Home at last!
Strange way to start a blog about our vacation to Alabama, but I ended up not really writing during the vacation - something I’m sure I’ll regret in the end as I’m sure there is some level of excruciating detail that I will miss out on by not doing this in real time, but in the end I’m sure it will save you, dear reader, from the droning on that would undoubtedly result from a real-time, blow-by-blow that I would have otherwise forced you to endure.
We returned from our vacation on Friday night, April 5, at around 9:30 PM, after having driven almost 9 hours that day. We stopped leisurely from time to time, hung out at a cave for awhile - well, I suppose I’m getting ahead of myself. I can cover that when we get to it chronologically. Unofficially I’m titling this vacation, the Broken Glass Vacation for reasons that I’ll get to shortly.
For those looking for the Cliff’s Notes version, we went to Orange Beach Alabama, stopping at Indianapolis, IN, Nashville, TN, and Birmingham, AL along the way. We celebrated Easter with some southern Catholics, enjoyed 4 days in a condo with 3 other families with whom we are familiar, then traveled back. There were two days of sun, some rainy, chilly days, and lots of relaxation along the way.
OK, if you’re still in - here’s the unabridged version… For the abridged version, please visit my (Google Albums Link)[https://plus.google.com/photos/115749026413078959590/albums/5863830498626276657?authkey=CKGhmcfooKDBWw]
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - Home to Indianapolis, IN
This day actually started like any other for me, at work. Our plan was to start our travel after work and school, but since school was only a half day affair today, I bolted out of work a little early. I hurriedly dropped Heinz off at his vacation destination, Tender Touch Pet Grooming and Boarding, then raced back to pack up the last of our vacation luggage along with the family to start our great adventure.
As I said, the plan was to leave after work. The thought being that we could put a few hours, and Chicago, behind us, get some rest, then take our sweet time on our way to Nashville the next day. As plans go, it was a pretty good one, and it worked out as expected. We got out of the house around 4:30, in time for Milwaukee rush hour traffic, but luckily it wasn’t (nor ever is) very bad. We reached Kenosha around 5:30 in time for our first vacation meal, the exotic restaurant known as Wendy’s.
A few more hours in the car and a timezone later we reached south Indianapolis and found a decent Best Western hotel to hunker down for the night. It was 11:30 local time when we stopped, 10:30 home time. We were tired, but the room was very nice. When I inquired about availability and rates I was told that they did not have any double queens, but did have a double king! “Normally it was $79, but for you, Mr. Grady, I can give it to you for $71.” Sold. Jenny had ingeniously packed a smaller suitcase just for the voyage portion of the vacation, so we grabbed that, the toiletries, and the kids, and rushed into the hotel so we could quickly sleep. While grabbing the stuff, however, we suffered our first fight of the voyage, I had apparently forgotten to plug up the drain of the cooler, so now we had a huge wet spot on the floor of the van that is still there today (10 days later), which also managed to wet my computer bag and our toiletries. Luckily, nothing was permanently damaged, and our stuff mostly dried over the next two evenings on the hotel heaters.
Friday, March 29, 2013 - The Road to Nashville, TN
As a general rule, we never set an alarm throughout the entirety of the vacation, so we didn’t even stir until around 8:30 local time. After stirring and collecting our things, we checked out of the Best Western and walked over to Bob Evans for some breakfast. We all ordered, getting the mandatory breakfast meat staple, bacon, with each meal. Ethan realized too late, however, that it was a Friday during Lent, so he graciously donated his bacon to Quin who had gotten sausage (or as he pronounces it, shaushage) with his meal. Jenny and I powered through it hoping God would forgive us this one minor transgression… I guess Ethan has more to worry about than us!
After gassing up, we left Indianapolis and headed south. One of our group was traveling slightly in front of us and contacted us to mention that we should visit a place at Exit 0 in Indiana where they have a state park called the Falls of the Ohio. We stopped around noon, got out of the car, walked around a bit, and took in the “falls.” Perhaps I didn’t read enough about the place, but these falls looked entirely manmade. No matter, it was nice to get out in the sun, something we still hadn’t seen much of, and stretch our legs.
Right over the bridge of the Falls is Louisville, KY, home of Kentucky Fried Chicken and UPS. Though our trip through there was brief, it seemed like a place we’d like to come back to visit sometime in the future. For one it’s only about a 7-8 hour drive from home, making it achievable in the “long weekend” category. For another, there seems a lot to do there, from the Louisville Slugger museum to the horse racing track. There were also plenty of caves in the area and distilleries slightly south of there. Mental note, head back to Louisville someday.
The plan of the day was to only drive about 5 hours, as Nashville was our destination for the evening. Even with the late start, a 5 hour drive to Nashville would have left us too much time to waste there, so we opted to take in Mammoth Caves National Park in southern Kentucky that afternoon. Again being contacted by our travel companion who was a couple hours ahead of us, we were alerted that Mammoth Caves was particularly busy despite the cold, rainy conditions. We decided to try it out anyway, and arrived there around 1:30 local time.
Jenny quickly made her way to reserve tickets on the guided “Discovery” tour while the boys and I found a place to park the van. It wasn’t particularly nice out - it was raining and in the low 50s, but we were on vacation in the south, so we were in shorts, dammit!
Our tickets gave us access to the 3:00 tour, which gave us a little while to get some food and walk around a bit. Despite that fact that this was allegedly one of their busiest days of the year, there was only a single, 10 table cafe open to get food. It didn’t matter, though - we were seated after a short wait and opted this time to follow the example of our much more disciplined 11 year old and ordered fish and grilled cheese sandwiches.
After lunch we walked briefly around the area to find some hiking trails and other cave entrances around the property. Quin asked if we were going to see any bats in the cave. Jenny said we might, but he said he didn’t really want to see any - he was afraid because bats turn into Vampires! Hard to argue with that logic!
After going through a nice museum area, it was finally time for us to take our 75 minute guided tour of some of the larger areas of the cave. Apparently Mammoth Cave is the longest known cave in the world. As of February of this year, man has discovered 400 miles of cave. Our guide informed us that experts estimate there are more than 200 miles that have yet to be charted! Our tour was through the historical entrance, the largest natural entrance of the cave system.
In truth, the tour was kind of boring. The cave was impressive, no doubt, but we didn’t really get to go anywhere that any aging, overweight midwesterner couldn’t go with their rascal scooter - except for the 60+ steps that we had to traverse to get to the entrance. Regardless, we did find out some interesting stories about the cave. Like at one point a doctor believed the cave air to have healing qualities, so he would take people with consumption (turbuculosis) down there where they would live for months at a time. While they were there, other people would continue to tour the caves, and often times would report seeing ghosts, which they believe were nothing more than the consumption patients being seen from a distance, their pallid, white skin from spending months without sun and the dark circles around their eyes from a lack of sleep giving them the distinct look of a ghost. If and when we go back, we hope to do one of the more adventurous tours that take more time to some of the more interesting areas of the cave. The spots we saw were completely dry and very large.
We left the cave thinking we had another 2-3 hours of driving before we reached our destination for the night, Brentwood, TN, just south of Nashville. Jenny’s company is headquartered there, so her connections gave us the scoop on the best places to stay while in Nashville. Unfortunately we were met with bad traffic south of the caves. REALLY bad traffic, and it didn’t abate for the rest of the day. Apparently there were more people than us traveling south for the Easter holiday. It took us another 5 hours past the caves to finally reach our destination!
Tired, sore, and ornery, we finally arrived at the Courtyard in Brentwood. I dropped the family off and we argued briefly about what we should do for dinner. We finally decided on pizza. I engaged my trusty iPhone to find a proper pizza place as well as somewhere to buy beer to officially start the vacation off with something locally brewed.
I ordered a pizza from Sal’s, a place that promised to be only 1.5 miles from the hotel, and also located a liquor store. Since the pizza was 30 minutes until complete, I meandered to the liquor store first. If you don’t already know, I am a bit of a beer snob. I like to try lots of different beers, and my favorite one is whatever is local. Whatever the case, I like variety. This liquor store was huge, but had only a single cooler full of mostly BMC (Bud, Miller, Coors) in it. I eventually located something that looked OK and was locally brewed, but was unable to find anything for my wife, whose pallet is a bit more particular. No matter, I was sure I’d run across something else.
Off to get the pizza, I found out it was an actual restaurant, not a carry-out place, so there was little in the line of carry out plastic ware or drinks for the kids. So after getting the pizza, I had to hit the road again to find a grocery store to score those items as well as, hopefully, some beer for Jenny.
After 90 minutes, I finally made it back to the hotel, devoid of anything for my wife to drink, so I abstained myself - vacation would have to wait to start for another night. After scarfing down pizza, garlic bread, and salad, we put our swimming suits on and headed out in search of the pool that was promised on the website. Quin was crawling out of his skin waiting to get active! Alas, we didn’t read the fine print well enough, as the pool was outdoor, and it was cold and rainy outside. Disappointed, we went back to the room and settled for watching TV for an hour before turning out the lights and going to sleep.
Saturday, March 30, 2013 - Taking in Nashville, TN
Saturday morning seemed much nicer. It wasn’t a lot warmer, probably low 50s, but it wasn’t raining! I plotted a course and took a quick run in the morning while Jenny and the kids got ready. After a shower, we checked out and got some breakfast at McDonalds before heading into Nashville for the day. We didn’t really have anything planned, but after the disappointment of the pool from the night before, we figured it better to do something the kids would enjoy and sacrifice our own interests of local history and brewing. So we located the Nashville Adventure Science Center. The entry fee was high, but we ended up spending almost 3 hours in the different areas from the human body exhibit to the solar system.
Three hours was about enough, too. By then it was time to meet up with the Zieglers who had been traveling since 3:00 that morning to reach Nashville by lunch. We selected a nearby brewpub and finally got the vacation started with a much deserved beer and lunch.
After lunch, Laura had scoped out a park called the (Fannie Mae Dees Park)[http://www.nashville-vacation-fun.com/nashville-dragon-park.html] that featured a large mosaic dragon as its centerpiece, which turned out to be right next door to Vanderbilt University. We spent the better part of 2 hours just running around the park before we finally departed for Birmingham, our final stop before making the final push to Orange Beach.
Our trip was relatively short today, only 3 hours from Nashville to Birmingham. Everything seems so close together in the south! For the most part it went without incident - that is until we were struck in the windshield by something hard. Expecting to see a chip in the windshield we were at first disappointed. About an hour later, however, we noticed a 4 inch crack along with the chip we had anticipated near the left edge of the driver’s side. Looks like we’re going to need a new windshield!
We made it to Birmingham with relative ease, getting lost only briefly due to Google’s inability to find the Hoover Courtyard. After finally locating it, Ethan and I went out to get the family Mexican food for supper. Along the way I was searching for a radio station to listen to, finding only sports talk radio and Christian rock - I was delighted to finally locate a classic hip-hop station. Stuff from my youth - apparently I’m old enough to have listened to classics now! Ethan was less than impressed with the raps - they didn’t sample any other song or have a catchy chorus, they just rapped…
Mexican dinner in our bellies and a couple of beers and we were out for the count for yet another night. Tomorrow was Easter!
Sunday, March 31, 2013 - Happy Easter!
Before going to bed, we located a nearby Catholic Church and determined that the 8:30 mass was our best bet, the next one being at 11:00. Our goal was to get to Orange Beach by 5:00, so we’d have to leave town by 11:30 at the latest.
For the first time we set an alarm for 7:00. The kids slowly awoke and found their Easter baskets along with a couple of Easter eggs that the Easter Bunny had hid for them. Quin was delighted to get a movie, the Rise of the Guardians, and also found Ethan’s basket by accident. There are only so many places to hide things in a double queen hotel room!
We got to church pretty early, a little past 8:00, to find the previous 7:00 mass was just letting out. That bode well for us - we were expecting a mass of reasonable duration. As we walked in, a younger Korean priest greeted us in the entry way. Seemed friendly enough. We had high expectations for this mass having had a wonderful Easter mass in Branson, MO a few years prior. Apparently those expectations were a little off.
First, the southerners were nice enough, but we were hoping for a little more diversity. We did identify one black family, and another family that looked of Asian decent, but the rest all looked like they were on the same branch of the Alabama white family tree. About 5 minutes before mass was to start, an elderly priest planted himself at the throne on the altar and appeared to fall asleep. For the next 90 minutes we were tortured by this old codger as he performed the mass, mostly from his chair. He got up to give his sermon, which rambled for awhile and followed about 6 different trains of thought, ranging from Hitler to some British Easter song he learned as a boy (he appeared to have an Irish accent). He got lost in several places during the mass, my guess is because they changed it on him again in the past 12 months! And with your spirit, indeed! A few times he repeated entire sections of the mass. Sometimes he would study his mass aid for what seemed like minutes on end trying to find his spot. In all, the mass lasted about an hour and 40 minutes, not significantly longer than what we are used to, but many times more torturous.
We found ourselves with less time than we had anticipated after church, so we decided we’d just get some food for the road after a quick grocery run to Target. Unfortunately, Target was closed, so we settled for groceries and donuts from Wal Mart, then south we headed!
We were informed by Jenny’s coworkers that Birmingham was the last decent place to stay before we got to Orange Beach. Along the way we encountered Clansville (seriously the name) as well as a monument to the Sons of the South proudly flying a Confederate Flag. We also found out that day that we had narrowly missed a Klan rally in Memphis, sure, in Tennessee, but the south seems like one big place.
After what seemed like an eternity, particularly the last hour, we finally arrived at our home for the next few days, the Caribe resort in Orange Beach, Alabama. Tim Z. had arrived before us and informed us that the place was so nice he felt like a drug dealer! When we got into our room about 5:00 PM, we were not disappointed. The room was gigantic. I think I read 1400 square feet. We had a massive master bedroom suite with a king size bed, a second bedroom with 2 twin beds and a bathroom, and a large, open Kitchen and living area, complete with modern appliances and ice maker! We had a feeling we were going to get spoiled. The boys were thrilled that they had a TV in their room! With HBO!!!
It was cool there, a little better than 60 degrees, but it was warm enough for us! We quickly got into swimming gear and got to swimming. The resort had 3 large outdoor pool areas as well as three heated indoor pools. We took on the outdoor lazy river for a bit before we retired to the indoor pool for the remainder of the evening. As we were walking around in our suits scoping out the pool situation, Quin couldn’t help but jump into every pool we passed. He really likes swimming pools, and after the disappointment of outdoor, cold pools on the way down, he couldn’t wait even a second longer!
We settled in for the evening - Quin didn’t really want to go to sleep yet, and Ethan didn’t want him in their room for some reason, so he lay down in the king size bed watching something on TV while Ethan watched something in their room. Jenny and I relaxed to a beer and discussed what we would do the next day.
That night, Ethan and I put a plan in place for a good April Fool’s joke on mom the next day. The idea was that he would wake up, come into our room, and tell Jenny that Quin wasn’t in there and ask very calmly where he was. He was in, so the plan was set…
Monday, April 1, 2013 - April Fools!
To my dismay, but completely expectedly, Quin woke up first - our April Fool’s plans were dashed! No matter, Jenny and I decided we would go for a quick run and let the boys hang out in the room under Ethan’s supervision. That set the stage - new plan! While Jenny dressed, Ethan, Quin, and I made final arrangements.
After a nice beach run, Jenny and I returned to the room about 50 minutes later. Jenny didn’t know, but I texted Ethan who had Jenny’s phone just as we were walking in. Prior to us leaving, Ethan asked us if they could go to the arcade which was just outside our room. We said no… When we got back to the room, though, he (trying to be straight faced) told Jenny that he didn’t think anything would happen, so they went to the arcade anyway. Somewhere along the way, Quin slipped off, and he couldn’t find him. Jenny didn’t believe him - he had a smirk on his face the whole time despite his best efforts. The kids played it up well enough that Jenny freaked out, just a little bit, at which time the three of us exclaimed, “April Fools!” Worked about as well as we could have hoped…
We opted for an unscheduled day, so we hit the beach, a short, 5 minute walk from our resort. The beaches in this area are beautiful! The sand is completely white and very fine. It wasn’t really hot, about 78 degrees, so the sand never really got too hot to walk on either, though I imagine in the summer it might get that way. The kids did a little swimming in the gulf, but mostly we played in the sand.
After lunch, we took in the pools of the area again, hitting the lazy river once again. Later in the afternoon we met the Zieglers for a seafood dinner at Flippers, which was near where their Dolphin Cruise had embarked. The food was pretty decent and reasonably priced…
That evening, our dirty boys needed to bathe! It’s never an easy task to get Ethan to bathe, for some reason, though he requires washing daily. Quin is a little easier, usually, but on this trip he wanted to take a bath every day once I introduced him to the whirlpool tub! One bath in there and he was hooked. On Tuesday he actually requested that he be able to take a bath in the “Super Tub!”
Monday was a good vacation day. There wasn’t too much to write about… We drifted off to sleep in much the same way we did the night before.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - Vacation…
Tuesday promised to be nice again. Jenny was thrilled as she had been fretting about the weather the entire week leading up to vacation. It was sunny and warming again, so Jenny and I took advantage of our older child once again and went for a beach and bridge run. After our run, the day turned out much the same as the day prior, except this time we picked a new location on the beach, closer to the gulf. There we were able to collect copious amounts of seashells, build sandcastles, bury Ethan and Quin in the sand up to their heads, do some body surfing, and eat a simple beach lunch.
After lunch we again went back to the lazy river, but retired early to the room to get some rest before a planned group dinner later that evening. While in the room, Quin had taken to taking my iPad and watching Netflix movies on it. He was doing the same thing with his wind-down period this afternoon. At one point, though, he wanted a snack, so he traveled from his perch in his bed to the kitchen over the tiled floor. He also tried the trip with the iPad. On his way there, I heard a crash… The iPad had met with a rather noisy collision with the tiled floor. He continued in to the living room area and acted as though nothing had happened. I asked him if he dropped the iPad - he casually said Yes. I took it from him, examined it, and noted that there appeared to only be a small dent in the upper left corner of the metal casing. Looks like we dodged a bullet - that was until I examined it again later to find a fairly serious crack in the glass on the bottom of the unit. The second broken glass incident of the trip…
That evening we met up with the rest of the group for dinner at Tacky Jacks, a seafood restaurant in town. We got there about 5:45 and were told we would have to wait about 45 minutes for a table. While waiting for our table, the Zieglers told us that Logan had informed him that he “loved Quin.” “Quin likes to do all the same stuff I do, like run around, throw stuff, play in the sand, etc.” Apparently he was ecstatic to play with another boy having only his sister to do stuff with most of the time…
We finally got our table by nearly 7:00. We ordered drinks and appetizers and eventually ordered our food when we were told that food was taking about an hour to get out once you ordered… The Chovanecs were traveling with a diabetic, so that wasn’t going to work - they asked nicely to get some food early for him, which they were granted, but the rest of us waited until well after 8:00 when they finally delivered 1⁄3 of our food! Somehow they had forgotten or lost the remaining 8 meals!!! Somebody came out and tried to sort it out, taking all of our orders again, and this time, miraculously, it took only 15 more minutes for our food to get there… The server apologized and even promised that the manager would come over to talk with us - we never met with that manager and were delivered the bill with an automatic 18% gratuity added…
What promised to be a nice early night back in turned into a late one in a hurry, so we were back in the room and sleeping in short order…
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - Rain
Wednesday turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It was raining fairly hard when we woke up, so we skipped the run, and instead started planning for rainy days in South Alabama. Ethan was happy for a break from the sun having suffered a minor sunburn in the previous two days’ excursions. We ended up finding the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL, home base for the Blue Angels. Plan in hand, we did a little indoor swimming in a pool that Quin had identified as one that he wanted to swim in - it had a Fishy slide.
After a couple hours of indoor swimming and a little lunch, we headed down the coast first to Yogurt+, a little shop with 24 different flavors of yogurt and 100+ toppings to put on it - you paid by the ounce! We escaped with spending only $14 while the Zieglers suffered a $25 bill for their sweet tooths!
Yogurt in our bellies, we did the 30 minute drive to Pensacola and visited the museum, a wonderful exhibit on Florida’s panhandle. It had many full size planes and jets, historical instruction, flight simulators, food, shows - and it was all free! Well, admission was free, but you had to pay for things like the simulator. We cheaped out and denied our children any for-pay activities, but ended up spending about 2 hours at the museum. The most impressive thing to me was the space exhibit. Also, the fact that they had no plane in there that was designed after 1970, and they were pretty cool, meaning that the things that we have out there today must be pretty damn impressive!
The flight museum behind us, we went back to our room early and rested. It was wonderful - we just chilled, nothing to do, and were quiet for about 2 hours. Quin watched the now broken iPad which still functions (I’m writing this entry on it) while Ethan, Jenny, and I watched a George Clooney show on HBO that we got sucked into.
We had the group over for pizza and fresh shrimp that evening. The Zieglers also bought some boiled peanuts, something we’d seen all over the place down there and wanted to try - they weren’t good… But the shrimp they bought was wonderful!
People had been vacationed out by then, so everybody left by 10:00 and we settled down for our last rest in our drug dealer condo. Through the course of the evening, Tim, Dan, and I invented several new sayings including an Alabama Cruise Missile (crude) and “Drunk as an Alabama Kindergarten Teacher.”
Thursday, April 4, 2013 - Heading Home
Thursday - check-out day. It wasn’t raining, but it was overcast and kind of cool, so we decided we would forego any Orange Beach activities for the day and get a head start on our drive. But first, we had one last stop planned at Alligator Alley, an alligator farm on the way. We spent about 90 minutes at the farm, during which time we saw hundreds of alligators of different ages. At 11:00 AM they fed the alligators, although it was relatively cool, and alligators don’t need to eat very much anyway, so we were only able to see three that took up the offer of some fresh wild pork. The rest of the time we spent going through the swamp and feeding what looked and smelled like dog food to more alligators back there. Quin and Ethan were also able to hold an alligator - Ethan even kissed one, though he destroyed the picture evidence that we had taken…
After that, the long haul home. Traffic was minimal, so we made good time. To pass the time, they boys traded turns picking a movie for the van’s entertainment system while Jenny and I listened to audio books that we borrowed from the library. We tried one called “The Last Centurion” by John Ringo. After about 4 hours of it, neither of us could take it any longer. It started as a promising end of world, contagion type of fiction, but devolved quickly into a liberal bashing vehicle… It’s rare anymore that I give up on a book, but we just couldn’t do it any more…
We finally made it to Nashville later in the evening, about 8:30. We wanted to stay north of the city so as not to encounter rush hour traffic in the morning. It must be a hopping place to do business, however, as the first three hotels we tried were full. I take it back, one had a double queen smoking room, which we declined. The last place we tried directed us to the Magnuson Hotel about a mile away which used to be the Baymont Suites. They had just faxed that they had 12 non-smoking rooms available. Score!
We drove in, and it didn’t look like it used to be a Baymont Inn. My unofficial rule for the trip was no hotels without interior hallways. This had exterior hallways, but we were tired, we had to get personal with the bathroom, and we were out of options, so we bit the bullet and checked in.
At $90 a night, I guess I expected more. First, the door keycard did not work. The hotel attendant let us in with the master key and said the manager would be by later to fix the lock (they never fixed it). Next, the room smelled like they had just declared it non-smoking the week prior. There were stains on the carpet, the curtains were ripped, and the smell was almost unbearable! But, we were out of options - it had 2 beds and a working toilet - at least we thought it was working! After a thorough working over, I attempted to flush it, and it filled up to the top, and then some! It was pretty gross… I found the manager who gave me a plunger and some rags - I cleaned up the mess the best I could and passed out amidst the loud complaints of Jenny and Ethan that it smelled too bad to sleep!!!
Friday, April 5, 2013 - The Final Stretch
Having survived the room, and sleeping in until almost 8:00 to boot (I have no idea how I’m going to get back into a regular sleeping schedule - I’m used to 9+ hours a night at this point), we eagerly packed up and got out of the Magnuson Hotel and took our breakfast at the Waffle House, our last bucket list item of southern cuisine. I compare it to a George Webbs, but it hit the spot.
We had a little over 8 hours to go to get home, so we decided a stop at a different cave in southern Kentucky wouldn’t be altogether bad. We had heard about Lost River Cave in Bowling Green, KY, so decided to stop there. Once there we had about an hour before our tour started, so we walked the grounds to find several “holes,” or places where the underground river surfaced. It was nice to stretch our legs. The tour was very interesting as well. This cave was, at times, used by both the Confederate and Union armys, was used as a mill, a night club, a garbage dump, and was finally rescued by a group of liberal tree huggers (sorry, flashbacks from yesterday’s audio-book) in 1998 where they cleaned it up and started doing tours. It reminded me a lot of Spook Cave near where my parents grew up in eastern Iowa, and was a nice diversion for the rest of the trip.
The rest of the day went by uneventfully. Our stop in Kentucky enabled us to miss rush hour traffic in Chicago, though we had to endure it in Indianapolis, a fair trade. We passed the time by listening to our last book, Silverfin, a young James Bond book intended for 10-14 year olds, but Jenny and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
We finally arrived home around 9:30, seeing our only traffic of the return voyage barely 20 miles away in Milwaukee! The whole family was excited to sleep in our own beds, though we missed Heinz - he didn’t make it back from his vacation until the next morning.