I ought to explain that this part of our trip, including the previous few days, was our own personal family vacation and had nothing to do with the business trip to Vail except that said business enabled us to plan our vacation around it.
Also, I’ve had the singular good fortune this year to have been able to visit with my two of my dearest friends and college roommates again. I hadn’t seen E. since my sister’s college graduation three years ago, and I hadn’t seen M. since we stopped off at her home on our way back from Idaho four years ago. To have had the chance to visit with them both was a godsend. It’s nice to know that although our paths have taken us many miles apart since college, we still have some things in common and have acquired a few new things to share as well. Motherhood, for one. 😉
So off we went from Davenport, IA, to Sioux Falls, SD. We got an amazingly early start for our crew, and found ourselves in Des Moines well before lunch. We were glad that we had stayed at the hotel the night before and were able to get a good night’s sleep (despite the vague memory of Princess waking up and literally jumping into our bed). After Des Moines we began to see signs for the John Wayne birthplace in De Soto. Should we stop? I mean, this was the guy who gave us Sean Thornton and G.W. McLintock! However, approaching the exit we discovered that the town was about 15 miles from the interstate. We gave it a miss, hoping to keep good time and find a stop further along that wasn’t quite as far from the interstate. Well, guess what? Unless you want to stop at a truck stop, most towns west of Des Moines are 12-15 miles from the interstate. I suddenly remembered why I hadn’t enjoyed the trip through Iowa four years ago.
We thought to commandeer a picnic table at one of the rest areas and have lunch, but the last rest area for 47 miles had one picnic bench because the outdoor area was under construction. That’s bench, not table, if I recall aright. So Haus Meister decided we’d just stop at the next exit, which just happened to have a tourist attraction that we’d seen advertised for most of the day’s trip. Without further ado….
It was a nice little town. That is a real windmill from 1848 Denmark, reassembled here in Iowa. We picnicked in the shelter at the public park, took pictures of the windmill, and headed on our way.
By dinner we were in Sioux Falls, and enjoyed two days with good friends. Our children got along well, too, which is always a plus. =) I stressed above how nice it was to visit with my old friends again. Definitely refreshing for the spirit. So thank you, E & B for traveling down to see us; thank you M & J for opening your doors to our visit. 😉
The time flew by and then we were back on the road. We had to keep more to a time-table on Saturday as we needed to reach Lincoln, Nebraska in a order to attend the Saturday anticipation Mass for our Sunday obligation. I had done my research before we even left home and ascertained that we’d be able to attend Mass in a church not five minutes from our hotel. So far, so good.
We made it to our hotel in time to check in, spruce up a bit , and jump back into the van to get to the church. It was a hot afternoon and the children were a little tired (can you see where this is going?). We found the church and were a little surprised by its size. Suffice to say we were going to have to crowd into a small building with some of congregation already standing—and no air conditioning. Yes, we had our share of meltdowns. However, the Mass was fine, the people were friendly and forgiving of the little girls’ fussiness, and we left thinking about making a grateful donation to their building fund. 😉
Dinner that night was a real treat, because we were able to visit some old friends at Divino Nino Family Farm in Palmyra, Nebraska (not far from Lincoln). The family who owns and runs the farm knew me when I was in high school, but we hadn’t seen each other since my wedding day. It was nice to catch up with them as well, and we all enjoyed seeing the cows, chickens, ducks and horses. If you’re in the area and you happen to be in the market for some raw milk, you really ought to get some from their farm. I had never tasted it before, but oh my, it was good. End shameless unsolicited sales pitch.
Haus Meister and I dream about having a small hobby farm someday. Nothing to the extent of Divino Nino, at least not at this stage in the dreaming, but just a little something on some acreage with a small variety of animals. And a John Deere of some type, naturally. In fact, I haven’t blogged about this yet but Haus Meister is on a quest to obtain official permission in our city for the allowance of backyard chickens. If all goes well, we hope to have two or three hens by this time next year. But I digress slightly. Being on a real working farm and watching the children interact with all the animals (and the stationary tractor equipment) really cemented this dream for us. We are grateful for this visit as well.
The next morning, we’d begin our long drive to Vail.