Road Trip – 3 Day Weekend!

I am now ruled by the “school schedule” so the first 3 day weekend that I saw on the horizon was a chance for me to plan a Road Trip (much shorter than my summer one) so I planned a weekend away. We headed north about 3 hours to the middle of Wisconsin to check out the world in those parts. I have 4 letters for you…


“Vacation Rental By Owner”

It’s fabulous.

I have no affiliation with them so this is not a “pitch post”. I discovered this website last year ( when I was looking for a place to stay for the week over the summer. It is similar to other sites that offer homes to stay in for vacation purposes. This one just happens to have homes in the areas that I head to. I used them this past summer twice while in NY on our Mammoth Road Trip excursion. (Check out the link if you missed all of that goodness. The link provides the first bits of the journey and you can follow the rest under the “Gift of Gab – Road Trip Ramblings” category).

With a family of 5 and often an additional guest along, renting a whole house for the same price or less than a hotel is a no-brainer. I have been on a “country kick” lately so I have rented homes in the country and it brings me back to my roots. I love it!

We rented a farmhouse with lots of land, walking trails and a lake/pond…plus beautiful barns and out buildings.

At the time that I planned this weekend getaway, my mind thought, “Oooo, 3 days, that’s enough time to getaway”.

It’s not.

At least not in my world.

By the time I pack, travel and get us settled, I have used up a day and a half. Then the last day is spent getting packed up, traveling and settled back into home. So I really just went away for an afternoon.

And this is what we took…


Believe it or not, I got it all in our minivan. Plus, 3 kids and 3 grownups.

I have Super Spatial Powers.

I had to switch out a toy house for a flatter one but that was so minor that I consider it quite an accomplishment.

We drove 15-20 minutes and I made an announcement to my potty trained children that they should tell me they needed a bathroom when they first felt like they had to go, NOT when they really had to go. That is too much pressure and I cannot always find a safe place to stop, even to use Mother Nature’s bathroom facilities.

About a minute later I heard, “Mom, I have to go to the bathroom.” I forgot about bathroom breaks. Kid bathroom breaks that take over the whole trip.

We hadn’t even left our world yet. So, I tried to stifle my signature sigh and we exited the highway that we had just zoomed onto and headed back to use a bathroom. McDonald’s was the best option and of course then everyone was hungry and wanted to eat there. Well, the kids any ways. I have no problem saying that I love McDonald’s, I wouldn’t even dream of lying about it. I am not ashamed. BUT, I do get tired of it because it is one of the few places that my kids will eat or is around me when I want something fast. I have tried other fast food places and their speed of service does not even compare. When you have 3 young kids in the car, you cannot hang out in a car stuck in a line that has no exit for 20 minutes waiting on a chicken sandwich. Don’t they know that?

So, I decided that we may as well go pee, get lunch and THEN maybe everyone would fall asleep. Let me remind you that all of that stuff I showed you earlier is packed in this van so you have to climb over things to get in and out. And the two potty trained kids are in the very back because the toddler needs to be close to his mother – he’s just a baby, after all, and the grownups get carsick. It’s a major chore when a kid has to go to the bathroom. And of course the toddler is upset that everyone else seems to be getting out to do something fun so he falls apart that he is not included. Well, he can come, yes, so now all of us, minus dad, are off to enjoy the insides of McDonald’s. They did give away free toothbrushes and toothpaste to kids, so it did end up being extremely exciting. That’s the great part about Road Trip…the unknown treasures!

Back on the road, no one went to sleep as I had planned. We had to make another pee stop using nature’s facilities off an exit only to discover afterwards that a mile down the road there was a real rest stop. Muffins were antsy so we got off at that rest stop and stretched and regrouped, hoping THAT would help people sleep so we could keep going. It worked.

But then MapQuest failed me. It has maybe only failed me once before and I only say that because I can’t remember that it did but it MAY have. It told me to go left when it made no sense and I could not find the road it talked about unless I went right. I do not use GPS, I outwardly scoff at “SURI”(SP) the iPhone direction lady and any other technological “I will help you find your way but only when you have screamed at the right decibel or when I am back from my break, or when you have service again or maybe never” service that is available these days. Too many gone wrong moves that have left me weary of their true intention. I am old school, as I have pointed out (I am waiting for permed big hair to come back you know) so I like MapQuest. Yes, I know that is not really “old school” as in getting out the map and highlighting my route “old school” and that MapQuest uses the same technology but it works. I like visually seeing where I am headed before I go, then I have a better idea of when things are looking funky.

Kids were awake now and antsy again. Another pit stop, a call to the destination for “HELP!”, and a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup for the driver (that’s me) to keep me going.

We made it. But it is not early afternoon as I had planned. It is late afternoon. I need to set up camp so it is ready because suppertime and bedtime are right around the corner.

It was not until the next day, later the next day, when I scooted out to check out the new adventure.

Being an old farmhouse, there were remnants of past lives so I enjoyed thinking about their daily routine. I would not have made it. I was lucky to make bacon and box mix brownies in addition to caretaking and my whole morning had been consumed. Can you imagine if I had to go pump my water, get my eggs and milk, head out to the outhouse, take care of the wee ones and make breakfast? Me neither.

But when I did get out, this is what I found…


beautiful property and buildings. It was a fabulously warm weekend with wonderful smells and sounds.


A lake and various old farm instruments dotted around.


Lily Pads. I love Lily Pads. No frogs or turtles sunning though.


I ventured down the dock and the end of the dock was constructed of scraps, any scraps available so that you could go further. It was a bit rickety but I went further.


And further – right onto the pallet at the end.


It was beautiful, serene and so peaceful. I saw an otter and a Crane. It may not have been a Crane. I call every bird with longs legs and wide wings either Cranes or Herons. Unless the bird is pink, then I call it a Flamingo.


By the time I made it back to my breakfast, it was no longer hot, but it was worth it to have been off exploring before I was back on momma-duty.


And my “running” shoes, I mean “jogging” shoes, that had still looked like they were fresh out of the  box even though I am supposed to be exercising more were quite happy because they were dirty with nature.

Just hopefully not the same nature that we had left behind on one of our pee stops.

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