Road Trip to Illinois

By Maria Lichty

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I am not a spontaneous person. So when Josh suggested we drive to Illinois on a whim, I looked at him like he was crazy. I hate car rides and there was no way I was going to pack up and go. My “to do” list was too long and we didn’t plan on a trip to Illinois. I am a planner! I don’t do things that aren’t on our calendar.

Well, Josh wouldn’t stop talking about a road trip to Illinois. He really wanted to go help my dad with a remodeling project. After a few hours, I started warming up to the idea, but I suggested we fly. We looked at tickets, but they were outrageous. I finally agreed to go, but told Josh I needed one day to get everything ready. He agreed. So off to Illinois we went!

The first day, we drove to Fort Collins, Colorado. We stayed with my brother and his family. It was about a 7 hour drive. The next day, we woke up at 4 a.m. and drove to central Illinois, where my dad lives. It was a 15 hour drive. It was a long day, but we did it. We only stopped to get gas twice. Caleb was awesome. He only cried for about 15 minutes when I couldn’t find his spoon:)

We spent 9 days at my dad’s house and had the best time. Josh worked on the remodeling project every day with my dad. They got a lot of work done and the house looks great.

I planned on getting caught up on a lot of blog work while I was in Illinois, but my dad’s internet is sooooo slow. He lives in the boonies. So I used the slow internet as an excuse to relax and take some time off. It was just what I needed. I spent my days playing with Caleb, cooking, baking, and visiting with family and friends. I also did a little antique shopping. I found some great props for the blog.

Josh and I even went out on a date. We saw the movie Argo and went to Steak ‘n Shake for dessert. Josh is obsessed with Steak ‘n Shake’s chocolate milkshakes. They are his all-time favorite. Too bad they don’t have Steak ‘n Shake in Utah…or maybe it is a good thing since he had a shake almost every day we were in IL:)

We also went on a few walks in the woods. My dad lives by a river and the scenery is gorgeous. It was nice to be in the country again.

Caleb liked playing in the leaves.

But he really loved playing with Papa. They are best buds!

We were sad when it was time to pack up and get back in the van. We were sad to leave my family and sad to sit in the van for another 22 hours.

We did see a rainbow when we started the long drive home. It was a great send off present from Illinois.

On the way home, we stopped in Nebraska to catch some shut eye. We did the trip in two 11 hour days. Caleb didn’t cry at all on the way home. He had so much fun reading books, singing songs, watching movies, eating snacks, and sleeping. He did enjoy getting out of his car seat at the gas stations.

The trip was long, but well worth it. I loved spending time with my family and I am so glad Josh was able to help my dad with his project. Do I want to go on another road trip? Not anytime soon! I think I am good for a few years…or forever:)

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. Wow! Props to you two for making it through the long drive! And your little man is SUCH a trooper! Always good to spend time with family

  2. You took some great photos! Love Papa and Caleb together! And I think it might really be a good thing that Steak n’ Shake isn’t so near. πŸ˜‰

  3. Caleb is so cute!! You are so lucky he liked the trip and didn’t cry. Most kids get so tired of riding and being confined in the car seat! He is a really good young man and is getting used to your trips. I’m like you, I don’t really like to be in a car for hours.

  4. Oh good for you!! I know your Dad must have been thrilled to have the visit. I love road trips myself, but living in Virginia, with my family in California, it’s not really a good idea!! also, as both a mother who loves when my daughters visit, and a daughter who loves to visit her mom, these trips, road or otherwise are so special and to be done as much as possible. Thank you for sharing Maria, and the picture of your dad and baby – priceless!! Definitely one to frame and give to your dad for Christmas!!!

    Love your blog!!

  5. This is the first thing I read this morning with my coffee and it has made my day happy! We use to take road trips from Michigan to see my parents who lived in central Illinois also and once we got on the road it was great. We did this from when my daughter was 3 to when she was 20. I remember the songs and reading books and playing I Spy. Great memories. Thanks for posting!

  6. I’m not going to lie…I live in Central Illinois and I was searching all of your photos for clues of where you were! πŸ™‚

    I’m not one for long car trips either. I’d much rather fly!

    1. My dad lives outside of Decatur…in the boonies:) I wish we could have gotten together! Next time!

  7. Karly, me too! My detective work didn’t turn up anything, though. πŸ™‚
    Lovely photos and wonderful memories for your family, I’m sure!

  8. I also live in West Central IL on the Mississippi River. I enjoy your blog and was so surprised when I saw the title “trip to Illinois…”. Your photos look like they were taken down the road from me! Glad your little guy travels well.

  9. Living in central Illinos myself, all I often think about is living anywhere else but here. The flatness and cornfields can get pretty old but it is peaceful and pretty in the Fall.

  10. Ha, I love road trips, but only if they are leisurely. Stop here, stop there when the whim hits. Loved the photos. You’re lucky to be able to get up and go when you wish.

  11. Road trips are nice, especially if you get to spend time with relatives so far away, and especially if little ones enjoy the ride! Such a good baby!

    I’m in IL too, looks like you hit good weather with tees in the fall!

  12. I’m from Illinois – southern and currently live in North Central. I’m guessing you we’re somewhere around Effingham?

  13. Aww I love your trip! How nice of Josh to want to help your dad! You know we do a lot of road trips, and a lot of the time I feel exactly the way you do – it’s not planned, I have too much work, can’t get out of my routine, etc… but, I’ve tried to embrace the fact that we can do it, and enjoy it, because who knows – next year or in five years, we might not have the ability to take those trips. Part of my, step back, take a deep breath, and be thankful for this moment attempt at perspective πŸ™‚

  14. How fun! I love all your pictures. It sounds like you made the most of having a slow internet connection and really made the most of family time. Caleb is such a cutie!

  15. How Funny πŸ™‚ I live in Central Illinois as well- near Bloomington/Normal! We love your blog, your recipes and the pictures of your sweet son! My husband is an amazing baker and your cookie recipes are some of our favorite!!

  16. Cool pictures! I live in Central IL too so the area looks so familiar to me.
    Cool to see so many people on the comment list from that area:-)

  17. Glad you were able to get back home again! Were you able to connect with any old friends from CGHS? πŸ˜‰ Wonderful story; I really enjoy reading your blog. Bon travail!

  18. So glad you guys had a great trip! Next time, just keep driving and come visit me in Ohio! Really… what’s 5 extra hours on a 22-hour trip? πŸ˜‰ I don’t blame Josh for his obsession with Steak & Shake milkshakes — they’re my favorite too! Did he try the white chocolate flavor? It’s even better than the regular chocolate! My sister and I may or may not sneak them into the movie theater every time we visit our parents in IL! Miss you!

  19. How fun. Sometimes just hopping in the car and driving can be a lot of fun. Of course, this is coming from a Mom who has already raised all three of her boys and don’t have to worry about travelling with children. It sounds like yours did great though.

    I don’t know where in IL you were but if it’s anywhere near Rockford, IL then your husband missed out on THE BEST shakes ever. And the best fries too.

  20. Yea for driving to the Midwest! We are in Utah too, have three kids (5,3,1) and drove to Indiana this summer, so I completely understand that drive! It’s long and beautiful and long πŸ™‚ Loved this post because it looks like home!

  21. New subscriber here. Just bopping around your blog and getting to know you. What a lovely family you have and many delicious looking recipes. Looking forward to reading more!

  22. Just catching up on my blog reading, and I’m happy to report that I am also a Central Illinois reader…Peoria. Your photos are lovely, especially the rainbow and branch ones, and Josh is right about those milkshakes! I’m glad that the long trip went so well for all of you.

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