Our Nightmarish Road Trip

A few days ago, I shared how I topped off the cooler with my homemade Applesauce Freezee Pops and my Thirty One bag filled with my travel snack cups for our Detroit to Duluth road trip. We were going there for my son’s hockey tournament but we were determined do as much sightseeing as we could pack in around the game schedule. Oh, it was going to be a great family trip with tremendous memories.

Duluth was somewhere I expected to be a wilderness safari straight out of a Northern Exposure episode, remember that show? I envision streams and moose. I wish someone would have told me I was confusing it for Yellowstone National Park.

Breaking the 12 hour drive into two days, we choose to drive through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula since the kids haven’t been there yet. I promised them it was going to be a sightseeing drive full of wildlife; however, the first leg of the trip we saw nothing, humph! The wildlife will be out tomorrow!!

We stayed the night in Escanaba and enjoyed the hotel swimming pool which is a rarity for my kids as they are prone to folliculitis, a nasty rash contracted from dirty water. Oh, the thought of it makes my skin crawl. I rarely let them swim in pools but I don’t bat an eye at taking a plunge in a dirty lake {lol}.

Driving day two, was again uneventful, unless you count the stress of finding restrooms. They make apps for that, right? We didn’t observe any wildlife, roadside waterfalls or even road kill. BTW, they are still rash free after dipping in the pool, bonus.

The first stop of obligation was playing a local team in a friendly scrimmage to get ready to play the big boys. It was in a small Wisconsin town just before Duluth.

It is at this scrimmage that I kept blinking my eyes over the size of the refs. They were not only kids but one was no more than 7 years old.


Strange. Wisconsin and Minnesota are die hard hockey aficionados so perhaps this is customary. What do I know? They start ‘em young!

Scrimmage begins and all looks good in the first shift. Our son plays well {I think}. Really, I’m more focused on the pint size refs and wondering how I can sign up my six year old for this gig cause he’d love nothing more than to officiate a team of hockey players and call a gazillion penalties. Oh, the power!

Shift two, my son takes the puck up the ice part way and flubs a shot {gasp}. My motherly instinct kicks in – something is WRONG!

Yup, no moose or streams…

.
.
.
.
{wait for it}

…just an ER visit.

Warrior Cast


First, and hope only, broken bone. His wrist took a hit and he thought he could play through it. He was splinted (the cast was put on a week later). The break was through his growth plate which makes me nervous but he is healing extremely well and has processed his disappointment better than most adults.

However, while dealing with the shock of what just happened, we couldn’t believe the team booked a dive of a hotel. Are you freaking kidding me? Total dive! We are not talking a cheap rate which is usually the first clue. Where were the fire pit, play ground and huge water park that the ad boosted? The parking lot had some odd men ‘tailgating.’ The outside doors didn’t require a key card {red alert}.

The hotel had a larger hotel across the street. That had to be better. For the first time in my life, I asked to see the rooms first. Of course, they were old and smelly as my gut knew. I politely declined our reservation and called around town for a better room. Thank goodness my husband travels a lot and we were able to secure a room, in a nice hotel, at a good rate.

The kids, even siblings, look forward to the camaraderie of a team hotel; mini sticks, video games and hanging out. Sheesh. That didn’t happen.

We joke about driving twelve hundred hours (gawd it seemed like hundreds of hours) over three days just to visit a Wisconsin ice rink and a Minnesota hospital. Oh, it was memorable alright!

We stopped really quickly at the Duluth Pack {fun store}…

l also insisted we stop at the gorgeous Porcupine Mountains for a quick visit on the way home. We weren’t coming this far for absolutely nothing.

We survived. We were complimented from many parents how well we handled the situation as it couldn’t have been any more stressful being out of state as well as very disappointing as it happened 30 seconds into our trip. We didn’t freak, panic or over react. We quickly took care of business and got our son’s medical emergency taken care of with the help of a wonderful local parent {small town – everyone knows everyone}, our nav system to get us there and our cell phone to call ahead to the ER. I have to commend the ER. They were ah-maz-ing! I’ve waited longer for an oil change!

He was in pain and felt horrible that our trip was O-V-E-R! We consoled him. He didn’t need outrageous parents vocalizing our disappointment. Those thoughts stayed in my head.

We didn’t even get a chance to stop for the UP’s world famous Pasties!

Back at home, I had to find a product to sign a black cast…

White Paint Sharpie works perfect on black cast.

The alternative was spray paint. jk.

I know I’m not the only one with a nightmarish vacation story. Tell me yours; make me feel better {lol}!

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