Well, day #2 in Bloomington proved even more interesting and exciting.  We began the day with Steve getting a tooth filled at Gracie's dentist.  Then we went to learn about the limestone here.  Limestone from Bloomington area quarries has been used in structures around the world. A few examples include the Indiana State Capitol building along with 26 other state capitols, the National Cathedral, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, Ellis Island and the Empire State Building in New York City.  The quarries, along the freeways are incredible. 

Lunch was spent in Downtown at a delicious restaurant that was an excellent choice by David and Wendy.  The 80 degree temperatures called for us to dine outdoors. 

Dinner and dancing was at the fundraising event-  Edible Lotus, a showcase of Bloomington's finest in food, drink and I might add, dance moves.  We had a thoroughly wonderful evening with new friends, Michael and April.  Just when you thought things couldn't get any more fun...

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We are currently camped, for the next three nights, on the driveway of my niece's in-laws in Bloomington, IN.  Mary Ann and Ed are gracious hosts and we have secured the best location in town!

Dinner was with Wendy, David, and their three girls, Maddie (9), Bella (7) and Gracie (5).  Meeting all three of my great nieces was a wild time.  If I could bottle their energy... wow!  What a trio of enthusiasm, inquisitiveness and downright sweetness.

After dinner, we took a walking tour of Indiana University where David is a Chemistry Professor.  The school was founded in 1820 and feels like what you would expect of a place of such history and legacy.  I was in awe.  Ice cream, in the heart of it all, capped a perfect evening. 


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A picture's worth a thousand words...

What a fantastic, diverse day in the Land of Lincoln.  We spent our morning touring Fermilab- a proton-anti proton collider in Batavia. Click on the link to learn more and be thoroughly amazed.  It was extremely interesting and it took a couple of hours, of intense information, before my eyes began to glaze.  Steve would have liked it to be even more scientific!

The afternoon was spent with my brother, Larry's, girls, Elisabeth and Jessica, in Aurora.  We ate lunch at Walter Payton's Roundhouse Brewery and Restaurant.  Brenton and Christy would have loved Illinois' largest micro brewery located within a historic train roundhouse, circa 1855.

It was then off for sightseeing and a trip to the 1915 era Phillips Park Zoo.  Steve and I both enjoyed my nieces.  They are wonderful, communicative and exceptional company.  Tomorrow, another state and more nieces... how fun for us!
 




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Enjoying the road less traveled in Illinois..

We said goodbye to Iowa at the "World's Largest Truck Stop" (I told you I'm a sucker for those things).  Known as a "mecca for professional truckers, travelers and RVers" a stop here is necessary.  Besides having the usual amenities:  showers, snacks, laundry.  This one also has a complete line of men's clothing, a movie theater and a dentist.  The place is ginormous.

We then decided to get off the interstate and see Illinois from Historic Lincoln Highway.  What an amazing trip back in time.  Carl Fisher, the inventor of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, came up with the idea of a transcontinental highway for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition.  After seeing all the little towns this road afforded us, it seemed like we were there when the road was conceived.  This route is a slice of very breathtaking Americana.

Our only real stop was to visit Ronald Reagan's boyhood home in Dixon, IL.  The entire neighborhood looks as if time stood still. You could almost envision little Ronnie playing ball in the front lawn!

For the next two nights we are camped, lakeside, in Sycamore, IL at one of the most spectacular sites thus far.  The serenity is welcomed.  I hear my lawn chair calling.  Until tomorrow...  

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Today began in one of the most inspirational places I have ever been:  Boys Town.  Many people, of a certain age, remember the movie with Spencer Tracy, but to actually be in the place where Father Flanagan began to care for America's unwanted boys almost 100 years ago and see all the history, was truly amazing.  It impacted us.

What drew us to Boys Town was its other claim to fame.  According to the 1955 edition of Ripley's Believe it or Not, the Boys Stamp Club gathered 4,655,000 canceled stamps and created "The World's Largest Ball of Stamps".  I'm a sucker for "The World's Largest" anything.

Now, we are the sole residents, high on a knoll, overlooking the Iowa State Fair in 160 acres of wooded campsites.  The Fair's campground is the only one in Des Moines.  Steve and I had an evening of reconnecting, delicious dining and interesting conversation with my cousin, John and his wife, Pam.  This is where my family started!  Yep.  I'm an Iowa breed.  It is a surprisingly beautiful state and we are enjoying the green and rolling hills.


"No race that does not take care of its young can hope to survive
– or deserves to survive."
Father Edward Flanagan

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2,125 miles driven so far...

We have seen some beautiful countryside, with interesting sights:  the Birthplace of Kool-Aid; military museums and even camels on our way to tonight's stop Lincoln, Nebraska! 

We went to gather supplies and asked the clerk for mosquito netted hats for delectable Steve and he asked, "Why?  Are you going turkey hunting?"  I knew we should have stopped at Cabela's!
 
"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure.
There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open."

-Jawaharial Nehru

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Interesting happenings on the I-80

Morning found us at The Wyoming Frontier Prison:  Under Lock & Key since 1901.  It was closed but it did not stop us from peeking in windows and wandering the grounds. 

As we headed east, we went a whole 3 miles to the town of Sinclair.  In 1925, the entire town was built for the oil refinery.  It is still there and seemed to be very active today.  It was in Sinclair that we would spend the next five hours of our day, hanging out in the neighborhood park.  At 3:14 AM, Interstate 80, the only way east, was closed due to heavy snows and winds.  Trucks lined the highway, city streets and most empty lots.  It was incredible but somewhat festive, too.

It was a nice day to spend relaxing in a park and once the police gave us the go ahead, it was smooth sailing.  We are spending tonight in Sidney, NE in the only Cabela's campground in the world.  Cabela's is "The World's Foremost Outfitters" and pretty much most men's dream store.  AND gear for Turkey Hunting is on sale... hmmm.

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Breakfast with Jenna and Anthony

We traveled quickly to Salt Lake so we could have breakfast with our niece, Jenna, and her guy, Anthony.  Funny, we ate with them in Seattle once, too.  It's a trend of ours to drive 1,000s of miles to meet them for a meal.  The Blue Plate Diner couldn't have been more perfect.   The company was delightful and the food was delicious.  We are now off the wet and windy I-80 in Rawlins, WY for the night. 

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Salutations from Salt Lake City

Wow, what a day of variety.  Snow storms for miles and miles.  Gloriousness in the Bonneville Salt Flats and then wine in the sunshine of Salt Lake.  Adlai Stevenson said, "There is a New America every morning when we wake up.  It is upon us whether we will it or not."  This is so clear when we head out each day on our road trip.

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Almost 400 miles covered today... beautiful!

We passed through some beautiful scenery.  The most spectacular being Donner Pass.  The snow was deep and pristine... fresh and breathtaking.  Home tonight is Winnemucca, NV... a town of gold mining, bars, brothels and if our campground host is any indication, very nice people. 

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Our last dinner, until July, with Brenton and Christy was at Third Street Aleworks Restaurant and Brewery.  This is one of their favorite Santa Rosa spots and we enjoyed spending a little more time with them before we hit the I80 east.  Just 3,811 miles to go!

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This morning began with a lunch date with Brenton (Christy had her first day of work at her awesome new job) and then after dropping him off at school, Steve and I spent the afternoon at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center.  I have always been a Peanuts fan and now, even more so.  http://www.schulzmuseum.org/

We toured the museum, had coffee at the Warm Puppy Cafe and walked away in awe and educated.  Not bad for an afternoon. 

"My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, 
no meaning, and yet I'm happy. I can't figure it out. 
What am I doing right?"
-Charles M. Schulz

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Hiking in Marin County...

After a breakfast of Steve's famous pancakes, we all went for a spectacular hike.  It could not have been a more perfect and full day of fun.  We hiked amongst history and then went to Moylan's, an Irish brewery, and ended the day seeing the new, wildly entertaining movie, "Kick-A**".

It was a diverse, yet thoroughly perfect day. 
Can't wait to wake up tomorrow!


Olompali State Historic Park
in Marin County embraces thousands of years of a history that is uniquely Californian—from the native Miwok to the Chosen Family Commune of the 1960s, from Spanish missionaries to the Grateful Dead rock band.


For the hiker, Olompali offers a colorful history lesson and a great walk in the park.  "You can walk through a couple thousand years of history and get a feel for what the land looked like when the Miwok lived here," explains state park ranger Fred Lew.

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Our incredible home for Rohnert Park visits...

This is where we will stay when we are visiting Brenton & Christy-
The KOA in Petaluma reminds us of Lake Tahoe. 
It is beautiful... Lush trees, singing birds, a petting zoo
and peacefulness

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Dinner with the Haerrs

Dinner with Brenton & Christy was not only delicious but wonderful, too.  They are settled into their 'happily-ever-after" and we loved being there to see it.  All is great in Rohnert Park.

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Passing thru San Francisco

We stopped for a photo opportunity.  What a spectacular day by the bay!

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Our visit with Kegan in SLO and Morro Bay

The hot dogs have been barbecued.  The new dorms have been toured.  Walks on the beach have been enjoyed.  Our visit with Kegan has been a success.  After serious cuddling tonight and mom-made breakfasts tomorrow, we will head to see Brenton & Christy. 

Road trip '2010' is already incredible and it's only day #2.
 

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Our adventure EAST begins!!!

Hey there,

We have left for our Grand American Adventure. 
Click here to see our path.

It should prove for interesting journeying.

We have many stops along the way before we arrive in Charleston.  First couple of stops are to see our children!  Then we turn east and continue until we hit the Atlantic.

Wish us safe travels.

Ciao for now,

           Steve, Denise & Snowie, too

 Wandering re-establishes the original harmony
which once existed between man and the universe. 

~Anatole France

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Sis says goodbye to Snowie so sweetly!

And the card reads:

Dear Snowie,


You have a forever place in my heart.  Such a kind being you have been, wearing every Halloween costume, being left outside one cold Christmas Eve, not a whimper of complaint out of you.  Always welcoming guests into your home with that beautiful, loving charm of yours. I will miss you and think of you sweetly.  A prayer goes with you as your life changes.  My love to you always Snowie,
Your Aunt

As you might know, Snowie will be living on my brother, Chuck's, farmette in Virginia since we will be leaving for one year.  She will spend her remaining days frolicking around the acreage and hopefully, being a good role model for his other two dogs.  This sentiment sums up Snowie so well.

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