The last day of traveling is always the hardest entry to write. It is a bittersweet day and the exhaustion of the vacation catches up with me.
I must say that I slept well last night. Luckily, the RV behaved, so I was able to let go of my anxiety about something major having to go wrong with Old Unreliable. It still remains to be seen if whatever is going on with the water is major, but at least it is not a problem that could have left us stranded miles from home. All it really did was relieve the girls from dish-washing duty since that would have to wait for home.
The girls asked me to wake them up when I went to shower so that they would be ready to leave ASAP. You see, their favorite part of the trip was not the pristine beaches or the hiking, it was hanging out with Andy. Abigail was the spokeswoman and she had been pressing me to make sure we took him up on his invitation to come back on our way back home. She was able to tell me his work schedule for the day that I never heard him divulge. She even kept pressing for us to spend the night there again even though Aunt Laura and her boys were coming that day, too. The logic was they would be getting to Loralie’s house late anyway, so what was the difference to wait to see them in the morning instead?
We were able to pull out of the Traverse City State Park Campground at 9am. Pretty impressive for them since noon was the earliest I seemed to be able to get the ready to do anything else. I will admit that I was reticent about the campground when we arrived and I saw how crowded it was and sandwiched by a major highway and railroad tracks, but I really enjoyed our stay (except for the lack of firewood.) The highway noise really did not bother me. We had maybe 30-40 yards of tree buffer. Also, there was not a lot of extraneous light like I was expecting being in the city. We could actually see stars. The trees were dense and old growth. The shower house was clean and showers were in self-contained room with a real lock and always plenty of hot water. It is luxury to have a real door instead of a moldy shower curtain that does not stretch all the way across the doorway like many Indiana state park campgrounds. I totally judge campers I see watching large TV’s while camping, but I am very willing to enjoy my hot showers and feel like a real outdoorswoman.
We filled up with gas and that is when Loralie declared we had not gone to any souvenir shops! Ugh. That meant backtracking through some road construction and then trying to park. I was *soo disappointed that we were leaving before the shops opened, so we could not stop to look for cheaply made crap at premium prices.
We drove for a few hours and stopped at a McDonald’s because of the ease of parking in the semi truck lot. The girls gave me a hard time about it since when we ere in Traverse City, I had given them a lecture about eating at local places when on vacation, but we were in travel mode on a highway. There is no such thing as “local” off the exits made for truckers.
For our route home, I had decided to go through Kalamazoo. This Fall, I am starting my online courses for a 2nd Masters degree in Orientation and Mobility (O&M) at Western Michigan University O&M is basically teaching people who are blind or visually impaired how to travel safely and independently with a cane. Fall and Spring will be online and then Summer will be on-campus. Old Unreliable will be my dorm. The campus was a ghost town and looked really new. I was glad to not have to watch out for college students who walk out in the street with total disregard for any traffic. I was a little worried about ending up in a dead end would be a challenge to get turned around in, so I only did a cursory drive around.
After that little detour, we headed to Elkhart. The girls continued their lobby to stay overnight, but I stuck to my guns.
It was a beautiful day. Sunny, with a nice breeze. We all put on our swimsuits and headed the opposite direction as before. This section of the St. Joseph River is not as built up and we saw more wildlife like water fowl and turtles. Our destination was a sandbar. This is a gathering place for the river folk. The water was high enough that the sandbar was submerged, so Andy had a good time scaring the girls by running the pontoon up on a sandbar they could not see to beach it. It is basically how we park.
We did some wading and walking around in the middle of the river. Loralie got it in her head a turtle, fish, snake, or leech would bite her if she really got in the water instead of wading.
When we were done wading and sunning, it was time for dinner. Loralie poo-poo-ed every suggestion. I like to tell her that she does not like flavor. She is going through a picky stage and can be a bit prissy at times. It is the preteen coming out. I suggested Lucky’sDonuts for Thai. You see, when I lived with Andy twelve years ago, there was a donut shop that sold donuts in the morning and Thai food for lunch and dinner. Lucky was a Cambodian refugee who fled to Vietnam where he met his wife in a refugee camp. They won the lottery to come to the US where they came to Elkhart and worked to by a defunct Dunkin Donuts shop and opened their own. Since I had left, they had given up on the donut end of the business and now just concentrated on the Thai end of things, so now it is just called Lucky’s. Loralie ordered chicken strips and fries.
We had a great time while Andy and the girls told each other stories, while Loralie ate half of Abigail’s Lo Mien even though she, “doesn’t like Thai food.” We were stuffed, but Andy was done showing off Elkhart, so then he took us out for ice cream at Flavor Freeze. I got a delicious Reese’s sundae that I made a valiant effort to eat, but I was too full of Pad Thai. Luckily, I was traveling with a freezer. (It made a great lunch today. )
We said out goodbyes and headed for home around 7:45pm.
We had about a 3 hour drive to get home. There was some dun construction to be driving a wide vehicle through on the way, but it was largely uneventful.
We got to Mary’s (Loralie’s house) at around 10:45pm. Hugs and kisses abounded with Laura and her boys, Hudson (5yo) and Logan (18mo.) I left to go back to my house and dogs around midnight. I told the girls I would just bring the RV back tomorrow for them to unload their things.
Freckles, Lester, and I had a good snuggle session and I finally got to sleep soundly in my own bed.
We had a great time and I have already put in a reservation with Andy to just park in his driveway for when it is Miriam’s turn for her trip in a couple of years.