Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Baltimore

Ok, if you’re not the Gator Gal, then this entry will make very little sense – or maybe it will, depending on your imagination.  I’m remembering a trip last year that me, the Librarian, and my youngest Son, the “Hockey Slammer” took.  It was about an 8 hour drive (or more) to Wisconsin to go to a 100 mile run, I believe called “Kettle Moraine”.  In general, this trip was bad from the beginning.  Traffic in the Chicago area was terrible, our camp site was terrible, and the race itself?  Well, after 40+ miles of blistering sun and dehydration, the temperature dropped 30 degrees and it started to monsoon.  I recall sitting in the back of an aide station shelter, violently shaking as I had gone from total overheat to freezing.  In the end I think only about 6 people finished the full 100 – even Runners World read “Washout at Kettle” or something like that.  In any case, my partner (yep, GG), I totally let down, and she even made it further then I did before dropping; it was a disappointing event, and another sad addition to a disappointing trip.

So finally we packed up and started heading home, and about half way through on a Sunday evening we started looking for a hotel to stay in.  We approached Chicago, and one hotel after another was either full, or just a dump.  Nothing was reasonably priced, and we just kept driving.  I was discouraged, and tired, still not recovered from the day before.  The Librarian and Hockey Slammer were tired, and just looking for a hotel with a pool, or anything even slightly fun on this otherwise miserable trip.

As we trudged on, with one potential stop after the next being a disappointment, I finally said to the guys, “You know, sometimes even at your lowest point, you keep trying; I KNOW that something is waiting for us – somewhere to stay, something fun to do; ok, I don’t know what, but we’ll keep trying, and fighting the battle, and I know if we do there is something better waiting for us.”  Of course I thought this was a pretty awesome speech; the Librarian and Hockey Slammer though just looked at me and rolled their eyes.

After a seemingly endless litany of overpriced hotels, we exited the freeway in a town called “New Buffalo”.  There were the usual hotels by the freeway, but on a whim, we decided to drive a bit further down the road, until as luck would have it, we hit this very beautiful little downtown area, and it turns out it was right on Lake Michigan!  As we drove a bit further, we found this AWESOME hotel, very white and colonial looking, right by a huge white sand beach!  It turns out that if you stay there you can use their bikes for free, and we did just that!  We spent the next day biking around this awesome little town, and laying on the sandy beach in the sun – we watched a beautiful sunset, and walked out at least 100 yards into the water, where the depth was no higher then your stomach – and warm!

Our disastrous trip was saved!  Funny, the road to new Baltimore was filled with one disappointment after the next, but somehow we knew in the back of our minds that if we keep moving forward, keep trying, that opportunities will present themselves; and they did!  So, Gator Gal, our recent emails made me think of this story.  Hang in there – I know your “New Baltimore” is just around the corner!