A Tale of Two… Weekends


I blog so little these days, it takes nearly two weeks to blog about something.  Might as well catch up by doing a two-fer.  The weekend before last my mother and I visited my nephew in the southern part of this state.  Interesting fact- it takes nearly two hours longer to get somewhere else in the same state than it does to visit my friends two states over!  So much to my brother’s and nephew’s disappointment, we did not leave at 5 or 6AM, but more like 9 or so.  With a stop for lunch, we didn’t arrive until about 4PM (and that’s without a time change excuse).  Well, we spent 24 hours with him in any event.  I’ll get the food places out of the way- during the trip we ate at Friday’s, Sonic, Golden Corral, and Taco Bell.  That’s right- not much difference from around here.  I happen to know there’s a Golden Corral within about an hour from here and Sonic is somewhat closer I think.  Taco Bell and Fridays of course are all over the place around here.


With that out of the way, the first thing Alex did was take us to one of the nearby lakes to take a ride in his boat- the one that has sat in our driveway for much of the last few years but went with him to school some months ago.  Now that he’s back for the summer, so is the boat…  Anyway, my mother really enjoyed the boat ride, even holding out her arms at one point to take in the wind.  We stopped at a couple points in the lake- twice at a favorite spot for diving off of a cliff (no, I didn’t do it), and once near a (short) waterfall.  We had to get out of the boat for that one.  Here are a couple of pictures of the cliff.  There are actually many bird nests all over the side though I don’t know what sort of birds they are.  I tried to get good shots of the nests, but there is only so much one can do with a cell phone camera.


Sunday we spent the morning waiting and watching as my nephew worked to receive his first scuba diving certification.  It took about two hours for him to do two dives with his class.  Pics:


Afterward we were to go on a hike through a swamp area, but the day being as hot as it was (mid 90s!) my mother and I vetoed that plan, so we spent time at a state/national park instead- I already forgot the name- Giant maybe.  He showed us a water tower we climbed up (86 steps). It was a little dangerous toward the top as the tank was actually leaking a bit, making the steps wet.  Next he showed us some interesting rock formations.  What was one of them called?  Devil’s Table I think?  I tell you, there were a lot of motorcycles on the road that weekend.  Over at the park there were two motorcycle groups in the water tower area.  Anyway, after a final stop for some shopping where I bought several bottles of hot sauce, we spent the last hour just chilling at his house following a 5-minute tour of his college (SIU) campus.  I can’t really say for sure it is a lot bigger than NIU, but it is most definitely more spread out on more land.  Park pics:


So on to the next weekend- as most of you readers know, I visited with my friends in OH.  Well, most of them- JustJ was MIA doing his own thing.  Next time.  Sorry, I have no pics this time, but I had better email C & L the party pic which I have no permission to post here. Anyway, for the first time ever the major traffic backup going there was not in Illinois, but on 80/94 in Indiana just before the toll road.  As well, it was the first time I didn’t have to pay cash even once for tolls.  When I first visited some years ago, my IPass worked only in IL.  Over the past couple of years an agreement was made with Indiana so it worked there, and now this year the final 50 cent cash toll was squashed as it now works in Ohio!


So I arrived, checking into the Plaza.  I saved a bunch by using Priceline to make reservations, making it only a little more expensive than the M&D down the road.  The addition of breakfast (I don’t think M&D has breakfast?), WiFi, and just the proximity to C & L made it worth it.  However, not so much the original quoted price.  I was a little early for game night, so we went out to eat at a Chinese restaurant that unfortunately wasn’t very good (what did you do with my leftovers I forgot, L?).  Game night however was much better, frustration of the super-player Mary911 on the opposite team for one game notwithstanding.  I learned a new game I can play with my cabin in a couple weeks that night.  I also learned the next day I don’t seem to make a very good mayor- but that’s probably just because it was my first time.  So after several games and goodbyes, I left- not the last one.  Sunday morning I went to church with C & L- a pleasurable experience though we forgot to take a tour of the older kid’s area where their oldest spends her Sunday mornings.  Afterward we changed into more casual clothes and headed out for a certain someone’s surprise graduation party where we met up with most of the people from the previous night and some of my other Ohio friends including Jamiahsh.  More talk, more Mafia, some food and frisbee later (more on the party in another blog) and we went back to C & L’s place to watch a movie.  Dr. No and From Russia With Love on bluray were vetoed, so we watched an apparent favorite of theirs called Book of Eli which unbeknown to me they had just seen a couple days before, and not for the first time!  I admit it was pretty good, especially the end which I won’t mention in case anyone reading this hasn’t seen it.


Monday we did not do the Memorial Day event as was originally planned due to C & L’s wise prediction of how the little ones would fare.  Instead, we took a trip out to Defiance to do some go-karting, Mexican buffet eating, and dollar-store shopping.  I just realized that one of the stores we went to, Big Lots, has at least one location near me- I just passed it today.  I will have to check it out some time.  Just as we finished at Big Lots/pet store the sky burst open into a huge downpour and we headed back.  We hanged out at the house for a bit before I sadly had to head home.  The torrential downpour started again and continued for a short bit into Indiana before finally clearing up.  Since there were leftover sandwiches from the party the day before I didn’t have to eat out on the way back, but I did get something at Dairy Queen (half the price of a full meal for a small Blizzard!).  I also did something sort of foolish and bought one of those new flavor Mountain Dews I’ve been meaning to try.  By the time I made it to Chicago I was practically dying from holding too long if you know what I mean- and I had just gone an hour or so before at the DQ stop!  Well, as it turned out this was God’s plan, as after I stopped at the oasis just past Chicago, barely able to walk to the restroom, I was approached by a frantic young woman about having been lost and now nearly out of gas long before reaching her destination of Rockford.  I helped her out by swiping my bank card and giving her $25 of gas, more than she asked for or probably needed to get to Rockford.  Not a big deal in the scheme of helpful things, but a victory for me (praise God!) in helping people out- something I often don’t even see until it’s too late for me to do anything about it.


Random youtube video that has absolutely no bearing on the above post, but I found interesting:

12 thoughts on “A Tale of Two… Weekends”

  1. So… when do you begin Scuba lessons? Dr. No and FRWL (my favorite!) were vetoed?! And on Blu-Ray! Really… we must get them Bond-ed…. at least one. EVERYONE has to see at least one good one! Dr. No I can take or leave but FRWL?! But I enjoyed Book of Eli, too (both times… not sure I could watch it twice in one weekend, though 😉 )

  2. I’ll begin scuba lessons when I move to southern Illinois. 😀
    It does sound like fun, though as with anything it costs some $$$
    I thought Dr. No was just okay, but I have yet to watch FRWL. I did renew it so I still have it to watch.

  3. Cute video… though I have to wonder why he bothered to put in all that time then quit before his dream was realized… why stick it out for so long? Haha. But otherwise I enjoyed it.
    As far as Bond movies… just never had the desire to see any… I’m not a big action movie fan; I like thrillers, but action is probably my least favorite genre with rare exceptions. Actually, I usually fall asleep during movies with lengthy action sequences… which is probably why the Bond films garnered my ‘no’ vote that night – I was so tired anyway. Plus Hubby had been waiting for you to see Book of Eli, how could I say no to that? 🙂
    Sorry I haven’t commented sooner, I had actually read the post a few days ago, but I realized I hadn’t commented today – meant to and just forgot, I guess… I was thinking about the pics you posted of your nephew and that’s when I realized that I hadn’t commented…
    I enjoyed reading your take on the weekend(s). And I’m especially glad you wrote it because for some reason, I didn’t put 2 and 2 together – thought you were in Southern IL for work, and I thought all the things you were saying about your nephew happened in the ‘burbs – scuba, etc. Duh. Glad you spelled it out for morons, er, sleep-deprived parents of 4 like me!

  4. And I missed your comment, Taylhis! I just now noticed it. I have been getting ready for my audition Saturday, and today I didn’t get home from work until almost 9:30.
    Book of Eli was indeed a good movie. Dr. No was just okay, but From Russia With Love was pretty good. Since we would have in all likelihood chosen the earlier Dr. No, you probably would have fallen asleep as you said.
    BTW, I just learned a Sonic will be opening in Palatine near Rand and Dundee- woohoo! Their chili-cheese tots and lemon-berry slushes are really good (I’m sure other things are as well- I just haven’t tried much yet). I still mean to try the new Superdawg in Wheeling as well.

  5. Break a leg, Derek! No, Dr. No would not be the Bond I would choose to introduce a newbie. Lacks in many of the things one expects from the classic movies. It took at least one to get it right.

  6. Seeing as how you live in a place where most hot dogs are excellent, I would not recommend Sonic’s dogs. Their grilled chicken is gross. Their burgers are ok; I especially like this one (forget what it’s called) that has onion rings on it. I like the chili cheese frito wrap, but hardly find it worth it since it’s terrible for you nutrition-wise and usually leaves me hungry anyway. Their drinks and happy hour can’t be beat!

  7. I don’t mind their chicken, and I would only order the burger that has the jalapeño poppers on it. Maybe an onion ring burger as well if I spot it. I don’t eat hot dogs anyway, so I’m not worried about those. Superdawg will have to wait until next week now before I try it unfortunately as work is finished for the week. Or will be as soon as I upload the photos from today.

  8. Oh yeah, I wanted to try the burger with the poppers on it too. The Bacon Cheeseburger Toaster is the one with the onion rings that I used to really like, but I haven’t had it in awhile, don’t really eat fast food anymore…

  9. Huh? You’re not referring to the spam comment I just deleted are you? These comments are coming left & right lately it seems.

  10. Yep… the comment you deleted and I agree… we have been getting more and more of the unwanted things. 😉

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