This is a special memory from my own childhood.
I don’t think our family ever went on a vacation together. I knew many other families that did. I think there are photos somewhere of us as very little girls at a cabin up north but I’m not sure if it is from a vacation or just a hunting trip!
A vacation with my Dad was one of the things I got out of the divorce. Judy never went to Dad’s on the weekend and she certainly wasn’t going to go with Dad on vacation, so it was just the two of us and we were going to Canada! I was eleven years old and to this day, it is the only time I have ever been out of the United States.
We took Daddy’s station wagon and lots of camping gear and we were going to sleep in the back of the car. It was the most wonderful adventure of my life!
Our trip started by driving from Jonesville to Detroit to go through the Detroit-Windsor tunnel into Ontario. We would drive north through Canada and cross back into Michigan and down through the center of the state, over one thousand miles. The Detroit-Windsor tunnel was such a disappointment! I expected it to be a glass tunnel through the river much as the Shark Encounter at Sea World is now. It was nothing like that. It was just a tunnel with bright lights and it was very short!
The rest of the trip was spectacular. We drove along some highway that had been blasted out of rocks. We both got out and took turns climbing up the rocks for a photo. I’m better with a camera now than I was back then but I love these photos. I have no idea where in Canada this is but it was very impressive, especially to an eleven year old. I’d never seen anything like this in Michigan.
That night we stopped at some campground and fished from a big rock alongside the lake. It was breathtaking sitting perched on those huge boulders. I don’t think we caught anything but Daddy had filled a little cooler with food and we had a small cook stove with us. I’m pretty sure dinner was hot dogs.
Sleeping in the back of the station wagon was fun! I had never slept in a real sleeping bag before. Daddy got some towels wet and hung them over the windows so we could roll them down and still keep out most of the mosquitos. I woke to noises coming from the trashcans and so of course, I woke up Daddy. He explained it was just raccoons stealing scraps out of the trash. I was convinced they were trapped. I was not going to go back to sleep (or shut up) until he got out and tipped each trash can over for me. He up righted all of them in the morning before we left.
One of the highlights of the trip for me was seeing the St. Peter’s Cathedral. Daddy wasn’t Catholic but he went out of the way so we could stop and see it. I’d never seen such a beautiful church or one so big but the best part for me was the pipe organ inside. I was learning to play the piano back then and I thought it was the most beautiful organ ever.
One of the disappointments of the trip was the hitchhiker. Living in such a small town, I had never even seen one before and I begged my Dad to pick one up. When he finally did, I was so let down that he was just another person. I expected him to be some kind of alien being or something! He was boring!
Now, one of the funniest things to happen on the trip was the worm disaster! Daddy had gotten a box of live worms for us to fish with and was keeping them in the cooler with our food. I’m not sure I was aware of this arrangement in the beginning but on the last day when I opened the cooler and the worms were in the bottom swimming around in the water that had melted – well I was not eating anything that was in that cooler. End of discussion!
This was an amazing vacation filled with lots of other first. I had never been on a ferry and I couldn’t believe how huge the Mackinaw Bridge was. Unfortunately, it was the only vacation I would ever get to take with my Dad. It was about a year later that my mother moved us to California but that is next week’s story.
It was the vacation of a lifetime!