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Family road trip

Solveig and her brother Trygve enjoy a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston. (Photo courtesy of Eirik Rennan)

The classic American road trip story: a family loads up their minivan, hitches up the trusty pop-up camper, and heads off into the sunset to enjoy being obnoxious tourists in the big city.

This summer my family partook in a vacation quite similar to the above description.

The objective of our trip was to visit various members of my mother's extended family on the East Coast. With relatives in rural Massachusetts, New York City and Long Island, we had quite the journey ahead of us.

First stop: Ashfield, Mass. With less than 2,000 residents, it would definitely not qualify as a big city. At my aunt's house, my dad and two brothers slept in our Palomino pop-up camper, also known as "Big Poppy." Truth be told, I began to resent the camper, as the self-proclaimed "Palomino Pals" would make inside jokes and keep secrets from the rest of us. But in the end, my mom, sister and I were all sleeping in comfy beds in the house, so we had that advantage.

Boston, Mass. After a morning of walking part of the Freedom Trail, we viewed a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. The Sox lost, but as Minnesotans we are used to disappointment. Just being at the historic field and seeing the "Green Monster" was more than satisfying.

Long Island. We had dinner with some distant relatives on Huntington Bay, visited with another aunt in Miller Place, and finally headed into the concrete jungle of New York City. A standout memory is spotting a green light flashing in the distance across the bay ...Gatsby?

Queens. We stayed right on Rockaway Beach in my great-aunt's condo. Swimming in the Atlantic Ocean is dramatically different from Lake Superior. For one, you don't need to worry about shark attacks in Lake Superior, thanks to Mayor Ness' Keep Duluth Shark-Free campaign. Also, the ocean seems like it would be refreshing in theory, but when your eyes are burning and you can't seem to get the taste of saltwater out of your mouth, freshwater seems like the superior option. (Pun intended.)

After a few days of walking around Manhattan and buying the mandatory "I heart NY" shirts, the Rennan family was ready to head back to Minnesota. Driving back across the country was mostly uneventful, except for when my little sister threw up all over the car as we crossed the border into New Jersey. It isn't a road trip unless at least one family member loses their lunch.

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