Moving to New York, Part 2 | IA to MI | August 16-18, 2016
On Tuesday afternoon, we said our goodbyes to my family in Iowa and started the second leg of the trip: to Michigan to see Curtis’ family! On the way, we diverted a little from this very familiar and not particularly interesting drive (why can’t Iowa and Michigan be a little closer together??) and snagged 2 new counties and saw 2 more Whispering Giants in Illinois. The Giants are within 30 miles of each other and both run parallel to the interstate, so we opted to take back roads between the 2 rather than getting back on I-80. The first Giant (#62) was in Starved Rock State Park. The park looked really cool by Midwest standards, but we didn’t have time to stop for anything besides seeing the Giant because sunset was quickly approaching!
The second Giant (#61) is in Ottawa at a riverside park, which happened to be quite busy on this evening. We made it just in time to see the sunset and the Giant in the remaining daylight. We attempted to find letterboxes at both sights, but had no luck with either. After that, we pressed on through to Chicago, into Indiana, and finally Michigan. We arrived at Curtis’ family’s place far too late that evening (or should I say morning! Haha)
Once again, we had 2 full days to spend with family, and we made the most of that time! We enjoyed getting to see what their new home looks like in the summer, and checking out their garden. Curtis jumped right into mowing the lawn and chopping down a tree — he just can’t wait until we can own property and he can take care of his own yard and gardens, haha! We also were able to make the rounds and see some more relatives while there. On Wednesday, we visited one set of grandparents in Muskegon and spent an afternoon visiting with them, then met up with the rest of the family at Kirk Park Beach, South of Grand Haven for dinner and sunset at the lake. It also happened to be a dog beach, which Charlotte highly approved of. We weren’t sure how she’d do with mostly bigger dogs running around and coming up all around her, but she handled it really well and even made some new friends. We do our best to socialize her, but sometimes she gets a little snappy when there are too many big dogs all trying to sniff her rear. I’m sure if we were in her shoes, we’d all understand where she’s coming from. 😉
Speaking of Charlotte, up till this point we had noticed some weird things going on with her ears and skin. At first we thought it was an allergic reaction to something either in Iowa or along the way, but now it was getting worse, and the reaction on her nose irritated her and she scratched it until it started bleeding. (Sorry if that’s TMI!) Thankfully, Curtis’ Aunt who lives nearby is a veterinarian, and graciously agreed to take a look at Charlotte for us. We didn’t want to take advantage of her services just because we’re family — I mean, I know all about that, I went to massage school! — but in this awkward time of transition, she was a life saver for us. She was pretty sure that it was either an insect or plant that caused the reaction (possibly stinging nettles, which Charlie could have picked up while running around at either park we visited in KY). It really helped to just ease our worried minds. We got some medications to help relieve the pain and fight infection, and Charlotte got lots of peanut butter while we attempted to have her take said meds. Long story short, a few days later she turned back into her chipper self, and now all the scars and scabs are gone. So thankful for family!
On our last evening together (Thursday), we went on a letterbox hunt to several different cemeteries around Southeastern Grand Rapids until it became too dark. Then Curtis’ parents indulged our county counting by driving across the line of a more out of the way county. (We had gotten every other county around it, and the blank space stood out like a sore thumb on our maps!)
Once again, we’re so thankful we had a little time to spend together with family. Maybe someday we’ll be able to have a “normal visit,” like where we could have a little more time together and not have to mentally be distracted by wondering about what’s happening next, but for this season of life with the Navy, we’ll take what we can get! We weren’t sure how much time we’d have before Curtis had to start his next training cycle once we arrived in NY, but it was important to us to spend the time we knew we had with family. Even if that meant only having 2 days to find a home and move in. 🙂