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Published: July 12th 2016
DAY 13 - Saturday, July 9, 2016
Hampton, IL and the Mighty Mississip to West Branch, IA to Des Moines, IA to Wayne, NE
Rise and shine - time to cross the Mighty Mississippi River! Big driving day - again! And it promises to be a hot one. We had the unexpected blessing of following the sign to the Herbert Hoover Museum in West Branch, IA (just east 10 minutes from Iowa City). In addition to getting a good dose of presidential history, Pearl started her Junior Ranger career - answering questions about the National Park/Historic site and getting sworn in by a Park Ranger, and she even earned a badge! It pinned quite nicely on to her Creation Museum Park Ranger pink vest. I had another “Music Man” moment too. The town of West Branch felt a lot like I’d imagine River City, Iowa would be like from the play. I had to jump up on a picnic table and sing, “You Got Trouble My Friends!” You could almost hear the boys band marching down Main Street! We met one of the town’s Blacksmith’s and he demonstrated how to bend iron. Herbert Hoover’s childhood home, schoolhouse, and church
are open to tour through. He loved children, the outdoors, and helping people. His Quaker roots taught him great discipline and perseverance through difficulties. It was an excellent stop in our very hot day of driving.
Two books on tape I checked out from the library were, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “Little House in the Big Woods”. Even though I didn’t make it through the entire stories it was a privilege to be where these authors, Mark Twain and Laura Ingalls Wilder lived and wrote about. De Smet, South Dakota has Little Town on the Prairie tours to walk you through pioneer living. That’s going on our next trip east’s bucket list! You can even see an outdoor theater production of “The Long Winter”.
Lots more driving today. There’s Amish Communities you can visit too, but we wanted to get to Diane’s and be off the road for a bit. I didn’t do so great driving on the smaller highways but we found Wayne, NE! Aunt Mary and Cousin Diane were right there on West 8th Street but unfortunately we knocked on someone’s door on EAST 8th Street - oops! We got straightened out and found
them on the westside! We had a very special visit with my Dad’s sister-in-law, Mary, and her daughter, Diane. Aunt Mary and I have exchanged Christmas letters for years but never had the opportunity to meet. It was a real honor to be with them. Aunt Mary was just tickled to meet our Mary! What a blessing! Aunt Mary even had her “Happy Birthday” Bear sing for Kai - very sweet! The kids played at the park just behind their house and we all talked and talked and exchanged pictures and family stories.
There were a ton of fireflies out that night and the kids had fun watching them light up and trying to catch them. Showers were a blessing for our sweaty, sticky children - now bedtime. We settled in for the night said our “goodnights” and closed our eyes. Just as our heads hit the pillows we hear, “Are you ready to party all night?” on a microphone broadcasting from a concert that sounded like it was right in our motorhome…oh, no…
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