Monthly Archives: May 2014

Day 145, Minneapolis, MN

It’s been a whirlwind since leaving Jack’s, both good and bad coming our way.

The best was arriving in Iowa to visit Dan’s mom, Helen.  We drove over 6,200 miles, and it was worth every mile.  Dan was so happy to spend so much time with her, and the kids were thrilled, too.  Since we lived with her in 1998, it feels like home to me.

The picture below is Nate’s birthday present a little early.  His new bike came from Bike World in Ames; same shop I bought mine in 1999 to do RAGBRAI.    Thanks for the great service, everyone!


One of the nice things about being in Iowa for 17 days was having time to take care of the little things… like hair cuts.  Julie S. did an incredible job on Nate and I  – and I wanted to bring her with us she was such a cool person!  Serenity Couture in Ames, Iowa – spa, hair, Aveda products- they have it all.  There’s my ad – spread the word !  Thanks for the referral, Diane!


The weather hasn’t cooperated with our sun-loving ways since Big Bend, and Iowa was no different.  We were freezing and wet for the first week, with the added insult of moving into the Quonset hut every couple days so we wouldn’t get hail damage.  Just us and the farm machinery in a cozy little hut.  Thanks for letting us share the space, Larry!

The hard part about being in Iowa was realizing that our expectations were a little too high… and not remotely possible, given the circumstances. We spent a lot of time with Dan’s family, and that was great.  So fun to see Josh’s kids’ playing!!!  Then our kids  decided to focus on finishing up school, so that kept us busy.  We didn’t do the capitol or a single science museum, and we only visited the library once.  We’d been to all of it before, and no one was in the mood.  We did eat well, however, and Dan and I think we each gained about 7 pounds eating out and on Helen’s good cooking.  Thank you for feeding us, Helen!

The picture below is Dan’s brother Larry at the end of combine ride for Eliza.  As Nate said, the combine is nicer than our cars.  It has everything – GPS, A/C, music, plus a bunch of farm stuff that’s probably necessary to his work.  So fun to ride with him as he planted corn, 18 rows at a time, 35,000 seeds per acre.  After planting, the rain continued, so that’s good.  I couldn’t fit the combine in another picture I took of Nate and Larry – it’s too big.  Thanks for the ride, Larry!



We knew it was going to be hard to leave Grandma’s, but the lack of sleep from the tornado warning of the night before and the promise of seeing our beloved Kresse’s made getting on the road a little easier.  We headed north on I-35 and arrived at a campground we’ve stayed at before.  We have fond memories of meeting Gary here in 1998, and watching a camp trailer fly by the restroom we were all huddled in during a storm.  I pulled Eliza on my bike to her first zoo visit around the corner.  This trip was to be calm.

Haha.  Dan put the rear slider out and I happened to be standing on the front end of it and watched as the cable broke.  Since then I’ve logged over 7 hours on the phone, trying to get service.  We can’t put the slider back in, and can’t drive it.  Even if we could, the local Monaco dealer doesn’t have time for us until June 1st.  Or we could drive to South Dakota on June 14th.  Neither one of those works for us. So tomorrow a genius from a local shop is coming out, he’s got the cable oack that Coburg overnighted, and someone there will walk him through the installation that he’s never done before.  Wish us luck.

By Dan

In Minneapple at Lebanon Hills Campground. Nice place. About 5 miles from good friends Bob and Cindy Kresse. We had dinner with them and Joe last night. The prior two weeks we spent on the farm at my Mom’s at our favorite campsite, in her driveway. We only had to move The RV to the quonset hut on three occasions. This is a big machine shed that we moved it to to get it out of the bad weather. The last time there were tornado warnings within 13 miles. None of the three threats ever materialized. That was better to be safe than sorry. We did not do a whole bunch at my Mom’s other than hang out, which was great. It was great to see John too. I have not seen him in probably five or so years. He is a great brother and I wish I could see him more often. It was great to see Larry my other brother too. He does a great job of running the farm. His wife is Sandy. It was great to see her too. We saw my nephew Josh and his wife Anna. They are farming now. We also spent sometime with Aunt Alice and Uncle Blackie. They live in Ankeny IA. They both used to work at John Deere. Blackie has tons of patents and won the Leonardo Davinci Award. My Aunt Alice is a wonderful person. As I have said in prior posts, a big part of this adventure is to see friends and family. 

While at my Mom’s we went out to eat a couple of times, went grocery shopping at Ames, home schooling at the Ames Public Library, and odds and ends. It was great to do that. Time flew by. Time is flying by for the entire trip. We are into phase 2 of the trip. 5 months of good adventure then we end up at my brother Dave’s and his wife Claudia’s home in North Carolina. We will be there before you know it. 

I pray for safe travels every day. I pray and thank God for all of our good friends and family. 

By Nate


We went to grandmas for two weeks!  It was really fun because we actually got to eat real food instead of cereal and left overs.  the left over at grandmas were good because we had made is the day before.  When we got there she had already made chicken enchiladas that awesome.  On Sundays we went to church.  I usually don’t like to go to church because its so boring but i liked it here.  Larry let me and dad drive the quad for a few hours, we went down the road and onto a bike trail that had a big sign saying, “no motorized vehicles” but then saw a motorcycle on it the next day.  Me and dad got it up to 35 miles an hour, I wanted to go faster but he wouldn’t let me.  That was really fun.  Larry was planting corn so he let us ride in the planter, it was nicer then our car.  Later when it was finally sunny I mowed the lawn and help grandma fix her watering hose.  Then we pulled down a limb with the mower.  John let me shoot his pellet guns which were also really fun.  We didn’t have and safety glasses so me dad and grandma went to a farming store that started with T but I can’t remember the name.  We got glasses there after we went to Culvers, it was really good.  For mothers day we made orange chicken, it was really good.  For grandmas birthday we went to Jade Garden with Larry Sandy, Alice Blackie, and Anna.  After we went to Alice and Blackies for cake.  It was really good.  I would have liked to stay longer but now we are in Minnesota and got to see Bob and Cindy. It was really fun, and Bob is really good at telling stories.  Joe was there too.

By Eliza



I think my favorite part of the trip so far has been Chicago. I really enjoyed going up the Sears Tower and stepping in the glass box. Walking around was nice and it was interesting to compare present day Chicago to how the book Divergent describes it in the future. I don’t like the cold weather. We have had mostly bad weather since Big Bend in Texas…

I loved being at Grandma’s in Iowa. I thought Adventureland was a lot of fun. My favorite ride was the Sidewinder, which swings back and forth really high, like higher than the trees, while spinning around. I like the rush of adrenaline you get from riding the rides and I don’t scream at all, unlike everyone else. I was also able to finish up school for good until next October!  We did really long days of working, switching between science and language arts. I loved it when Grandma cooked; my favorite was the chicken enchiladas. I got to go shopping at two Targets during our time in Iowa and got lots of clothes for summer (: Ooh and today we went to the Mall of America. It was so big. Lunch was good. We had stromboli. I like their Aeropostale.