We had been planning on a visit to Michigan for my sister-in-law's wedding in Marquette on June 30 for nearly a year. Then one of my college roommates invited us to her wedding--also in Michigan, on June 23. We decided to make a trip out of attending both of them.
Because the weddings were separated not only by a week but also by an eight-hour drive, we decided to break up the trip and spend a few days in northern Michigan. We also took our time heading back home. Our itinerary looked like this:
Friday, June 22: drive from State College to East Lansing
Saturday, June 23: friend's wedding near East Lansing
Sunday, June 24: in East Lansing
Monday, June 25: in East Lansing
Tuesday, June 26: drive to Petoskey
Wednesday, June 27: in Petoskey
Thursday, June 28: drive to Marquette
Friday, June 29: in Marquette
Saturday, June 30: sister-in-law's wedding in Marquette
Sunday, July 1: drive to Munising
Monday, July 2: in Munising
Tuesday, July 3: drive to East Lansing
Wednesday, July 4: drive to Livonia
Thursday, July 5: drive back to State College
In all, the drives went well with one exception: sometime between our last trip and this one, my daughter decided that she was afraid of automatic-flush toilets. This was not convenient. We were at a rest stop near Cleveland--our second attempt at a potty break--when my daughter declared that she was going to wait to go potty until we got to my parents' house. We were still 4 hours out from their house, so this was not an option. I decided that we weren't leaving the rest stop until she went. After a text to my husband (so he would know why we hadn't emerged from the ladies' room), repeatedly explaining that there is no need to fear automatic flushing, a few unsuccessful attempts to block the movement sensors on the toilet, some bribery, and frustration on everyone's part, she finally went. Her price: a pack of M & Ms. Not my proudest parenting moment, but it beat an accident in the car or on the side of the road.
We enjoyed both of the weddings. My daughter managed to perform her flower girl duties at her aunt's beach wedding without falling down a sand dune or leaving the ceremony to wade in Lake Superior (between keeping an eye on her and my husband and I being in the wedding party also, we don't have much in the way of pictures to show for it, though). She danced her heart out at both weddings, too!
In between weddings, we spent a couple of nights in Petoskey. It was our way of fitting a mini-vacation into our trip. Petoskey is roughly midway between East Lansing and Marquette, so stopping there also broke the trip up nicely. While there, we drove scenic road M-119, the "tunnel of trees;" ate in one of Hemingway's old hangouts;
and spent time at Bayfront Park with its scenery, playground, and pier.
After my sister-in-law's wedding, we spent a couple of days in Munising to hang out with her, her new husband, some of his relatives, and some cousins. Several of us decided to do a canoe excursion on the Au Train River, with the kids in the group riding in the center of the canoes. As our luck would have it, our canoe tipped about a minute after we set out. My daughter was in a lifejacket and was OK, but she ended up underneath the canoe. I freaked out in the split second I couldn't find her. She was pretty scared herself, and she got even more upset when she learned that her lunch had fallen in the river. We encouraged her to try again with us, but she just wasn't having it; to be honest, I was still pretty rattled, too. We left, took our soaked selves to get a replacement lunch at a drive-thru, and went back to our hotel for dry clothes and some time at the pool. My daughter still talks about our canoeing incident, but we hope that we haven't scared her off permanently.
After Munising, we headed back to my parents' house. On the way down, we heard from my friend in Livonia (outside of Detroit), who invited us to spend July 4 at her place. We hadn't had the chance to see her yet, and going there would make our trip home a little bit shorter, so we took her up on it. It was great to catch up with her.
On our way home, we faced another rest stop with "matical flush" toilets. I was better at blocking the sensors this time, but M & Ms were still required.
In all, we travelled 2,220 miles, about 300 less than our cross-country relocation trip. Even though the mileage was similar, the pace felt slower on this trip (thank goodness!) because we were in most places more than one night. Boarding the dog helped, too. That said, it was a lot of traveling in the space of two weeks. It was wonderful to go to these weddings, and we enjoy spending time in Michigan, but I want to stay in just one place for our next vacation!