We spent our second and third week of summer break on a road trip to Wisconsin. Ben's sister (MacKenzie) graduated from high school and we were set to be in Wisconsin for her big graduation party shin dig. SO... we decided to make the trek out there in our trusty Matrix (on our way to WI we broke 100,000 miles) and of course... we brought the boys with us. SO... brace yourself... I will attempt to include in this one entry our two week journey.
The boys are in good spirits on the first day of driving!
Even in Albuquerque we were seeing and smelling the impact of the Arizona fires.
The first day of driving landed us in Santa Fe, NM. Once finding a decent place to lay our heads for the night we headed out to Pantry Restaurant which got amazing reviews on Yelp. MAN... the chile relleno was amazing!!!!!!!!! The vegetarian green chile was so yummy... still thinking about it two weeks later!
As we were basking in the glorious after glow of an amazing meal, we returned to our car to find that for some reason our headlights were not working. The great staff at Pantry Restaurant tried to help us figure out what the problem was but instead we ended up at the local Checker Auto Parts. After failed attempts to figure out what the problem was we headed back to our hotel with our high beams on! Luckily we didn't get stopped by the Santa Fe Police. The next morning we hemmed and hawed about taking the car in to a recommended mechanic but decided we would go on without working headlights and not drive in the dark!
The 2nd day of driving we were determined to get through all of Colorado but without working headlights we were forced to stop in Sterling which was in the northeast corner of Colorado. Trying to find a hotel not near the correctional facility we found a local motel that definitely had character!
The 3rd day of driving was spent driving through Nebraska and Iowa. FYI... Nebraska has the BEST rest stops! Iowa isn't bad either. Half way through the day our headlights started working! So... we decided to make the big push and get to Bangor, WI no matter how late we got there. At last, we arrived!
The next morning it was drizzling but of course the boys needed to run around the yard and around all the buildings. This was Moon Doggie's first trip out to Wisconsin and he had such a ball running around. Lorenzo has been to Wisconsin quite a few times and he settled in just like it was home. I wish I had some pictures of them running around but we were in the moment and didn't think of taking pics.
The next couple of days consisted of: Ben celebrating his brother Nick's upcoming wedding with a bachelor party in LaCrosse. I drove to Wisconsin Rapids to see two wonderful friends from UNC (they both had wonderful gifts waiting to give to Blue... thank you!). All day Saturday was dedicated to getting ready for the graduation party (the list created by Wally definitely kept us on track). A trip to Linda's Bakery (yummy doughnuts) and of course... the graduation shin dig. Lots of brats, meatballs, family and friends! Of course... we were in the moment and forgot to take pictures!
The day after the party, Ben and I made the drive back to Wisconsin Rapids to see Steph and Pam. Of course what would a trip to Wisconsin be without stopping at a cheese factory. We learned a bit about how cheese is made and of course enjoyed some cheese curds (except for me... I can't seem to like the texture and squeakiness) and local ice cream! YUMMMMM!!!!! Carson and Tyler definitely enjoyed their superman ice cream (every kid we saw had it).
The day continued with catching up, T-ball and baseball practice, enjoying a great dinner together and creating more memories to store up in our memory bank (I even got to see Bren in his deputy's uniform... he looked good!). The next day Pam headed off to the airport and Ben & I headed back to Bangor.
Our final day in Wisconsin was dubbed "MacKenzie" day. In honor of her graduation and knowing that soon she will be off to college, we decided to spend the day with MacKenzie. We started off the rainy/cold day at Marge's a local spot in LaCrosse. Our breakfast was so yummy and the portions were humongous (the guy behind us got the biggest burrito we've ever seen).
After our breakfast we walked down to a bike store so MacKenzie could get an idea of what type of bike she might want to get for college. There we met "Dexter" who was loving her shoelaces.
Off to Target where we got MacKenzie her college bedding. Pillows, pillow cases, extra long sheets, comforter, mattress pad... everything she would need for college. It felt like we were getting our own daughter ready for college! Sniff Sniff... she's all grown up! After an afternoon of shopping we headed to Barnes and Noble and of course the mall! Ben was thankful he had Angry Birds to play with as we shopped! All in all, MacKenzie day was memorable and we are thankful we were able to spend time with her as she gets ready for this new journey!
BACK TO TUCSON!
We decided to leave earlier than we had originally planned since we were hoping to take another day to travel. As we were getting ready to map out our trip back, Ben had a yearning to stop in Madison where he went to college. SO, we headed to Mad Town and enjoyed a wonderful lunch from New Orleans Take Out. We picked a spot in front of the capitol and got to witness people protesting Governor Walker. So interesting!
After lunch in Madison we headed on our way and half way through our day we noticed that our headlights stopped working (again). So we were forced to stop in Nebraska. Day two of driving landed us in Colorado Springs since our lights were still not working. Day three of driving we landed in Santa Fe, NM (our headlights started working once we drove into the city) which is where we wanted to spend a little more time exploring. The next day was Father's Day and we took the boys to the Arts and Crafts festival downtown. Here we are enjoying some yummy "festival" food. The lemonade was perfect and the ribbon fries... just look at them!
Since we had working headlights on day four, we pushed through and arrived in Tucson around 10 PM. Whew! We did it!
And finally... a picture post road trip... the boys look like they are going through withdrawal!
UPDATE on the headlights: After taking the Matrix into the mechanic, they couldn't re-create the problem. While driving it today, the headlights stopped working so we took it back in. Well, they found the problem... the relay (an electrical part) needs to be replaced... a teeny tiny part for $240!!!!! Yikes!