We decided to spend one night of a hotel, and not push quite so hard on the way back.  Seventeen hours is really a lot for a carful of people… and we do like to stop to see stuff, too.

I think we had minimal risk.  We arrived at 11 PM.  The hotel is bare minimum now:  no pool, no business center, no welcome cookies, no breakfast in the morning.  We agree to head out for the sunrise, and are out the hotel, in the car and driving by 5:40 AM. 

We start with a Lake Erie sunrise, complete with ducks thoughtfully posing in the middle.  We skip rocks, all alone in the face of the massive body of water.  And we stop two different times to watch two different turtles as they carefully cross the road. 

By 10 AM, we are only 35 miles away from Niagara Falls.  We’d already stopped on the way out, to show Spanish daughter #3 this wonder.  But the Midwest niece has not yet seen it.  She’s been clear it’s on “her list,” too. 

So, we surprise her with the detour.  She’s delighted.  Impressed.  Smiling from ear-to-ear. 

It’s funny.  We didn’t know if we would go out to Illinois.  We were prepared to cancel right up until the very last minute, in case the virus was spreading more. 

We didn’t plan on leaving one child there, and we didn’t know we’d be bringing a different one back. 

We didn’t expect to see Niagara Falls twice, but here we are.  Again. 

Watching the happy faces as we climb back into the car for the last leg, it occurs to me that this is the silver lining.  Having this flexibility right now is an unexpected gift.