Miles and Miles of Road 

Summertime is typically the same year after year (especially the last 7 years) while working with a firm whose work primarily is focused on K – 12 work.  Summers for us are very hectic this is the time when the contractors are trying to get as much work done as possible, typically we are in the throes of a punchlist, furniture installations and final plantings, oh, and the occasional ribbon cutting where the architect/design team is rarely mentioned but that’s a sob story for another post.

This summer is no diferent, this summer will be particularly busy for me because we are on the final two phases of an elementary school that since the feasibility study we’ve been working on for 4 years non-stop.  This summer is filled with intensive renovations to the gymnasium, cafeteria and kitchen all the while the existing parking lot/bus loop gets torn up, reconfigured and repaved.  If that weren’t enough we just started the first 4 phases of a two year high school renovation, so its rush, rush until the start of the school year. This, at the time of this posting is only 6 weeks away until teachers report back. Typically the drop dead date for contractors to be out of the way and let the school be a school.

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So, as packed as the summer is as we all know time is needed to step away and take a deep breath.  My family normally spends half the summer trying to have fun without me because with my wife being a teacher and all of my kids of school age they have the entire summer to be creative and figure out things to do with or without me. So the times they have with me we have to pack as much fun as we can in which tends to put us on the summer road trip.

As many of you know my wife and I come from the metro Detroit area, I talk about it enough you’d never know I didn’t actually live there. So every summer is spent as if we were still the good little Michiganders, so we spend it “Up North”.  Car packed and gassed up we head out on the miles and miles of road from Bethesda Maryland to Livonia Michigan for our first of many family stops with the ultimate goal a week’s worth of camping “off grid”. More miles now we are heading to “Kamp Katywampus” a patch of property on a creek just outside of Rodgers City, Michigan in northern Michigan on to coast of Lake Huron.   It’s a chance for our family to get together with our in-laws and cousins, for my kids to unplug from the daily online life and live simply even for just a few days and for me to be out of cell range and pine over the presumptive mound of submittals, RFI’s and just plain panic that the office and contractors have when I am away from the office for more than a few days. I always find it hard to get away and detach for the first few days, and while in cell service I am constantly checking emails or text (NEVER give a contractor your cell phone number) to insure everything is ok, and the building hasn’t fallen down. But once we are a few days in the cell is nowhere to be found, the stress goes away and I have forgotten what I have left behind.


At the Kamp, we enjoy nightly campfires while the kids play in the woods howling and acting crazy, in which the grownups do the responsible thing and freak the kids out by telling them they hear bears and wolves, and yes both are prevalent in the area. Mornings are spent in town at the local diner feasting on lumberjack sized portions of food for 1980’s sized prices (it’s awesomely cheap). We cap the week of with our annual attendance to the Nautical Festival in Rogers City, with rides and games on the travelling midway to finally one of the best small town parades you’ve ever seen, and the candy, oh the candy, each of my three kids ends up with a bag of candy that puts Halloween in Bethesda to shame.


Most recently we have added a few days onto the trip and have headed north to the Upper Peninsula or the “U.P.” where you step into the wild like no other place. Sandwiched between Lake Michigan and Superior the U.P. has crystal clear water, beautiful beaches and some of the most mesmerizing of natural landscapes you could imagine.   The place we have discovered and have returned a few times over if Pictured Rocks National Seashore. Taking a dip in Lake Superior is invigorating, one time we were camping and sleeping on the ground started exposing my age to the point I could barely move from the pain. We drove up to Pictured Rocks and even at the height of summer the water temperature was hovering around 50 degrees, maybe less. But after about 30 minutes in the water I forgot I was in pain, sure I was a Cormascicle but I wasn’t in pain. My wife said she’d never seen that shade of blue on a human’s skin, but again no pain…sort of feels like at the point my post is being brought to you by Pure Michigan and maybe it should be?


Though this year will be much of the same I don’t think anyone can blame me for enjoying a break from the office, some time with the family and the great outdoors. Where does the summer breeze blow you?

This was installment #10 of the ongoing #Architalks titled “Summer Break” please click, read and share some of the other wonderful stories other practitioners of the crazy world we call architecture have shared with us.

“Bob Borson – Life of An Architect @bobborson Architectural Bucket List

“Lee Calisti – Think Architect @leecalisti Summer Break

“Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture @FiELD9arch SummerBreak?

“Marica McKeel – Studio MM @ArchitectMM Summer Break = Extreme Architecture

“Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet @Jeff_Echols Summer Break and Aunt Loretta

“Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC @L2DesignLLC Vacationing with an Architect

“Jes Stafford – Modus Operandi Design @modarchitect Summer Getaway

“Rosa Sheng – Equity by Design / The Missing 32% Project @miss32percent #Architalks 10 – Give me a Break!

“Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect @mghottel #Architalks 10 – “”summer break””

“Amy Kalar – ArchiMom @AmyKalar Summer Break

“Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL @sramos_BAC Architect: Gift or Curse?

“brady ernst – Soapbox Architect @bradyernstAIA The Education of an Agrarian Architect

“Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect @bpaletz Summer Vacation

“Tara Imani – Tara Imani Designs, LLC @Parthenon1 A Brilliant Summer Break

“Eric Wittman – intern[life] @rico_w summer break [or] summer school

“Sharon George @sharonraigeorge Summer Break #ArchiTalks

“Brinn Miracle – Architangent @simplybrinn Summer Break

13 responses to “Miles and Miles of Road 

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  6. I have been to the upper peninsula once, many years ago. And i must say, it redeems the rest of “the state up north”. It truly is a beautiful place.


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