Monday, July 2, 2018

Illinois Road Trip 2018 (My side)

I am so glad we made the long hard drive to Illinois to visit both sides of the family.  We did not have much time, but we still were able to see so many family members.  I am so grateful for that!

We spent the first four nights with his side of the family in two parts of Illinois before heading to my mom's and visiting family on my side.

David is the baby of six children.  Two of his siblings still live in Illinois (one near his mom).  I'm the youngest of nine children, five of my siblings live near my mom in Illinois as well.   Both of our fathers have passed away.

On Thursday morning::  we got on the road and started to my mom's house.  Oh my goodness!  I love her house!  It is like a bed and breakfast inside: the wallpaper, lace curtains, pine wood floors and doors and trim, pocket doors that hide in the wall to separate the sitting room from the living room, and I can't forget the upstairs bathroom that has a splendid claw-foot tub.

We slept with windows open because of the much cooler weather conditions.

On Friday, because of the rain, we stayed close to home.  Stan the man and Miss Clementine were able to play with first cousins close to their age all! day! long!

I really miss the corner taverns from my hometown.  We do not have those here in TX (at least where we live).  I'm talking about the kind where everyone knows everyone when they walk in the tavern door, you can order out delicious fried chicken, and maybe run into a family member or two!  Think Cheers!

(Left to Right: my oldest sister, Mary, her husband, myself, David is behind me, my nephew, and my oldest brother, Joe behind my nephew)

(Chicken and fries to go with my mom's homemade ravs & sauce - yum!)

Friday we took the two kids to see the Starved Rock Lock and Dam, hoping to catch a barge going through the lock system.  It is really a fascinating process to watch it!

Inside the visitors center, you can see an original pilothouse to a tugboat.  

This is to the tugboat, the John M.Warner.  The pilothouse sank in the Illinois Waterway in December 1982.

And when we went outside, there was a barge entering the locks.  What luck!  

We were able to see the barge enter the lock, watch the crew tie it up, witness the emptying valve engage (the water level inside the lock was lowered), the lower locks open, and then the barge move out.

The kids loved this little field trip!

We had time for a quick swim at my sister's pool before we washed up for Saturday evening Mass.

Pics with Grammy (excuse my sunburn!)  I love my mom SO much!

Sunday morning found us on the road heading back to Texas by 5:30am.  We drove all the way back just under 15 hours!!  Such a long drive.

We changed routes and instead of going through Oklahoma, we went through Arkansas.  Arkansas is such a pretty state.  Any readers from Arkansas?

These two kiddos were incredible travelers.  They did a great job behaving, keeping busy, SLEEPING in the car, and getting along (for the most part).

And wow!  Two kids are really so much easier to travel with.  That made a difference as well.  I mean, let's be honest, luggage for a week for 7 is a lot to deal with let alone traveling with 7 folks in a car.  Ha ha!

I'm feeling blessed to have spent the time with both sides of the family and returning home safe and sound.

To all of you who are traveling or will be traveling this summer, may your guardian angels keep you safe!



  1. Oh my word... 15 hours!!! That is amazing! And the one with the hug you're giving your mom? Worth every second of that long drive!

  2. What a great trip. Seeing family that lives far away must feel like such a gift. Luckily most of my family lives within 80 miles of each other. Looks like the kids had fun and learned a lot, too. God bless you for doing that drive! Wow.


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