Edit: This post originally appeared on my Blogspot blog.
(Houston, Texas) We find ourselves back in El Swampo after a whirlwind tour of the Midwest. First to Lincoln, then to Chicago, and then home via St. Louis. Along the way we ventured through Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, and Arkansas for a total of some 3500 miles, 88 gallons of diesel, 12 White Castle hamburgers, 7 cats, 3 boomerangs, and one misplaced purse. Not bad for only a week.
Our first stop was in Nebraska, where we spent a couple of days with my family. I wish I could tell of amazing feats of daring on the prairie involving corn and large agricultural implements, but really it was a quiet if quick couple of days. Most of Melina’s effort was extended to keeping Katu (the cat) out of her nose, while I played with my brother. One surprise of the visit was the quilt my mom made for our anniversary.
Although it was wonderful to see everyone, we had places to go, so we threw the bags back into the car (along with my mom) and sped off to Chicago. We took the scenic route through Iowa to stop off in Madison County, home of the famed covered bridges. They were neat, and it was encouraging to see that we don’t tear down everything of historical note in this country. If you’re driving I-80 across Iowa, I recommend stopping off to see the bridges. It’s not as though there’s anything else to do in the state. Except check your email. (See my previous post for details.)
As fun as it was being surrounded by so much corn, we pressed on. Our arrival in Chicago was heralded by a few days of gorgeous weather. We visited with Gram Nadr and the Stradal clan, and Melina really began to understand why I am the way I am. It was really great to see everyone after so long, although I remember them being bigger.
Also while in Chicago we did a bit of sightseeing. We ventured downtown to see the Art Institute and the Museum of Science and Industry. Both were incredible and we would love to go back and spend another whole day in each, as we really only saw a smidgen of what they had to offer. We were both really excited to see first-hand some of the awesome parts of the Art Institute’s collection, including Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, and of course Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on the Grande Jatte.
The Museum of Science and Industry offered a different fare. First we visited the U-505 Submarine exhibit, followed by the Game On video games exhibit. That was a blast. We spent a couple hours playing some of the 100+ games they had on exhibition. It was amazing to see how video games have evolved–and scary to think that I’ve grown up while it happened. I felt a bit odd when I realized that some of those Atari 2600 games are still etched into my brain. Ah, the happiness of a joystick with a big red button…
Of course, all of that worked up an appetite, so Melina got to try her first White Castle hamburger. Mmm… tasty!
Though we wanted to stay longer, our two days in Chicago flew by and we had to leave, as we had two days of travel just to get back to Texas before our tourist visas expired. We detoured slightly through St. Louis to see the Arch. Although we didn’t get to ride the tram to the top, we were taught how to throw a boomerang by a guy we met in the park, so it was well worthwhile. If you missed it the first time, you can check out the shortmovie of our parabolic adventure.
We didn’t see Graceland, but traveled on to Memphis where we stayed the night. We lost a purse in Little Rock, but found it again thanks to the guys and gals at Quiznos. Texarkana threw us for a loop, but we made it home safely. That’s our trip.
It’s good to be home.