day 3. Another morning, another picture of Pete being lazy on the couch.
Cookies for breakfast IT’S VACATION.
Yes that’s coffee. (Like you didn’t already know.)
Whose covered in chocolate from his cookie and dancing to his favorite Kendrick Lamar in his underwear? It’s everyone’s favorite monster.
Once we sufficiently laid around like a bunch of sloths, we threw on some swimwear, slapped on some sunscreen (more on that later, UGH), and ran off to the dune trail to the beach.
Pretty much a private beach. I could live here, for real.
Then I dragged him out so he got hit with waves properly 😉
Eventually (hours later) we dragged ourselves back over the dune and back to the lake house to shower. And for Scott and I to discover, to our combined horror, that we both forgot to have each other put sunscreen on our backs. Lobster backs, for real. We were slapping Aloe gel on our backs all night and had to wear t-shirts over our swimwear the rest of the trip. DON’T FORGET YOUR SUNSCREEN FOLKS.
Okay congrats, you made it. Will finish this all up another day.
Also I hid that damned whistle as soon as he went to bed, gone for the rest of the trip.