City Mice Visit the Country Mice Part 1
Much like everyone else in the world, our plans this summer had to change based on the coronavirus. Originally, we were planning on going up to Michigan in August for one of Bryan’s cousin’s weddings. Unfortunately, they’ve had to reschedule the party, and so instead we made plans to drive up a month earlier to Michigan, where Bryan's family lives. Bryan’s dad and his twin brother, Bryan’s uncle, both turned 70 in July and we thought it’d be nice to be there to celebrate the big occasion.
The drive from Texas to Michigan is 17-18 hours, with the added bonus of being able to bring the dog with us. The last time we did the drive (with Bowie) was two years ago, right before we moved into the house. Because of the length of the drive, we break the drive up into two days. The first evening, we drove as far as Little Rock, Arkansas and spent the night in an Airbnb there. The house we rented was a restoration project and really cute. It was a shame we didn’t have more time to spend there and enjoy the large backyard and garden. We woke up early before sunrise the next morning for the long drive the rest of the way up to Michigan.
|Bowie loved the Arkansas Airbnb (the neighbor had a cat)|
There isn't much to see on the drive through these flyover states, except farm fields upon farm fields. It must have been a clear, windless day for crop dusting because we saw over half a dozen of those daredevils making their low passes over the fields. Hot tip for a long road trip - borrow audiobooks from your local library. During the drive up and back, we listened to two audiobooks from the library through the Libby app.
By the time we made it up to Indiana, the sun had lost its unrelenting intense glare and the air seemed to mellow. When "outside" goes from feeling like an oven to pleasantly warm, I know that I'm up north. Almost instantaneously, Bowie picked up a tick in the tall grass at the rest stop, which had Bryan obsessively checking his coat the rest of the trip. It wasn't until late into the night that we reached Bryan’s parents house, with fireflies lighting our way on the shoulder of the roads.
|Bowie & Coda on the front lawn|
The peace and quiet we enjoy in Michigan is quite different from our day-to-day in Dallas. Bryan's parents home is set on 10 acres and surrounded by trees. They can't see their neighbors or hear any traffic. We spent mornings sipping coffee on the front porch, watching the sunrise and the dogs drink out of the birdbaths. Afternoons were spent lounging in the sun room, windows open and the breeze gently wafting through, lazily setting the ceiling fan blades revolving. Every few hours, we'd take short strolls around the property and because the temps were so low compared to Texas, we couldn’t keep Bowie inside the house. He spent most of the time sunbathing on the lawn with Coda.
|70th birthday golf-themed cake|
The twins' 70th birthday party / mini family reunion was bittersweet. Bryan’s aunt revealed to the family that her and her husband would be moving to Seattle in September to be closer to their daughter’s family. Her husband has Alzheimer's and it was increasingly difficult for her to manage it all on her own. There were more than a few tears shed during the party and also a lot of laughs. Bryan’s grandparents had decided to skip the birthday party, as his grandpa’s health has been precarious over the last few months and they weren’t willing to risk potential exposure to coronavirus.
|Aperol spritzes on the front porch|
In what felt like a few short days, our trip to the east side of Michigan was over and we were on the road again, this time to the west side of the state where Bryan's brother and sister-in-law live. They had visited us in Dallas last March but we hadn't seen them since. Stay tuned for part 2!