Happy Memorial Day. I’m playing catch up here and recapping my road trip and travel from last weekend with my sister’s graduation. I don’t even know where last week went. It was a crazy busy week where I barely had a break and I opted for sleep when I could.
Let’s back up to Thursday May 17th.
I left work and drove to Syracuse, NY to stay with a friend. I had an early flight out to Chicago Friday morning. It was the most beautiful night and I enjoyed a long walk before all my upcoming travel hours.
Friday morning I arrived at the airport with plenty of time, thank goodness because 2 flights were leaving early and the kiosks decided that they didn’t like every other person, so checking a bag was slow. Thankfully I have TSA precheck so security was a breeze and I grabbed a small iced tea to drink before the flight.
Oh and I got moved to this flight a couple months ago due to my original flight being cancelled so then I didn’t have a seat. The airlines offered vouchers for a few people to give up their seat so I did get on and was excited when I even got a window seat (it’s the little things). It was a beautiful morning and I could literally see land/water the entire flight, not a cloud in sight. I listened to a couple podcasts and before I knew it, we were landing. Landing took a bit of time I think because we arrived early so we had to circle in the air once (which I HATE). I’m glad I discovered the joys of podcasts on my travels last year as they help to take my mind off the flight because really it’s my nerves when flying that get to me, but I still love to travel.
We landed at O’Hare airport and it took some time to get to our gate. I noticed as we pulled to our gate that 5 planes were in line behind us to taxi to a gate too. O’Hare is super busy and HUGE. I always used to fly in and out of Midway airport in Chicago which is much smaller.
I followed the signs to the baggage claim, stopped for a bathroom break and literally arrived at baggage claim when my bag came out. Talk about perfect timing!
I then made my way to Enterprise for my rental car. First stop: Michigan!
It’s just a 2 hour drive from Chicago to Benton Harbor where my friend lives so the drive wasn’t bad at all. Plus the weather was beautiful and sunny. I even stopped at Panera and ate some lunch outside.
I then arrived at my friend’s house. The baby was sleeping, but I played with Isabella who is 4 years old until the baby woke up and I finally got to meet Grayson. He is 10 months old and he loved me from first sight, just grinning at me and wanted me to hold him. My friend was at work so I was home with her husband and the kids.
At 5 we headed to pick up my friend and decided to eat dinner at Cracker Barrel. Of course it decided to start raining right at 5, so we couldn’t get to the beach which was a bit of a bummer.
Once we came home for the night, we watched a movie while the kids were being crazy and then it was finally time to sleep.
Saturday morning was the Royal Wedding. I was up before anyone and had a snack and just read blogs on my phone for a bit. Once my friend was up with the baby, she live streamed the Royal wedding on her phone. Honestly, I was a bit bored watching it. Maybe it was just the clip we started at.
I decided to leave around 8am as I had to drive to Iowa which was going to be 6-7 hours. Thankfully the time zone change was in my favor, gaining an hour.
Knowing I would be on the road for a while, I made a stop at a cute café, The Mason Jar café, in Benton Harbor and had a delicious breakfast of pancakes and sausage. It was actually quite filling because I didn’t eat again for 4-5 hours.
The drive was long, but it went well. I hit some sprinkles of rain, but for the most part, the sun was out. It was only when I was 20 miles away, it literally started to pour so hard, the highway went from going 60-70mph to 40 mph because you could not see it was pouring so hard.
I was glad I was so close by that time and I arrived around 3pm central time to my sister’s (Theresa) apartment.
The first thing I wanted to do was shower. So my parents headed out on a tour of something (I didn’t pay attention haha). I showered and relaxed. Then Theresa and I headed out to buy some cupcakes because there is a really good cupcake place, Scratch Cupcakes in Des Moines, Iowa. I couldn’t decide how many to get as there are so many I wanted to try, but we settled on 4.
One cupcake was gone immediately upon getting back to my sister’s apartment. The Vegan Maple Cinnamon cupcake was delicious as an afternoon snack.
My parents returned and they weren’t hungry for dinner since they all went out and ate a big lunch. Theresa gathered some food she had in the cupboards for me for dinner, which was perfect. I loved how I didn’t have to eat out actually. We watched the movie The BFG and then my parents headed back to their hotel. I had some relaxing time and then slept on the couch at Theresa’s.
Sunday was the big day. I had some breakfast when I got up. I had brought some oatmeal with me because I am such a big breakfast person and need to eat when I get up.
Theresa headed out at about 8:30 and once I was ready, I just watched Jane the Virgin on Netflix until Theresa’s friend arrived and my parents stopped by to pick us all up. The graduation was open seating and not limited on tickets. We ended up sitting in the bleachers which was far away but my dad had a nice zoom lens to capture some photos.
The graduation only lasted 2 hours which wasn’t bad and then it was paparazzi time. All the photos were taken!!
We went out to lunch and grabbed another cupcake because Molly’s cupcakes was next door. Then we relaxed the rest of the day. Theresa and I watched The Kissing Booth Netflix movie which was ok and made some dinner to end the night.
I could barely keep my eyes open after 9pm and I slept well.
Then Monday came. That was an adventure and could have its own post. To keep it short, my rental car wouldn’t start. I got a jump start thanks to Theresa’s boyfriend, but ultimately, I got stranded at a rest stop in Iowa an hour and a half into my drive because I stopped to pee and it wouldn’t start again. There was something wrong with the car because trucks were clearly telling me to pull over as well. I have no idea if it was smoking or something, but at least I was safe at a rest stop.
That put me an hour and a half behind my plan to get to O’Hare to fly out. Thankfully I got a new car in Iowa city and made it. Of course to make it worse, I didn’t turn well into the Enterprise lot and scraped up the passenger side of the car a bit with the yellow entrance pole. It was a mini van and I wasn’t used to driving that.
But besides all that…I made it on my flight in time with even 30 minutes to spare before boarding. I was home around midnight and Tuesday was a long day at work. I was catching up on sleep all week, but thankfully the weekend and sleep in days arrived. Phew…
All in all, it was a good trip minus the last day of travel. I was reflecting on all the bad luck I had that day, but in the end I was grateful to be safe and made my flight. I was really trying to remain positive. Also Oprah’s podcast episode I was listening to reminded me, the sky is always blue, but sometimes clouds are in the way. The drive was very grey and sometimes rainy, but the sky is always blue, you just have to get above the clouds (which I did when flying).
So we are all caught up on last weekend. Stay tuned for a memorial day weekend post.
Tips for staying positive when everything seems to be going wrong?
Have you ever had a bad rental car experience?