Isn’t it convenient that my mom lives along the route of my journey? I posted on FB that I had made it to my mom’s house, and a former coworker commented that she was glad to see that I was” back in the harbor”. I replied that I wasn’t quite done with my journey yet, and she accurately assessed that I was just at the harbor to anchor and refuel. So true. I was exhausted by 9 weeks of traveling and needed to just hang out with my mom for a few days with no decisions to make and really nothing pressing to do.
Naperville is a quick three hour trip from Iowa City, and I made the drive following alongside a line of thunderstorms that stayed conveniently to the south of me. I arrived at my mom’s around 12:30 and walked in the door, scaring the living daylights out of her because she thought I would be there the following Tuesday! Hah! She gave me the biggest best hug and we spent the afternoon catching up and looking at pictures of my trip. That evening Mama asked about dinner – if I wanted to go out or if i wanted her to cook something. I said I while I was home I wanted to cook. Being on the road for nine weeks had kept me from one of my favorite activities, and I just wanted to grill. Mama was only too happy to oblige!
The next morning I slept in, and then enjoyed a peaceful morning cup of coffee on the patio with the company of birds and the resident chipmunks
I’d missed cooking, and specifically cooking BREAKFAST. So enjoy pictures of all the breakfasts I enjoyed while I was at my mom’s.
Later that afternoon, Mama and I drove to downtown Naperville . I had entertained thoughts of going to Centennial Beach as it was quite warm out but it was already closed for the season…and it’s not even Labor Day.
Instead, we enjoyed a nice walk along the Naperville Riverwalk. Since all the kids were back in school already, it was quiet and peaceful. The sun was out and was nice and warm as we looked at flowers and ducks and the fairly clean DuPage River.
Thursday morning I woke to the sound of thunderstorms. It was so nice to listen to them in a sleepy haze. I had a relaxing morning and then drove to the neighboring town of Batavia and met up with my new friends Anna and Paul, whom I’d met at Glacier National Park. We had the most lovely lunch at a great little Italian spot (mmm, pistachio gelato!) and afterwards, after the skies had conveniently lightened, walked along Batavia’s Riverwalk on the Fox River. Batavia is a lovely little town, with a history of windmills, and we passed several old windmills as we viewed the wildlife along the river.
Thursday evening I was thrilled to get a visit from my little sister, who looked fitter than ever, tan from her summer of running races. Friday was a nice lazy day, relaxing and watchinga Cubs game.
Saturday I woke and headed towards Grand Rapids to my brother and sister-in-law’s house. After a short three hour drive, I pulled up to Kevin and Karen’s house to see them out front working on the yard. After our hellos, Karen mentioned she had to complete her ALS Ice Bucket challenge – perfect since I needed to do mine as well – and it was blazing hot! Kevin was only too happy to help us out by dumping ice water on our heads. After he was done mowing the back yard, we all headed out for a short ride to the Bostwick Lake Inn, where all three of us selected the fried perch for dinner on the most perfect evening on the Inn’s back patio. After dinner, we visited a local ice cream stand for some dessert, and came home to see a lovely cloud formation just off to the west.
Sunday morning, Kevin prepared a simple yet delicious breakfast variation of an egg mcmuffin, after which we headed to Grand Rapids. After parking at what looked to me to be a deserted warehouse, we walked inside the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, bustling with activity, filled with all varieties of little stores. Our first stop, right inside the entrance, was a fantastic Bloody Mary Bar. Kevin treated me and Karen, and we sipped them while we meandered around the market. One of the highlights of the market was this fabulous fishmonger. Here’s one of his beauties:
From that little shop we shared some of the best clam chowder I’ve ever tasted. Karen and I wandered around for a bit and then finally found Kevin at a wonderful cheese counter where he must have sampled a half dozen varieties of blue cheese. The remainder of the lazy afternoon was spent watching baseball and reading the paper on the warm deck while Kevin smoked a great-smelling cigar. Every time I visit them in Grand Rapids, I marvel and the beautiful, perfectly-proportioned tree in their back yard. At this point in the summer it looked just stunning to me.
Dinner that night was a lovely grilled salmon and some tasty grilled veggies. The night’s sky was perfectly clear, so Karen and I walked out onto the deck and viewed the stars. I saw a display of at least 7-10 shooting stars. Had to get to bed early because the next morning I was heading north to Traverse City!