Our rendition of “National Lampoon’s vacation”

Do you ever have that strange sensation that you might be headed in the wrong direction, that something “not so good” is just lurking around the corner.  Remember National Lampoon’s Vacation? here’s a trailer to help jog your memory and set the stage for the rest of this post.

That was the feeling I had the entire week of our 4th of July vacation.  It has nothing to do with the company or the plans, it was just one of THOSE weeks.

To begin we got a phone call late Friday night  (July 1) that my in-laws were hit with a really bad storm.  There were trees and power lines down all over.  Ok, we’ve been there before- our house was hit last summer with straight line winds over 80 mph.  Over a 1,000 trees were uprooted and down all over town.  Our plan would remain the same.  After my photography shoot, we’d pack up and head out.  Our plan was to trailer the motorcyle up with family in-tow in the truck.  We’d arrive at his parent, settle in for a couple days.  On Tuesday, the husband and I would take the motorcyle Up to the shore of Lake Superior, ferry over to Madeline Island- do some exploring and just relax and enjoy life.  We get 10 miles from home and the first of many phone calls takes place.

Let me give you a little background.  My in-laws are retired and now live in a trailer in a campground year-round in Northwest sticks of Wisconsin.  Over 70% of the population are vacationers who camp or have cabins along the many lakes in the area.  Most of the housing is RV’s. At 11 AM (Little man just fell asleep and the dog settles in ready for the 5-hour trip) we learn that the entire area has no power, the one grocery store has been raided of ice and bottled water from frantic people trying to figure out how to make it through the weekend.  Rembmer it’s 4th of July weekend- the population quadrouples due to the number who come up to camp for the weekend.  By the sounds of it, the power company has it’s work cut out for them and are giving estimates of 3-7 days before the power returns.  So we make a few modifications to the plan- we make some phone calls to my family members and borrow a generator for the week.  We get it loaded and are back on our way (12:45 PM).

About 20 minutes later, Brent pulls over on the highway.  “I think I just blew a tire on the trailer.”  It’s confirmed.  Proceeds to change the tire- and I must say he was pretty speedy- everything said and done in 20 minutes.  He returns to the truck.  “We have a problem, the tire pressure on the trailer tires is REALLY low.  We need to find a place to fill them ASAP.  I don’t have another spare and we might blow the other tire any minute.”  {Great} We are 10 miles out of the nearest city.  The next exit is 2 miles up ahead, but from my knowledge they don’t have a gas station.  Regardless we pull off and we pull into a boat repair shop- we get lucky.  They are open and they have an air compressor.  Back on the road at 1:30 PM.

We drive about 40 miles and little man wakes up and is ready to get out.  He’s not happy!  We decide to pull off and quick do a bathroom break and grab a snack at the McDonald’s (I know it’s not healthy but I can always count on having a changing area in the bathroom and sometimes even a play area to burn some energy).  As we are unloading, Brent checks the trailer.  The other trailer tire (the one that wasn’t replaced) has no berrings (I’m not very automotive-parts-savvy), basically the wheel is about to fall off.  It’s now almost 2:30 PM on Saturday of a Holiday weekend.  Any automotive parts store that might have been open, is now closed or close to it.  We spend over an hour at McDonald’s while Brent tries to get the parts to fix it himself.  Thankfully this is one of the McDonald’s with a playground.  Little Man is content.  On a normal day we are a little over an hour from home.  The trailer will not make it very far, nor are we having any luck trying to fix it yet today.  We order some food, ponder life, I walk the dog, little man continues to play.  We decide to ditch the trailer.  Brent will ride the motorcycle the rest of the way and we’ll hope that the trailer will be in teh parking lot when we return.  This means I will have Little Man and Diesel in the truck by myself for the remainder of the trip (almost 4 hours).  Caleb already took a 2 hour nap, and usually that’s all he’s good for.  I also had surgery on my right shoulder almost 2 months ago and far from mobile when it comes to reaching out to the side or front.  So we turn the passenger airbag off, move little mans car seat to the front and we hit the road AGAIN (Time is now 3:45 PM).

The drive goes on with little excitement.  Little man seems pretty content looking out the windows, eating puff corn.  Sometimes as parents we make poor decisions with our children in order for our sanity to take priority.  I would let little man have anything he wanted on that ride, as long as I could reach it.  At one point I literally prayed that we wouldn’t run out of puff corn.  Not one of my proudest mommy moments, but I was desperate at this point just to get there.  I already worry about my husband on the motorcyle as it is, with the batting record we were pulling, nervous would have been an under-statement.  Within 45 minute of driving, Little Man falls asleep and life almost seems peaceful.  I guess I spoke too soon.  As he we hit the split to head north (opposed to the westward direction we had been traveling) I notice a state trooper flying up behind me weaving in an out of the lanes.  I slightly panic.  Occupying a dog, & Child while driving alone is task by itself.  Add the driving with one arm dimension and I fear that I may not have had the best driving skills.  I begin to slow down, figuring out how to keep the 100-lb dog in the backseat calm as a stranger approaches the car, which would then wake little man up in a screaming terror.  As I slow he goes around me and pulls directly in front of me- pulling my husband over.  I slow and pull over in front of them- thankfully I reminded my husband to grab the cell phone before ditching us in the truck so I could at least talk to him quick since the officer returned to his vehicle.  I should mention that anytime we slow or come to a stop, Diesel thinks it’s time to get out.  He’s beginning to pace and whine.  I decide to go up ahead to our typical Wal-mart stop as we need to start hoarding “no-power supplies” such as ice, gallons of water, matches, candles, I even pick up some solar lights for outside.  We are all awake and eager to get out.  I put Diesel on a leash and we walk over to the grassy walkway area at the back of the parking lot.  Brent meets up with us a few minutes later.  We head in to get all the goods.  One problem- no ice.  We are almost 100 miles away from out final destination, and with all the chaos up north they ran out of ice at 3 PM, it’s 6:30 PM. They provide a couple recommendations and we start this fabulous little scavenger hunt.  Luckily we were successful nearby and buy 40 lbs of ice.

The last leg of the trip is never my favorite- especially this time of night.  It’s north woods at dusk, which meant the wildlife head to the streets.  Amazingly little man falls asleep one more time and I feel pretty darn lucky.  We arrive at our destination at 8:45 PM (almost 10 hours later, what’s typically 5 hours) unscathed, just added a generator and lost a trailer.  Within minute we hook up the generator to the water pump and freezer, and his in-laws are pleased to flush the toilet for the first time in 24 hours.  Several had already attempted bathing in the river or reverted to baby wipes- so the thought of a shower seemed like a delicacy.

While our vacation was far from our expectations, my in-laws were grateful for the help as we cut up the 10 down trees- one that damaged the roof,  hauled and burned tons of brush, and baked in the 90 temps while working.  I will say the 1 1/2-day getaway was blissful.  My husband surprised me and rented a cottage on the lake with whirlpool tub. Kind of high class for my tent camping standards.  It was so delightful- Bayfield, Wisconsin is an absolutely gorgeous area.  Kind of Door County without the fluff is how I’d describe it if you are familiar.  I have a few posts coming to acquaint you 🙂

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Filed under Daily Grind, Exploring, Random thoughts

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