We made it! We now, officially, reside in Kenosha, Wisconsin. We finished our last minute packing, errand running, and breakfast on Monday, 9/28 and headed out. The first 20 minutes of the drive were really the hardest for me. It was the last of the “Good-Bye’s” and “See-you-soon’s” we would have for a while. I was definitely teary-eyed… can you still call it “teary-eyed” if the tears are actually rolling down your cheeks and creating a sort of bib on your hoodie? Anyway… I was truly comforted when Tony grabbed my hand as we left Kirkland and said, “This will always be home.”
Day 1: Monday – We popped in THE SHACK (audio book courtesy Karen Jussel) and made it to Spokane in time for Tony’s dad’s (Allen) incredible cocktail sauce before dinner. It was a great evening! Tony played some of the song’s he and Ryan have written on the Larrivee, and we talked about what little we know of Wisconsin. They shared their adventures of the early years of their marriage, Allen’s days in his own rock band, traveling the world and leaving their families behind. They were very encouraging to us, and still ORDERED us to keep in touch. We’ll do our best.
Day 2: Tuesday – We left the Peterson home just before the sun rose on Tuesday morning, hit up Starbucks, filled the tank, looked at a map, and headed out on I-90. The northern parts of Idaho and Montana were spectacular at that hour of the morning. I had no idea it would be so beautiful. We were still listening to The Shack, pausing every once in a while to talk about it. It made for an amazing trip. We got to the northern entrance of Yellowstone Park around 4pm, but we’d forgotten to buy firewood for camping. It took us much too long to find a store that was still open AND had what we needed, which of course included the essential ingredients for s’mores. We found a spot to camp and finished setting up mere seconds before it got dark. It was an incredible time. We ate hotdogs and the pasta salad we made before we took off. It was our first time camping just the two of us, I LOVE married camping. I can’t imagine anything better than a clear night with my best friend talking and singing and eating s’mores. We got into our very warm sleeping bags and before long realized I might not have inflated our mattress completely. Of course, way too cold to get out and fix it, we ended up sleeping on a V-shaped bed, rolling obnoxiously into each other all night. It wasn’t until the next morning that we realized we basically were on the ground… ah well.
Day 3: Wednesday – Had some camping style French press coffee in the morning and some nifty cereal-in-a-cup for breakfast. Broke down our camp and headed deeper into Yellowstone Park. I was confronted with two realities: 1) Buffalo and Bison are the same thing. 2) Neither are extinct. No, seriously. We have video to prove it. They’re real and they still exsist. Also, of note:
• Geysers are really cool looking and really stinky.
• The crows in Yellowstone are of pre-historic size.
• All Coldplay and the Garden State Soundtrack are the best CD’s to listen to while driving through Yellowstone.
• The Grand Tetons do not get nearly enough fame and attention for how amazing they are.
• Pictures CANNOT contain the amazing things you actually see.
We finished driving diagonally through Wyoming that day. Of course, couldn’t get through this great western state without an “up-close-and-personal” with a couple of hunters stuffing a dead dear with ice on their tailgate at the local gas station. I was in sincere shock! We ended the day by arriving in Ft. Collins and having dinner with a couple close friends. Thank you Grant and Natalie for letting us stay with you.
Day 4: Thursday – Woke up and went to Grant and Natalie’s favorite breakfast spot. After a huge cinnamon roll and a little eggs benedict, we went to their favorite coffee shop, which was just a little outside of town. The coffee shop was called Loodles and would definitely be our favorite shop if we lived locally too. It’s owned by Mark Ludy (a childrens book writer/artist) and is decorated with Mark’s art. After Loodles we went and checked out their church / Natalie’s work. There was an awkward moment when we met their pastor and he shook Michelle’s hand for about 30 seconds, staring her directly into her eyes, but it turns out he’s just like that. Natalie does for that church what Michelle did for EastLake… Groups. Natalie has been using the EastLake groups method, and has been successful in implementing it… I think that’s why the pastor had heard of Michelle and was a little ga-ga in person. We left there and headed back to their house where Natalie and I swapped music vision… she taught me a few songs her church does, and I taught her one of the songs EastLake does. It was really fun, and Michelle was enjoying every moment. We ended the day with dinner in, and of course, video games!
Day 5: Friday – It was another early riser… we woke up and hit the road at 6am. On our way to Starbucks to get our morning fuel, we were almost tracked down and shot by an angry local who wanted to make sure I knew that I was in the wrong lane. Today was the day we were going to get to Kansas City, and have some awesome BBQ. We hit the freeway and finished The Shack audio book (which I can do a whole blog about… so I’ll just leave it at “we finished”) and started Blink. This was the first and only night that we stayed at a Hotel… so after hours and hours of driving, we made it to our hotel and went out to eat. Knowing that our friends Matt and Emily Cox are from the Kansas area, I called and asked Matt what place has the best BBQ. We found the restaurant, but just driving by we could see that every table was full and there were about 20 people standing and eating inside as well… really congested. We decided we wanted a more personal dining experience and ended up at a place called Café One80. It was fine, but I’m really disappointed we weren’t able to eat at Matt’s favorite spot.
Day 6: Saturday – Sleeping in is a blessing from God! Michelle and I spoke, and decided it would be so cool to show up early and surprise Dave… so we spent the whole day driving from Kansas City to Kenosha. We did stop at St. Louis for lunch, and of course had to try the local BBQ spot. We stepped into a little place on the outskirts of downtown called Smoki O’s. We were coaxed into trying the local delight called Snoot, which is the cooked-to-a-crisp snout of a pig. Not bad… kinda like a thick pork rind… but now that I’ve had it, I’m good with not having it again. We took our BBQ to-go, and ate lunch literally underneath the St. Louis arch. We finished Blink somewhere in between St. Louis and Chicago… another good book that would take too long to talk about. Chicago is AWESOME! We’ll prolly spend a lot of time there. We ate dinner (per the Stennetts advice) at a deep dish pizza joint called Lou Malnati’s… AMAZING PIZZA! Thank you guys for the awesome suggestion. In the end, we rolled into Kenosha and our new home around 11pm.
We’ll tell you all about our adventures here in Kenosha in different blogs, but we wanted to let you know that we’re here… we’re busy… church was AWESOME… and we were feeling bad about not letting you all know where we were and how we got here. Stay tuned!