We have really enjoyed our last several weeks in the Midwest visiting with family and friends. In Michigan we had dinner with my brother, Greg, and finally saw his house, of which we had heard so much. He has been working on restoring his historic home.
We also saw my third-cousin, Bryan Van Baren, and his family. Visiting with them was so much fun! The kids had a blast playing on the big jumping pillow in the campground. I wished we could have had more time with them.
In Indiana we saw my cousin, Patti, and her family. They live in a house on Lake Michigan so we enjoyed the sand and water and of course the kids had to have a sleepover at their house! Luke, Brian and Chloe love their cousins! We also went to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and saw some cool things when we hiked the Cowles Bog Trail.
In Illinois we saw many more cousins, grandparents and aunts. Staying at the Cedar Lake Conference Grounds Campground was awesome! It was so peaceful and the kids had lots of private roads to ride bikes. My cousin, Don and his wife, Wendy invited us over to go tubing on Luke’s birthday. The kids had so much fun and Luke had the special treat of getting to drive the boat.
The kids and I also visited Cantigny Park and Museum in Wheaton, IL. They really enjoyed climbing all over the old tanks but I thought the museum was wonderful. The museum follows the first division through WWI, WWII, the cold war, Vietnam and Desert Storm and gives you a taste of each one. Loved the price too…$5 per car for entrance to the gardens and museum. Great price!
We also learned that because of the high demand for rubber in WWII people were trying to find a formula for synthetic rubber and thus silly putty was born. No replacement for rubber but the formula was purchased and put into plastic eggs and sold as a toy. The kids got to make their own silly putty.
Our last night in Cedar Lake we had more cousins over for S’mores and the kids played Hide-n-Seek in the dark. At one point Luke was lying in a dry ditch and was laughing because the other kids were jumping over him and didn’t even see him. Great fun!
We moved on to Union, IL, closer to Ken’s family and relished our time with Deb and Vance and Mark and Donna, two of the kids Aunts and Uncles. Union also has the largest train museum in the world. Our ride on the Nebraska Zephyr was a cool – air conditioned and quiet.
As we head out I now am experiencing what others have talked about – the sadness of loving a place but deciding to move on – saying goodbye to friends anad family and knowing you won’t see them for a long while. We are moving west to visit the Winnebago factory, the Badlands and the Black Hills. It will be a continuation of our grand adventure but still hard to say goodbye. We will miss all of you!