When we couldn't find my passport, we didn't really know what to do.
Carson google-searched ways to get into Canada without a passport (apparently it's easy to get in, but not to get back... and I sort of like America) and short of smuggling me in via the trunk, there was not really any way around the passport issue.
A "Plan B" had to be established.
So we thought about places that were a few hours away. Chicago is five, so that was out. Boston, New York and Philly are further away - also out. We didn't care to go to Columbus or Cincinnati or Pittsburgh, so we were at a loss. At church on Sunday, a few people suggested places. We sort of liked the idea of Amish country, but then we sort of didn't (tell us - what is there to do? It feels like we'd be invading people's privacy), then a few of the other places we looked up were a little more pricey than we wanted (Sandusky, near Cedar Point has water park hotels, which Carson voted for but they were too expensive).
So I Googled "vacation near Cleveland" and came up with a few options. Our criteria was this: hotel with a pool and a TV. We don't have a TV, so one of our favorite things to do at hotels is to channel surf. So I'm here to tell you that that's what we look for in a hotel. It doesn't need to be the Four Seasons, just have working cable. Sad, right?
Several options existed in Port Clinton, Ohio, which is just under two hours away. It's right on Lake Erie and just outside Put-in-Bay, which we'd also considered (you have to take a ferry to Put-in-Bay which would have been fun). We planned to stay there one night, so that we could get away from searching for the passport but be home the next day to work on getting a new passport in time for our Niagara trip, which was thankfully rescheduled.
The drive would have been boring, but it was too short! We listened to music for a little bit and then just talked.
The singing may have influenced the decision to just talk.
Some sights from our drive... Ohio has really boring roads for the most part.
And some sights as we caught our first glimpses of Port Clinton. It was kind of cute, very small, and felt beachy, with seagulls flying around. It was strange to feel like we were in a beach town while knowing that we were actually at a lake - no saltwater anywhere.
The fish on the bottom right is apparently a Walleye - a fish I didn't know existed. Port Clinton is the Walleye capitol of the world, a title that only a small town would boast.
We found a hotel with an outdoor pool (that was an important distinction to Carson - I didn't bother to bring a swimsuit) and then walked on the tiny beach. We found some shells and polished glass that made their way home through Carson's pocket.
Then Carson spent awhile teaching me to skip rocks. He's great at explaining things by acting them out, so I learned pretty quickly, but my skips were much smaller closer to the shore than his. He could probably compete in a skipping contest, not to brag ;)
I like this picture, but I also wanted to point out the smoke coming from the horizon, to the left of Carson. "I think that's a nuclear power plant!" he exclaimed. I didn't think that it could be (I guess I pictured them in the middle of nowhere, not on the water), but we looked it up later and sure enough, it's a nuclear power plant. So there's that.
There were lots of dead fish on the beach, which I attributed to the power plant, but which Carson said was probably due to rocks or something.
We walked around for a bit and HAD to take this picture. We set the camera up on an A-Frame sign to take it.
And then we went to dinner. We passed some beachy looking seafood places, but they didn't seem as appealing to us as this Thai and sushi place. They had a million different kinds of sushi, but we're novices when it comes to sushi so we stuck with the familiar - we had crab rangoons (Carson "hates" seafood but loves these) and egg rolls to start, and Pad Thai as our entrees. We got a lot of food for really decent prices. Yum!
And I just though that this was funny. He walked into my picture.
Back at the hotel, Carson decided to take a swim. I joined him with a book on the deck, but required a few pictures first.
Took this while I was setting up the right spot for the camera and it's moody but I like it. Nearly unedited - I did straighten it but that's all.
So we set the camera up but then the wind blew it so we had to jump into the camera's line of sight. That's why we're laughing in this series.
Finally it worked and I like these a lot.
Finally, Carson got to enjoy the pool. He's accustomed to heated pools, being from Washington. This pool was not heated. He was in there for about two minutes before calling it a day.
Our room didn't have a fridge/freezer but it did have an ice bin so we improvised with dessert.
...while flipping through quality television, like Food Network cook-offs and Disney cartoons. We only caught the tail-end of Cinderella, so we watched the whole thing the following night.
On Monday morning, we called to see about the passport. We were on hold for a good amount of time, then discussed necessary documents and the logistics of changing a passport. My wonderful mother dropped her plans to mail me my marriage license and birth certificate for the process to proceed.
After we got off the phone, it was time to check out. We explored Port Clinton some more, parking and walking around. We collect ornaments when we're on trips, so that was what we were looking for (we found a magnet that I'll glue to a string... not a real ornament). We browsed consignment shops, a popcorn shop, the local drugstore, and a huge thrift store with the 10 Commandments posted outside. We liked the summary on the bottom!
We headed home, but were hungry, so Carson suggested Cracker Barrel, since he's never been. This was odd to me because on road trips, my family always stopped at Cracker Barrel. Long story short - he loved it. He loved the rocking chairs, the prices, the homestyle food, the store in front... he had chicken fried steak, which I do not understand (wouldn't that just be fried steak?) and I had a salad because I'm really not in love with Cracker Barrel's menu.
The point of this game is to have as few pegs as possible left at the end. I beat him twice (he claims that I cheated but that's not possible) and finally he succeeded by leaving only two at the end.
It was a nice little getaway for just a night. When we searched for overnight trips nearby, we didn't realize that there would be so many options. We just might make overnight "vacations" happen more often.