Our MLK weekend trip to Michigan

What’s not to love about a family road trip? Our two friends Paul & Biji had a son Daniel two years ago. Unfortunately, we never made the stars align properly to make it out to see them since Daniel’s birth. Correct. In two years. Chalk it up to a very busy two years where we were awfully busy, they were busy, a joint trip to the Outer Banks was cancelled, etc. The stars never aligned.

Going on more than two years, the need to rectify the situation became more important as time passed. We finally decided to spend some time over the MLK 3-day weekend in January. We would leave on Friday night, see a few friends, and come back Monday. We considered flying out there to maximize our free time and minimize the travel time, but four airfare tickets turned out to be a pricey affair.

We then planned to pack our suitcases Thursday night, work a regular full day on Friday, then drive all night long to Michigan starting at 8pm. Crazy, but we’re crazy people. By the time Friday afternoon rolled around, we were both exhausted, and not feeling the long all night drive. We had no plans Saturday morning or afternoon, so we made the call to simply leave early Saturday morning. We left a little later than planned (around 7:30 pm) and there were flurries all along the drive through PA and OH, but we lucked out as the roads were clear of traffic. The last two times that we drove in 2008 and 2010, there was a hundred miles of construction and traffic congestion that just killed us. With clear roads, it was smooth sailing with minimal breaks along the way. We pulled into their home a little after 6 pm.

This all actually worked out for everyone, as they had prior plans Fri night and most of Saturday. See? We didn’t have to kill ourselves to get there. We spent our Saturday evening eating Michigan pizza and chatting. Sunday was mainly tooling around their home, and then taking all the kids to Jeepers! at the Auburn Hills mall. We also met up with friends Paul and Tom (and kids) there as well. FYI, if you thought Chucky Cheese was scary, Jeepers! is worse. After Jeepers!, we went to a Japanese hibachi restaurant in the mall. Joining us were Paul & Paula’s parents. Nice dinner. After dinner, we all drove over to Paula and Tom’s place for dessert and hanging out. So that was our Friday evening and entire Saturday — lots of worthwhile downtime.

In the morning, we were up early, repacked out suitcases, the kids had breakfast, then we were out the door around 8:30 am. We had to stop for gas again, but we kept rolling along until we stopped in Pittsburgh around 1 pm for lunch with some of my wife’s distant Midwest cousins, supposedly a two hour pit stop. Three hours later, we were back on the road by 4 pm. Doh!

The snow began to fall, but we drove a few more hours until we decided to stop around 8:30 pm just outside the Philadelphia area for dinner at a rest stop. The roads were still clear, so we were making good time. We eventually arrived home by 10 pm. After dropping the other Ipes, I drove to ShopRite to pick up some groceries my wife ordered on the drive.

Yup, we did it. A 60-hour weekend road trip, with about 22 hours total drive time, and 1,295 miles round trip.

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