Road trip | NNoTW July 8, 2021

Kyle and I just got back from taking our kids on our just-about-annual road trip from Thompson, North Dakota to Ann Arbor, Michigan.  We got there by driving through Minneapolis, Minnesota; Madison (I love Madison), Wisconsin; Chicago, Illinois; Gary, Indiana; and then over into Michigan.  The total distance is somewhere around a billion miles, which translates to roughly fifteen hours of drive time each way.  Each year, I am lulled away from the beautiful, shiny airport and into my poor, overloaded Honda Pilot with personal promises of a stop in Madison (I love Madison) and also by reminding myself, “Once we’re in Minneapolis, we’re basically there” – which is as factually and geographically correct as saying, “Once we’re in New York, we’re basically in Paris.”

Road trips are a fairly new concept to me because my mother and her family are from New Jersey and people on the east coast (and I’m pretty sure also just Jews in general) aren’t really known for a propensity for long car rides.  As an example, my best friend and her boyfriend drove Kyle and me from Newton, Massachusetts to Salem, Massachusetts (total ride time: 45 minutes) and they packed enough snacks and blankets for us to survive in the wilderness for a week.  My own family drove from Grand Forks, North Dakota to Brainerd, Minnesota (total ride time: 3 hours) once a year to take my sister and me to sleepaway camp, and my memory of those rides is the car leaving the driveway and the car pulling into camp.  We never stopped; in fact, there’s no evidential proof that my parents were even aware that any gas stations, restaurants, or bathrooms existed between Grand Forks and Brainerd.  We did, however, get moccasins in Nisswa after camp was over, so we were informed of non-essential retail.

Kyle, however, is an expert-level road tripper.  The Kosiors are so experienced at road tripping that they actually built their family vacations around being in the car.  My father-in-law was/is a farmer, and so once he was done spraying and July 1st (Canadians, as a reminder) had passed, he and my mother-in-law would pile the three boys – and one time a neighbor kid – into the station wagon, and they would drive until they’d see something they’d want to see, and then they’d stop.  After about a week, my father-in-law would start to hem and haw about his crops, so they’d drive for a few more days and then turn around.  As a result, their vacation stories go like this:

One trip took them south.  They were somewhere in South Dakota when my mother-in-law noticed that it was starting to get late; and when they passed a sign that read, “Cabins for rent,” the Kosiors pulled in.  It turned out to be a small resort owned by a family with four kids.  The Kosior boys and the resort kids got along so well that the Kosiors decided to stop and stay for a couple of days, and the resort owner hiked all of the children over to an abandoned quarry connected to a stream, gave them a stack of canned corn and some hooks, and left them to fish.  The kids dipped the can of corn and the hook in the water, and pulled up so many rock bass that they had to throw some back.

Another time, on a drive west, my mother-in-law put the boys’ dirty clothes into a garbage bag to keep them separated from the clean so she could wash them at night.  On that trip they stopped at every scenic outlook; and when they did, my father-in-law tossed out the trash that had accumulated in the car.  Obviously, as you can probably guess, he accidentally threw away the clothes.  This was so hilarious that they felt they should take a picture – making it one of only a handful of Kosior family vacations with a photographic record.  Kyle would also like me to note that they turned around before they got to Vancouver and he is still is still salty that he didn’t get to see the ocean.

We stopped a Kosior amount of times on our trip to Ann Arbor, but it was mainly to go to the bathroom.  Our six-year-old is an interesting specimen in that the act of putting on his seatbelt triggers a need to pee, even if he had just accomplished such a task moments before.  So, we pulled off the road.  A lot.  Each time, Kyle and I would shovel enough garbage out of the back seat to keep the car from dragging on the ground while we drove.  The amount of garbage in our car had no relationship to the items was consumed or carried, meaning it was either spontaneously reproducing or other vehicles were tossing it in when we weren’t looking.

When we were actually moving, Kyle coached us through two car games.  In one, we had to find license plates from all fifty states.  We never cracked 40, mainly because Kyle wouldn’t let us count semis or trucks or just vehicles in general.  This game fell apart a bit when we reached Indiana, Home of 10,000 License Plate Designs.

The other game required one person to shout out “Score!” whenever he or she saw a yellow vehicle.  This game was also a major point of contention, as the “yellow” color wheel apparently sometimes, but not always, included tones of orange depending on who was doing the Scoring.  I don’t know who won the Score points-off, but I won the moral victory by only scoring actual yellow vehicles.

Anyways, we made it to Ann Arbor and back.  Traffic was heavy in Indiana, so I never did get to stop in Madison (le sigh).  On the return trip, Kyle reached into his bag of Kosior travel and booked us a hotel room as we were pulling into Tomah, Wisconsin for the night.  It turned out to be a hotel AND waterpark, which our children deemed a “must-do” next year…which I guess means we’re driving again.

While we didn’t make it to Madison, we did go out of the way to take a photograph at a park in Michigan.  It is above.

This week’s news has an edible forest, a wool house, and pelicans.  Read on.


Are you a veteran or active-duty military?  If so, you can see the Medora Musical – as well as partake in a keg social – for free this weekend. (KX Net)

The City of Williston is about to have an Edible Forest, complete with apple, pear, plum, and cherry trees, at the corner of Harvest Hills Avenue and 32nd Street West. (Williston Herald)

Underwood was rockin’ and rollin’ with its annual Midsummer Classic Car Show. (BHG News)

One of the first stories I wrote for ND Nice was about the Nome schoolhouse – which is now the Nome Wool House, a cozy spot for fiber artists. (Fargo Forum)

It has been a pretty dry year – tough for farmers, but great for American white pelicans, who are nesting in droves at Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge. (AP News)

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