Long, long ago when my teen was a just a tot and vacations were not in the cards, dearly departed Joe and I used to create what we called mini vacations. For example, if Joe had a business appointment in a neighboring suburb, our tot and I would go on the appointment with him, hang out at a local park while he did business, and then the three of us would go to some place fancy like Steak & Shake for lunch. Or maybe we would all head out and “antique” at garage sales in a new neighborhood and then pick up sandwiches for a picnic in an unexplored park. Whatever we chose to do, we always tried to explore someplace new at least 15 miles outside of the city. Chicago certainly offers all the sights and sounds of a big city but a mini vacation offered us the chance to get away from it all.
As time has marched on, Cole and I have continued the mini vacation tradition. Starbucks included. We found our way to the deer -water pump park. We love to drive alongside the airport and watch the planes take off and land. Sometimes we head out and find an untried place to eat. Mini vacations happen on the spur of the moment, with little to no planning and, of course, now that my tot has grown up they are unfortunately few and far between. However, yesterday opportunity knocked so we handed Camp-Run-A-Pup over to Vickie’s capable hands, hoisted the carpe diem flag, packed up Rascal, and headed out on a mini vacation. We decided that our final destination would be New Buffalo, Michigan, about an hour from Chicago.
The first part of our journey included a torrential storm involving rain, thunder and lightning. Traffic slowed and we were able to enjoy the storm all the way out of Chicago. Our first stop was McDonald’s Oasis, where we got captured by a toll booth arm that refused to let us pass. This particular McDonald’s is one we have encountered before and, having never failed to have an adventure there, we were neither surprised nor disappointed. It took several trips back inside McDonald’s, and a foot stomp, to gain our release, but we were eventually on our way again with two mini apple pies, large fries, a coke, and an iced coffee.
We weren’t too far along the road when the coffee incident occurred. The one of us that was not me was holding his coffee when it somehow slipped from his hand and spilled all over the front seat of the car. This could have been problematic but fortunately, since the coffee did not spill on the person holding it, in my purse, or on Rascal, and we had plenty of paper towels on hand, it was not. The lingering coffee aroma souvenir will also allow me the pleasure of remembering our mini vacation long after it is over!
I think the rest of our trip is best told in pictures:
Starbucks. Another attempt at coffee and a Pupachino for Rascal.
Snapper dinner at the Brentwood Tavern.
Stroll through outlet malls .
The Michigan City Power Plant cooling tower looks ominous and is often mistaken for a nuclear power plant but it’s coal fired.
Home again. We greeted our pups and fell back into our routine refreshed, renewed and in much better spirits than when we started out. A mini vacation isn’t the real thing but it certainly is a pause that refreshes.
Do you ever take off on an unplanned mini-vacation?
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