The following is the next installment of what is now the woefully, embarrassingly out-of-date travelogue of the 2013 Rempe vacation. In today’s episode, we ferry ‘cross
the Mersey Lake Michigan to visit the land of a thousand cheeses, and seventy-or-so cousins of Scandinavian descent.
When it comes to traveling across this great country of ours, there is no shortage of modes of transportation available to the sojourner. Each has it’s own particular charm and/or appeal. There is, of course, the car – the very symbol of American independence – riding the highways and byways of the land and experiencing roadside America up close and personal. There is the airplane – the fruit of Orville’s and Wilbur’s collective labors – which shortens travel time and offers the unique view of the land from 30,000 feet above. There’s the romantic notion of “riding the rails” and reminiscing about a bygone era when the “iron horse” connected coast to coast. (As Kipling famously wrote, “East is East, and West is West, and the twain runs on the twacks.”) There are those who prefer to traverse on two wheels, with the wind in their faces and bugs in their teeth. And, in some places, there is the option to ride the waves, sailing across the country’s lakes and waterways.
Now, when traveling with small children, these options are reduced. Motorcycling is right out – there’s no good way to put five people, no matter how small, on one bike, and even if there were, a bit of the biker mystique would certainly be lost in the process. Flying is possible, but the thought of having to check three different car seats and at least one stroller in order to subject total strangers to my amped-up children in close quarters (not to mention the cost of doing so) usually causes me to break out in a rash. The train is a great option – provided you’re going where the train is. (They tend not to take detours to your aunt’s house.) So, when all is said and done, we usually end up loading up the family car and pray that we can make the whole circuit without busting a fan belt.
However, when the opportunity to actually combine modes of transportation avails itself, it’s hard not to jump at the opportunity. So when I learned that there was a ferry that ran from western Michigan to Milwaukee, I couldn’t say no. (Also, there is the added benefit of not having to drive through Gary, Indiana, and not having to experience rush hour on the Dan Ryan Expressway.) So with Wisconsin in our sights, we headed out to Muskegon to catch the Lake Express.