When visiting family, we are usually in town during the Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday season, so it was a nice change of pace to visit in the heart of summer and enjoy more time outside. And we did take advantage of those warm summer nights and nice sunny days whenever thunderstorms weren’t imminent.
Visiting My Family
After getting set up in my parent’s yard, we gave them a tour of the RV, caught up on the back patio, and had a lovely feast for dinner. That night, we had our first of many campfires during our stay, which turned out to be a lot of fun! It’s great to get away from our screens, and instead stare into the bright, flickering fire as it spits sparks, and trying to avoid getting enveloped in smoke. 🔥
The next day was really stormy, but thankfully Jackie brought a puzzle. My nieces were interested at first as we all put together the border, but then it got a lot tougher, so it was down to the adults. 😂 Six hours later, we had a finished product! Woohoo! It has been ages since most of us have put a puzzle together, so it was a fun way to spend a stormy afternoon.
That night, we added to our campfire experience when we started talking about music. I began playing tunes on my phone, taking requests as all of the different generations talked about some of their favorite songs. Soon Matt brought out the portable speaker and I played DJ, keeping track of who requested what, and making sure everyone got to hear something they liked. It was a lot of fun, and a great way to share music from across the ages. 🎶
That Sunday we played games with my nieces Gwen and Corde, and later my niece Corde showed us her little dirt bike. I saw both Matt and Cordelia take it for a spin around the yard. However, my brother, Jackie, and my nieces had to say their goodbyes and head back to the Twin Cities. I always enjoy seeing my brother and my nieces and getting to know Jackie was a bonus. 😃 Soon after their departure, more folks came by, including my aunt Debra and uncle Jose as well as Uncle Chester (not really my uncle…that’s what we have always called him growing up). We all caught up around the campfire, trying to avoid the smoke. My mom and I seemed to get the worst of it. 😶🌫️ 😂
For the last day, I wanted to take a hike on the trails surrounding my parent’s property. There are a combination of old logging roads and snowmobile/4-wheeler trails, so I did a 5+ mile loop, taking my hiking buddy Ruger with me. It was hot and buggy, and Ruger kept trying to cool down in the puddles, but it otherwise was great to see all of the flora bursting along the roadside and butterflies fluttering by, while having the whole trail to ourselves.
Finally, Mom and Dad really wanted to take us fishing, so we headed out to Trelipe Lake to test our luck. We got out on the water and across the lake, started getting our fishing poles out and realized we left the bait back in the truck. 😩 Oh well! We sprinted across the lake, got the worms, and headed out yet again. It was a bright, sunny day, but the fish weren’t biting that much. In the end, we caught seven fish between the four of us and decided to call it a day.
I’m glad we were able to fit in one more visit before we ended our big tour around the country. Thanks Mom and Dad for hosting us and keeping us entertained with dinners, campfires, fishing and more during our stay. 💗 Next up, we have two days of travel to get from Northern Minnesota to Kansas City to see Matt’s parents.
Visiting Matt’s Family
After a few long days of travel, we settled into our new spot in Kansas City for a bit. After getting our rig set up, we headed over to see Matt’s parents and have dinner together. This day was a big deal for us, because it was the first time we were seeing his parents since his father had an accident last December. Though we have kept in touch regularly over the phone, it was more reassuring to see them in person and know that both his mom and dad were doing ok despite the adjustments they have had to make since then.
One thing I always enjoy when seeing Matt’s parents, his sister and her family, and his grandmother is that we share meals, hugs, stories and laughs every time we gather. It’s always low-key, relaxing, and I always leave with love in my heart for my new extended family, but also feel loved in return. 💞 On one occasion, my mother- and sister-in-law, Debbie and Beth, as well as Beth’s grown children Will and Addy and I went on a little lunch outing and perused the shops. It’s always fun to see people get excited about new clothes, and discover new places at the same time.
Aside from family visits, I was doing my best to stay active. For those of you who know me, I can’t sit still, and am always trying to get some exercise. We had no room in our RV park, but I found a clean, covered place about 3/4 mile down the road: the Merriam Marketplace, a space that hosts a Saturday farmer’s market next door to Werner Park, and is otherwise vacant. I made it a habit to walk down there nearly every day, which was a great routine and a wonderful way to start my mornings. 🧘🏻
Matt also found a variety of greenways for us to frequent on our bikes. First, we biked along the Indian Creek Greenway and later on during our stay we biked along the Tomahawk Creek Greenway. Both had their positives and negatives. The northernmost part of the Indian Creek trail is more confusing, so we got turned around a lot. However, it is mostly flat, and is well connected and marked the farther south you go. When we connected with the Olathe trails, it was especially nice. The views were beautiful, the trail quality was top notch and we also were fortunate to see a couple of fawns next to the creek.
The Tomahawk Creek trails are easier to follow, there are a lot of great views as well, but the trails are steeper, so be prepared to work a little bit more. We biked by a golf course that was closed down, seeing one of the sidewalks succumb to the creek below, and later on saw a section with a bunch of “Health Beat” workout equipment alongside the pathway. It’s nice that they have equipment available to use, but I have honestly never seen anyone using it. 😂 We went by another active golf course and a farmstead, and saw an impressive snake as well. It was a great experience, and we were so happy to get out and explore during our visit. 🚴♀️
With our travels coming to a close very soon, we were so grateful to have another opportunity to see our family. And with big changes afoot for us both, it was also a nice time to take a beat, embrace these moments with our loved ones, and prepare for the next phase of our journey together. We appreciate the time we have been able to spend with our friends and family, the new friends we have made on the road, and the enthusiasm you, our readers, have shared with us as we ventured near and far. It is bittersweet to see it come to a close, but thanks to this blog we have great memories to look back on whenever we want 😍 Thank you for following along, and stay tuned as I reveal where we decided to move to and call home. 🏡