Day 1 (Friday, June 23)
(Nampa -> Salt Lake City, Utah)
After a day of finishing things up at work, we loaded up and headed south.
Reaching the hotel in Salt Lake, they told us they’d upgraded us to a 2-room suite for free! Nice! We settled in with some Food Network shows and then tucked in for the night.
Day 2 (Saturday, June 24)
(Salt Lake City, Utah -> Meeker, Colorado)
We started with an excellent continental breakfast, then drove toward Solitude Mountain. We arrived around 9:30 but were informed the lifts weren’t open until 10, so we got in a few practice throws at the bottom. Then we rode up the hill to play disc golf. The weather was perfect!
After disc golfing, we drove over the hill and down into Midway and stopped at Lola’s for lunch. The fries were top-notch, but the burgers were only good. Not amazing. Mine had a whole jalapeno, full of seeds. SO HOT. After lunch we rolled on to our campsite on the river near Meeker, CO. It turned out to be a beautiful spot!
Day 3 (Sunday, June 25)
(Meeker, Colorado -> Berthoud, Colorado)
After a slow and relaxing rousting from our campsite next to the river, we headed deeper into the Colorado mountains.
A late lunchtime found us in Vale Colorado. We ate WAY too much food at a place called The Little Diner. Everything there was excellent.
Then we proceeded into Denver, along with thousands of other drivers leaving the mountains on Sunday afternoon.
Our first stop in Denver was at Antique Row. Elizabeth LOVES digging through the antique stores.
And finally, we headed on to our friends’ home in Berthoud.
Day 4 (Monday, June 26)
(A day around Denver)
Day 5 (Tuesday, June 27)
(Berthoud, Colorado -> Omaha, Nebraska)
This day happened to fall on Rebecca and I’s 20th anniversary. So we took our kids to a bakery and started our day with some cake and coffee. The carrot cake… well, all of the cake… was so moist and tasty.
Then a long drive to Omaha. Elizabeth even drove a 4-hour stint. Her longest drive yet! She did great.
Then we met Mike (Rebecca’s brother) and his family in Omaha for some great burgers and ice cream and a tour of their relatively new downtown park. It was a beautiful evening. Then back to their house to talk for a couple of hours and crash in bed really late.
Day 6 (Wednesday, June 28)
(Omaha, Nebraska -> Des Moines, Iowa)
We started by making some eggs and bacon in the Amandus’ kitchen, then headed out to play disc golf at Hummel Park. The park was BEAUTIFUL! I couldn’t wait to work our way through it. Unfortunately, after just 2 holes, we realized we were traipsing through poison ivy. Since we didn’t want to end up with a miserable end to our trip, we decided it just wasn’t worth it. So we drove on to our hotel in Des Moines.
Day 7 (Thursday, June 29)
(A day around Des Moines)
A day to lounge in the hotel pool, the game room, and some exploring. Mostly exploring antique stores, Elizabeth’s great love.
We also stopped by the St. Ambrose Cathedral just to check it out. So beautiful, and no one seemed to be around, so we just checked it out a little. The stained glass and stonework are all just incredible. And that organ! I wish someone were around to play it for us.
For a late lunch / early dinner, we stopped at Zombie Burger. The food was really good, and the food names and theme was strange but fun.
Day 8 (Friday, June 30)
(Des Moines, Iowa -> Marceline, Missouri)
So Friday through Tuesday was our family reunion in Marceline. I’m both proud and ashamed to say that I got nearly no photos during this handful of days. What this means is that I was very present. Loving being in the presence of my family. So engaged that I didn’t take the time to pull out the camera. So there are a couple of pics, but mostly, I just rested in the opportunity to get to know my family just a little better.
But first, the trip there. We spent some time at an antique store, had lunch at Blaze Pizza (Travis’ great love), and headed south.
Day 9 (Saturday, July 1)
(Family Reunion in Marceline)
A slow start to the day took us to church. Then most of the day was spent with games and food at Uncle Bill’s and Aunt Sharon’s.
Day 10 (Sunday, July 2)
(Family Reunion in Marceline)
More games. More food. More giggles. Aunt Sharon concocted a game where we teamed up and each team prepared 3 foods per team to be judged by the elders. So much fun. And most of it turned out great. Followed by some home-launched fireworks. Fortunately, everyone left with all fingers and toes intact.
Day 11 (Monday, July 3)
(Family Reunion in Marceline)
Monday was more relaxing and eating, then an afternoon at the lake. The water was SO warm compared to any lakes we have in Idaho. Then, an evening at the Marceline carnival. Elizabeth tried some rounds of Bingo, and we even saw some turtle racing.
Day 12 (Tuesday, July 4)
(Marceline, MO -> Branson, MO)
We gathered our things to prepare to travel once again, then stopped at Erica’s to check out her and Dylan’s garden and orchard. Loved getting to see the great things they’re doing. Loved seeing the kitten’s rolling around too of course.
Then we headed south once again. We made it to Branson just in time to see Esther at Sight & Sound.
Day 13 (Wednesday, July 5)
(Branson, MO -> Dismals, AL)
Day 14 (Thursday, July 6)
(Dismals, AL -> Corbin, KY)
Day 15 (Friday, July 7)
(Corbin, KY -> Morgantown, WV)
Day 16 (Saturday, July 8)
(A day at Cheat Lake near Morgantown)
Day 17 (Sunday, July 9)
(Morgantown, WV -> Chicago, IL)
Day 18 (Monday, July 10)
(Chicago, IL -> Blue Mounds State Park, WI)
Day 19 (Tuesday, July 11)
(Blue Mounds State Park, WI -> Duluth, MN)
We awoke in our camp at Blue Mounds State Park, make eggs and bacon, and packed our gear for the day. Our first stop was to see the estate of Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin. For me, this was a serious highlight of the entire trip. Frank Lloyd Wright has inspired so many innovations in what we expect today from architecture. Seeing the architectural and creative choices he made in his own property and living spaces is incredibly inspiring.