Unfortunately, just over 24 hours in to our trip we hit some concrete in the middle of the interstate and punctured our gas tank as well as doing some damage to the undercarriage of our car. Our car had to be left in Bozeman, MT to be fixed and after a lot of deliberation, we soldiered on towards MI in a rental car, arriving at our destination only a day later than planned.
After we arrived Matt spent three days with us in Michigan before flying home to get back to work. The girls and I spent two more weeks there before we flew home. Matt returned to Montana to get our car while we were away and it was all fixed up good as new.
Usually when I go on trips I end up trying to do a daily re-cap of the events, but since I only posted once while I was away it is far too daunting to go back and post about every little thing, so I am hoping to do a "My Summer Vacation" series to highlight some of the, well, highlights and shudder as I reminisce about the low lights.
I won't lie, overall it was kind of a tough vacation. The roughest one I have had in a while and it left me joking with Matt that when I got home that we needed to take a real vacation. There were beautiful moments, like spending the first night with friends in Helena, MT, meeting a new running friend, seeing good friends and their kids, going to Mount Rushmore, celebrating Eloise's sixth birthday (over many days!), riding go-karts, going to an amusement park, spending time with family, and being on the beach of Lake Michigan again. There were some horrible parts, like our car accident, and feeling scared, stuck on the side of I-90 in a remote part of Montana while waiting for help. Driving the rest of the way in a too-small rental car. The weather, and water temperature, took a nose-dive when we got to Michigan, leaving us with zero good days for frolicking in Lake Michigan. Experiencing what I now know will be my absolute last time of being incredibly hurt by some of my family members, forcing me to abruptly end our time at my parents' house.
All of this said, our summer vacations to Michigan as we have known them are over. I am sure that we will eventually be back in some capacity, but the weeks-long trips, staying solo with my girls at my parents' house are definitely over. In the future we plan to only travel as a family of four and visit more relatives and friends across Michigan and Wisconsin. I do hope that relieving ourselves of the stress of annual visits will open up our time, and budget, for trips, well, anywhere else in the world we care to travel!