Friday July 8th

Got up around 8:30 . . .

I hate writing this last chapter because that means it’s over, finished, done. And I don’t mean just the Bucket List Road Trip, I mean the four weeks of seeing my children and most of my grandchildren and spending time with them. When you live far away from your kids every minute you get to spend with them is precious. It also means the summer is half over and soon I will have to get back into teaching mode, updating syllabi, projects, readings, etc. for fall. I will also have to attack all that teacher research data I gathered last year. Yes, we all hate for fun times to be over but reality rears its ugly head and we trudge on. The great and wonderful thing about this “reality” is that I’m typing this at my dinning room table that has a beautiful view and a cool breeze coming off the lake! I’m still getting used to my new home. Back to the trip.

I took a shower, got Ceci up and repacked the cooler, suitcase, and backpack for our final drive back to KC. We had breakfast in the dining room and that is when I realized we had lost an hour returning to Sioux Falls. It was 10:30 not 9:30! We were suppose to check out by 11. Oops! Back on the road heading south we stopped for lunch just past Omaha, NE at a McDonalds on route 75. I wanted to make sure Ceci  and I could say we had been in Nebraska because I bought her a state magnet for all the states we went through. Starting with Arkansa, then Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska. So, we drove south for about twenty-five miles before getting back on I29 south. I stopped for gas and there was a fruit & vegetable stand next door. I bought a watermelon and cantaloupe to take to my son’s, thumping and smelling them the way my dad always did to make sure they were ripe. Tomorrow is the big 75th birthday party for my daughter-in-laws dad. I pretty much planned the whole trip around this event.

We arrived at my son’s around 5:30. My daughter-in-law was outside watering her flowers with the three dogs, Lucy, Mia, and Gunner.

Ceci and I have traveled over two thousand miles together and I had now driven 3304 miles of the Bucket List Road Trip. The end of a trip is always somewhat IMG_0727 (1)anticlimactic. All the anticipation, all the expectation, all the planning comes to an end. We did it, my little co-pilot, Toby, and I! We visited Mount Rushmore and many other places! We got to know each other a little better, and yes I learned to love that look! That look that means, Nana you are crazy.

Saturday July 9th

The next day my daughter arrived around 11:00, my daughter-in-law had to leave shortly there after. She needed to pick up  all the items for the big party at 1:00, held at their favorite restaurant. It turned out to be an AWESOME party. A few of my favorite parts were the interaction of my kids and grandkids. And there is that LOOK I always get, even from my grandsons, when I take the photo!

After the festivity was over and back at my son’s, we had grilled burgers, potato salad, and the watermelon! I wished I would have gotten a picture that evening of all seven of us, including the four dogs, snuggled up on the couch, in the chairs, and on the floor as we watched the movie Everest. It was a very special time.

Sunday July 10th

The next morning breakfast consisted of cantaloupe, watermelon, and Wall Drug homemade donuts as Ceci, my daughter, and I wrote in our journals and waited for the rest of the inhabitants to wake up.

Eventually all are awake and discussing the plans for the day. My daughter and Ceci were headed back to Arkansa, my son was headed out on his motorcycle for a ride with some buddies he hadn’t seen in a while, my daughter-in-law planned to mow the lawn, my oldest grandson was headed back to KU, the younger grandson needed to mow his grandfather’s lawn,  and Toby and I were headed back to Michigan.

I left around 12:45 and drove until nine that night  and stopped at another Best Western near Pontiac IL, about 50 miles south of Jolliet. I like to go past Chicago either midmorning or late evening because of all the traffic.

Monday July 11th

I got back on the road again around 8:30 the next morning. No problems passing Chicago. I finally arrived at Weko Beach, Bridgeman Michigan around 1:00  for lunch. Toby and I ate lunch on the dog beach. Yes, they have a beach designated for dogs. It’s one of the reasons I love it! I first camped at Weko beach the summer of 1984 when we drove home to Kansas City, after my husband’s experimental treatment, of radio active isotopes, for his brain tumor at the U of M hospital. I camped again in late summer of 1985 for what I called my sabbatical from caregiving. This beach represents a lot of memories full of laughter and tears. So every time I can I stop. The sound of Lake Michigan lapping, splashing against the sand is music to my soul and rejuvenates me.

It was beastly hot, so Toby and I got up several times and got our feet wet to cool off. The first time I did this I happened to look down and there by my foot was a small Petoskey stone. I picked it up and put it in my journal. The perfect ending for the Bucket List Road Trip.IMG_0745

I arrived home around 5:00, I had driven 4093 miles! I really had to rush to get Toby settled and the car partially unpacked,  my first drawing class started at 6:00! I called my friend to let her know I would be a little late.

The Bucket List Road Trip was worth every minute.