Category Archives: Blog Hop Aug. 5 – 9

Transitions Part 6: A 1700 Mile Adventure

lorim (2)

When we left off yesterday, my boys and I had just left Oklahoma City and headed toward Texas, where we would be spending one final night on the road. I was feeling pretty proud of myself, as I had never driven so far on my own before. I had been out west, as far as Phoenix and California, many years ago, but had gone by plane, never driving. I had honestly had my doubts about how well I would manage, and thought I would get lost, even with my GPS lady talking to me through my phone blue tooth, and my printed out directions from place to place. But so far, I had done well, even on the stretches where we had changed hotels, and thus changed directions!

My husband had warned me to put the AC on re-circulate for a while after crossing the Texas border, and he was RIGHT! I’ve never driven through cow country before, and the smell is very strong! We did enjoy looking at the scenery while going through the state though. I think Texas is where we saw a massive windmill farm. The boys thought that was pretty cool. They had been seeing lots of horse trailers on the freeway for a while, too, which was new to them.

At one point, we stopped for gas, and I took a picture of the sign for the sole purpose of posting it to Facebook, back to our friends in Port Huron, because when I left Port Huron, I paid nearly four dollars per gallon for my gas!

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We also took the opportunity to have everyone go to the bathroom. In the ladies bathroom, they had put up large sections of paper for travelers to write something about their trip. I added “moving from Pt. Huron MI to Albuquerque NM”

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Eventually, later than planned again, we reached our motel in Amarillo Texas. My husband had booked us into a Super 8, where we ended up with a surprising room! I got us checked in, and we went to the room we were directed to, but once I opened the door and went in, I was SURE they had us in the wrong room. I told the kids to stay put while I went back to the lobby to find out what was up. I asked the lady who checked us in if this was the room my husband booked us into, and she said yes, it was. Still concerned, because I honestly thought that perhaps after seeing that I had all the kids with me she had switched us to a bigger room without saying so, I asked how much they were charging me for this room. “$72.99”, she said. “Seriously?” I asked. “But it’s a suite!” She then told me that all of their rooms were like that, and that it was the only Super 8 in the country set up like this. So, if you ever need to stay in Amarillo Texas, go here!

When I texted my husband to tell him, he cracked up, because the only reason we were at that Super 8 was that the one he had stayed in when HE moved to Albuquerque the month previously was all booked up! πŸ™‚

Here are all the boys relaxing in the living room of our little suite . . .

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The couch pulled out to a bed for the twins, so no using their inflatable sleeping bags that night!

Our eat-in kitchen area, where we chose to eat supper. Rather than going out, I ordered in a pizza for the boys and a salad for me . . .

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Here is the bedroom . . .

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Since we didn’t have to check out until 11:00 a.m., we didn’t! It was a comfortable room, and really, we needed to kill some time anyway. Our plan was to arrive at our new home AFTER my husband had gotten out of work that day, since I didn’t yet have keys to the house.

We left the Super 8 at around 11:00 a.m., and hit the road for New Mexico. According to my directions list from Google, which matched my GPS turn for turn, it would be about 5 hours (I think) to Albuquerque, so I figured it would work out just fine for getting there AFTER my husband was home. But then, as we crossed the state line into New Mexico, there it was. The big sign that said “you are now entering mountain time”. I had forgotten we would be going through one last time change, and it would suddenly be an hour earlier! So, I decided we needed to stop for lunch and kill another hour!

We got off the freeway at “Historic Santa Rosa NM”, where we saw signs saying we were on historic Route 66, and found this restaurant . . .

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From the Santa Rosa, NM website:

“Route 66 Restaurant

Offering the best in American and Mexican food, including home-made specialties like chile rellenos. Walking distance to major motels.
Historic Route 66
Contact: Patricia Velasquez
Phone: 472 9925”

We really enjoyed our experience there, the food was very good, and the children’s menu had Mexican dishes for my twins, which they liked. The place is decorated with historical Route 66 pictures and memorabilia, and my kids were snapping pictures of everything, using their camera functions on their electronic games. I would definitely go there again. It’s locally owned and operated, which is something my husband and I really like.

Stopping for lunch used up just the right amount of time, and we crossed into Albuquerque shortly after 4:00 p.m., right in the middle of big city (to me!) rush hour traffic. It scared me half to death! We had just moved from Port Huron, MI, a city of about 7 square miles in area, to Albuquerque, a city of about 187 square miles in area, and I had not had a lot of experience with this amount of traffic, at least not in a very long time. But, we made it to the house, getting there about 5 minutes before my husband. He took us in, and we saw our new home for the first time, filled with moving boxes that had finally arrived.

This is our front room, which is now a combination playroom, TV room, music room, library and craft room.

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The dining room area, just off the kitchen . . .

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Master bedroom . . .

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and master bath . . .

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As you can see, a lot of work was ahead, to get all of those boxes unpacked and put away! One of the first things on my agenda was to get the master bedroom in order, so we’d have a comfortable sanctuary at the end of each day . . .

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But before getting started on putting things to order, I just wanted to sit. This is me, in my new living room, after going around to look at all of my new home . . .

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Then, my husband took us out to supper at IHop, since we’d not had one in Port Huron, and the boys had never been. It was good, but I was tired, so once we got home again, I think it wasn’t too long before we all went to bed, because, as I said, there was a lot of work ahead! πŸ™‚

I’ve come to the end of the 2013 Summer Blog Hop, and have enjoyed it, so much so that I think I’ll probably participate in the next blog hop hosted by the Review Crew, so stay tuned! And as always, to make it easier for you to stay tuned, I invite you to follow me via email, by clicking the “sign me up” button at the top of the page. I’d love to have you join me on my “journeys through life”!

and hop on over to the main blog post, to check out the other 89 bloggers participating, by clicking below . . .

Summer Blog Hop

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Filed under 1700 Mile Adventure, Albuquerque, Blog Hop Aug. 5 - 9, family, food, moving, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, Transitions, Travel

Transitions Part 5: A 1700 Mile Adventure

lorim (2)

Well, we’ve come to Saturday, August 4, 2012 now, and have left Republic, MO to head toward Owasso, OK, where an old and dear friend of mine lives with his wife. When he found out we would be driving cross country to move to Albuquerque, he was wonderful enough to offer their hospitality to us, inviting the boys and me to come there for the night. Owasso is a suburb of Tulsa, OK, and I found it quite pretty during our drive to Chip and Sheila’s home.

We arrived to find Chip and Sheila preparing a wonderful cookout dinner. Chip was grilling burgers, while Sheila had made really good potato salad, and all sorts of other things I don’t remember, but it was all very good! They made us feel very welcome, and were very patient with my boys.

The boys especially loved the pool in the back yard, and because their swimwear was packed separately since we’d begun our trip at Torch Lake in northern MI, I was able to easily get it for them. They spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening in the pool.

Here, all four boys are playing in the water . . .

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Here is “The Puzzler” jumping in . . .

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and now, “Mr. Loquacious” taking the plunge as well!

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They had, as you can see, a great time!

When we noticed that there was something floating in the air, Chip and Sheila explained it was ash from the wild fires. Heading west, this was our first real experience with the wild-fire season, and they told us that we might not even be able to continue on the next day, as the freeway we were taking to Oklahoma City had been closed because of the fires, and could get closed again. I had seen signs on the freeway warning about not driving through smoke, something I’ve never seen on freeway signage before! All was well though, and we were able to continue on the next day.

We were so glad we got to stop and spend that time with our friends, I hadn’t seen Chip since his nephew’s wedding, about eight years ago, so it was great to see him and to meet his new wife. All to soon, it was time to get on the road for our next stop, Oklahoma City.

Here we are, getting our good-bye pictures!

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We continued on our adventure, stopping in Oklahoma City, OK. There, we were meeting up for lunch with a friend of mine from an online home-schooling group called CCU (Christ Centered Unschooling). This was exciting for me, we’d never met in person, and it’s just the second time for me to meet a friend from the list who lives far away. Deanna doesn’t actually live IN Oklahoma City, I believe she drove about 80 miles to meet us! We met at this really cool fast food place called City Bites. It was not your usual fast food place though. They had fabulous salads and subs, with lots of mix and match ingredients. My kids really loved the dΓ©cor in the restaurant, it was all sort of a jungle theme! Here are some pictures . . .

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Here we all are, with my friend Deanna West Piercy, from CCU. You can get to know her at one of HER blogs, Tea With Dee. She actually has a few different blogs, I imagine they can be found through Tea With Dee. πŸ™‚

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It was so much fun to spend this time at lunch with my friend, and I’m very glad we made the stop.

Eventually, it was time for City Bites to close for the day, so it was time to hit the road again. We said our good-byes, and headed toward Texas, where we would spend our final night on the road. I’ll tell you about that, and about our arrival to our new home, tomorrow, in my last post for this year’s Summer Blog Hop, so be sure to come back!

And as always, if you sign up to follow by email using the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, you’ll never miss another post! I’d love to have you join me on my journeys!

Hop on over to the main Summer Blog Hop post to see what 89 other bloggers are talking about! You can go through the topics and find things to inspire, to learn from, or just fun things to enjoy!

Summer Blog Hop

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Filed under Albuquerque, Blog Hop Aug. 5 - 9, Christian faith, family, Kids, Transitions, Travel

Transitions Part 4: A 1700 Mile Adventure

lorim (2)

Well, I should have mentioned this yesterday, but I didn’t even realize it until I was going to bed last night! Yesterday, August 6, 2013, my kids and I had officially been here in NM for a whole year! Honestly, it doesn’t seem like it’s been a whole year since we arrived! It’s been a year full of change, and has had its ups and downs. My husband and I have, between us, gone through three surgeries, we found a wonderful church family, my kids and I got booted out of the first home-school group we joined (which turned out to be a good thing, but I digress!). Our first winter here was the best winter I’ve ever been through, as you can guess, having come from Michigan. We really do like being here! So now, let’s get on with our journey from Michigan to New Mexico, with our day in St. Louis, MO!

We had a very nice sleep Thursday night, in our beautiful room that my cousin Anne had gotten for us, and woke ready to have a great day in St. Louis! After everyone was showered and dressed, we went to the very good breakfast that came with our room. I think the hotel lost money on the breakfast that my boys had that day, lol! Then, while waiting for Anne to arrive, we went ahead and got packed back up and put our belongings back into the minivan.

When Anne arrived, we piled into the minivan and headed to the St. Louis Arch . . .

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Which is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, and is a National Park.

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We parked on what I *think* I was told is a levee, right at the river, where we saw this riverboat cruise boat.

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Stretched across the area where we parked were many of these very heavy chains. You can see in the picture of the riverboat that they are used for mooring. The boys found them interesting, and were pretending to try to lift them (they were, of course, way too heavy!)

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So, we walked along the river front to a point where we could get to the Arch, which is really quite beautiful, as you can see in the picture higher up in this post. There are a TON of steps to climb to get to the Arch!

Here is “The Artist” stopping on the way up . . .

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and here am I, with “Mr. Loquacious”

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I’m going to stop right here and tell you, I was really nervous about this excursion! My improved health from my weight loss was still relatively new, and I worried over whether I would really be able to handle all of the steps, etc. Well, as you can see, I did! I was also able to get through all of the little turnstiles inside, as well as fit into the tiny little carriers that we went to the top in. Here are pictures of each of us inside the one they have set up for photos . . .

First, “The Artist” . . .

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“Mr. Loquacious” . . .

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“The Batman” . . .

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“The Puzzler” . . .

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And me!

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Now, you can see how small those things are, right? Now imagine all six of us, crammed into one for the ride to the top. A year previously, I would never have managed, not at 320 pounds. I also would have been quite miserable upon moving to Albuquerque, where we are almost a mile higher in elevation than we were in Pt. Huron. The weight loss journey is one I am so glad to have taken, for many reasons!

Anne went and got our tickets to go to the top of the Arch, and then we had a little over an hour before our scheduled ride, so we used that time to walk through as much of the museum as we could. We really enjoyed it!

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All of the boys in front of one of the exhibits . . .

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all the boys with Anne . . .

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Anne and me . . .

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one of the views through the windows at the top of the Arch . . .

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After we had finished at the Arch, we drove back over to the hotel to pick up Anne’s car, and then went to eat an early supper at a restaurant nearby, for BBQ. It was very good, I’d never had BBQ done the way they do it! I don’t recall the name of the restaurant, but it was right across the parking lot from the hotel, and we loved it!

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After our dinner, we said our good-byes. Anne headed off to her home, and we headed on to Republic, MO, where we spent the night at a motel and then the next morning, Saturday, we spent the morning visiting with another cousin, Anne’s brother Ed and his family. Unfortunately, I forgot to have my camera with me during that visit, so I have no pictures. 😦

From Republic, we headed toward Oklahoma, where we would be spending the night at the home of a long time dear friend of mine, which I will tell you about tomorrow, if you come back! πŸ™‚

As always, I’d love it if you would follow my blog by email! Never miss an update by just going to the top right of the blog and clicking on the “sign me up” button. Just follow the directions and you’ll be notified of new posts by email!

Meanwhile, please, hop on over to the main crew post to see what the other Summer Blog Hop participants are up to!

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Filed under 1700 Mile Adventure, Albuquerque, Blog Hop Aug. 5 - 9, exercise, family, health, Kids, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, Transitions, Travel, weight loss

Transitions Part 3: A 1700 Mile Adventure

lorim (2)

Well, as I said in yesterday’s post, we left Michigan on Wednesday, August 1, and spent the night in a motel in Indiana. That is literally all the time we spent in Indiana, as the motel was just inside the border, and the next morning, within maybe 45 minutes, we were crossing into Illinois.

Before we went to bed, though, I received an email from my wonderful cousin Anne, telling me that she had booked us a room in St. Louis, MO, which was our next destination. She said it was a gift from her, since we were meeting her there to spend the day together! What a nice thing for her to do, and one of the bright spots for the day to come! My husband had originally booked us into a room on the Illinois side of the border to St. Louis, because it was much less expensive, and we were trying to keep our costs down, so I called and had him cancel that room for me. πŸ™‚

Thursday morning, I KNEW I had plenty of gas to get to St. Louis. And I still think I would have had enough, if we had not been routed off the freeway, along with all the hundreds of other travelers, due to a huge accident involving a mega bus in Litchfild, Illinois. For well over two hours, we were stuck in two-mile per hour traffic, when we were moving at all.

This was my view for the next two hours or so . . .

view during reroute<

Finally, we were past the HUGE section of closed freeway, and allowed to get back onto the freeway, but then I realized that my "you are about to run out of gas" light had just come on, so it was time to find a gas station, one that would still permit me to get back to the freeway without becoming lost (because I am, as my husband says, geographically challenged!). So, we did find a gas station, pulled in, and I got out to pump the gas. Now, as you could probably tell from the photo above, it had been threatening rain for a while. Well, just after I paid at the pump and got ready to fill the tank, the clouds let loose, and the deluge began. I tried to quickly set the pump to auto-fill and get back in the minivan until it was done, but there was no time. In that minute before getting back in, I was literally soaked to the skin. That’s how hard it was raining. And then, the power at the gas station went off. Not for long, but just long enough that it cut off my transaction. Because of that, the pump did not print my receipt, and I was NOT going to go, in the rain, to the building to see if they could print one. I just hoped for the best and checked for the transaction on my bank website the next day so I could enter it. Because the power went off, I didn’t get a fill up, I got a little over half a tank. I just decided to go with that and hope it was enough, or if not, that we’d outrun the rain before needing more gas, lol!

This is what I looked like after getting soaked to the skin . . .

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And even though it was August, we had to turn the heat on in the minivan, all the way up, with the fan going, because I was absolutely freezing! Eventually, we made it to St. Louis, and found the hotel Anne had booked us into. Oh, my, did that hotel make up for the day we’d had! It was the Hampton Inn by the airport, and it was the nicest room I’d ever stayed in!

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Surprisingly, I quickly discovered when we checked in that they had no guest laundry facilities! I changed into dry clothes (because yes, I had gotten so soaked that everything I was wearing was still quite wet, good thing my minivan doesn’t have cloth seats!), and we went in search of a laundry-mat. We never found one, so we gave up and went back to the room. By then I was too tired to go out to get supper, so we ate the shelf stable microwave meals I had bought (just in case!) before we left Pt. Huron. They were surprisingly not too bad! We slept pretty well that night . . . we were all tired! πŸ™‚

Tomorrow, our day in St. Louis with my fabulous cousin Anne!

As always, I’d love it if you followed my blog! Just go to the “sign me up” button at the top right of the page, click it and follow the directions to enter your email. Easy Peasy! πŸ™‚

Don’t forget to hop on over to the main post for the Summer Blog Hop and check out all the other topics!

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Filed under 1700 Mile Adventure, Blog Hop Aug. 5 - 9, family, Transitions, Travel

Transitions Part 2, A 1700 Mile Adventure!

lorim (2)
Hello, my blog reading friends! You may recall that back on July 10, 2013, I began a series of posts called “Transitions“, promising to continue the series a little later. Well, the continuation begins today, as part of the Review Crew’s Summer Blog Hop! I think you’ll find the Summer Blog Hop to be a fun ride, with 90 bloggers and 450 posts on a wide variety of topics. So, without further ado, let’s get on with the Hop! πŸ™‚

If you went back and read the first Transitions post, you will recall that we had finally gotten our belongings loaded up, and were about to set off for our big move to Albuquerque, NM. And so we did, rather later in the day than we planned, after the delay of waiting for the moving truck to arrive until much later than expected. But, finally, we were ready to go, on the afternoon of July 30, 2012!

We headed west out of Port Huron, MI to Flint, MI, so we could make a brief (hahaha, as if brief visits and good-byes EVER happens in this family!) stop at my brother’s, to say good-bye to him, my sister-in-law, one of my nieces and her beautiful little girl.

Here is “The Batman” playing with my great-niece, Penny before we left to head on to another little side trip . . .

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And here are all of the boys and Penny together!

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From there, we headed to Northern Michigan, more specifically Rapid City and Bellaire, MI, to see my mother’s last surviving siblings, Aunt Marge and Uncle Jim, and their respective spouses, Uncle Leon and Aunt Ann. They are all elderly, and I wanted very much to see them before we moved so far away, so my husband made it workable for us. I’m so grateful to him for doing that for me . . .

With our late start, and then a longer stop than we planned in Flint, we didn’t get to our motel (The All Seasons Motel in Bellaire) until about 10:00 p.m., but they were ready for us, after my husband had called them to say we were delayed. It was a small, basic room, which was fine for us. We just needed a place to sleep, shower and change, as we spent most of our time there either with my aunts and uncles, or swimming, or roaming around the village of Alden, showing the kids some of the places we went to when I was younger.

“The Batman” and “The Artist, bedding down for the night . . .

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Mr. “Loquacious”, sound asleep . . .

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And the “Puzzler”, totally zonked out!

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Spending the morning at Torch Lake, in Rapid City MI . . .

“Mom! Are you SURE this water is warm enough?!” (Torch Lake is a spring fed lake, and cold when first going in, lol!

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They soon decided it was worth it, though!

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In Alden, MI wandering around before heading back over to see the aunts and uncles one final time before heading west . . .

This sign is right at the edge of the lake in the village of Alden . . .

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Torch Lake has been rated by National Geographic as the cleanest lake in America, and the third cleanest in the world!

One of the shops we like in Alden . . .

Carter’s Candles, I still have a Petoskey stone magnet from this store that my husband and I bought on our honeymoon 23 years ago!

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Love the new Alden sign posts!

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At this point, we’d checked out of the motel, and gone back to see my aunts and uncles one last time. Here are the boys with my Aunt Marge and Uncle Leon . . .

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And here is the only picture that came out of me with them, I look half asleep, lol!

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After saying good-bye one last time, we headed down the road to my Uncle Jim’s house to see him and his wife, my Aunt Ann, one final time . . .

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It was a difficult good-bye for me. As I said before, my Aunt Marge and my Uncle Jim are my mother’s last surviving siblings, and they and their spouses are all in their late seventies and eighties, so this was very likely my last time I will ever see them. It was very quiet in the car for a while after we left . . .

We then headed west, and as we were going through the area of Holland Michigan, I phoned my Aunt Carol, who lives there with her new husband. She is my Uncle Keith’s widow, and I so loved him, and her, so I was hoping we could meet up briefly. She didn’t answer her phone, but called me back shortly after we passed Holland. We turned back, and met her at a road-side farmer’s market.

Here are the boys, entertaining themselves while we wait for Carol to meet us . . .

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We followed her over to the beach on Lake Michigan, someplace we’d never been, which meant we’d now driven from the east coast of Michigan (Port Huron) to the west coast of Michigan!

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Here are the boys with my Aunt Carol . . .

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and here’s one with just me and my aunt!

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And now, we were truly leaving Michigan, on August 1, 2012, with our next stop being a quick night in a motel in Indiana. Stay tuned tomorrow for the next leg of the journey, because it starts out super FUN (see the sarcasm there, lol?)

As always, I’d love it if you’d sign up to follow my blog via email! Just click on the “sign me up!” box at the top right of this page and enter your email address! πŸ™‚

Hop on over to the main blog hop post, so you can check out all the other participating bloggers!

Summer Blog Hop

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Filed under 1700 Mile Adventure, Blog Hop Aug. 5 - 9, family, Kids, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, Transitions, Travel