Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Vacation 2012 - Days 5-14

* Note: This entry was written on July 13 in Nashville, IL but was not posted due to no Internet service to my cell phone in that area. Posted tonight (July 17) from my home computer.

North Carolina to South Dakota and Back 2012

(Days #5-14 - July 4 to July 13)

As I sit here at the picnic table at Washington County State Recreation Area, about 4 miles south of Nashville, Illinois just off Interstate-64, I am not ashamed to admit - but am admitting nonetheless - that I did not meet my goal of writing one blog entry per day during our vacation. I successfully wrote one entry per day for the first four days, and now here is my fifth entry, 10 whole days later.

So, here is what you are going to get. A 10-day summary in one blog entry of some highlights.

We celebrated the 4th of July in Ohio with Marshall's family, at Uncle Tom's farm. There was great food, company and fireworks, and the evening ended with the shooting of the cannon (a family tradition that started years ago with Marshall's Grandpa, and has been carried on by the family.) The night before the 4th, we all went up on the hill outside of town and shot the cannon off from up there at midnight, to ring in the holiday. Then the next night, on the actual 4th, we shot the cannon again at the farm. A very cool experience, and one that Marshall was able to catch on video so I could post it to Facebook for everyone to see.

On the 5th, we left Ohio to start the rest of our trip to South Dakota to see my family. We planned to stop at West Lake Campground outside of Davenport, Iowa for the night. However, when we got there it was only 4:30 p.m. and was 106 degrees, so we decided to keep driving. By the time we were ready to STOP driving, we were only about 4 hours from my Mom's house, so we ended up going all the way. We got there at about 1:00 a.m. after 17 hours of driving. Believe it or not, it went pretty quick!

Since we ended up getting there a day earlier than planned, we were able to spend the next six days hanging out on the farm with my mom, sister and nephew. Marshall got to go fishing with my Grandpa and my brother-in-law, again with my Grandpa, and again with my Grandpa and my uncle - they caught fish each time! You just can't beat some pan-fried South Dakota walleye (in my opinion).

On Friday night, the night of our arrival in South Dakota, Marshall wanted to light off some of his South Carolina fireworks for everyone. The dogs were outside, and though we knew that Dakota was afraid of fireworks, we didn't realize that Mattie was.  She tried to jump on my mom's lap at one point, and then she got down and went around the side of the house. About 5 minutes later I went to check on her and she had disappeared. Marshall and I split up and searched the farm for almost 2 hours with flashlights and calling for her. I saw two skunks and a coyote, but no Mattie.  I took a break to run inside and grab a drink of water, and happened to check my cell phone - had a missed call from a girl who was driving by on the highway on the way to her parents' lake cabin and found Mattie - on the highway FOUR miles from the farm.  We went to pick her up from the girl's cabin and she was so happy to see us - she had no idea she had done anything wrong or that she was a very lucky girl. We kept a much closer eye on her for the rest of the trip, and no more fireworks.

On Saturday night, Marshall and I got to go spend an evening cruising Lake Poinsett on a pontoon boat with some of my best friends (one of which was born on the same day as me in the same hospital, and two of which I went to school with from preschool through college - so we're pretty much family at this point). We drove around the lake on the boat, docked out at some of the fine drinking establishments around the lake and had a great time. There is something so comforting about hanging out with people you've known since you were 0-4 years old.

On Sunday, we had a family picnic at Lake Poinsett State Recreation Area with my extended family on my Mom's side - also a great time. My aunt and uncle brought their boat down and gave everyone who wanted them rides on the tube and waterskiis. I was awfully tempted so I could show Marshall my mad waterskiing skills from days past, but Mom gently reminded me that I could hurt myself, and what can I say ... I chickened out. Marshall will just have to believe that I had mad skills 15 years ago.

Also included in the trip was a shopping day to Watertown with Mom, Stacy and Camden, where we all found clothes and other things that I'm sure we couldn't live without. Mom and I also took a trip to Brookings, home of South Dakota State University and me from 1999-2002. We had lunch at George's Pizza (and though I'm not dedicating an entire blog entry to them like I did to Lisbon's Mary's Pizza, trust me when I tell you that it's got to be the best pizza I've ever had as well - just in a different way. YUM. Did I mention that pizza is my favorite food?) Anyway - we had lunch at George's Pizza with my aunt, uncle and cousin, and stopped by the SDSU Ice Cream store on Main Street afterwards for yummy made-by-students ice cream. Caramel Cookies and Cream ice cream in a cup, and chocolate peanut butter revel to go, anyone? Come on, it's ok to have both ... I only get to have it once in awhile. :)

Marshall and I also took a quick trip to the local gun shop, Kones Korner, which is where my dad bought many of his guns in his collection over the years.  Marshall was able to find some arrows for his bow at half price what he pays in Wilmington and I was able to speak with the owner, Vic, and remind him of who I was - the grown up version of the little girl who used to stop in with her dad about once a week and eat candy while my dad "shopped."

On Wednesday, we headed to Sioux Falls to have lunch at HuHot (another South Dakota favorite) with my grandma, aunt and cousins, and hung out at my sister's house that afternoon and evening.  We hit the road again to head back to North Carolina on Thursday morning ... drove about 9 hours, and ended up here at this cute little campground in Nashville, Illinois.  We were told that there are no poisonous snakes here (I asked) and no bears (Marshall asked).  We managed to lose Mattie again here for about 10 minutes, but some guy herded her back to the campsite on a moped.  *sigh*

We are back on the road tomorrow, and considering driving the remaining 14 hours so we can get home late tomorrow night.

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