Spring break arrived and the kids were super excited to head down to Iowa, to Davenport, to see where Sue and Jim, aka, Aunt Sue and Grandpa Jim were born and raised, well.... up to a point.
The trip down was pretty uneventful thanks to full on electronics for each of the kids. One has to ponder then affects of electronics versus conversation or lack there of, I mean the contraptions do keep the kids attention but effect the child's ability to hear. Enough of that, we made the trip in 5 1/2 hours, no stops and arrived in town just in time to hit the kids favorite on the road dinner buffet, Golden Corral. Now I must point of the PSA: not all Golden Corrals are alike. Jimmy was saddened by the lack of quality fried chicken and the limited soda selections, ie; no Dr. Pepper. Kay was in heaven with grits, potato bar, fried fish and a block long dessert bar. Bill can take or leave food at any given point. The grown ups were sorely disappointed in the lack of adult beverages but in the end, that's probably a good thing. The hotel was great and clean and besides locking ourselves out of our own room and having to use a hammer and straight bar to get in...very comfortable.
Friday began with the second all you can eat meal. You see we chose carefully grasshopper when we travel and the AmericInn has a hot all you can eat breakfast featuring Belgium waffles!
Once the troops were fortified it was off to see Davenport. When asked " Kids what do you want to do today" The reply in a chant was "we are here for Sue!", which we were but it was nice for the kids to acknowledge the fact. So off to the house were Sue and Grandpa Jim's Grandma and Grandpa live. It was fortunate the the person who now owns the home was there and Sue and Kay went in to look around. Sue says it is just like she remembered, with a few 20th century updates of course. Next we traveled across town to the home where Sue and Jim grew up, which was right around the corner from the grade school. Jimmy was impressed by the size of the school and the several basketball hoops.
Next came a trip to the different cemeteries, where we were unable to locate one set of Grandparents. However not for lack of trying. The caretaker must have thought we were nuts as Jimmy was reading from the medical dictionary as to determine the cause of death, oh some 80 years ago or so. The caretaker did get a small chuckle as we uncovered in the list of attendees that one of them had died from falling in a bread mixer back in 1915! We then headed over to visit the graves of Sue and Jim's mom and dad and the other set of Grandparents and lucked out ... we were able to locate them! The kids stayed in the car as they were being loud and were afraid of waking the dead.
Next up lunch, at Happy Joe's. Yep... all you can eat pizza! they even had an omelet pizza but no one got past the sausage and pepperoni to give it a try. Then we were off to the Titanic exhibit which was really fun. They give you a boarding pass, but no life jacket, and you get to pretend that you are one of the original passengers. The boarding pass gives you all the info about the person, where they were from where they were going, where they stayed on board and like that. When you exit the exhibit there is a board that show who was lost and who was saved. It is really done nicely and we followed up with a movie in the Imax theater about the Titanic. It was somewhat of a let down to the kids as the movie was about the recovery of the artifacts and not so much about the voyage. That night the kids and Sue had take out Korean food, for Davenport Iowa, not bad.... Sue watched the kids and we had a nice quiet dinner out and alone! Ahhh....
Saturday was about green, that is John Deer Green. The John Deer museum was fun and interactive even though we almost lost Bill, several times. Then we headed out to the Amory, which was very cool. All the weapons the army have used over the years are there and they were all made in Davenport. We stopped by the park where Sue and Jim played as kids and of course Jimmy and Bill got into a pick up football game with two other kids, a 12 year old and a 7 year old. Jimmy had the size but not the speed. Bill can take a hit but he is a bit of a bleeder, we will leave the score out it for now.
After the park it was time for the other main attraction, no trip to Davenport is complete without a stop at Maid Rite, world famous loose meat sandwich. This particular establishment is billed as the best in Davenport because they still have the original cast iron cooker, WOW. None of got Dehli belly so they must keep their hygene up appropriately.
Sue took us out to eat at a Ruby Tuesdays which Jimmy exclaimed "the best meal of his life!". I suppose 2 Dr. Peppers, his own Asian chicken wings, an adult chicken sandwich along with his team Butler winning in the final 4 may have influenced the vote.
Sunday we headed home as the final act of spring Break 2011 was about to begin. This long awaited, Parent despised, kid heaven event goes by the name of WRESTLEMANIA! Yes, we rushed home from Iowa only to head over to our friends house for the mecca of wrestling. We had put off the decision to watch as long was we could and falling under pressure of enormous proportions we gave in. In the long run it may have turned out a blessing as the event was awful, from the kids point of view and talk of wrestling has gone down considerably since, coincident? I think not. Thank you to the wrestling gods!!!
Monday was back to reality and school. Sue headed home and we want to say" We are here for Sue!" and were glad to make the trip. It was fun to hear her stories about growing up and actually see the sites. Plus, it just goes to show, the Loudamericans can find fun anywhere:)
We love you Sue!