We can consider our first Midwest roadtrip with baby a roaring success. We planned to go visit my dad in Illinois, who is 12 hours away, by driving through the night and crossing our fingers that Gabe would sleep through the night. And ya know what? Things went pretty darn well. Sure he woke up and whimpered a few times but he put himself back to sleep within seconds. When he woke up at about 5:30 for the day, we still had about an hour or so left to drive so we stopped for some truckstop entertainment/people-watching and a Denny's breakfast and let him roam the empty restaurant and entertain the waitresses. It was only then that I hung out in the backseat with him to keep him cheerio'd and happy.
We pulled into my dad's and spent the next few days seriously relaxing...mostly because there ain't shit to do in the middle of Illinois. You are forced to relax. We swam in his pool, watched movies like Grumpy Old Men and talked about where our next meal was coming from. I managed to fit in some of my old midwest faves like biscuits and gravy for breakfast and Hardee's for lunch. Plus, my dad was great with Gabe, which is always nice to see.
But a few days in, we packed up our bags again and headed four hours northwest to the border of Illinois and Iowa to the Quad Cities. It was here that we planned on meeting one of my favorite bloggers in this here blogosphere, Mrs. Kim Woodward of NewlyWoodwards. We had been planning this for a few months and we decided that we would drive up, meet up with her, stay the night at a local hotel then have her show us the town the next day.
Um, I was kinda nervous. But then we met. And she's the best. She's the bubbliest, friendliest, easiest to talk to gal ever. Of course, we had all sorts of bloggy stuff to talk about but we also talked about everything and anything else. She loved on Gabe, put up with John's blog-stalking confessions and generally showed us the best time ever. If you read her blog than you know that she probably seems like a great hostess, right? Well, you'd be right. I've never been taken care of so well by someone we didn't "know". I'm so glad that we ventured up there. I'm pretty sure I made an awesome real-life friend.
Ok, enough sap. The night we got there, we checked into our hotel and were greeted with a bag of goodies that Kim had left for us. Lots of local delicacies, tourist info, artwork and a bunch of John Deere stuff for Gabe. You see, the John Deere company calls the Quad Cities home. They're headquartered in Kim's town so it's kind of the thing to do around there. Now I've seen one tractor, I've seen em all. But my boys love that shit.
So after Kim and Ryan (we met him too!) took us out to a fancy schmancy dinner that I'm still kinda drooling about, we headed back to our hotel to get Gabe to bed. We met up the next morning to get started on our day at the John Deere headquarters.
Love this one.
These things are effing huuuuuge.
So after exploring all the giant farm machinery, we headed back to Kim's house. I feel like Kim's houses (both of them) are famous. I literally felt like I was at the White House. Such a dork. But they are just as cute in real life as they are on the blog.
We also got to see the new house too. In fact, we lounged in the new living room. It's a stunner. If you're not in the know, Kim and Ryan have spent the last year completely renovating their new house, from the bottom up. But they dont just slap a coat of paint on things, they add ridiculous details and build crazy shit themselves. I am in constant awe.
Anyway, we also took a walk along the Mississipi and soaked up everything these cute little towns have to offer. They're like mini big cities and ooze charm. I can totally see why Kim fits right in.
So all in all, excellent trip to Illinois and Iowa and to meet up with another awesome blog pal. I could get used to this. Oh wait!! I will be! My Always Bloggy in Philadelphia Meet-up is coming up this October where I'll get to meet a shit-ton of awesome bloggers. This sure is fun.