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Crossing the USA (July 5, 2002)

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We are now taking our last flight on our World Trip. It is going to Michigan. It is very strange to think that our adventures will end in about two weeks. But then when I think about unpacking everything in our house, and finding all the stuff that we have not seen in a year, I realize that coming home might be another adventure. Or, we not be returning to our normal lives; maybe traveling is our normal lives and staying at home will seem very strange.

When we got to Michigan, we got a minivan. It is dark blue and can fit seven people sitting down. All the other cars we have had in Europe have had little handles that I used to hold myself down when turning. I'm so used to doing that, I do it in this car, but all I get is a coat hanger. There is a fun thing in the car that shows which direction we are facing (not a compass!), like NE is north-east and SW is south-west. I think you humans can figure out why there is no EW.

We went to a mall to get bathing suits, because our hotel has a swimming pool. We found our sister Colleen in the store she works in. We were all very happy to see each other. Colleen works in a hat store called Lids and there were lots of hats inside.

Joss got a yellow swimsuit and I got a red one. We also each got a pair of sandals because it is so hot out. It fells weird to have sandals after all those months in Europe wearing shoes and socks. But our German shoes are starting to get worn out.

After an Ice Cream at the food court with Colleen, we went to our hotel. Joss and I went to look at the swimming pool. The Pool Room is very humid and the water is nice and warm. We tried swimming in it later, and it was fun. The next day Dad, Joss and I walked to a store and Joss and I got goggles (I actually got a snorkel mask because I don't like water in my nose).

That night we went to Bob Jo's (Joss said it was "Bob Joss") and we got frozen custard. It was really good, but it was so hot (even though it was raining) that it got really melty, so I just gave mine to Mom.

The next day, Mom and Dad went to a movie while Joss and I spent the day with Colleen. We went mini golfing. I chose an orange ball, Joss got a yellow one and Colleen picked a pink one. The first few holes were easy, but after that it got harder. There were no windmills or anything, but there was a ramp that you had to use to jump your ball over a river, one with little speed bumps and one with poles. After that, we waited at a playground that is like a big castle.

We spent the next day taking a tour of the town Mom grew up in (Riverview). Mom showed us her school, her house, her neighborhood, and a cemetery where some of our relatives are buried. Then we went to Mom's Uncle Joe and Aunt Donna's house for lunch. Joss and I threw darts in the basement. Joss kept hitting the "Taiwan" part (I think that's where it's made). After lunch we went back to the Castle Playground and played there a little. The playground is very fun: it is made out of wood and there are lots of secret rooms and things.

We went out for dinner with Colleen. After dinner we went out to the Detroit River, and I spotted something moving near the shore. Mom said it was a muskrat. Then we went back to our hotel.

The next day we were supposed to go see fireworks, but the police were on strike so Mom said it wouldn't be safe to go there. Instead we just watched the fireworks on television. There was one camera angle where all you were able to see was smoke, because so many fireworks had gone off.

It was fun to be where Mom grew up, and it was fun to see Colleen. Next we are going to Lake Michigan!

After a very long drive, we arrived at Silver Lake. We were staying at a very nice resort place with a balcony facing the lake.

There are some very big dunes between Lake Michigan and Silver Lake. The only big thing that we did was ride on a dune buggy ride. We went in a big truck with other people. Our driver stopped at some parts to tell us about things. All of the hills and dunes made the ride really fun.

The pool on the top floor was only three feet deep, and the sauna was scalding hot, so we decided to swim in Silver Lake instead. The water was shallow and cold, but I swam around for a bit before coming out. After I got dried off, I dug a big hole in the sand.

When we drove to Lake Michigan, we went to the Little Sable Lighthouse. There were lots of little dunes, and lots of bushes and trees to hide behind, so Joss and I sneaked around Mom and Dad. There was also grass that made you sting if you touched it. Dad and I tried to throw our Frisbee, but the wind was so strong that we gave up. When we swam in the lake, there were big waves that made us go up and down. I felt like a boat.

After Silver Lake, we went on our last trip: a two-day ride on Amtrak. When we got to the station, we went into a sort of lounge room. There was very little room, but we found some seats. Dad and I went and got some food for us.

We finally went into the train. Joss and I were on the opposite side of the train from Mom and Dad. We were on the second floor, and our room was very small. It had two chairs, which folded out to become a bed, another fold down bed that made bunk beds, a pull out table, and reading lights.

There was a dining car and then a lounge car. Dad, Joss and I played a game of The Lord of the Rings in the lounge car. After that we had some dinner.

When I went to bed, it was fun to look outside and watch all the trees go by. When I woke up, I read for a while until everyone woke up. Then we went down to the dining car to have breakfast. We went to Mom and Dad's room to brush our teeth, because they have a sink and a bathroom in their car. We then went down to the lounge car, and played the card game Settlers of Catan with Geoffrey, who had watched us play Lord of the Rings the day before.

We played a four way game of Lord of the Rings with Geoffrey, and then had dinner again. I slept better than the other night, and everyone had breakfast again. When Joss and I went down to the lounge with Geoffrey, we brought our deck of cards and he bought his, and we invented a card game.

When we got to the station, we got out. Dawn, David, Keegan, and Aunt Joanne were waiting at the station. We got our luggage for the last time, and got into our van. We drove for about an hour, and then pulled up in our driveway.

We were finally home.


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