Wednesday, October 1, 2014


We arrived at the ungodliest hour ever with the effects of bottles of wine having worn off and sleepy eyes setting in. I drove and I was ready to not be driving for the night. But the thing is, when you arrive at a national or state park, you're still not there. You have to find where they hide the campsites. And at Indiana Dunes State Park, they hid them, and they hid them well for 2-3am. But the ease of use made it all worth it. Checking in was as good as using a vending machine. swipe your card, pick a spot, print out your parking pass, BEDTIME! YAY!

Except, AWL and I have yet to pitch a tent together. It turns out when I'm tired I'm not ready for a BAZILLION questions. I'm what one might call....cranky (the PG version). This boy is like a three year old playing the "why?" game. He's akin to the biggest fan of 21 questions in the universe. I found out on this trip that this is what is commonly known as talking to yourself to someone else. Not all the questions were meant for me to answer, but HOW DO I KNOW THAT?!


And then, I have to give it to him, I looked at him with steam emerging from my ears and laser beam eyes directed at his skull and fire breath at the ready. But even through my arsenal, I could tell he was surprised by my responses and he was handling it SO MUCH BETTER. I mean, now, super far away from the situation, I'm so happy he handled me with such patience because God knows, I don't have any for him. But at the time that part of my brain melted and I couldn't figure out thoughts, words, sentences, concepts, life. He is the better man when it comes to frustration. Which is good, because he knows all the buttons to get me to go from cool as a cucumber to fire breathing dragon. AND HE LIKES TO DO IT. I know he does....I KNOW IT.

Good news: The tent went up. We left the rain cover off and fell asleep to the stars twinkling through the tree branches.

And after a wonderful sleep snuggling up to my honey under the stars we woke up to the most beautiful day. THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DAY!

And the thing about Indiana Dunes State Park is that it a buttes Lake Michigan.

As you can tell by our long sleeved shirts (actually they were both AWLs and I STOLE IT!) It was breezy and slightly chilly. But honeybadger don't care. I really REALLY REALLY ALWAYS want to touch the water. It could be January in the middle of a blizzard and I will walk right down to water body of water it is and I WILL TOUCH IT! And it's a good thing I did because it was bath water. It was the most glorious strange and confusing experience in water I have ever had.

SUIT UP! Let's go swimming!
(AWLs favorite colors are KAWASAKI green and black in case you didn't notice)

(This is the only picture I was told I had to take so he could send it to his BFF, everything else was ninja camera skills)

Is it the ocean?

There are waves....
Nope, it's not salty.

But you can only see water as far across as you can squint!
Wait Wait...just to the left of us...if you SUPER squint there's Chicago

But there are riptide warnings....
Uhhhhhh what riptide? Are these kids serious?

Uhhhhhh, I guess there are, here comes the park ranger...

Well, as AWLs niece likes to retell over and over and OVER. We got in a little bit of trouble. We received several phone calls inquiring why we were yelled at after a certain postcard made it's way to a little girl's hand mentioning a CERTAIN park ranger.

He was actually a really cool guy. We asked him lots of questions and he answered all of them. BUT FIRST he frantically waved us in (I didn't even notice because we were trying to do cartwheels into the waves and I was in the middle of half drowning). And told us the rule was you couldn't go past your waist in this lake because of the statistics of drownings.

We went on our way and sunned ourselves on shore, both wondering how the heck that many people die in the most amazing lake ever. I don't know if these midwestern people are unaware of how to swim, but they've clearly never been to the Jersey shore...or any east coast shore for that matter. I imagine all of Indiana's population getting swept out to sea just by putting their toes in the water.

So we relaxed into the realization that we were REALLY on vacation...ON OUR OWN!  No family outings or politeness. Just us. Just the sun and the fake waves splashing the shore. It was less of a shock for me. I mean, I'd actually been on summer vacation for a month, but AWL hasn't taken more than an extended weekend in five years. I can NOT EVEN IMAGINE! That sounds like slavery to me. His one goal? By the end of the vacation he wanted to be able to say the phrase he hates hearing from me on a regular basis..."Wait...what day is it again?"

 And then we got hungry...because between the two of us, there is no cure for our constant pangs of hunger. Leftover combos it is. But we weren't the only ones that were hungry!


AWL vs. the....LAKE....GULL?  We laid there for a good half hour saying the phrase Lake Gull alternatively super fast lakeGULL and super slow. Because this is what happens when you have no particular plans and a combos creeper eyeing up your munchies. We ended up giggling way too out of control for such a stupid (can we call it...) conversation. That little punk bird ended up being called Lego the Laygle. That's how we roll. He deserved every little bit of ridicule and heckling and threats of physical violence. You should have seen the anger in his little bird eyeballs. HA!

And very VERY slowly the combos wore off and the hunger came back as the laziness ebbed just enough for us to decide to venture off for more food.  If it hadn't been for that we may have spent our entire vacation just laying there. But eventually we meandered back to the car and decided to hook around the lake to Chicago. We hear they have amazing pizza here. Might as well check it out:

In a matter of a half an hour, or 45 minutes we relatively instantly made our way into Illinois to beautiful Chicago. The shore line wrapped around the lake and beautiful sailboats and gardens started to replace the dunes and I felt as though I was going to Annapolis. Back to my high school days of tea on the docks at Hard Bean Cafe'.

And then we made it to the Navy Pier and Annapolis shrunk to a distant memory as Chicago made room in my memories.

I really REALLY wanted to go on the Ferris Wheel because I was never on one before, but I was told by my fearless leader that this one wasn't a good one. That we'd go on some other cooler one sometime. :-( Apparently the cool ones are all open air with no walls. But THIS one had a huge super cool lake right next to it, and we were starting our vacation, and I mean...the line wasn't THAT long, BUT I WANT AN OOOMPA LOOMPA NOW DADDY!

No and beer...FOCUS:

We did only choose a place at the pier that was probably generic and not an authentic place to get Chicago pizza. It probably really is our fault. But honestly, it was just FAIR. The beer selection was good though. It turns out a few other times west of Chicago (some places WAY more west than others) we tried "Chicago style" pizza and it was WAY better than pizza from Chicago. Go figure.

Chicago we loved you. I loved that you could drink outside with the non-ocean zephyrs swirling around us. It was a good day. But alas, we must go like cowboys to our next rodeo.