Moving to Hawaii • Our time in Iowa • Written by Jess
We left Michigan on a Wednesday morning, as early as we could to beat the Indiana/Chicago traffic. Once clear of the construction and the city, we switched things up by driving North on I-39, then taking US 52 across the border into Iowa. Of course this was in favor of getting new counties, but it turned out to be a fun drive. There were parts driving through Illinois where all we could see were fields, no trees, farms, or anything. Crossing the Mississippi River was interesting, we crossed from Savanna, IL to Sabula, IA, and while the initial crossing of the river was much shorter than other bridges, the highway jogged South over some marshlands before even reaching the first town in Iowa. We then took highway 64 to Maquoketa, which also turned out to be a very scenic Midwest road — we were basically driving on a ridge and looking down at a wide view of the fields in the valley below. I don’t have pictures of any part of this drive, just mental images, but I think it’s our new favorite out-of-the-way route home.
I forgot about the time zone difference, so we showed up at home an hour earlier than my family was expecting us, but that’s usually a happy surprise. It was great to be back in our hometown and with my family, though the house seemed very different without my brothers around. My youngest brother Joel had moved to college a couple weeks prior, and my other brother Grant, who graduated from ISU this past spring, had just left for his new job in Oregon that morning. I can’t even imagine what it would be like living there now with only sisters at home!
We managed to travel around Iowa quite a bit over the time we were there. On Friday, my dad had the day off of work so we drove to Muscatine County and went for a hike in Wild Cat Den State Park. We hiked around and passed by a water mill and through a deep and impressive gorge (especially by Midwest standards). We had a picnic before continuing on for one more short stop to see the actual den.
That weekend, we drove to central Iowa to meet up with Joel and grandparents on my dad’s side. We had a picnic in a park (because all 4 dogs came along!) and had a great time catching up with everyone. After that, we drove to my other grandparent’s home where we spent the evening and next day. Their farm is one of the only places that has been a constant throughout my entire life — it’s actually been in the family since my grandpa was 9! I have so many happy memories here, I was so thankful to be able to return after over 2 years of being away.
On Sunday, we went to a family reunion for my Poppa’s family. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been to a family reunion for my family (I’ve been to several in the past couple years for Curtis’!) but it was a fun and entertaining afternoon. They call it the “Allen Games” and my mom’s cousin goes all out with planning a playful competition. Everyone partners up and tries to earn as many points as possible. Curtis and I came nowhere near winning the main event, (my dad and his partner actually won with more than double our points) BUT Curtis won the Guess the Flavor of Pringles competition — and his prize was getting the remainder of all cans of Pringles. Can you say road trip food?! Some were pretty good, others — like the three cheese pasta — were…just gross. 🙂
We spent our last day back at home going for a short hike with all the dogs and watching old family home videos. Overall our week was filled with fun time catching up with family, with a little bit of moving administrative work — finishing Charlotte’s paperwork, scheduling a drop off date for our car, and figuring out a place to stay once we arrived on the island. It was good to experience some “normal” and reminisce on the past with both of our families before the crazy began.
Next up: The crazy begins!