DC and Midwest Trip | August 2019 | Our Time in Iowa
Our last stop on vacation was our hometown in Iowa to stay with my family. We left Lydia, Grace, and Kylie before lunch and began our drive South. We were mostly retracing our route from our honeymoon until we made it to the Cities, where we came up with a new route that scored us a lot more counties in Southern MN/Northeastern Iowa. Not only that, but it really didn’t add much time to our trip!
However, there was a little complication thrown into the mix that morning. Curtis had checked Facebook for the first time in over a week, and saw that he had a message from someone on his boat that was almost a week old. They basically were telling him that plans had changed and they needed him to come back early, because they were now leaving sooner than expected. As you can imagine, we were very disappointed to hear this and also frustrated with their choice in communication. With Facebook messaging, you can see when someone reads your message, so how long were they planning on waiting before they tried contacting him in another method? Anyone who knows Curtis knows that he rarely gets on Facebook. What if he never saw the message?
Our minds were now reeling with trying to come up with alternate plans. To make things more complicated, we were flying out of Kansas City because it was the cheapest by a significant amount within a 5 hour radius of my family’s home, and it allowed us to stop at my grandparent’s house on the way there. And naturally, I didn’t pay extra for refunds or flight changes for my ticket. Curtis would be able to change flights but would have to pay the $200+ fee himself. But he would either have to pay even more to fly out of an airport closer to home, or I’d have to be alone in Kansas City for at least a day. There seemed like no easy way around this. Curtis called the boat to see if there was any new information, but they basically confirmed that they needed him back earlier.
We made it home late afternoon where we were reunited with my family for the first time nearly a year and a half, since their spring break trip in 2018. That evening, we went to the airport with some of my family to drop off our rental car and pick up my brother Grant, who had flown in from Oregon. My other brother Joel also drove home from college for the weekend, and with that our whole family was reunited for the first time since June 2017!
We spent our days in Iowa taking it easy, hanging out, playing games, going for hikes, revisiting old favorite places and eating the food we’ve missed the most from our favorite restaurants. We spent a day at Nanna and Popa’s farm, catching up and sharing stories and enjoying all the produce from their gardens. Someday maybe we’ll get to their level in gardening, but for now we were able to share our mango madness stories. 😉 Curtis was also able to get together with a friend from high school, and we celebrated Grant’s birthday a little early.
Of course also during this time, Curtis and I were throwing around ideas of how to get him back home early. The airline told him that he could change his flight anytime right up until whenever his new flight was about to take off, so I told him to wait until the very last minute — the boat’s plans are never a sure thing until they actually happen, so why waste money trying to get back earlier just to have them say they’re pushing back their departure again?
Thankfully I wasn’t wrong in my wishful thinking. The day before Curtis would’ve had to leave, the boat finally got back to him and said they were delaying their departure. We were able to enjoy our last days with family without the stress of changes to our original plan, and weren’t robbed of any extra time with them. But this is just another reason why traveling so far is so hard right now…we just never know when something unexpected could come up and ruin our plans!
Time with family went by too fast, as always, and soon we were packing and picking up another rental car to begin the last part of our Midwest road trip. We said our goodbyes and hit the road one last time. On our way, we stopped at my grandparent’s house and spent a few hours visiting with them. For our last leg of our journey, we took some back highways through Southwest Iowa to get a few new counties before arriving at our hotel close to the airport.
Our first flight was at 6am, and despite there being a thunderstorm passing through the area our plane took off at the scheduled time and we had a bumpy ride up into the storm clouds. Thanks to our nearly-empty plane, we had a row to ourselves and enjoyed watching the lightning show. After getting past the storm, we enjoyed a pretty sunrise and watched the farmland turn to desert.
Our connection was in Phoenix, and as we neared the AZ/NM state line our eyes were glued to the window. We looked for any and every landmark we might recognize in AZ, from Mt. Humphreys to the Salt River Canyon to Roosevelt Lake. Even though it was Phoenix, we were elated to be back in our “home state” if only for a few hours.
Finally, we boarded our last flight from PHX to HNL. It was long but went smoothly, and we touched down back in Hawaii just after 2. The overall vibes on the plane didn’t match our mood as most were headed for vacation, while we were in “going back to reality” mode — not only going back to work, but Curtis actually leaving again so soon. We cheered ourselves up by thinking about Charlie waiting for us back home — and that happy little reunion did not disappoint!
Despite the stressful ending, we’re so thankful we had the opportunity to finally go home. We hope and pray that next year brings us back to the mainland, maybe even for good! Thank you to all of our family for making it such a fun trip!