Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Trip to Kansas {In a Mazda2 with My Parents}

A.K.A. My Trip to Kansas as an Activity Director

Thursday, September 6th

The night before the trip I reminded my parents not to pack the kitchen sink. As you know, the Mazda2 has limited trunk space as it is, so packing three people and their things would make for an interesting dilemma.

Up at 6:17 am to finish packing – I was ready to go around 7:45. Mom and Dad had left Spooner around 6. I headed to Jen’s to wait for them. They were parking their car at Jen’s place so there would be someone to keep an eye on it.

A bit after I arrived, Jess dropped off her boys so Jen could watch them while Jess and Luke were at a court hearing. Mom and Dad were still about 20 minutes away so I hung out with Frenzy for a bit.

When Mom and Dad arrived, the kids were excited to see them and greeted them with lots of crazy! Then it was time to hit the road. We had at least 10 hours to drive before getting to Newton. But first, we had to pack the car. Surprisingly we fit everything in without strapping anything on top of the car. J

And we‘re off! We hit Des Moines about lunch time and ate at Wendy’s with a quick walk in the parking lot to Menards to stretch our legs.

We arrived in Newton for a late dinner. We got checked into the hotel before searching for somewhere to eat. Our short search landed us not far from the hotel at a well-known truck stop called Newell’s. 

Apparently Charlie now runs the restaurant though, and it wasn’t as great as we remembered it to be. But we were fed and ready for a good night’s sleep.
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Friday, September 7th

Sleep…ah, sleep! It was good. I was awake at 7:30 am, but as we didn’t have specific plans for the morning, I took my time getting ready and met Mom in the lobby for breakfast around 9.

We were ready to head out to see what we could see around 9:30 am. A tour of Newton was decided on and we drove through town looking at the hospital where Dad and I were born, the Missionary house (the first house I remember living in), Newton Bible Church, Mom and Dad’s first home that they owned, and the park where Jen chipped her tooth. We then drove out to the farm where Dad first lived before they moved to Hutch when Dad was 4 or 5.
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Back in town we stopped at a shop that was owned by one of Mom and Dad’s high school classmates. While the old folks did most of the visiting, I did some window shopping. Just as were leaving I did buy one thing - a multi-colored green, gray, black and white scarf that had caught my eye.

Our morning of touring over, we headed to lunch near the hotel at Huddle House. Mom and I split and enjoyed a steak with a side salad. The salad was so big we ended up cutting the steak and making a stead salad: it was yummy!

Dad had been sneezing and blowing his nose all morning – an allergy attack of some kind – so we stopped at Dillon’s for some medicine. He had taken Benadryl earlier, but it just wasn’t helping. Claritin D was the answer though!

To work off our lunch we talked about going for a walk. When we got back to the hotel it had started to rain so Mom and I ended up hitting the pool for a little water aerobics and Dad rested in their room. I had to take it easy on Mom as she couldn’t do too much since “she’s been sick”. I used the quotes because that’s been Dad’s line to excuse Mom for anything lately. J

Family Arrives

The reason for the trip was for Dad and his siblings to get together and go to the Kansas State Fair. His nephew/my cousin, Jon, had done the graphic design for the Kansas State Fair’s ad campaign. The Kansas State Fair was celebrating its 100th year, so they wanted the best! J

Dad’s siblings and spouses started arriving at the hotel around 2:30. It was fun to hang with Jim and Karyl, Mel and Arlene, and Jan and Dale and make plans for Saturday at the State Fair while we waited for Dad’s oldest brother and part of his family: Ken and Betty, Ray, Mesheila and Ari. Once we all got there, we headed to the Breadbasket in downtown Newton. The Breadbasket features a German buffet that had the best Zwieback (Zwie = 2, back [pronounced bach] = roll). I got to try verenica for the first time. Unfortunately, I didn’t know it was to be eaten with the ham gravy. Next time I’ll be sure to try that! I also ate some yummy green bean, potato, and ham soup. It seemed like almost every dish had potatoes in it.
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Mom, Dad and I rode to dinner with Jim and Karyl so when Jim wanted to drive over to Goessel to see where my great grandparents had lived, we went with them. It was fun to hear the stories and see where both the Flaming’s and Unrau’s lived. We also got to see the Flaming’s church building. The building is probably the largest building in the area – quite impressive.
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We caught a sunset picture and headed back to the hotel. The hotel lobby had a nice place for us to all hang out so we kind of took it over until about 10.

Saturday, September 8th

We met in the hotel lobby at 9am before heading out to the Fair. Mom, Dad and I rode with Jim and Karyl, and we met up with Mel and Arlene and Jan and Dale at the Morton Building (aka the meeting place).

Due to Jan and Dale having participated in slight off road adventure on their way to Newton (it was raining and their car went off the road and nearly tipped over, but Jan was able to get back on the road), they decided to look into getting new tires before meeting us at the Fair. They ended up dealing with a bit of misinformation at two tire places before they were able to secure an appointment on Sunday.

Once we were at the Fair we made a plan and dispersed: the men went off to look at tractors and women went to look at quilts. 

We reconvened at the Morton Building, and as we were decided what to do next (lunch!), my cousin Ben and his wife Lisa arrived. Finding lunch was our next mission, and we all succeeded in finding something edible. We were off then to see the animals and whatever else we could see that we could see.

You won’t believe it, but we ended our day at the Fair around 2 by none other than the Morton building.
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Back at the Ranch (and by ranch, I mean hotel)

We were tired and some were a bit sore when we arrived back at the hotel. There was time to freshen up and hang out for a bit with Ken who didn’t go to the Fair. I downloaded some pics and we took a look at those. We also gathered the siblings for some pictures.
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Then my Aunt Jeanie (Ben’s mom) and Mike arrived. We chatted a bit before Mom, Dad and I had to leave and head toward Wichita. We were spending the next two nights at Aunt Carol Jean and Uncle Jim’s house.

Dinner was cooking when we arrived and CJ’s oldest, Jamey and Shannon, and their family arrived a few minutes after we did. Nick and Jack are the twins and Julie is the little princess. Chase (17?) came later after we ate CJ’s delicious supper. It had been over 3 years since I had seen my cousin and his growing family. It was so good to spend time with them. Nick asked me if I thought that they looked like twins – one has blonde hair and one had dark hair – I told him that I already knew that they were twins, but if I didn’t I would probably say they didn’t. J

Sunday, September 9th

We got up early to get ready for church. We had almost an hour’s drive to McPherson where we were going to attend Wheatland Baptist. Dad had been the assistant pastor there from 1999-2002. I also lived in McPherson for about 7 months in 2001. I can’t remember for sure, but I think I hadn’t been back there since I left in January of 2002. Dad and I sang “Be Strong in the Lord” for the service and Mom played the piano for us. After church we went to lunch at the Posts house. Their daughter, Katie and her family were there as well. They had four kids who added a lot of fun!

Our next stop was Inman to see mom’s sister-in-law, Karen. Karen lives in a cute little house with her big German shepherd, Maude. Maude only made a short appearance and was banned to a bedroom for the remainder of our visit. My cousin Missy also stopped by and we got to visit for a couple of hours before we headed back to Wichita to spend the evening with Jim and Carol Jean.

Monday, September 10th

Travel day. We loaded up the car after a filling breakfast made by Carol Jean. We snapped a few pics of the sisters and then hit the road.

Our trip was about 10 1/2 hours long including a tour of Emporia where Dad went to college and also where Mom and Dad lived when they were first married.
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It was a great few days seeing family who live too far away. I hope more of us can get together next year! There was talk of a Flaming reunion next July. Who wants to plan it?! J
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