I know a lot of you thought we were crazy when we decided to drive to Chicago from Filer, Idaho but it was a lot of fun.
Why Chicago?? I got a scholarship to go to a Dietitian Symposium for the NASPGHAN's Annual Meeting (Here goes...North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition...Whew! Out of breath after that one.) So I submitted my request to my employer and waited...just to hear that it wasn't going to get funded.
So Ty decided to join me on a road trip. And what a road trip it was. My mom was able to watch the girls for the week, so we made a mini vaca out of it. A few days before we left, Eastern WY and Western SD got 3.5 feet of snow in a freak snow storm. Seriously?! So we decided to go through Nebraska on the way there and SD on the way home.
We left early early Wednesday morning and headed to Shelley to drop off the kids. Josie was so excited to stay with Grandma and Kate didn't know any better, but boy does she hate riding in her car seat lately! :)
We got a call just outside of Shelley that a patient that Ty was working with likely had bacterial meningitis, so he needed to come in and get a dose of Cipro (an antibiotic). Well since we weren't any where close to work, Employee Health called the Walgreen's in Pocatello and sent the Rx there. So a fun start to the trip. Apparently he was basically fine as long as he took that 1 pill with in 24 hours of exposure. And since he suspected it anyways, he didn't hang around the girls much, especially Kate.
Well we were off! We tried to only eat a non-chain restaurants and did really well! Ty decided at the first stop for gas we should take a picture of the most pretty view we can see from every gas station. Good thing we get excellent gas mileage in the Scion! We stopped 11 times for gas! (As you will see from the pictures, the first stop in McCammon, may have very well been the most pretty!)
Since the girls weren't with us we laid down the back seats and brought our 4" foam camping pads and our giant double sleeping bag and slept soundly in the back of the car. It was surprisingly comfortable (except when Ty wanted to sleep stretched out...better for those who like to sleep in the fetal position). We slept this way for 4 of the 6 nights. That night we made it to Sidney, Nebraska before conking out.
The next day the highlight was the World's Largest Truck Stop, Iowa 80. It was seriously something! I also read the last 100 pages of Cooked by Michael Pollan aloud to Ty. I've been reading it out loud to him since Mother's Day and was pretty proud of myself, as it's the longest book I've ever read except the Bible, and I read the entire thing aloud. We made it to our hotel in Chicago about 9 pm in the Central Loop. We parked the car and walked around a bit before settling in and ordering a quick bite at the pub connected to our hotel. We were beat! There were all kinds of excited people rolling in as the Bears just beat the Giants 27-21.
The next morning I headed off to my conference. I can't tell you how refreshing it was to walk a mile to work early in the morning. It was wonderful. The conference was great and I met some really interesting people. Ty met me for a portion of it right before it ended all about CT of the gut, which I knew very little about, but he seemed interested! Then we spent the rest of the evening walking around Chicago and exploring. We ate at an excellent pizza place and wandered around until we got to Navy Pier and then made our way back along the shoreline. They were setting up for the Chicago Marathon (who knew?) so some of the park trails were blocked off. It was windy on the shore, but once we got back into downtown there was no wind at all.
The Dietitian Symposium was the next morning, so again I woke up and walked to the conference. (Too bad I can't do that everyday at home?) Tons more good stuff and an overload of information by the time I left that afternoon, but I'm so much more knowledgeable than I was! Both days Ty spend quite a while walking around exploring even more than we had on our evening expedition. By the time we left he had walked ~35 miles. Ty met me there and we walked back to the car and headed out of town. We ate the most delicious gyros at a little place in Spring Grove, IL and headed up into Wisconsin. I had never been there so it was fun to see, except that it was dark. They do have really strange named roads there, however!
Sunday we made it the rest of the way through Minnesota and South Dakota. We stopped for a break at the Mitchell Corn Palace! I thought Iowa loved corn...this place definitely gives them a run for their money!
We made it to Mount Rushmore and got to park on the side of the road for our close up--thank you government shutdown! We stopped shortly after that at a lake I recognized from my childhood trips from Idaho to Lake Shafer, Indiana. Since there was a snow storm coming through Montana and Northern Wyoming we decided to go south and west towards Casper. More delicious food that night at a great Chinese place in Hot Springs, SD. We slept just outside of Casper that night.
Final day of the trip! We drove through Dubois, WY across the continental divide and found our snow! There were a few vans of tourist in front of us that stopped to have a snow ball fight! We cruised through Jackson and on to Swan Valley Country Store for square ice cream cones. (This is just a kid-sized one)
Just over an hour to Shelley.
We stayed the night there and headed out Tuesday morning for home. Thinking all was well. The sprinklers were oddly on when we pulled up and Ty went to shut off the system. A valve had gotten stuck open. The front lawn was quite soggy. Well when we were filling a bottle for Kate and the water wouldn't heat up, Ty thought the worst and ran down to check it out. Our basement had flooded again! YUP!...fun. So we spent the next several hours pumping it out. It wasn't a lot of work though, since Ty had a water pump he had used for our irrigation water, just frustrating. And really no damage luckily, since it's all dirt and concrete and the new furnace is attached to the ceiling, not the floor. Just an $8 water heater part. The worst part was Ty fought with himself about turning the water off before we left. :(
Well it was a whirlwind trip in 3499 miles exactly, packed full of good information, but really fun and definitely one to remember!