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My cousin Tim and his beautiful bride Wesleigh. Both are track legends at Black Hills State University in South Dakota.
Wesleigh’s son Kaden and my cousin Katie’s daughter, Lillian, were adorable as ring bearer and flower girl.
My talented cousin Andy arranged the music for the wedding and played trumpet while also serving as a groomsman.
The tables at the reception carried a special tribute to Uncle Roger, who used to throw Hershey’s Kisses to students who answered questions correctly in his classes.
Our family with Aunt Gem before the wedding.
Mom with Joyce, Uncle Roger’s friend and fellow Cardinals fan from Bethany College.
The wedding was in my cousins’ hometown of Lindsborg, Kansas, known as Little Sweeden USA. There are Dala horses like this everywhere, and many of the homes have the family name painted on a Dala horse sign hanging from the porch.
Aunt Gem treated us to an amazing brunch the morning after the wedding at the Sweedish Crown (Sweedish crepe-pancakes with Lingonberry jam, yummmm!) It was great to see all the Bishop cousins together (including Tim!) and we got to be there when my cousin Katie announced some very exciting news to the family: Baby #2 is due on New Year’s Eve!
Before leaving Lindsborg, we visited Aunt Gem’s beautiful home. Here are a few of her St. Louis Cardinals treasures, including a replica of Uncle Roger’s brick.
We spent the night at Katie’s house where we had a blast with her daughter Lillian.
Dr. Lillian informs Matt he has marshmallows and macaroni in his ears.
Where’s Waldo, Disney Princess style
Princess Tangled is a pretty good dancer!
Katie and Travis spoiled us with a delicious taco dinner and homemade strawberry shortcake desert! I’ve never tasted anything so amazing.
The photo is of my mom with her brother Roger (Katie’s dad) as kids.
Mom was determined not to leave Indiana without a pork loin sandwich, a local fast food staple she remembered from her college days. We didn’t have a chance to stop in Indiana, but did manage to find one at this Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant in Ohio.
On the morning of my 28th birthday, we broke out ToastTite, a grilled sandwich pocket maker from my mom’s childhood. This one was filled with eggs, bacon, jack cheese and salsa. Yum!
By our final morning, we were pros at packing the car. Total miles traveled: 4,015. Total gas cost: $351.38.
Lessons learned on this trip: The long way is actually shorter, “Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo, Buffalo buffalo” is actually a grammatically and semantically correct sentence, Kansas is windy, Colorado is beautiful, four people can comfortably live 11 days in a Prius, and despite what they say, no matter how long you stay away, you really can go home again.
Tonight is our last night on the road (also my last night being 27). It’s been an incredible trip, everything I had hoped and more. I have great stories and photos to share about visiting the places my parents lived near Denver, our breathtaking campsite in the Rockies, a beautiful wedding and fun times with cousins. For now, I’m going to close my eyes and hope the grunting snorting rustling chewing sounds outside my hammock do not come any closer! Goodnight everyone, and so long 27!
Above: During our 13 hours of driving today, we passed the time with games like Scriblus, a cross between telephone and pictionary. Can you guess the sentence I was illustrating? Hint: it was not “sliced cheese is greater than the US Capital building,” which is what it turned into after several iterations of drawing and captioning interpretations.
Click a photo to view larger with captions.
The National Museum of The US Air Force in Dayton (free) had some really neat exhibits — this one is the bomber that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. We also saw several of the planes that Dad flew in the Air Force, but I’ll post those photos in a separate entry.
I thought this was neat too: Airmen would collect currency from different places they had flown, tape them together, and then when they’d go out to a bar, they’d pull them out and compare them and the guy with the shortest “short snorter” had to buy the drinks.
In Indianapolis, we crossed under this cool glass-enclosed Arts Garden.
It’s a good thing White Castle is good listeners, because we are really, really bad at ordering. We described what we wanted on the four sliders three times at the drive-through speaker and again at the window, and, unintentionally, I think we ordered a different thing each time.
We passed this giant metal dragon in Vandalia, Illinois. I found out after we passed it that if you insert a token, it will breathe fire!
In one of the small towns we drove through in Illinois, we were behind a horse and carriage.
As we approached Casey, Illinois, I read out loud from the town’s website a blurb that encouraged visitors to stop by and see the world’s largest windchime while they were in town. Matt asked where it was, and then we all spotted it: “Right there!” That happened a lot on this trip: We would read about something and see it out the window just as it was being described.
Covered bridge on an old segment of the National Road in Greenup, Illinois. This was one of the little side segments where you had to follow the scenic byways signs to turn off of US 40 for a short stretch to follow the route of the old road.
This church was in a little town in Illinois called Teutopolis, which was settled by Germans. That heritage was reflected in all the little businesses with German-sounding names that Matt read with the proper accent as we drove by.
Home at last! We pass the Arch on our way in to St. Louis.
Our first glimpse of Busch Stadium