Our 2013 Road Trip: Part One

Keith and I took a two-week road trip over the holidays, hence all my travel-related posts while we were gone, and I wanted to share a more detailed recap here. We hadn't taken a trip together since a cousin's wedding in fall 2012 so this was much needed. And as I've mentioned previously, Keith works a lot. So being together every day and night for two entire weeks was awesome.

My youngest brother drove to Austin from northern New Mexico on December 22 and got to our place about an hour before we left on Monday, December 23. The three of us took turns driving and headed north to spend Christmas with almost my entire extended family. We stopped at goofy roadside attractions along the way, took turns napping or driving, listened to Game of Thrones: Book One on audiotape and played the "my mother owned a grocery store" game I mentioned in a previous post. We made it to northern Illinois and then stopped to get a few hours of sleep before continuing on our journey. Here are a few fun photos from the drive to Wisconsin:

Northern Texas Roadside Attraction

Northern Texas Roadside Attraction

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Top: Keith and my brother at 10 am. Bottom: Keith and my brother at 2 pm.

Top: Keith and my brother at 10 am. Bottom: Keith and my brother at 2 pm.

It was a long, but relatively easy drive. We were all excited to see snow and spend time with family so the many hours in the car didn't seem quite so bad. Altogether, it's about a 23-hour drive from Austin to Door County (where my grandparents have a house). We arrived on Christmas Eve around 2 pm in Door County. Before greeting family, Keith and I first headed to the Church Hill Inn at Sister Bay to drop off our bags and clean up before dinner with the family. We try to stay in bed and breakfasts and AirBNB locations as much as possible during our travels. Unfortunately we weren't able to stay in any AirBNB places this trip but the Sister Bay B&B was the first of two we stayed in.

The fireplace right outside our room

The fireplace right outside our room

Snow on Christmas Morning off our B&B porch

Snow on Christmas Morning off our B&B porch

Church Hill Inn

Church Hill Inn

Keith in front of our B&B Christmas morning

Keith in front of our B&B Christmas morning

It was nice at the end of each of the three days we visited my family to head back to our quiet B&B and curl up in the tall four-poster bed with a holiday movie on our laptop. The bed and breakfast was lovely, beautifully decorated for the holidays, had a wonderful hearty breakfast each morning and all the rooms had different fun themes - ours was the "chess room". Sister Bay also has a really cute downtown, which we enjoyed running through (though 7 degrees!) on one of the mornings we were there. I would highly recommend this place if you're ever in Door County! We spent Christmas Eve and Day with my extended and immediate family, drinking bloody marys, cooking and baking everything imaginable, eating tons of wonderful meals, exchanging gifts and playing plenty of ping-pong, darts, and board games. We got to meet our three-month old niece, as well as a cousin's girlfriend, for the first time and enjoyed a chaotic few days with an ever expanding family.

Tubing in Wisconsin

Tubing in Wisconsin

Door County sunsets

Door County sunsets

On December 27, we said our goodbyes and drove a few hours south to Chicago for a night. On the way, we drove through Sturgeon Bay, where I lived for several years as a child. I drove Keith by my former house, the church where I received my First Communion, the schools I attended for second and then third grade, and enjoyed lunch in a small coffee shop downtown.

Downtown Sturgeon Bay

Downtown Sturgeon Bay

Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church - where I received my 1st Communion and attended 2nd grade

Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church - where I received my 1st Communion and attended 2nd grade

My childhood home on Glidden Drive, Sturgeon Bay

My childhood home on Glidden Drive, Sturgeon Bay

We stayed at the ACME Hotel in downtown Chicago and thoroughly enjoyed the decor, central location, and delicious bakery in the morning. Since we were in Chicago, we decided to have deep-dish pizza for dinner but of course, every well-reviewed restaurant had a 1 - 2 hour wait, so we wound up in a cute Italian place, seated at their bar, and enjoyed some delicious drinks and appetizers.

The bar at Quartino Ristorante, Chicago

The bar at Quartino Ristorante, Chicago

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The elevator of the ACME Hotel, Chicago

The elevator of the ACME Hotel, Chicago

Our king-sized bed at the ACME Hotel, Chicago

Our king-sized bed at the ACME Hotel, Chicago

Our bathroom at the ACME Hotel - the lips glowed red when the lights were off!

Our bathroom at the ACME Hotel - the lips glowed red when the lights were off!

There was a chalkboard outside every guest door at the ACME Hotel

There was a chalkboard outside every guest door at the ACME Hotel

The 2nd floor game room of the ACME Hotel

The 2nd floor game room of the ACME Hotel

The next morning, we woke early (sleep-deprived because of how noisy our hotel location was) and went for a four-mile run along the water and down Michigan Avenue. This was by far my favorite run of our trip! Afterwards, we enjoyed two delicious donuts in our hotel's bakery, walked several miles downtown and then decided to try some deep-dish pizza for lunch (travel = no counting calories for us!) before getting back on the road. We wound up at Giordano's, just a few blocks from our hotel, and each of us managed to eat one piece of a deep-dish vegetable loaded slice. It was delicious and ridiculously filling.

Pumpkin Cream-Cheese Doughsant and Maple-Bacon Donut from West Town Bakery, Chicago

Pumpkin Cream-Cheese Doughsant and Maple-Bacon Donut from West Town Bakery, Chicago

Giordano's Deep-Dish Pizza, Chicago

Giordano's Deep-Dish Pizza, Chicago

After lunch, we packed up and got back on the road again, excited for more time to catch up on our Game of Thrones audiobook (we are now completely addicted) and spend the second part of our trip in Colorado and New Mexico. I'll share the second half and even more photos soon! Until then, please cross your fingers that the leak that appeared on our sunroom ceiling earlier this week does not mean a brand-new sunroom roof is in our near future. That room just refuses to let us catch a break.