My family is still basking in the glory of a successful 3,000-mile road trip. By successful, I mean we experienced no automotive breakdowns, no sibling assaults and no projectile vomiting.
We also had a good time. You've probably heard the adage that you can please some of the people all of the time or all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time.
There's some debate about whether Abraham Lincoln said this, and if he did, whether he said "fool" instead of "please." But presidential scholars agree that Lincoln probably never drove around Lake Michigan in a minivan.
My family drove around Lake Michigan in a minivan. And whether Bess and I were trying to please our children or fool them into having a good time, the quote definitely applies to planning a vacation for a family with four children between the ages of 11 and 17.
We decided to start our tour in Milwaukee, where the Brewers were playing the Cubs in Miller Park, and end it in Chicago, where the White Sox were hosting the Orioles at U.S. Cellular Field.
Ah, baseball games. Just the thing to please my three sons all of the time and -- thanks to mascot races, organ solos and super pretzels -- enough to please or at least fool my wife and daughter some of the time.
Likewise, the ladies were "all in" on two visits to art museums -- the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wis., and the Chicago Institute of Art -- and there the boys were happy some of the time, thanks to full-length sofas in the Madison museum and a giant pile of candy in the modern art wing in Chicago.
For the boys, we added a visit to the world's largest water park, as well as a lumberjack show and a round of disc golf.
For our daughter, it was an indie rock concert, an independent bookstore and a photography exhibit.
For Bess, nearly every day we took a rural highway and toured a lighthouse and had a picnic. We also took a bike tour of Mackinaw Island.
For dear old Dad, everybody climbed the sand dunes and went swimming in Lake Michigan and waited in the van while I hunted for rare beer. (In Green Bay I saw a 90-year-old woman buying a 30-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon.)
There were surprises. I'll have a longer story about my trip in tomorrow's Sunday Living section, and if you want you can read about some of them then.
One of the biggest happened in the van during long stretches of highway. We shut off our electronic devices and my daughter actually read aloud a 320-page detective novel called "Cold Day in Paradise," which is set in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
When will life ever slow down enough for our family to sit and read an entire book together? I guess when we take another 3,000-mile road trip.
Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, firstname.lastname@example.org