Where we live is a gorgeous area of the state. However, being a tourist town prices are jacked up during summer and it can make those on a budget a bit difficult to do things there. So, we sat down and talked it out. Decided that since we're not that far from Lake Michigan, we'd head out to the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes. Its only $10 for the park fee and its good up to 7 days. So thats a slight perk :). We packed up the boys, some drinks and snacks, bought some sunscreen (which I have been meaning to do!) and headed out.
Many years ago, in a state now called Wisconsin, lived a mother bear and her two cubs. One day, as they were in the woods gathering food, a fire broke out. All of the animals, including the mother bear and her cubs, had to leave the forest. The mother bear and her cubs swam across Lake Michigan to the state we now call Michigan. It was a very long swim. Soon, the two cubs grew very tired and fell behind their mother. When the mother bear came to the shores of Michigan, she climbed to the highest point she could find, a large hill made of sand, and waited for the cubs. She waited and waited and waited. But her cubs could not make the long journey. Instead, the Great White Spirit, who watched over all the animals, turned the cubs into two islands. The mother bear, who soon grew tired, saw her two cubs in the lake and knew that the Great White Spirit had taken care of them. She soon saw the two islands in Lake Michigan. Knowing that her cubs were safe, she soon fell fast asleep. Today, the cubs are known as North Manitou Island and South Manitou Island. Their mother, who the Great Spirit covered with sand to keep warm, now watches over her cubs from her spot atop the giant hill made of sand. We call her Sleeping Bear Sand Dune.
We left a bit later in the day, around 2:30pm I believe. It was a Sunday though and no plans to do anything early the next day anyways. Dane was a bit antsy in the car but did better going there then back. He's not a car baby. Gage, fell asleep 5 miles outside of our neighborhood! Kid was conked out.
This is where our whole "adventure" began. Mind you, we've never actually traveled this way by ourselves. We have always gone with my mom and step-dad, never paid attention to the actual route. We did a quick look up on the internet before we left. No real directions - ha, yeah, that should scream trouble right there. We kinda went out of our way haha, passed right by where we wanted to go. Both of us saw it but never really put two and two together. Yup, we're idiots. We admit it! In a way though, it was nice. Such beautiful scenery. I wish I had taken more pictures then I did but in a moving car, not quite as easy and I wasn't going to ask him to pull over. Dane was in the car and awake, that would have equaled screams haha.
We turned around and *gasp* he ASKED for directions! This is the 2nd time in my life I have ever witnessed a male asking for directions. But then again, i was sitting next to both of them in the car telling them to ask for the damn directions because we're freaking lost. This time, we felt like idiots though haha. However, what's done is done and we finally made it to our destination.
Gage was getting antsy and upset. Understandable but a whiney 4 year old can get old at times. This started to be one because of how he was whining. I was determined to make it up to him so I didn't let his mood ruin mine.
We pulled in, paid and went on our merry little way. Where we passed by our first marker. The covered Bridge. I left the little booklet outside that describes each marker .. I probably should have brought it in haha. Anyways we went through and up to the main destinations. To view the Dunes and Lake Michigan. I have been here several times and still the view of the lake is beautiful. Especially when you go on a day we did, clear skies, just all around wonderful. The first one we stopped at, a view of the Dunes was just awesome. I don't ever personally recall going there, I may have when I was younger or such. I just don't have my own recollection of it. Taking the boys there was fun. Them seeing it, more so Gage because hes at an age where he'll remember. He's been there once before, when he was only 7 months old. But now, he can enjoy it in his own little 4 year old way! Here is a picture of Gage standing in the same spot 4 years later.
It's neat to be able to take him back there. I do wish I had the old photo saved onto this laptop. I'd share it for reference. This trip also lead to it being Dane's first time there and his first time seeing and feeling sand. It was pretty neat. Gage didn't take to sand kindly the first time like Dane. It was cute trying to see Dane walk on it. All in all this trip was nice and honestly, a much needed break from our daily lives with the constant unknowns and stress. Taking the boys out, spending time with them and leaving everything else behind at home was what I believe we all needed. I took a ton of photos and wish I had remembered to bring my tripod, so no actual full family shots of us all. Sad day. I am happy we went and Gage loved playing in the sand. We think we brought half of it back with him in his pockets and shoes. So I will end this with pictures from that day. Not all of them have uploaded and I'm slightly annoyed by that but right now, I have other things in my life that are a bigger worry then a few pictures not being uploaded! I will add them once I can get them on here.
The rest of the photos are under this "read more" link - so just click on that.