But then again….it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right? 😉
No getaway is complete without stopping at a winery or two.
The Chocolate wine is from Canadian River Winery, south of Norman, Oklahoma. It’s not at all like the Choco Wine I posted about recently. This one actually looks like wine, and tastes like wine, with some chocolate flavoring.
The other two wines are from Brushy Creek Vineyards in Texas, where we stopped on our way back home.
I’m sure it’s going to be delicious!
Didn’t think tasting bad wine would count as drinking bad wine….
Saw this at Peninsula Cellars Winery in Traverse City, Michigan.
Detention is the name of one of their wines. They also have one called Homework.
Don’t worry, at this point our vacation was almost over…. only a few more posts to
suffer read through 😉
First on the agenda on Wednesday, July 13 was Big Sable Point Lighthouse at Ludington State Park, but when we found out that it would be an almost 2 mile walk each way…. on the beach… in the sand… in flip-flops, because our shoes were under all the luggage in a storage compartment.. we decided to skip it instead. I would have liked to go, but I don’t think the kids would have lasted, certainly not without complaining most of the way. There’s always next time, and we’ll be better prepared. We did spend some time on the beach, even though it was chilly and windy.
Next was Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse. They were open for tours and we all went up, even Melissa, who was less than thrilled about the spiral stairs of Sturgeon Point Lighthouse. This one didn’t have a spiral staircase, it had ladders, and neither of the girls was happy about having to climb down backwards. We had quite the view from the top, even though it’s not a very tall lighthouse. It was a looong way back to the beach! You don’t realize how far it is when you’re walking on the pier (trying to dodge the crashing waves).
Little Sable Point Lighthouse is inside Silver Lake State Park, and one of my favorite lighthouses. All four of us took the long spiral staircase to the top and enjoyed the view… and the little fun facts on the railing.
We made a quick stop at a winery in Silver Lake, and then we were off to White River Lighthouse…
…stopped at another winery on our way to Muskegon South Pier and Breakwater Lights …
… and then went to Grand Haven State Park, and Grand Haven Lighthouse before calling it a day and finding a hotel in Holland.
Wednesday, August 18 was the last day of our road trip. Our goal was to make it to Vinita, Oklahoma by lunch time. Why? Well, because of Clanton’s Cafe of course! The last possible DDD diner we would be able to stop at. And we made it! We even had time to stop at Summerside Vineyards first, which is also in Vinita, OK. I saw the funniest things in their store…. I’m sure you all know the coozies you can get for soda cans and bottles, well the winery had them for wine glasses. And do you know what they are called? Woozies! 🙂
There was even a picture of Guy Fieri on the wall at Clanton’s
Our last stop was Whispering Meadows Winery in McAlester, Oklahoma, and we made it home at 6:15 pm.
I guess you could say that on August 17th we were officially on our way back home, but that didn’t stop us from doing anything fun! Greg saw a Spam Museum sign along the highway and said “let’s stop!” and I said “sure!” and we took a little detour to the Spam Museum.
Unfortunately we got there over an hour before the museum opened, but there was a gift shop right next door, that opened an hour before the museum. We took some pictures while we waited for the doors to open and then browsed through the gift shop, where Greg bought this:
That was his lunch the day after we got back home. Fried! He said it was pretty good.. better than he remembered (probably because it was peppered). I passed. No Spam for me, thank you!
Then followed the Coffee truck 😉 to Kansas City, Missouri.
Kansas City was a scheduled stop, and yes, after that awful hotel in Wisconsin we learned our lesson and made reservations the day before! We checked into the hotel first and then finally made it to another DDD diner, RJ’s Bob-Be-Que Shack. The food was very good!
After dinner it was back to the hotel for a good nights’ sleep before our last leg home the next day. This was the view from our room.
We left Indiana on the morning of August 14th and made our way through Illinois and Wisconsin to Minnesota, our next scheduled destination. We stopped at the Welcome Center in Wisconsin to pick up a few travel brochures to see what there is to see and do on the way, especially in Kenosha, since we planned on spending some time there and then have lunch at a restaurant that was featured on DDD.
Our first stop was Southport Lighthouse, and then nearby Pierhead Lighthouse, after a walk along Lake Michigan.
Unfortunately we changed our lunch plans when it looked like it was standing room only at the DDD diner, and we were too hungry to wait for a table. We ended up at Chili’s, and then made one more stop at Jelly Belly. We took the tour, but it was pretty disappointing. They just drive you through the warehouse in a tram, and stop at several locations and show videos. You don’t see anything of the actual factory (touring Celestial Seasonings in Boulder, Colorado last spring was so much better!!). We browsed through the store afterwards and saw that Jelly Belly makes soda! Did you know that? We bought Lemon, Blueberry and Vanilla. The lemon soda was definitely my favorite. The vanilla was a little too sweet (even for me, can you believe it?). I didn’t try the blueberry, because I only like fresh blueberries.
Of course we did some taste testing, too, but skipped the gross flavors. After all, I do prefer my pencil shavings fresh from the pencil, and centipede needs to be seasoned just right (and I’m not talking booger or skunk spray, or any of the other umm odd flavors) 😉
This trip may not have been a good one for DDD diners, but we lucked out with the wineries. Vetro Winery was the first of quite a few.
On Monday, July 6, 2009, we continued through Maryland and went through West Virginia and Kentucky.
We ran into a little bit of fog in the morning, and this first picture reminded me of San Francisco last year.
We made a little detour to Forks of Cheat Winery in West Virginia, because it wasn’t too far away from the highway. It was well worth it, because the view was beautiful and they had a gorgeous garden! We did do some wine tasting first, bought a bottle or two.. or three? I don’t remember… and then walked around the garden for a while. I took plenty of pictures, too!
We ate lunch at another Diners, Drive-ins & Dives restaurant, the Central City Cafe in Huntington, West Virginia. The food was good, but the service wasn’t great. They seemed to care more about the locals/regulars than out-of-towners, they had no kids menus (but did charge us kids prices – which weren’t listed – for the kids’ meals). The kids’ meals came with a small slice of watermelon for dessert, and the owner (at least I think he was the owner) gave us a to-go box with more watermelon pieces for the kids before we left.
Poor Sara was exhausted and took a little nap in the car… how she was able to sleep like this, I don’t know!
West of Lexington, Kentucky, we drove past this castle and I had to take a picture! We didn’t know what it was, but then found an article about it in a magazine in our hotel room. How cool would it be to stay there one day?!!
Prepare yourself for lots of vacation posts! 😉
We left on June 25th, a day earlier than originally planned. Pulled away from the curb (since we don’t have a driveway) right at 3 pm and thanks to my speed demon (yes, that’s 90mph) we made it to Joplin, Missouri by about 9:30 pm. This was on the turnpike, where the speed limit is 75, but still!
We got up early on June 26 and continued on our drive. Sitting in the car all day is pretty boring, and most of the time there isn’t much to take pictures of, unless of course the sunrise is as beautiful as this.
Since we left a day early, we had time to stop at a couple of wineries on the way. First, St. James Winery in St. James, Missouri, and then Augusta Winery in Augusta, Missouri, near St. Louis.
And, while in St. Louis, we had to stop at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard and get a little treat. (But even that didn’t make the kids cooperate any more than usual)
We met up with the boys and Nikki for dinner and later in the evening, they all came to the hotel in Merrillville, Indiana, to hang out for a while. It was so nice to finally meet Nikki (she and Cameron got married last October). She’s a very sweet girl, and Sara just adores her!
On June 27th we all met up at the hotel and then headed to Deep River Waterpark and spent most of the day there. I left my camera safely hidden in the car, so there are no waterpark pictures to share. Everyone had a great time, though, but the next day Cameron was very sorry he didn’t put any sunscreen on, even though I tried to talk him into it several times. He ended up with a severe sunburn, especially on his back and shoulders. He was miserable! (Next time I will put my foot down and treat him like a 3-year-old and make him put sunblock on!)
Before we went to the waterpark, Sara and I went downstairs with our cameras to take pictures of the flowers while we waited for the “big kids” to get there.