Sadly the week of April 3 started with news in our family of two relatives passing away. To be close to our mom and aunt during a time of sadness we traveled back to Illinois to attend a memorial service and to visit the small towns in Central Illinois where my mom and aunt visited as kids because that's where their grandparents and cousins lived. We learned a lot of family stories that weekend (including the "Wedding Cake Scandal of 1973").
April 8 - We started our family journey in Champaign-Urbana.
(left) Toasting in celebration of Dale's life
(right) Mom and I on the Quad at the U of I.
We are both alums and it was Mom's Day weekend. Very fitting.
April 9 - After leaving C-U we headed up to our "family" towns of Mazon and Morris. En route to Mazon we stopped in Dwight for a snack (giant sundae from That 50's Place). Between Mazon and Morris we stopped at Goose Lake Prairie which has the largest stand of prairie grass in the state. At one time the great state of Illinois was 60% prairie. We saw the houses that mom's grandparents and aunt/uncle lived in in Mazon and visited family graves in Morris. We had pre-dinner drinks at resaurant called the Rockwell Inn that has a bar from the Chicago World's Fair (and an entertaining bartender). The menu didn't really appeal to us, so we hit up Dave's Dawgs, a casual place with great burgers, sandwiches and ice cream. Shocking, twice in one day I had a giant ice cream sundae.
April 10 - We were back in Naperville staying at my aunt's place. We had breakfast at Colonial Cafe, home of the Kitchen Sink...and also this raffle to win your height in turtle sundaes. There are very few things that we don't have in Denver, but one store that we don't have is Trader Joe's. It may be sacrilidge, but I'd rather have a Trader Joe's than the Ikea that they are building by Park Meadows. But that's because I love food more than furniture. On Sunday night we met up with some of our Africa crew who lives in the area for an evening of pizza and wine. Ann is still my hero and her stories about teaching at the Amka Afrika School and the O'Brien School for the Maasai are amazing.
April 11 - Southwest Airlines "punny" crackers
April 12 - Had dinner at Pizza Republica. Service, food and company were all on point. This is the Fresh Barrata. Think olive oil, garlic and mozzarella in it's freshest state.
April 13 - And yet another Virgin River book by one of my fave authors
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