Sunday, July 27, 2014

En Route to Parma, Michigan

When we left Dickinson, North Dakota, on a Thursday, the only thing we had to do was be in Parma, Michigan, by Monday morning. It was a 17 hour drive. We had no itinerary, but just started driving.

We had lunch just before we got to Fargo, North Dakota. We weren't impressed! We got back on the road and high-tailed it to Minnesota.

Minnesota was probably the favorite leg of our entire trip to Michigan.

Our hotel had a bunch of brochures available to tourists, so I grabbed a few. There was one particular brochure for an aquarium and we decided we would go to that aquarium and then hit the road for Michigan. Well… that aquarium was actually located inside the Mall of America. We ended up spending most of the day at the Mall of America and didn't make it to Michigan as quick as we thought we would.

Riley touching a star fish.

Nolan had a good time!

Riley and a tortoise.

There was a LegoLand inside the mall. The blue transformer in this picture was only 2 stories tall. 

This painting was made out of legos. Both the babies wanted to touch it, as you can see. 

The indoor amusement park. More on that later. 

There was also a Barbie exhibit. Actually, Barbie's Dreamhouse was on exhibit for people to walk through. Riley has been wanting a Barbie Dreamhouse for a while now, so this was perfect for her. 

Each room had a different light theme so it was hard to take pictures.

Barbie's freezer. Riley thinks it's so neat she has been inside Barbie's freezer. 

Barbie's balcony. 

Catwalk. The Barbie Dreamhouse tour ended up taking an hour. It was a little too long. I didn't have much patience for the craft or dress-up after walking around Barbie's house for an hour. 

Daddy and Nolan walked around and explored parts of the mall. Henry was happy when we finally came out of Barbie's house! Afterwards we ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. It was wonderful food! I was so hungry. 

After lunch we had an old timey picture made. I wanted to do this in Medora, but you had to have an appointment there. We chose the "Civil War" theme and decided not to smile. All except Nolan. 

After pictures we went to the amusement park. 

That's Henry and Riley on the little roller coaster. Riley has her hand on her eyes and Henry is in the black shirt. 

Riley is very cautious and wouldn't consider any of the bigger rides. I talked her into getting on this Wonder Pets ride. This thing went up in the air about 30 feet and then would drop suddenly a few feet, go back up, drop suddenly, etc., about 10 times and then it would go back to the ground. 

She was all smiles before the ride started!

Not so sure...

Definitely did not like it...

Not having fun. The other girls were holding their hands up, laughing and smiling, but not Riley! Not even a smile. 


It's over! 

Next to the Wonder Pets ride was a three-seater carousel. It was perfect. The kids could have ridden this all day and been happy. 

Riley and I rode a Blue's Clues ride. It was fun! 

I stayed with Ella and Nolan while Henry and Riley waited in line for the Log Chute. Henry wanted to ride this really badly and somehow talked Riley into getting on it with him. Nolan fell asleep while we waited. 
Best picture ever! She did not like this ride at all! They were both surprised at how steep the hill was. After the log ride it was time for us to go. We were at the mall from 9-3, and still didn't manage to see much of it. There are four stories and I think one day is needed for each of the bottom 3 floors. I can't wait to go back! 

We hit the road and spent the night in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. We had a good meal at the hotel restaurant and had a nice time in the hotel room. After being without Henry for several months, I am so grateful for the time we get to spend with him! 

After several hours of riding, we stopped in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. It seemed like a tourist town alright. We tried some cheese and then spotted a trampoline park. It was a good energy release for the kids! 

Didn't get any pictures of the girls! 

We left that town and headed for Michigan. We went straight through Chicago, which happens to now be one of my least favorite places. The traffic was terrible and the roads were bad. It just seemed dirty. We shot through Indiana and made it to Michigan. We had a lot of trouble finding a hotel. We stopped at about 20 hotels, but none had a vacancy. I called Choice Hotel's 1-800 number since I have a rewards account with them, but they didn't have a vacancy at any of their hotels within a 50 mile radius of our location. This was the most tiring part of our trip. All we wanted to do was find a decent hotel! We couldn't figure out what the occasion was that would fill all the hotels. 

After at least an hour of driving and stopping at each new town and group of hotels, I spotted a Baymont Inn and quickly googled the number to call and see if they had a vacancy. Finally! We were able to get a room. The hotel attendant told Henry that the room we were able to get had canceled about 2 minutes before I called. Lucky! He also told us why all the hotels were booked… we were .5 mile from the beaches of Lake Michigan. 

So the next morning we decided to see what Lake Michigan was all about. It was super foggy but really nice. The sand is white and clean. The water… I don't think ice water is colder! I didn't go in past my shins. 

Riley wanted to build a sandcastle and make a sand angel. She was able to do both just before Ella destroyed them. 

It was impossible to keep him from eating the sand. 

Daddy buried her in the sand. 

After several hours on the beach we decided it was time to have lunch. We hit the road and found a Chili's. After lunch we drove for another 45 minutes and made it to the town where Henry needed to go for work. 

Michigan really isn't for me, either! 

Finally Headed Home

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