Sander, Daniëlle & EmilyOur Family life...

Our Family life...

Day 12: Effingham, IL > Chicago, IL

Besides the fact that Emily fell out of her bed we all had a good night. Emily is fine she just has bruise on her left knee. And she shows it to everyone everywhere, kind of like a scar from an epic battle!

After we had a delicious breakfast we left to a nearby liquor store where I found out that they sold at lest one type of beer I had on my wish list. And I was successful!

Soon we left towards Chicago, the next major city of our trip! It would be a just over 3 hour drive but first we forgot to get gas near the hotel and we encountered the most interesting gas station of the trip.

Close to Chicago we decide to make one more stop at a Starbucks for a mini lunch and to make sure had a washroom break before we ended up in Chicago traffic.

When we drove downtown we immediately felt like being in a different city as New York, Toronto, Atlanta, New Orleans and others. Not sure why but maybe it is the different architecture or the fact that there are overhead subways?

We also lost our GPS signal just before we entered the last Kilometer but we made it safely and without issues to our Holiday Inn hotel along the river near the MART.

According to the car it was 32 Celsius outside but it felt like barely 20, we guess that is why Chicago is also called the Windy City?

The hotel room has a nice view as it is on the 22nd floor and we are partially lucky with the view. The hotel rate is also great as it includes free parking, in some hotels in the downtown area they charge 60-70$/night.

After we all relaxed a little bit, we decided to go outside and visit Millennium Park and maybe do some more shopping. Millennium park is not even 2km from our hotel and so we took the stroller and started walking.

It was literally one block to far for Emily to see the Cloud Gate, the famous and oddly formed gigantic mirror, with her own eyes as she fell a sleep between waiting for the traffic light and he other side of the 6 lane street. But we still made some pictures.

From there we went on and looked at the Crown Fountain, a fountain with integrated video display. Here Emily woke up again as he water blew in her face…

We ended up taking a short break at the Park Grill, they had an outdoor area on the ice rink where we had a drink and a bite to eat. Emily’s got some M&M’s for the first time and she was mesmerized by the letter on them, the M from Mama and thus she did not want to share any with me.

Next stop was the new, but already iconic Apple Store at the riverfront. The store is built on a gigantic staircase and it’s roof looks like it had a gigantic MacBook Air.

We also had to stop at the Disney Store flagship location. They had so much things we hadn’t seen yet, Emily got out of the store with a new stuffed belle.

After we left the store we walked back over the river walk to our hotel and after a bath for Emily everyone went to bed. Daniëlle scored a bed for her and bunny. I scored a bed with Emily, Ariel, Princess Sofia and Belle. Am I lucky or not?

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Day 11: Memphis, TN > Effingham, IL

Everyone had a decent night of sleep, mama had a little bit more action as the others as you can see in the picture below. Yes that’s Emily her left foot!

At 7:45am everyone was out of bed and at 9am everyone had showered and the car was loaded to go to Graceland!

On our way to Graceland we stopped at the McDonalds for a sandwich (me) and coffee (mama). And at 9:15 sharp we turned into the Graceland Parking lot. The whole area is bigger as we expected and we already figured that we would need more time as we had in mind when we woke up.

We started with a movie before we entered a shuttle which brought us a across the street to walk to Graceland itself, we could have walked the 100 Meter ourselves but this was mich more fun for Emily.

Everything is very well organized, we got iPads as a self-guided tour which supported 9 languages including both German and Dutch. First we thought the Dutch was a joke but every fifth family/group/couple we saw was speaking Dutch. We got to see all the rooms in the house including the parts which Elvis had added over the time he owned Graceland. He already owned a microwave, he bought it for just 630$, not bad for that time I guess?

The trophy room was made into a gallery with photos, letters and bills from when he was a live. Interesting to see a bill for the swimming pool for just 8500$.

Last stop of the tour though the house was the Meditation Garden, this is where Elvis and his closest relatives are buried nowadays.

After we got back to the museum part we got to see the more interesting things, at least for us. His cars, a museum about his time in the army (in Germany) and off course his jumpsuits, suits and a gigantic collection of his golden records.

We ended the visit with a lunch at Gladys’ Diner. Emily went for a hotdog, mama and I for for the southern fried chicken.

And then it was time for another 5 hours in the car. Just a couple minutes in the car we already entered Arkansas, state #13.

The drive was very boring and lucky for us Emily fell a sleep quickly.

Quicker as we expected we entered state #14, Missouri. We also decided to take a short detour through Cape Girardeau to score a coffee and a Starbucks souvenir tumbler, the mugs where sold out.

With just 2 hours to go Danielle took over the wheel and in 10 minutes we made it to Illinois over a beautiful bridge.

After we arrived in Effingham at our next Holiday Inn hotel we got some groceries at the nearby Walmart before we called it a night.

Tomorrow we’ll go further north!

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Day 10: New Orleans, LA > Memphis, TN

After a good night Danielle and I woke up around 5:30am, I guess going to bed early is nothing for us. Emily followed around 7:30am and she bursted from energy as soon as she woke up.

And after we packed our stuff we got the car from the valet around 9:00am and after filling up with gas and getting ourselves a breakfast for on the road at a Starbucks a long the way we started our drive towards Memphis in Tennessee, a 390 miles/627 km trip.

Since it was a long drive we decided to stop somewhere around lunch and we found a nice mall where we would be around noon. But first we needed to pass the state boarded and enter Mississippi for the second time this trip.

From time to time we are a mobile photo-studio as Emily asks us for a photo in the car, picture please?

The drive was smooth, sometimes we could not even see a car in front of us the long straight Highway. Exactly at 12pm we arrived at the Renaissance at Colony Park mall.

We had lunch at Biaggi’s an Italian place before we shopped at a Lilli Pulitzer store and Emily got to pick some new books at the Barnes & Nobles.

And around 2pm we continued our trip towards Memphis. Emily fell a sleep while reading one of her new books.

Danielle had a quick and easy drive but wait a moment, did she drive to far? For the people not knowing my Siemens office is located in/near Vaughan.

But no we were still in Mississippi, but she did drive us straight into state #13, Tennessee.

And around 5pm we arrived at the hotel. The Holiday Inn is not what it used to be and the restaurant is closed due to several family reunions going on. I guess that explained the good deal we got? It’s just for one night.

For dinner we didn’t do much, Emily wanted Apple slices which we got at a ‘nearby’ Target and Danielle and I went for coffee and a sandwich at a Starbucks.

Soon we called it a night in the birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll!

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