Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mystery Trip

Every year, we try really hard to take our kids on a Mystery Trip.  We plan the trip, and they don't know when it is going to happen, or where they are going -- until we hop in the car (sometimes they have a hint when I have to have them help me find their bathing suits!) -- and throw them a map to guess where we are going!  Unfortunately for them, typically they will not be able to figure out where we are going.

Our first mystery trip (as many firsts in life) -- will probably always go down in infamy.  We loaded the kids up (they didn't even know I had packed suitcases for them!), and stopped at my brother's house.  When we left, we turned the "wrong way" out of his driveway to go back home.  So, we threw some maps in the backseat and had them figure out (eventually) that we were going to Columbus.  I had found some folks to meet up with over the course of the weekend -- cousins of theirs, and friends of theirs from when we lived in Columbus.  My favorite memory was when we got to the hotel, we "couldn't find the car".  I told the kids that I would ask the person at the front desk if they would give us a key to a room so that we could look out the window and find our car (all the while Jim had disappeared to drive it around to the hotel) -- they obviously didn't catch the exchange of money -- and when they saw Jim pull around, they were excited that we found the car!  LOL  After that, I told them maybe we should just spend the night in the hotel after our long day at the mall (we had gone to Easton).  THEN they worried that they didn't have jammies, and, much worse, their swimming suits to swim in the pool.  DADDY to the rescue!  He brought up their suitcases with everything included -- even the toothbrushes that they were NOT worried about!  :)  It was a super fantastic weekend that we have tried to recreate over the years.  We went to Indianapolis another time and spent the day at the Children's Museum -- which is awesome.

This year, I couldn't be quite as sneaky -- I had Sarah's college schedule to contend with.  So, when my niece, Beth, asked if we would like to go tobogganning with her husband, Greg, for his birthday, Jim and I said, "Yes!"  We planned it as a mystery trip -- although they had to pack, we just gave them clues on what to pack -- gloves, hats, warm clothes, change of clothes, and, of course, swimming suits!

We set out last Saturday morning for Angola, Indiana.  When we left, we threw the maps in the backseat, but they quickly came back.  They didn't care -- they were excited to be going somewhere!  The chatter in the car was wonderful.  They soon figured out that we were going to meet up with Greg and Beth in Fort Wayne, which is where they live.  Great, we said!  Of course, they were only half right.  So, we drove through Fort Wayne and headed north.  When we got close, Becca could stand it no more.  She finally took my phone from me and used the internet search feature to figure out what was close to where we were!  Tobogganing, she asked?  I'm not sure they all even knew what tobogganing was, even when she said it -- it's nothing we own, so, I don't know if they knew what a toboggan was!

After a quick lunch at Applebees to fill everyone up before we went, we met Greg and Beth at the Toboggan place.  It's called Pokegon State Park in Angola, Indiana.  The track is refrigerated, so weather really does not matter.  The hill is big and steep, and at the end, there is a mph tracker -- rumor has it that many of our toboggans were going 35 mph.  Yikes!

This is the beginning of the run.  After they come out of the gate, they would speed down past us.  I took lots of shots of random people, because we couldn't tell who they were until they were right by us!  I'm going to post all of the pictures on my Facebook site, but here are a couple of more.  I love the looks on their faces!  :)

My sister, Nancy, and her husband, Carl, met us there, too.  Carl wanted to toboggan with the kids, so he did.  We watched for a while, then Nancy, Beth, Fritz, and I headed inside to do some puzzles.  I, of course, had brought along my camera, so I went outside and took a couple of shots of the lake with my camera.  I love how the shots came out, so thought I would share my favorite:

I love my new little camera!  :)

We spent the evening with Greg and Beth at their home, eating pizza and having cake and ice cream for Greg's birthday.  Then we returned to the hotel for the mandatory swimming time!  :)

Imagine my surprise in the morning when I was walking down the hall to breakfast and heard someone yell, "Pam Kaiser!  What are you doing here?"  My friend, Amy, and her husband, Tom, had spent the night in the same hotel with a work party for Tom.  That was so fun!

We went to mass with Greg and Beth, and Nancy and Carl in the morning (although we sat in a MUCH different location -- we were a little late, so we sat, as the usher called it, "ringside" -- which meant we were front row with no kneelers!  LOL).  After that, we went our own ways.  I couldn't possibly be that close to a Target without stopping, so we spent a few hours there, then went to lunch at Fazoli's before heading home.

So, sadly, our Mystery Trip is over for this year (unless we have a surprise Mystery Trip!  LOL).  Time to start thinking about our next one!  However, it was a GREAT weekend, with many memories made!

I hope your week was just as fun!


  1. Your mystery trip this year was suppose to include you very, very good friends the LEHMANN'S since we got bumped last year!!!! My brother and his wife went on a anniversary trip to that state park and said it was awesome!

    1. Aha! You are correct! However, I wasn't sure how to invite my own friends to my nephew's birthday party! :) Maybe this is the year for TWO! Call me! :)