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Illinois Trip Day 5

Galesburg, IL to Springfield, MO, Memphis, TN, West Memphis, AR

So, we left the hotel and drove again through Galesburg to get some pictures that we haven’t been able to get to the last day or so.  I was a little sad to leave… have to say, that town grew on me.  🙂  I won’t be terribly sad to move there if the job offer does come through…  😀  I would also LOVE to be close to Tracie, as spending the day with her & her kiddos reminded me how much I miss having girlfriends, especially girlfriends that know your roots.  But, our time was at an end for this trip, so we headed out around 11am (after driving through town for about an hour).

About an hour and a half outside of St. Louis, Tom found that we could go home through Memphis with only an additional hour added to our trip.  I haven’t been since 1996, and I LOVE Memphis, so I was all for it!  Tom’s never been to Memphis, and of course the boys have never been.  I loved Graceland, and Memphis BBQ.  I was already trying to figure out how to get coupons to Graceland.  😀

It wasn’t until about 7:30 that one of my friends told us that it’s flooded in Memphis (through facebook).  Unfortunately, at that point, we were really too far along our way to change course.  We did opt to go a slightly safer route, and stay in West Memphis, Arkansas instead of Memphis, TN proper.  So I’ll do a little research tonight and see how bad the flooding is, what’s open and closed, and whether it’s a possibility or not.

The drive was nice… we took I-55 South out of St. Louis, and travelled South throughout Missouri, then into Arkansas.  I have to say, I’ve traveled a lot by car… most of it as a child, but there’s been a lot of it.  Missouri may not have the coastal cliffs of California, but everywhere throughout Missouri is just a pretty drive.  Gently rolling hills, occasional cliffs, log cabins built into the side of the hills, and lots and lots of green.

Just had another friend tell us to be careful, that she’s in North Little Rock, AR and basically flooded in… unbelievable… guess we should have continued through Missouri, but we’ll be driving during the day, so we’ll be okay.  It’s an adventure, that’s for sure!  🙂  Feeling for all these people flooded out or flooded in, though.  I’ve been there, and that is NO fun!

That’s all for tonight.  I have to catch up on over 100 emails, Facebook, and check on my article sites (since I haven’t written in over a week now).  🙂  Tomorrow will be hopefully Memphis, then on to Dallas.  In Dallas, we’ll pick up our 13-year-old homeschooler, then it’s home on Tuesday.  A full week we’ve been gone… kinda wild!!  🙂  But it’s been a good week.  Tom and I have talked and talked, laughed, and enjoyed new experiences together.  The boys have been to 5 more states… not that they’ll necessarily remember it…LOL… but they have been.  🙂

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Illinois Trip Day 4

Galesburg, IL

Today was Tom’s interview with Joe… the main reason for our trip… and my visit with Tracie.

Tom’s interview seems to have gone well.  Joe said that he felt that Tom was a good fit for the company, he just doesn’t know where he wants to put him.  He’s considering him for a Service Manager position, or for the Estimating/Project Management position.  We’re a little confused, as this talk went different from the ones they’d had on the phone.  🙂  He told Tom that it would be a 4-6 week decision making process, and they’d go from there, so we’re back on hold to see how it turns out.

Today was also Tracie’s visit.  It’s funny…  I was super-excited to see her, but also a little nervous, as it’s so hard to know if you’ll just “connect” as adults with all the differing life experiences.  But it was amazing, and made me realize that no matter what you go through as adults, I always have a special place in my heart for my childhood friends.  Tracie’s grown up to be a beautiful woman (no surprise there), and a wonderful mom.  We did a little nostalgic trip down memory lane, filling in memories and names with surprising ease.  Then we caught up on what’s been going on in our lives, and I found it was just as easy to tell her about the hard stuff as it was the easy stuff.  Maybe it’s because she’s been through some hard stuff, too… or maybe it’s just who she is… who I am.  🙂  But it was an amazing day.  We took the kiddos to lunch at Jalisco Mexican Restaurant.  I have to say, it is the absolute, without a doubt, worst salsa I’ve ever had in my life.  It tasted like tomato soup with onions cut up in it.  That worried me for the food… but it was really good!  Not Tex-Mex (I’ve been spoiled there), but very good, all in all.  Service was great, iced tea served with a slice of lime (I actually like it better than lemon), chips were fresh.  I had a chimichanga smothered in cheese, refried beans and rice.  The boys had cheese enchiladas, and a taste of theirs proved just as good as mine.  We had enough left for everyone for dinner, too.  BONUS!  😛

Back to my visit, Kody has a huge crush on Tracie’s daughter 🙂 and both Kody & Kyle had a lot of fun playing with her youngest.  Her middle son wasn’t feeling well, so he stayed in the room with my hubby and they each caught up with the Sandman.  We had to cut our visit a little short as she wanted to get him home and in his bed, but it was a great day!!!

The nerves, the pool and whirlpool, and the drive caught up to the rest of us this evening and we all went to sleep about 5pm til 10pm.  So here we are, all wide awake at 1:30am, when we are planning to leave in the morning… LOL.  That’s the way it goes with our family, though… go go go crash.  🙂

Tomorrow, we’ll drive around town again, take some photographs and pick up the Sunday newspaper before we leave.  Oh, and the housing prices here?  Unbelievable!!!!  Want to live in an 1890’s era 4 bedroom home in a nice area, blocks to downtown?  $42K.  Yeah!  Thought Texas was affordable… even Ganado is so much higher than here!

Overall impressions of the town?  I can see myself living here, teaching the boys to cross-country ski, ice skate, and snow mobile in the winter…  I can’t imagine yet what it would be like to live somewhere where it snows, but I can see me enjoying it.  So, we’ll see… it’s time to just sit back and let life happen for a bit.  We’ll see what happens as Joe evaluates Tom’s skills and references, and whether there’s an offer in the making or not.  Really can’t do anything until then.  Then we’ll decide.  🙂

Hope to post some pics tomorrow to show you this charming little town in the spring.  It’s 2:30am, and we still haven’t made our plans, so I guess we need to get on that.  We’re not heading out at 7am, though, so I’m not worried.  We’ll figure it out.

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Illinois Trip Day 3

Springfield, MO to Galesburg, IL

We decided to go ahead and leave this morning without seeing more of the sites.  Back on the road, enjoyed the drive through Missouri.  This is such pretty country!

Got stuck in road construction traffic outside of St. Louis for an hour, but besides that, it was another great drive.  Everyone else slept through most of this drive, so there was nobody to share in my excitement most of the day, but it was gorgeous.  For several miles in Northwest Missouri, I-44 merges with the old Route 66, and it’s just what I expected.  The highway winds through the Ozarks and you can see the valleys and the communities from the interstate.

When we crossed the Mississippi, then the Chain of Rocks Canal, we were in Illinois.  I honestly don’t know what I expected before that, but the only memories I really have of Illinois was the one trip to Great Lakes bootcamp to watch my ex-husband graduate in the Navy.  It was 13 years ago, so the memories aren’t too clear, and are mostly of Chicago.  The Illinois I saw on this trip was anything but that.  Gently rolling hills, and lots and lots of farmland.

Starting late last night, there’s been a HUGE storm coming into the area… actually stretching from the Great Lakes to Texas.  There’ve been tornado watches and warnings, and a lot of people are worried.  Since we’re driving a rental car, we’ve been worried, too.  But while the drive has been windy, there wasn’t any rain during the drive.  We saw a Wind Farm just before Peoria, and had to pull off the highway to get my camera and takes some pictures.  It was really cool… amazing that there are so many of these windmills… Living in South Texas, we see them constantly being trucked north, and each blade is the length of a tractor trailer, then the stand is broken into three pieces, each taking up a tractor trailer.  To see so many of them in use makes me feel very small, so I needed pictures.  🙂

The wind nearly ripped the door out of my hand, and blew the trunk up before I could get to it.  I brought my camera out, standing with my stance very wide to try to maintain my balance, while snapping shots of the windmills.  It was wild!  I’ll upload some of those pictures here in a little while.

Tom spoke with Joe on the trip here, so we were trying to make it to town before 5pm, but the road construction traffic had pretty much killed that attempt.  Joe was not happy with our choice of hotels (again with America’s Best Value Inn), so he arranged for us to stay at the Best Western instead.  It is much nicer, I’m sure… also not as frugal as what I would choose to do.  😛  We arrived and unpacked, then decided to get a feel for town just as the storm was blowing in, so we waited, worrying… and it came and went in little more than 20 minutes.  No hail, no tornadoes (at least not here in Galesburg), just a thunderstorm that came and went.  Afterward, we got out and drove around town.  It was getting near dark, so we didn’t get to take any photos, but it is a very picturesque town.

There’s so much history here that my heart soars.  The architecture is amazing and what I notice first is that the town is so much more affluent than some of the small towns in Texas.  Here, nearly all of the historical buildings have been preserved… and they’re nearly all OCCUPIED!!!  Even in Victoria, both the older sections and the newer, many of the shops have closed.  Not so here.  I’m sure they’ve been hit by the recession, too, but it appears that they are weathering it better.

That was the end of Day 3.  Tomorrow is Tom’s interview, and my visit with my long-time friend, Tracie… and I get to meet her kiddos and her my youngest… 🙂

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