Late July and Catching Up

Apologies for the gap. Eight days of travel behind us, and just getting caught up on things around the house. Lots of pics taken, and a few of them to share…

First leg took us from home to Seattle, then we continued on to Chicago. O’Hare was, as always, a mess of a place. One of my least favorite airports, to be honest, as it is the only one with the distinction of having forced me to camp out for the night, due to bad weather and systematically delayed then cancelled flights.

Not a great experience, I assure you.

Ultimately, though, we obtained the rental car, made the drive up to the Great Lakes, IL, area, then checked into the hotel to wait for the next morning.

That evening, though, I got a hint of a midwest sunset.

Only thing better would have been a proper wall of thunderheads coming in, but this will do, for now.

Next day, off to watch our older daughter graduate from Navy RTC (Boot Camp)! Very impressed with how she has embraced the navy life, and looking forward to seeing where she chooses to take this.

A bit later, when she was done with the processing that follows the ceremony, we got to take her to an excellent cafe in Lake Bluff. She was absolutely ecstatic about having a good cup of coffee for the first time in more than 10 weeks!

We got maybe 7 hours with her, that day, then grabbed a nap and saw her one more time at O’Hare, as she was shipping out for A-School the next day. Meeting at the airport around 1:30am, we handed off a few things to her, and received a few for us to take home.

She handed me this, in the process. Can’t claim it didn’t bring a tear to my eye, either. So proud of her.

The rest of that day (after catching up on a bit more sleep), we spent looking around that area. A bit of shopping, found a loop road through a nature preserve, then back to get a full night of sleep before heading to MI.

Our younger daughter had never seen Chicago, up close, so I made a point of taking Lake Shore Drive. We included a stop at Navy Pier, just to experience the area more fully.

Great, misty day. Kind of fitting for early Sunday, and nice that we didn’t have real crowds to contend with.

It was also a chance to stretch our legs before the 5+ hour drive that would take us to my Mother-in-Law’s place, in rural Michigan.

Despite the (multiple) delays and slow-downs for interstate repairs (do Michigan crews actually repair interstates, or just make them irregular and jarringly bumpy according to some secret plan?), we eventually made it to our destination, not far from Flint, MI.

The house where my MIL lives has been in the family since one of her ancestor’s build it with the stones pulled from the field, around it, when farming. It sits on the edge of an extensive wooded area, and really says “Rural Americana” to me.

It was great to see how much our younger daughter (17) enjoyed the wooded areas, the wildlife, and the chance to explore.

Hot and humid, of course, but still a great visit. We left early Wednesday (3 days after arriving), and decided to make a wide swing south, rather than taking the more direct route back to Chicago, so I could show my wife and daughter a few places around the town where I grew up (okay, where my body moved into the biological category of “Adult.” I make no claim to have actually “grown up,” in the broader sense) and fill in blanks in the stories they had heard.

We got there mid-evening, and made it to a local restaurant for dinner. After that, it was on to the hill in the student-faculty housing complex, where as a kid I sledded in the winters, rode bikes the rest of the year, and occasionally climbed up just to see if it was high enough to look over the occasional fog (a few times it was, and they were amazing evenings).

One of the best parts of the trip was catching fireflies with our daughter, in the same place where I had done this on my own…40+ years ago.

I have to say, I am so blessed to have the family I do, and to get to see our kids grow into the adults they are becoming/have become. Very happy, too, to see that they are not losing the joy of exploring nature, at the same time.

The next day, up and on the road early, we made a few brief stops around town, before hitting the (better maintained!) interstates to head North.

Funny what things stick in the memory, from childhood, isn’t it?

I never attended the U of I, but I did spend A LOT of time on that campus, even from my early teen years.

The drive back to O’Hare was pleasant enough. We made a swing along Lake Shore Drive, again, to let our daughter see the skyline without the low cloud cover of the previous visit, then arrived with a comfortable wait for our flight.

I had booked seats that allowed a possible view of My. Rainier, in the final approach, and it paid off, this time.

It was a hazy day (I finally caved, and downloaded an image editor that has a “dehaze” feature, so some pics are modified to match up to what I saw at the time) but the views were quite nice.

That shot is Rainier with St. Helens in the background. The next is Rainier with Adams.

Overall, an excellent trip. Great to see our older daughter graduate and to be able to take her out for coffee and a nice meal, as a family. We enjoyed the Michigan visit with family and in-laws, as well. For me, showing my wife and daughter around my “home town” was a magical experience, that will assuredly bring a smile to my face every time I reflect upon it.

And the fireflies…

Fly fishing, later today, if the weather holds. Likely wet wading, too. We shall see.

Tight lines…

2 thoughts on “Late July and Catching Up”

  1. Great post, as always. Congratulations to your daughter for her completion of Navy Basic Training, and thank you for all the support you and your family provide for her as she begins her military service to our country!

    1. Thank you, brother! She’s still thinking career path, too. Very proud of her.

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