A Summary of the Week After Hiking the Centennial Trail | May 2021
We awoke the morning after completing the Centennial Trail sore and still with tender feet, but thankful to have slept better than we had in over a week. The only thing on the agenda today was to make the long drive back to my parent’s house in Iowa and relieve them from having to puppysit Charlotte. Without any stops the drive would be about 10 hours, but of course we had planned a less-direct route in order to get new counties.
We left our hotel at 6 AM that morning, heading East on SD-44 and hoping to continue on this highway across South Dakota and get a new row of counties South of I-90. However, we soon realized this wouldn’t be possible because the reservations were still not allowing through traffic due to COVID-19. We had researched this beforehand and thought the restrictions were lifted and had no trouble passing through Pine Ridge on the way to the Black Hills, but a message sign suggested otherwise. Oh well, we still enjoyed the small bit of highway we were able to drive, and because of this we were able to drive through the Badlands to get back to I-90. We thought about going back to SD-44 further East, but saw signs that warned of heavy construction and long delays on those highways and instead decided to set our focus on getting new Iowa counties.
Driving I-90 wasn’t so bad though — it wasn’t busy at all and the morning seemed to pass quickly. We made one stop at the rest stop on the East side of the Missouri River, where we saw the Dignity Statue, which was created and dedicated to honor the Native nations of the Great Plains. Curtis has been wanting to see this sculpture for a while and ranks this as one of his favorite sculptures right after the National Monument to the Forefathers.
We continued on I-90 into Minnesota until we reached Jackson, then drove South into Iowa on US-71 and resumed our drive East on IA-9. The only courthouse we managed to see was in Jackson County, Minnesota, though afterwards we realized we had passed several in Iowa. We were mostly hungry and eager to get back home and be reunited with Charlotte. We did manage to get all that we were missing across the Northernmost row of counties in Iowa though! We took IA-9 to US-63, then South to Waterloo and finally Cedar Rapids. We grabbed some HyVee Chinese to have for dinner with dad (my mom was at Nanna’s that evening), and arrived just after 7 PM after 12 hours of driving. Charlotte was very excited to see us (as were my family’s other dogs) but I know she had a blast spending the week with my family! I love that we live close enough so that they can watch her for us when we travel, because I know she’s always happy and comfortable when she gets to visit.
We spent the next couple days hanging out with my family, going to parks, and getting caught up on things we missed while on our hike. Curtis had a work trip coming up on Sunday, May 9 that he needed to return home for, but I decided that I would rather stay with my family than spend the week alone in Omaha, so Charlotte and I said goodbye to Curtis on Saturday afternoon and he made the drive back home.
Charlotte and I had a great week spending time with my family. I was so happy to get to spend Mother’s Day with my mom for the first time in 8 years! I also got to see my sister’s last tennis meet (I had also gotten to see her first one last month when we visited for Easter).
My mom and I spent a few days at my Nanna’s farm, doing a few errands that needed to be done, some farm chores, and lots of quality time. I brought Charlotte along and as always, she loved exploring and sniffing all over the Farm! Nanna sent us home with lots of tomato plants both for us and to give away. Curtis and I are going to be attempting a few plants on our little balcony this summer — I’m very hopeful that we’ll have success, because there’s nothing better than Nanna’s tomatoes! Last year we made lots of jars of tomato sauce that we used for homemade pizzas using her tomatoes, and I’ve been very much looking forward to being able to make more.
Curtis drove back to my parent’s on Friday night, and we spent one more day together before driving back on Sunday. On Saturday, mom and I made sushi together for the first time and it actually turned out really good. We also went for a short hike with the dogs.
My favorite part of this whole week at home was having to much time to spend catching up with my mom. She’s my best friend and I am so thankful for the relationship we have!
Finally, on Sunday it was time to return to Omaha — Charlotte and I had been away from our home for over 3 weeks at this point! We said our goodbyes and got on the road by 10 AM. For our route back, we drove South on I-380 to IA-1, which we took South to Washington. We saw the courthouse here before beginning our long drive East on IA-92. The purpose of this route was to drive through our remaining 2 counties in Southeast Iowa, Keokuk and Mahaska. Now we only have a handful of Iowa counties left in NW Iowa which are on our radar to complete by the end of the year!
We stopped to see the courthouses in Sigourney, Oskaloosa, and Knoxville, but diverted a little ways from our route after Oskaloosa in order to drive through Pella. We were about a week late for the Tulip Time festivities, but made it one day before they dig up all the tulips so we were still able to see some in bloom, without the crowds. Finally, we made it home late that afternoon, and celebrated being home with Mexican takeout for dinner.