OK, I know this is late and long, but I did not want to leave any of you who have been traveing with me for two weeks back there in Ontario. So, here is the last two days of our road trip. Right now we are enjoying DGD Melanie Rose and her parents who have come to visit us at the Iowa family retreat. DD's MIL is making supper tonight as I did last night's dinner and breakfast this morning. Nice to have someone share the cooking chores. Hope everyone has a greath Fourth of July. Hugs & Love, Lauri
The Adventures of Lauri and Rose on The Road in America
June 2005 Trip Day 14, Sunday
We packed up this morning and headed down to the Del Mar Café for breakfast. We ate eggs, bacon, home-style potatoes and coffee. We were at the restaurant about or so and it was already busy. Since it did not open until 8, it is obviously a popular spot. I think we were the only non-locals eating there. The waitress, who was decidedly older than the gals who were waiting tables the night before, kept referring to us as “girls.” Mother had found some Canadian money at home and brought it along. She left a $2 bill on the table for a tip. The waitress waved it at us and said, “Thanks, girls!” when we left. I was not surprised to see Gus again. He ate breakfast and even rang up tabs for customers.
I took the wheel after breakfast, and we headed back for the highway. We found it without trouble, but Mother thought we were on the wrong road (again). There was no other road for us to be on, so I just calmly assured her that this was the right highway. Finally, she figured out that the intersection with Highway 402 was just ahead. We navigated the interchange and continued west. I kept moving right along and eventually we were at the Canadian/US boarder again. Mother still had $30 of Canadian money to spend and wanted to make a stop at the Duty Free shop to pick up some liquor. After paying the $2 toll to cross the bridge into the U.S. I managed to cut across two lanes to get into the Duty Free shop lot.
Mother had thought about buying a bottle of Kalua, but bought two liter bottles of scotch instead. We walked back to the car and I told Mother she could drive across the bridge. She was not too thrilled, but did all right since it was three lanes and she could drive in the middle. It took only minutes to clear U.S. customs. We were on home soil again. Mother said she was doing fine, so I let her drive. The speed limit on the freeway in Michigan is 70 mph, and she lost no time in putting distance behind us and the boarder. She skirted around Flint and then headed for Ann Arbor. She wanted to get to Grand Rapids to stop at the Frederic Meijer Gardens. Wes and I had been there several years ago when we were visiting Sarah and Jason when they lived Kalamazoo.
The exit was well-marked as were the turns to the garden. We got the walker out of the back seat and hurried inside. It is another 90-plus degree day. It is much too hot to be outside in the sun for long. There is a huge sculpture garden here with a replica of a huge horse originally designed by Leonardo DeVinci. Mother wanted to see that horse. We used restrooms before we did anything. Then we paid for the admission to the gardens. The next stop was the café for lunch. It was and we were both hungry. We ate egg salad on croissants with pasta salad and soft drinks for $6.25 each.
After lunch, we made our way to the tram tour stop. It was a short distance from the main building. We paid the $3 for a 30 minute ride through the huge sculpture garden. It was well worth it. The driver provided extensive information on many sculptures that can be seen from the tram. And, in this heat, it is way more comfortable than walking. Besides, Mother would never be able to get around the whole garden.
They have added a large children’s area and an amphitheater since Wes and I were last here. There are weekly concerts in the summer. The children’s garden is a hit with youngsters of all ages. Even Mother found it fun. I just wish we could have shed our shoes and socks and splashed in the water like the little ones did.
We finally went back inside and collapsed into chairs under the air conditioning vents. It felt wonderful. After cooling off, we walked through a couple of the indoor, greenhouse gardens. Mother was ready to check out the gift shop. She really wanted a book on the sculptures in the garden. It took some poking around, but we finally found one. Even the clerks had forgotten they had that specific book. Mother bought her book, and I bought something for Melanie. We made one last bathroom stop, and headed back to the car. Mother was thrilled with the stop. She loved the gardens and would like to come back to spend an entire day there.
We opened all the doors and let the heat escape. We got chilled bottles of juice out of the cooler and tucked the walker back into the car. Mother said she was OK with driving some more, so I let her. We got back on the main road without mishap and covered the distance to Ludington in less than two hours. It was nice to be in a place where we knew where we were going. We pulled into the lot of the motel where we stayed two weeks ago and registered.
After unloading the car, I made a call to Wes and let him know where we were. He was glad to hear from us. We downed the last of Mother’s premixed Manhattans and mused about where to go for dinner. We finally decided to return to the Grand Hotel where we ate on June 13. Pint-sized margaritas sounded too good to pass up. We each had a half a “wet” burrito and finished it all off except for some lettuce and tomato chunks. I paid the bill and we left. Before retuning to the motel, we checked out where to go for the car ferry tomorrow morning. We have to be there by for an departure. Then we can sit back and rest for four hours.
Mother has spent the last two hours watching her Into the West show while I did my writing for yesterday and today. I am all caught up. I will be posting stories to everyone tomorrow after we get home. Well, maybe I will wait until Tuesday morning.
Day 15, Monday, June 27
We are going to be home today. Yeah!!
We had to get up really early today to be at the Lake Michigan ferry by So, Mother had the alarm clock set for 6. UGH! Well, only one more day of early starts. We packed our belongings and took them to the car. It only takes three trips to get everything out of the motel room. I took the key to the office and left it on the desk. I poured two cups of coffee from the pot sitting on a nearby table.
So, with Nature Valley breakfast bars and a cup of coffee, we headed for the ferry dock. It took less than 5 minutes to get there. We checked in and turned the car over to the “jockeys” who drive it onto the ship. In a few minutes we were allowed to board. Once again Mother got the queen’s treatment with a lift ride to the main deck. From there, she managed to walk up one more flight of steps to the main café. A breakfast buffet was being served. It included eggs, breakfast potatoes, French toast, sausages, ham, biscuits and gravy, fresh fruit, juice, rolls, muffins and coffee for $8.25. Mother said she was not hungry. Well, maybe just coffee and a muffin, she said. I knew I needed more than a breakfast bar, so I headed for the serving line. I figured Mother could have my coffee and muffin.
We ate while the ship continued to board passengers. At we were underway. We thought about getting deck chairs on the forward deck, but they were already all taken. So we decided to try the quiet room and see if we could nap. It is already warm, and the quiet room is on the inside of the ship. A fan was moving the stuffy air around. We settled into lounge chairs in front of the fan. I closed my eyes and dozed off. about an hour later, I woke, but Mother was still soundly asleep. I decided to find a cooler spot to sit and moved to a chair at the rear of the ship. I sat there for a while enjoying the stress-free ride (this is just the best way to avoid Chicago) and then found another spot to sit for a bit. After about an hour later, I went back to check on Mother. She was finally awake. We made a trip to the restroom and then moved to one of the television lounges.
Mother found a discarded Chicago newspaper and was soon absorbed in the crossword puzzle. At about 11 a.m. Central time, the ship docked in Manitawauk, Wis. The lift operator had already brought the seat up the main deck for Mother. In a few more minutes we were on solid ground again. We stood behind the barricades while cars were brought off the ship. When Mother’s showed up, we went to get it and head out of the dock area.
Mother navigated while I drove and soon we were on the highway headed north toward Green Bay. Mother was busy checking her AAA guidebook for a place for lunch. I would have settled for a quick fast-food burger, but she wanted something nicer. We managed to find the restaurant she selected. It was right across the street from Lambau Field where the Packers play football.
Mother had a hamburger, specialty of the house, and I had a chicken salad sandwich. The food was good and the service fairly prompt for a busy weekend lunch hour. Mother took over the driving after lunch and we headed west toward Waseau and Chippawa Falls. Mother drove, and I rested. We passed Eau Claire and then Menomanie heading for the Minnesota border. It was about when we crossed the state line.
I urged Mother to let me drive so I could take surface streets rather than the freeway through town, but she would not hear of it. Rush hour will be almost over by the time we get to Minneapolis, she said. No way, I replied. Traffic slowed considerably in St. Paul near the capitol due to a chase and crash in the east bound lanes of Interstate 94 as the gawkers tried to see what was going on. As we crossed the river into Minneapolis, freeway traffic slowed to a bumper-to-bumper crawl. I was getting frantic, but Mother seemed unperturbed. The northbound I-94 traffic was heavy, but moving. So was a major thunderstorm. The sky blackened and ominous clouds swirled overhead. The weather reports on the radio were warning of severe storms. Mother finally relinquished and exited the freeway in north Minneapolis. She drove west to Brooklyn Boulevard and then north. Heavy rain fell. We made the left on 63rd Avenue and in a few more minutes we were in her driveway. We both exhaled and sat there for several minutes. We were home. We had survived.
When we got in the house I called Wes and told him we were home. I suggested he pick up some take out food from Que Viet, our favorite Vietnamese restaurant. Peter pulled in the driveway shortly after I hung up the phone. I called sister Lynn and daughter Sarah to let them know we were back safely. Wes arrived with food and we ate supper (after I gave him a big hug), relieved to be home again. After supper, Peter left to return home, his house- and cat-sitting duties at his Grandmother’s finished. Wes and I unloaded Mother’s car and moved my things into our car. Mother came out to move her car into the garage, and we headed for home. It is so good to be back. The laundry will just have to wait for a day or so. All I want to do tomorrow is rest. I crawled into bed about and pulled the covers over my head.
"Go confidently into the direction of your dreams. Live the life you always imagined" Thoreau
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.