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Archive for September, 2010

2010/250: Summer Road Trip, Part 7

After spending the night in the worst hotel ever (America’s Best Value Inn – awful, but every other place we tried was already booked solid), we arrived in Minneapolis/St. Paul pretty early on Sunday, August 15th. Too early to check into the hotel. Again, we stopped at the Welcome Center and picked up some travel brochures. We decided to go to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. Admission was free (although they do ask for a small donation per person. I think it was $3 for adults and $2 for children, which was more than reasonable!) There is also a zoo and amusement park, but we didn’t go to either one.
Minneapolis is really nice, with lots to see and do… most of which we didn’t, and I definitely want to go back some day and spend more time there.

The girls taking pictures of a waterfall in the Japanese Garden

For lunch, we finally made it to a Diners, Drive-ins & Dives diner… well, I would classify this one as a dive! The Wienery. That place has certainly seen better days, but the food was good!

We had three more DDD places in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area on our list, but sadly didn’t make it to any of them.
One of our nieces and her boyfriend live in Minneapolis and we were supposed to get together with them on Monday, but while we were at the Conservatory, our niece called and invited us over for dinner that evening (scratch one diner from the list)
It turned out to be a really nice evening, with good food and lots of fun… and yummy dessert for the girls!

2010/249: Summer Road Trip, Part 6

We left Indiana on the morning of August 14th and made our way through Illinois and Wisconsin to Minnesota, our next scheduled destination. We stopped at the Welcome Center in Wisconsin to pick up a few travel brochures to see what there is to see and do on the way, especially in Kenosha, since we planned on spending some time there and then have lunch at a restaurant that was featured on  DDD.
Our first stop was Southport Lighthouse, and then nearby Pierhead Lighthouse, after a walk along Lake Michigan.
Unfortunately we changed our lunch plans when it looked like it was standing room only at the DDD diner, and we were too hungry to wait for a table. We ended up at Chili’s, and then made one more stop at Jelly Belly. We took the tour, but it was pretty disappointing. They just drive you through the warehouse in a tram, and stop at several locations and show videos. You don’t see anything of the actual factory (touring Celestial Seasonings in Boulder, Colorado last spring was so much better!!). We browsed through the store afterwards and saw that Jelly Belly makes soda! Did you know that? We bought Lemon, Blueberry and Vanilla. The lemon soda was definitely my favorite. The vanilla was a little too sweet (even for me, can you believe it?). I didn’t try the blueberry, because I only like fresh blueberries.
Of course we did some taste testing, too, but skipped the gross flavors. After all, I do prefer my pencil shavings fresh from the pencil, and centipede needs to be seasoned just right (and I’m not talking booger or skunk spray, or any of the other umm odd flavors) 😉
This trip may not have been a good one for DDD diners, but we lucked out with the wineries. Vetro Winery was the first of quite a few.

2010/248: Summer Road Trip, Part 5 (cont.)

As promised, more pictures from the Lake County Fair in Crown Point, Indiana.

On Friday, August 13th Cameron had the day off, and we spent all day at the water park. I had the camera in the car and thought about going to get it sometime in the afternoon before we went back to the hotel, but then decided against it, so no pictures from that day.
Dinner for all of us girls was White Castle’s while the guys got Italian Beef Sandwiches. Greg and Cameron went out to get dinner and brought it back to the hotel.

2010/247: Summer Road Trip, Part 5 (cont.)

Thursday afternoon, Cameron was able to leave work a little early, and we went to the Lake County Fair in Crown Point, Indiana.
Not exactly my kind of fun, but oh well. The weather was sunny, hot and humid, but at least the crowds weren’t too bad when we got there. Admission was cheap, and we even got $1 off per person by bringing an empty soda can. The wrist bands were what got us! (They were a bit overpriced for a little Fair like that if you ask me!) I was a pretty cheap date and didn’t get a wrist band, I’m OK with not going on any rides.
We got there late afternoon and it was dark (and very crowded) when we left… can’t even remember what time it was. For me, the highlight of the Fair was the deep-fried 3Musketeers candy bar that I had for dinner. YUM!! Melissa had deep-fried Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Sara decided she’d rather have a funnel cake… that we all helped her eat because it was huge (and delicious!)

Sara’s favorite ride!

This one she said was boring LOL

More County Fair pictures tomorrow…

2010/246: Summer Road Trip, Part 5

Thursday, August 12 was another uneventful morning. LUNCH was another tradition…. Bakers Square! The food isn’t bad, as a matter of fact, what I had for lunch that day was really good! They have a big menu, with something for everyone… even picky kids like mine!
But, the food isn’t the real reason we went there, it’s the pies! They have so many different ones, that it’s almost impossible to choose! In the end, I decided on one of my favorites: Caramel Pecan Silk Supreme!

Stay tuned to find out what we did in the afternoon!

2010/245: Summer Road Trip, Part 4

The Indiana part of our trip required a slight change of plans. We had originally planned on arriving Monday and leaving Friday morning. Unfortunately Cameron didn’t know until literally the last minute (as in Saturday!) which days he would be able to take off work. Turned out his days off that week were Monday (and we lost most of the day with him because we were travelling) and Friday, and he was unable to switch them with someone else. So we just made the best of the time we had on Monday, and decided to stay an extra night and leave Saturday morning.
We also tried to get together with Amy, but because I didn’t know in advance which days we would be free, and her week was filling up fast with playdates and out-of-town guests, we couldn’t work anything out. But, there’s always next time, because we will be back (at some point!)

So on Tuesday, August 10, Nikki came up to the hotel around lunch time and we hung out at the hotel pool for a little while and then headed to the Albanese Candy Factory and did some sampling and shopping! You could say it’s become a tradition, since we’ve been there the last three times we were in Indiana! Of course we got plenty of chocolate, and the kids picked out their favorite flavors of gummy bears (btw. their gummies are the only ones that will NOT stick to braces!!)

Cameron came right after work and joined us for dinner. We also celebrated a certain little one’s birthday (a little early) that evening.

Wednesday, August 11 was pretty unevenful, although we did go to the mall for some baby clothes shopping, and when Cameron met up with us at the hotel after work, we all went to the Olive Garden for dinner.

2010/244: Drive Safe!

Aka Summer Road Trip, Part 3

Monday morning (August 9) we made our way to Indiana to see Cameron. He and Nikki had just moved into their own place a couple of months before, and we arrived at their house at around 3pm and spent a few hours there. Then we left to check into the hotel, where they met us a while later and we all went to dinner at Whitecastle. HAD to have my Whitecastle fix!

That morning, was worst part of our vacation…. seeing these accidents, and later finding out that two people were killed.
Dive safe! Whether you’re just going to the store around the corner, or a vacation across the country.

This was the first accident, on I-70 in Illinois, between St. Louis and Effingham. I’m not sure if this was a tandem trailer or two semi trucks. All I could find out that a semi lost its load and the highway had to be closed. No one was seriously injured here.

About two miles down the road, we saw this:

Here is the story, copied from this news link. We travelled through here at about 9am, and didn’t see any sign of the third crash.
Posted on August 9, 2010 at 8:17 AM, Updated Monday, Aug 9 at 6:49 PM
(KMOV) — Two people are dead after three separate crashes on Interstate 70 in Illinois.
The first crash happened around 6:50 a.m. on Monday on westbound I-70. The second happened just a few miles behind the first wreck at 7:00 a.m. and the third crash happened around 8:30 a.m. not far from the other two wrecks.
Several tractor-trailers and a couple of other vehicles were involved in the accidents.
Crash #1: Illinois State Police say that a tractor-trailer lost its load when the trailer separated from the tractor cab . A News 4 crew on the scene says that the tractor-trailer was carrying frozen seafood that scattered all over the highway. The driver of this truck suffered minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital.
Crash #2: The second crash was a chain-reaction accident involving three semi-trucks and a pick-up truck, just two miles behind the first accident. In this crash, the pick-up truck rear-ended a semi-truck. Two more semi-trucks then crashed into the other vehicles. The last semi-truck in this wreck then caught fire, trapping the occupants inside. The driver, 52-year-old Jerald D. Jaynes, and his passenger, 23-year-old William T. Burleson, were killed in the wreck. Two other people involved in the wreck suffered minor injuries.
Crash #3: The third crash happened not far from the other two. A News 4 crew on the scene says that a motorcyclist hit another tractor-trailer. There were no serious injuries reported in this wreck.
The westbound lanes of Interstate 70 were closed for multiple hours for reconstruction and clean up purposes, but have now re-opened.