You’d think taking a 20+-hour road trip with an infant would make you want to run screaming deep into this vista, but aside from a couple of minor meltdowns, That Baby did just fine. It was Mommy who couldn’t stop asking, “Are we there yet?” in the 2700 hours it took to drive across Kansas.
Sometimes I forget that I’ve done things that are really damn neat, because I get so caught up in the day-t0-day and then one day I’m looking through photos and I’m all, “Oh yeah, that’s right, I went to Morocco that one time and saw All The Spices In All The Land at the souk and I should really do more fun things like that.”
And then I get re-caught up in the day-to-day, which is not my best habit, but at least there’s a seed of adventure planted, so I’m pretty sure not all hope is lost that I’ll someday have foreign adventures again.
Plus, I’m running out of Moroccan spice mix, so really now would be a great time to go back.
As you may have guessed, Swede and I spent our honeymoon doing a Circle Tour, which here in the Midwest means driving up through Michigan, across the Upper Peninsula, and back down through Wisconsin. (Or vice versa.) We’ve seen and done a lot in Wisconsin already, so the bulk of our time was concentrated in northern Michigan A) because it’s beautiful (not that Wisconsin isn’t just as lovely), and 2) because they have a lot of breweries there that Swede wanted to check out (annnnnd there’s the real reason).
When we weren’t busy trying new brews, we did actually do things and we were actually active(ish). On the first day of mooning over each other, we hiked Sleeping Bear Dunes. Which, if you’ve ever hiked Sleeping Bear Dunes, you can stop reading right now and go get yourself a congratulatory beer, because you earned it. I don’t care if you hiked it ten years ago, you earned it.
If you’ve never hiked these dunes, then I highly recommend you doing so. Even though you will want to turn back at least 72 times in the process. And even though you will decide this was a horrible, horrible idea at least 89 times. And even though you’ll say to your new husband, “Jesus Christ, just when I think we’re getting closer, it goes down. And then it goes up again. And it just keeps going down. And up again,” at least 103 times. And you will sweat out all that beer you’ve been sampling on your tour of the state, along with all of the beer you drank in college. And at your wedding. As well as all the wine you’ve ever consumed, which is a lot, because those DC years are pretty hazy. And then you’ll realize, once you reach the shore, with its cool breeze and empty beach, that this side of the lake is not made up up hydrogen and oxygen atoms, so much as it’s made up of All the Booze from Everyone Who Has Ever Hiked These Goddamn Dunes.
And it’s beautiful.
And ONLY then will you realize, HFS, now you’ve got to do it all in reverse.
A couple weekends ago Swede and I traveled to Atlanta to visit some friends, because it just wouldn’t be spring if I didn’t spend a month of incredible weekends being not at home. Swede checked us in the night before our flight, but Southwest wouldn’t let him print boarding passes, and to make a long story short (too late?), the airline gave us each a fistful of cash to take the 1 pm flight rather than the 9 am flight as planned.
Now, I’ve sung the praises of BWI airport, but let me tell you something about airports you don’t know: If there is one in which you need to kill four hours, BWI has nothing on Midway. It’s hard to describe, but let’s just say that the fact that they give you free Starburst on Concourse A really just makes it skyrocket to the top of my airport list. (That and the fact that it’s 15 minutes from my house, but that’s a whole other carryon.) And Swede and I, as we waited for the kind Southwest agents to issue our fistfuls of cash, made the executive decision that we’d hit up Miller’s Pub for a cocktail while we waited. For four hours.
“Listen, if I end up on that show about drunk and disorderly airline passengers, I’m blaming you,” I warned one of the ticket agents.
“Me? Don’t blame me, blame her,” she said, and pointed to her colleague.
“Okay, I can do that.”
ANYWAY, the point is that we sat at the Airport Miller’s Pub for a bit, and then at the Airport Reilly’s Daughter, and then at the Airport Halsted Tap, in an Unintentional Midway Pub Crawl, and I did some writing and Swede did some reading. He just happened to have, quite possibly, the most appropriate book tucked in his bag.
I’m not sure it’s like a full-on joy, but for this nervous flier, let me tell you that a few pops made that flight a whole lot nicer.
Back in August, Swede and I toodled out to Frederick, Maryland for a friend’s wedding, and the day after set off toward adventure to Charlottesville, Virginia. Swede’s cousin and his new wife just moved there, and a visit to them was in order.
Charlottesville and the surrounding areas are home to many several historically significant locales. You know. Like the one where that one guy lived. You know. That guy. He was a president. The third one, perhaps. He had poofy white hair, because that was original for the time, and no other president or important man of the era had poofy white hair.
I am fabulous with details.
He also built quite the estate, if you must know, which sits on acres and acres overlooking some of the most lovely country you’ve ever seen.
I would not so much mind if Swede or I became president and could build a similar estate. I’d even style my coif to poofy whiteness.
So I told you about the ice cream we had in Door County, but I forgot to mention that the creamery grounds also featured farm animals. Because why not? And what a life these animals lead—they’ve got three square meals, a spectacular view, and even a jungle gym just for goats.
We should all be so lucky.
For the past 17 years*, all I’ve wanted to make a summer complete is to eat an ice cream cone. From an ice cream parlor. Not in a cup, not a pint of Ben and Jerry’s that I snarfle down, but a cone. An actual honest-to-goodness cone.
Why? Because to me ice cream cones are the ultimate symbol of summer. Sitting outside in the hot, sticky sun, with creamy, melty ice cream piled high that you eat down bite by bite.
So when Swede and I took a quick trip to Door County a few weeks ago, I was absolutely adamant that we stop at an ice cream shop and get ourselves a cone. Driving past fields and farms, we drove by a dairy advertising homemade ice cream. I can’t remember the name of it now, but their list wasn’t extensive, which was okay by me. 31 Flavors this was not, and gold medal ribbon was not anywhere in sight, but you know what was?
And thus the discovery was made that I am a sucker for homemade strawberry ice cream.
And thus my summer was complete.
*More like five.