Zoo trams, burritos, goats, pizzas, bowling, catfish limos, giant onion rings, family, friends, huge metal lawn animals, an even bigger space-age muffler man, Italian beef, carnival rides, skeeball, craft beers….all of this and so much more were part of our 12-day summer vacation! (Don’t be alarmed by the length of this tale, it’s mostly pictures so there is little reading required!)
Our summer vacation took us to Indiana and Illinois to visit family and friends.
We flew Southwest and things started out great –
Great beer selection and they were free!
But great turned to strange at the Ft. Lauderdale airport when we had to go to the basement of a parking garage to board a zoo tram to take us to our terminal.
After a very quick stop in Ft. Lauderdale, we landed in Chicago where Lisa’s brother picked us up and drove us to our favorite burrito “restaurant” – El Faro in Summit, Il.
The meat was piled high as always – just waiting to be stuffed into a burrito and into our bellies.
The burritos were as delicious as we remember, and surprise! Ronnie’s friend Bob stopped in to surprise him too!
The next few days were spent at Lisa’s parent’s house in Monticello, IN at Indiana Beach.
We went to the mall for some shopping and Lisa’s brother and dad found a great place to relax.
We found these strange fishing lures shaped like mice and ducks –
What in the world are people catching with these things?
On the way to dinner, Ronnie had to inspect the corn. Was it knee high by the fourth of July?
Two thumbs up!
We stopped at dinner at Oakdale – one of our favorite local establishments.
Not sure why we love it so much….could it be the catfish limo?
Or the oversized onion rings?
Some even come with handles!
The next day was a boat day.
But first, we had to run into town to get our Wal-Mart shopping done.
On the way, we saw these humongous lawn decorations for sale:
We always see lots of great stuff while cruising on the boat.
We passed by Lisa’s old cottage where we first met back in 1987.
Santa Claus was also enjoying his summer vacation –
A family visit is never complete without a trip to Indiana Beach to ride the rides and play some carnival games!
After getting a few rides in, some of the brave ones were ready to fly on the SkyCoaster.
We played skeeball and boom ball and won Dooley Bear this incredible 4 legged “octopus”.
(In full disclosure the above photo was taken after we returned home since Mr. Dooley Bear didn’t get to go on this vacation.)
A trip to Indiana Beach is never complete without tacos from the Taco Shoppe.
While we were dining on our tacos and enjoying a couple of Blue Moons, we were treated to another moon….
The next day was the 4th of July and we enjoyed family time playing games and grilling out….
Lee and dad relaxing –
4th of July flair and delicious beer!
We took a spin on the ole’ Tigershark –
Stopped in for a quick swim with Kimmy and George – Well, Ronnie swam, Lisa stayed out in the warm sun.
That night we had front row seats for the fireworks display at mom and dad’s house.
The next morning we began our road trip north to visit friends….but the first stop?
A healthy, all-American breakfast –
On the drive up, we passed by Lisa’s childhood home –
And the humongous high school she attended –
We stopped to shop at a few more stores.
While in Cabellas we ran into this deer –
We stopped at Al’s beef for an Italian beef –
And then made our way to our friends’ house up in Plainfield.
They showered us with gifts –
and stuffed us with Chicago dogs.
We went downtown for some drinks.
We found this trailer –
Lisa made herself at home on the couch with the boom box….who is that crazy man in the window???
All of the drinks were delicious….except for the Malort shot.
The group after we survived the Malort shots!
We all hung out in Ken and Michelle’s basement until 3:30 am – dancing and singing and playing air hockey like a bunch of teenagers. It was a blast.
Since we are definitely not teenagers, we paid dearly for that late night the next day.
We drove into Chicago to devour some incredible pizza and hang out in Wrigleyville.
We present to you, the pizza from Peqouds.
After stuffing ourselves (again) with pizza, we walked around Wrigleyville –
and grabbed a drink –
And then another –
We just couldn’t pass up “real draft beer”!
And the art was incredible.
Another morning meant another road trip. This time we were headed south to visit with Ronnie’s family.
But first, we needed to stop at Binny’s to stock up on some more delicious beer and wine.
And we found the perfect beer for Mr. Dooley Bear –
Really old brown dog ale
We spent almost an hour in the store – it was gigantic and it honestly took us that long to walk around and pick out the beers. Sometimes there are just too many choices!
Lisa found this small bottle of wine –
That’s just wrong. That’s not even a single serving bottle!
All stocked up we were finally on the road.
Halfway to Ronnie’s hometown, we spotted a giant spage-age muffler man!
We drove by Ronnie’s old high school –
And the church where we got married in 1994.
We were getting thirsty, so we stopped in a Circle K to grab a fountain drink.
What the heck???
That soda was 110 ounces!!!
Who needs 110 ounces of soda?
We sure didn’t, so we opted for the SMALL, 32-ounce soda. That’s right – the smallest fountain drink size is now 32 ounces.
We tried to drive by Ronnie’s old farm house – but that trip down memory lane was quickly stopped by this sign:
You can’t take a trip down memory lane if the lane is closed
We took that Road Closed sign to mean, “Time to eat again. Go buy 2 more Italian beef sandwiches.”
So we did.
We spent the afternoon visiting with family and then met up with more family for dinner.
We met at a Mexican restaurant and ordered guacamole – why?
Because we don’t get guacamole in Belize – and it was delicious!!!!
The next morning we felt we should get some sort of exercise in – so we went over to the Indian Caves to go for a run, which turned into a walk. But hey, that’s ok. We were on vacation.
Next up on our agenda – Bowling!
But not just any bowling.
Cosmic bowling at 2:30 in the afternoon while wearing goat t-shirts!
Why the goat shirts?
It just felt right.
Go Team Goat!
Team photo with goats included!
But before we knocked down some pins, Ronnie had to show us around.
Did you know that Ronnie used to work as a porter at this bowling alley?
It used to be called Gala Lanes.
Ronnie showed us the “secret employee” room where he used to get into fights with cleaning supplies.
Wait a minute, what happened?
Darn, the bowling alley said they aren’t responsible for lost garments. Oh well.
Now it was time to bowl!
And now, the scores!
Ronnie was the clear winner in game 1 at 176.
Game 2 was Mary’s high score of the day at 86.
Game 3 was the best for Steve at 203 and Lisa’s best game was a 117.
After bowling, we stopped by a 3-year-olds birthday party. (And yes, we did know the family.)
We ate some delicious pork bbq and John Deer cake. (Thanks for the invite!)
The following day Mary and Greg opened up their home and we had another great day visiting family while stuffing our faces with even more pizza and beer.
This day was topped off by Brianna and Chris showing off their fire dancing skills – pretty cool.
We drove back to Lisa’s parent’s house for one last day before flying home.
We spent that day trying to fit all of our goodies into suitcases – which is quite a difficult feat! But we did it!
After the task of packing was complete, we went back to Indiana Beach for a little more fun.
We rode the Skyride –
Cool view of the bumper boats as we road over –
And the bumper cars –
And of course the Double Shot –
We stopped to pick up another pizza for dinner but ran into a snag –
Luckily our bail was just the cost of our pizza and beers.
That was 12 days of non-stop fun with family and friends. We appreciate everybody who took the time to see us and for all of the hospitality!!!
Now it’s time to rest and shed those 10 – 15 pounds of pizza and beer weight we gained!