Side trips

by KARIN

I used to love to take side trips. On a long road trip I was always eager to veer off the path to check out interesting attractions or to take the long way around to get a more scenic view. I've stopped off to see the Chalk Rocks in the middle of Kansas, the Neil Armstrong Museum in Ohio, and the Meteor Crater in Arizona. I've driven on the Pacific Coast Highway, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Road to Hana and loved every minute of the journey. Since having children though, I find myself much more reluctant to take any detour that could increase the travel time to our final destination. However, when I can bring myself to do it, or if my husband drags me along in spite of my protests, I still get the same thrill of exploration even with the added complexities that come with having three children in tow.

On our way from Wisconsin to Michigan, we stopped to take a break in Michigan City, Indiana. Stuart thought it would be fun to visit the beach along Lake Michigan. I was hesitant. Not a surprise. I was anxious to get to our destination, unsure about how to get to the beach, and concerned about how the girls would behave. At first, it seemed as if my worst fears would be realized -- we couldn't figure out where the beach was, seemed to be heading back to Chicago rather than in the right direction, and ended up making a U-turn to finally end up at the Indiana Dunes National Seashore. Of course, when we parked, there was no seashore in sight, just a giant mountain of sand. Now, at this point, I did start to cheer up a little bit since it was a pretty impressive dune, but I still wasn't sure how, if at all, we were going to find the lake. We started off down the trail, Stuart carrying our youngest on his back and me prodding the older two girls along. The trail was soft sand, the tall trees and underbrush were beautiful, the path was clearly marked and well-maintained. Slowly, my grouchy mood lifted and I began to enjoy the adventure. Before too long, the trees parted and there was the lake, the sandy beach, and the skyline of Chicago far off in the distance. The water was cool and refreshing, the sand was soft, and I was so glad we had made the trip.

IMG_2335
Dunes National Seashore (Indiana, 2012)
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We have a lot more miles to travel and I'm sure there will be more than a few detours along the way. I hope the beach trip will remind me to stop and enjoy the journey. Speaking of the journey, we are currently in the midst of a very big side trip. I'll write more later, but needless to say, this is turning out to be quite the adventure. We'll pick up back in Michigan on Tuesday evening. In the meantime, here's a sneak peek...

Mysterious Place
Mysterious Place (2012)
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