Picking a Moving Company

When Kona was hired last December, work had promised her $1000 towards a move if she moved in district and within one year.  Well, she had moved in-district, but not used that money, so I guess you could sort of figure the last two moves (the townhouse and my house) were temporary things.  Since she is getting paid to move her stuff, we looked at hiring someone to do it.  Kona will have lived in five different places in the last year, so she’s not looking forward to moving again and really would like someone else to move the heavy stuff this time.  Somebody at work suggested we talk to human resources to make sure that money was still there so Kona did that and was told that since we hadn’t used it, it was still there.

The three companies we looked at were Taylor Transfer (an agent for National Van Lines), Federal Companies (an agent for Allied Van Lines), and Clifton Moving and Storage (an agent for United Van Lines).  Kona had called and set up appointment with all three places to come out on Tuesday, September 22, 2009.

Taylor Transfer

Taylor Transfer was the first company to arrive.  The estimator was also the owner and he had to call Kona to find out where the place was.  He said he had been with the company for 35 years.  He walked around the house, writing fractions on a piece of paper, indicating how much storage and time would be needed for each room.  He was overly worried about the hot tub, but he said “We are a moving company” so we’ll move it.  He didn’t want to believe that my hot tub is easy to move.  It’s the DreamMaker Eclipse Spa and their website specifically says “portable” spas — one guy unloaded it from the delivery truck and I moved it from the yard into the patio by myself.  Taylor estimates it will take 4 men to move it and that they’ll have to box it because it’s round.  The fact that it’s round is it’s best feature — it rolls from one place to another.  It’s designed to do that.  It also only weighs 235 lbs when empty.

He added up all his figures without a calculator and then estimated that it would take 4 men 5 hours to do the move.  The rate was $144 an hour, so the total estimate was $720.  He indicated that it might be less if the hot tub went faster than he thought it was going to take.

If you looked at Taylor’s website, it looked really good.  There was even an online estimator form where you could put in everything that you needed moved and then get an estimate back. Looking back, it was a lot like the Federal Companies agent did with his laptop on-site.  Unfortunately, the form was a mailer form and it was broken; it was going to send a blank email to some really strange looking email address.  I declined to submit it and just went with the on-site inspection.

Federal Companies

Their estimator the most professional of the three., but he had only been with the company for 8 years and he was just an estimator.  He worked out of the Bloomington office on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and the Decatur office on Tuesday and Thursday so it worked out well that we were doing the estimates on a Tuesday.  He explained how large Allied Van Lines was (doing 40% of all moves) and how Federal companies was the second largest agent for Allied.  He also touted that 98% of the customers said they would use them again.  When he showed me the form, I immediately noted that there was a space to check Yes, but none to check No.  He said that people circled yes or no, but the statistician in me still felt it was a little iffy.  He said that if anyone ever marked No, that the local office got a call from corporate saying “Make this right.” He explained how they would put protection on the floors and walls both here and at the new place to make sure nothing was damaged during the move.  They only use their trained people, never temporary workers.  All in all, he took the most time to sell his company.

He was hi-tech.  He had a laptop computer and walked around from room to room making a complete inventory of all the items that needed moved.  When he was done, he slipped some thermal paper into a small printer and printed an inventory and an estimate.   He figured that it would take 3 men 7 hours to do the move.  The rate is $151 an hour.  But then he also figured in a $40 move charge, and the rate started when the men left the office, not when they got to our place and started loading; it continued until they got back to the office that evening.  The total estimate was $1097 with a caveat that it might be more or less.  He also suggested buying a large mirror box to house the LCD flatscreen TV to make sure it isn’t damaged.  Conveniently, they sold those for $18.30 per box.  That’s on top of the $1097.

Clifton Moving and Storage

Clifton was the last person to give the estimate.  Once again, we got the owner (president) of the company who had been at it for 51 years.  He walked through the house, made a few notes on a piece of paper about what was going to be moved and then sat down at the table and gave me the news.  3 men working 6 hours at $132 an hour.  Total estimate $792.  They would show up about 8:30 am on the moving day and then go until it was done.  If it took less time, we would be billed for actual time.

If you looked at Clifton’s website, you would be sorely disappointed.  There was a main page touting everything that you need to know, but there was no additional information.  That was kind of the impression I got from the owner / estimator during the session, too.  He was very good at his estimation, knew what his guys were capable of, took everything into consideration, but not very personable.  He mentioned “padding and insurance” in about as many words as I just did.

And the winner is …

There were two places that were competitive.  We immediately ruled out Federal Companies as being too pricey and taking too long to do the move.  So Taylor and Clifton were in running for the grand prize, the Jones move.

I was bothered by Taylor’s hesitation about the hot tub. Clifton was familiar with the hot tubs and the new make and how easily movable they were.  Of course, between Taylor and Federal, I had gone and looked up the information about the hot tub and found out that it only weighed 235 pounds when empty so Clifton knew that and Taylor didn’t.

I found Taylor more personable and Clifton more sure.  The prices were close enough that we could live with either one of them.  We knew that cheapest doesn’t always equate with best deal and more money doesn’t always mean a better job.

We liked that Taylor was bringing four men instead of three.  I may not know my moving, but we’re mostly moving the bigger items, things that take two people to move.  So if you have four, then you have two sets of two.  If you have three, then you have one person standing around not doing things most of the time.  We also liked that Taylor was more talkative and expressed his concerns.  We liked that Clinton knew what he was doing.

In the end, the winner was Taylor Transfer.

We called them on Wednesday, September 23, to let them know that we were going with them and the lady actually sounded surprised about it.  Anyway, they’re coming out at 8:00 am on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 for the move.

Jones Family Reunion

Sunday I got the opportunity to experience my first ever Jones family reunion. Well, that might not be the complete truth since I’ve actually experienced a lot of Jones family reunions, just those were the Jones’ from my Mom’s side of the family, not these Jones’ which were from James’ side of the family!

Anyway, James had already told me about the large turnout for the reunions and how much food everyone brings, so when I asked James what we should bring to the reunion he didn’t hesitate a second before saying “noodles and mashed potatoes”, his favorite meal and one of his cooking specialties. We later decided to go ahead and bring roasted beef as well and were luckily able to use my big roaster with the three dish insert to transport and keep everything warm!

Sunday morning I was in charge of the meat and James was in charge of the rest of the food and getting our drinks, plates, silverware, etc… ready to go, yet even after we double checked that we had everything, we still managed to forget the cooler with our drinks and extra butter for the mashed potatoes! Fortunately for us, once we got to Fairview Park (in Decatur) and realized what we had forgotten, James had bottles of water in the back of his car and the butter was an extra, not a necessity.  Also luck for us, we got there before the rain started, which on and off continued all afternoon :-(.

Upon arriving I quickly noticed that James hadn’t exaggerated when he said what a large number of family members would show up or the large amount of food!!  I was really glad we had decided to bring all three dishes to add to the delicious mix of salads, vegetables, meats, casseroles, and desserts (lots and lots of desserts!), it would have been slightly embarrassing to have “only” brought noodles and mashed potatoes! 🙂

At first I was slightly overwhelmed by the large group, but I was quickly able to pick out a few faces I knew and even got a good number of hugs which quickly helped me to feel welcomed!  It also didn’t hurt when James admitted he didn’t even recognize everybody there!  As we chatted and I got introduced to people, it was funny to hear some of the older generation tell us they had been on Facebook and our JamesandKona.com blog recently and saw the information/pictures of the new house and thought it looked great.  **Side note – Isn’t it amazing how technology has changed the way we stay in touch and are able to keep connected with family and friends??**

After talking some more while waiting for more family to show up, James’ dad did the prayer (unfortunately these Jones’ don’t seem to be a singing bunch like the other Jones’ and Davis’ are from my side), and then we got to eat!!  There were so many delicious looking things to choose from it was hard to decide, yet after filling up our plates we found a place to sit and hunkered down to enjoy the food and conversation from the people around us!

We ended up sitting across from James’ cousin Dennis and his wife Shelia.  They were an interesting couple that seemed like they stayed very busy with their work and family.  What I found most interesting was the Amway Business they run online selling all sorts of household and beauty supplies as well as albums (don’t remember exactly what type and I apologize if this information isn’t 100% correct!).  As we chatted, the topic of Facebook, Twitter, and phones with Internet access came up!  It seems they have been encouraged to utilize these technologies to help build up their business, but hadn’t gotten the chance yet.  We had a great talk about the use of these technologies in business and to keep in contact with family and I look forward to them getting their own Facebook account sometime soon!!

As the meal progressed and desserts were eagerly consumed, we continued to talk with many different family members, and watched the rain as it came down in buckets (much to the kids’ delight, but not necessarily their parents or grandparents!).  Unfortunately, many people had long drives home and with extra push of the pouring rain decided to head home a little sooner than normal.  We stuck around and had enjoyed some laughs with James’ cousin Barry and his daughter, mostly about country life with kids, and then helped James’ dad and Alice pack up their car before finally heading off ourselves.

Overall, we both had a good time and I especially enjoyed getting to meet more of James’ family!

Search for Internet

As you know, Kona and I both need Internet for our jobs.  She is the Director of Online Learning and one of my extra duties is Internet Systems Specialist.  So, I’ve spent a lot of time looking online for where we could find Internet and Thursday was the day I really got serious about it.  I picked up the phone and started dialing companies.

AT&T

We currently have AT&T and their DSL plan for Internet, so I was interested in seeing whether or not we could keep that when we moved.  We had discovered that the house has Verizon right now and I was pretty sure that AT&T didn’t serve the Argenta area, but it was worth a shot.  AT&T’s website has a place where you can put in your address and it will tell you what is available, but when we did that, it didn’t even recognize the name of the road and it suggested three similar roads no where near Macon county.

Still, some websites I would visit would list AT&T as being an Internet provider and at the reasonable rates I had come to expect.

AT&T was the first place I called and after thanking me for being a current customer, they decided they didn’t service the area and so the only thing they could do was Mobile Internet.

Verizon

If you go to Dish Network’s Connection Center and put in the address, it tells you that Verizon has an Internet and Phone bundle available in the area with rates from 1.0 to 3.0 Mbps download and prices running from $37 to $70 per month.  When you go to the Verizon site and do the search, it says Internet is not available.

I did an online chat with a Verizon representative and he said it could be a computer issue or lack of a port at the Verizon office and he couldn’t really tell me.  He was really more interested in selling me services than answering my questions.  Finally, I called Verizon and talked to a person who said it wasn’t available to the house.  Now, we’re only a mile from the center of town (following the roads) and that’s well within DSL range, so I was trying to find out whether it was a lack of a port or what, so I asked the question, “Do you even have DSL in Argenta.”  After some research the answer came back, “No, there is no DSL in Argenta through Verizon.”

Verizon does have Mobile Internet available, though.

SuddenLink

Let’s try the cable company, I thought.  I wasn’t sure who provided it in Argenta, but I have friend out in the country who had Cebridge and so I went looking for them.  Cebridge is now SuddenLink.  I knew there was no cable to the house right now, but I was hoping that maybe they could run a line out to the house if we paid for it.  The SuddenLink website doesn’t list Argenta as one of the towns that it provides service for although you can put in the zip code and get a reasonably encouraging page, so I wasn’t sure what I was going to get when I called them.

What I got was a very pleasant woman from out East (probably West Virginia), who determined that they didn’t have service to the address, but they did provide it to Argenta.  However, there is no local office she could give me the number for so that I could call and ask about extending the line.  She took the names of the towns surrounding Argenta, but nothing showed up for those, either.

Internet Socket Services

Socket Services showed up in many yellow page searches as being a provider for Argenta, so I called them.  They only provide DSL in Missouri and anywhere outside of that would be dialup at about $20 per month.

At this point, Dialup is actually not sounding that bad.

EarthLink

Another dialup provider is EarthLink, although they only want about $15 a month.  Still not ready to go there just yet.

Satellite Internet

There are two main providers for Satellite Internet, HughesNet and Wild Blue.  I know in the past that DirecTV was associated with Hughes, but it appears that Wild Blue is now the choice for both DirecTV and Dish Network.  They are similar in price, we could get 1.5 Mbps download rate and ~250 kbps upload rates for $80 a month.  However, they had limits on how much information you could download a month.  Wild Blue was 17 GB and HughesNet was 425 MB per day (13 GB per month).

That wasn’t so bad, but then came the real kicker.  The latency involved with satellite was going to be unbearable for me.  I do a lot of interactive typing on the servers at work and I can’t wait 1-2 seconds for a letter I type to appear on the screen.

Mobile Broadband

So, it looks like we’re down to Mobile Broadband.  Most of the cellular companies offer this, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. They all claim to provide about 1.4 Mbps download for $60 a month.

The real problem here is that they have data limits (except for Sprint with their unlimited plan) of 5 GB per month.  I wasn’t sure how much I transferred during a month, but I’m pretty sure it’s higher than that.  I looked at the status of the new modem I had purchased 9 days ago and I was on a pace to download 7 GB this month.  On days when I have to download a DVD ISO for the servers, I could easily download 5 GB in one day, let alone a whole month.

Oh sure, they let you go over, but Verizon (one of the cheaper places) charges you 5 cents for every megabyte past 5 GB you go.  That extra 2 GB would cost me $100+ in overusage charges; more than the $60 to get the service in the first place.

I’m getting mighty discouraged, so I write our network administrator and ask him what he has.  He lives in a rural area and settled on Verizon’s mobile broadband, but he got it while it was still unlimited usage, although he curtails his usage and only uses about 3.5 GB a month.  He recommended a couple of stores that I could visit to purchase the equipment and one of them was a local store in Decatur.

Barbeck Communications

The name of the company recommended by our network administrator was Barbeck Communications. The reason he gave it to me was as a place to buy a mobile broadband package and / or equipment, but when I got there, I found something else.

Barbeck provides wireless broadband that isn’t mobile.  They have transmitters on top of water towers or grain elevators and send the signal out to the surrounding area.  Their coverage map had our house well within the region as it is only one mile from the water tower in Argenta.  The thing that we were worried about was whether it had to be line of sight to the water tower.  I looked through all of the photos of the house that we had taken to see if any of them had a picture of the water tower, but we couldn’t tell.  The nearest neighbor did have a barn and a tree that were close to where it would be, but we couldn’t be sure.

So, we went to the Macon County, IL website and looked at their GIS application.  I drew a line between the water tower and the house and it did pass through the neighbor’s tree, during the summer, by about 6 feet.  That might be solved by moving the antenna to another portion of the house.

Well, on Friday morning, I called Barbeck.  They said that you didn’t have line of sight, the only problem was if there were fir trees in the way and there’s not.  The transfer rates should be somewhere between 0.5 and 1.0 Mbps, not super fast, but there’s also no download limit for the month.

So it looks like Barbeck is what we’re going to go with.  $55 a month with a $100 installation fee.  End of problem.

The House

Okay, so what is so special about this house?

Maybe a little comparison between the houses will help.

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As you can tell, the new house wins out in almost every category.

What’s not listed there is the open living room and kitchen, which Kona just absolutely loves.  There is an in-ground swimming pool, which meshes well with my thoughts about adding a swimming pool at some point to the old homestead.  The problem with the old place is that there just wasn’t room for everything that we needed or wanted to add.  Kona says this is the house we’re going to die in, although I don’t think she meant right away.

There are a few downsides, though.  We will have to get a tractor to mow the yard and plow out the snow.  There are beavers who like to damn the creek.  The muskrats have a huge den against the creek with a hole you could easily fall into if you weren’t watching where you were going.  There is a lot of wildlife out there, but neither Kona nor I are hunters.  Kona hates the color of the “nursery.”  No, we’re not pregnant, she’s just planning ahead and has already decided which rooms will be used for what purposes.

Here are some photos shot of the house during the walk around today.

House Hunting

I’ve lived in the house in Forsyth for 12 years and it has served me well.  It has a nice location, a 1/2 acre lot, a good school district, reasonably low taxes, and it’s paid for.  Kona’s take on it is a little different.  It’s too small for the family we want to start, we had to put things into storage, it only has  a one car garage, and there’s no real room to add everything that we want to add.

So, it became a question of add-on to the existing house or look for a new one.  For a couple of months, we’ve been looking for a new place to live.  We even went and looked at some that we found online.  Here’s what we discovered: houses are way over priced and they don’t have what we’re looking for.  The search wasn’t really serious, though, as we would go online every couple of weeks and look at things.  We had become discouraged by the dearth of available homes and we had even considered purchasing land to build our dream home.  We discovered that land is really overpriced, too.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I was sitting at the computer and I asked Kona over to look at some houses I had found online earlier that day.  While I was there, a new one popped up and we kind of took a look at it together.  It was on realtor.com and listed through Jim Cleveland and RE/MAX.  They had a virtual tour of the house and floor plans and when we were done, we both really liked what we saw.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I called RE/MAX on Thursday morning and got put through to a buyer’s agent who came out to show us the house once Kona got off work.  The visit to the house didn’t disappoint either one of use and we decided that we would make an offer on the house.

Taylor had put us on to Debra Waks at 1st Advantage Mortgage and warned her that we would be calling.  When I got home, I called her and she was very friendly and took the information and had a couple of different routes for us to go before I was off the phone with her.  I considered that going above the call of work since it was nearly  6:30 pm when we called.

Friday, September 4, 2009

We went downtown to RE/MAX and filled out the paper work and made an offer on the house.  After doing this, we went upstairs and met with Jim Cleveland and he talked a little bit about the house and how he knew the owner of it.  We then got in the car and went home.  Before we had made it to Garfield St (less than 2 miles), Cleveland had called Kona’s cell phone and told us the owner’s counter offer and all of the other things we had concerns with that were going to be met.  He also said that the owner didn’t want to mess around, which we appreciated.  The counter offer was only $3,000 more than what we were hoping to get the house for, so I nodded “yes” to Kona and she told him “okay” and we were going to buy us a house.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monday was Labor Day, so I took the earnest money to RE/MAX on Tuesday.  I also called Debra back and we set up an appointment to go through the financial information on Thursday at 1 pm.

We went and visited Dad and Alice that evening for supper and shared some of the pictures of the house with them.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kona and I played around with the finances, trying to figure out what we could afford and how long it would take us to pay off the house.  We’re going for an ambitious five year plan that heavily figures on being able to sell the existing house for a reasonable amount.  During that playing around, we looked at adjustable rate mortgages and how they had cheaper rates.  Since we were planning on having it paid off in five years, these were really attractive and we weren’t overly worried about the pitfalls of the ARM.  I really couldn’t see any downside to it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I met with Debra and found out that we could get 4.125% for a 5 year ARM.  Yes, the rates could really fluctuate after the 5 years, but we could always refinance it at that point if we needed to do so.  My credit scores were good enough that we could finance the house entirely on my salary, so that’s how we’re financing it with only my name on the loan, but both Kona and mine on the title.  She doesn’t get out of helping with the payments, though.

She also ran through the closing costs, which, because of the high cost of the taxes, were lower than I had expected.

I left the meeting feeling much better about the whole purchase and our ability to pay for it.

Friday, September 11 – Monday, September 14, 2009

We took the weekend off and didn’t think too much about the house, besides our periodic asking the other person, “Do you want to buy a house?”.  You know, the things we already knew the answer to but just wanted to get the other person excited about it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We had the house inspected on Tuesday morning by Brad Kershner of Central Illinois Inspections Corporation.  There were only a very few minor things that were wrong with the house, which was kind of expected since it was built in 2004 by S.A. Lewis Construction from Mt. Zion.  Steve Lewis is a friend of the current owner of the home, who built it as a dream home for his then wife and kids.

Immediately after that, we met with the current owner who walked us through the property, explained what his “perfect world” scenario was for the house and the sale and we were pretty agreeable.  He explained some of the pitfalls of the land and things to watch out and then took me on a tour on his golf cart.

We’re still waiting on the appraisal of the house, which should take another week.  We feel that we’re getting a fairly good deal considering the shape the house is in, but subject to the disclaimer that all real-estate is over priced, so we are optimistic about that.  I’m meeting with Jeff Ludwick, our insurance person, on Thursday, September 24th.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Just one month from today is the big closing date. Kona and I are both getting a little excited about the move and the purchase.  Revisiting the house today just re-energized us.

We’re not planning on selling our current house until we have purchased the new one.  I needed most of our savings for a down payment and there are some improvements that need made to the Forsyth place before it is sold.  So, I need to give the savings a chance to grow back a little before it goes on the market.

We will be moving the weekend of October 16-18, 2009, so if you’re bored and want to help, let us know.  We’re thinking about getting a commercial mover to move the big stuff. Kona has lived in five houses in the last year, so she’s about burnt out on moving and has some money from Richland to apply towards a move as long as it’s done within 12 months.  Our storage facility is paid up through October 31, so the timing will work out well on that as well.

Weekend Getaway to Missouri

With summer winding to a close and the anticipated craziness of closing on the house, we decided to get away for the weekend down in Missouri.  Friday was season pass holder appreciation night at Six Flags, where only season pass holders are allowed in the park, so after work we headed down and spent the late evening riding rollercoaster’s at night!  There were no lines and it normally took longer to walk to the ride than it did to get on the ride! We had a lot of fun and it was my first experience riding a rollercoaster in the dark… which I absolutely loved, it really is different from during the day!

Saturday we headed to Meramec State Park to do some canoeing and go on a cave tour!  The canoe trip started a little strangely with us being stuck on the bus taking us to our launch site with a large group of “unique” individuals.  They were on their annual float down the Meramec River and we just happened to be lucky enough to ride with them as they sang the WHOLE way there, cumulating with their decision to make the other bus think they sang “100 bottles of beer on the wall” the whole trip and to start on 7 as the bus came to a stop.  Since they appeared like they hadn’t even started drinking yet, but had a couple coolers full of said beverages, James and I decided to see exactly how fast we could row once we got the canoe launched!!

Once we got out on the water, we quickly outpaced everyone and were then able to slow down a little and enjoy the relaxing scenery and beauty of being on the water.  It was a perfect sunny day and yet we could see the beginnings of Fall in the changing colors of the trees.

After the canoe trip, we found a secluded picnic area to enjoy our lunch and then headed further into the park to Fisher Cave.

Fisher Cave is a non-lighted cave that requires visitors to carry flashlights to guide their way. One of the park’s naturalists led the tour, so we got a nature lesson as well as a history lesson about the cave and it’s inhabitants!  Overall, a very good time!

After finishing with the cave tour we decided to end the evening with dinner and a movie in Union, MO.  We ate at a reasonably priced Italian restaurant/buffet and then, after getting some pictures of the neighboring town’s water towers, went to see District 9 (which I thought was pretty overrated and had an unfulfilling ending!).

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Notice what the water towers say? Cold and Hot!

Just in case they forget I guess!

Sunday ended our weekend getaway with another visit to Six Flags, where even though it was open admission, the lines were still pretty short and we never had to wait more than 5-10 minutes for the front car!

Quick trip to Wyoming

Due to my brother’s engagement, my side of the family decided to head to Wyoming to congratulate Ty and Austin, as well as meet her family and some of their friends.

James and I drove to Kewanee and spent the night Wednesday night and then got up early to ride with my parents to Chicago to catch our flight to Denver out of Midway.  Neither James or I had been to Midway before,  so it was interesting to experience a “new” airport.  The flight was rather uneventful except for some nasty turbulence at the very end of the flight that made mom and me both a little queasy, but by the time we got the rental car and were on our way to Cheyenne we were feeling fine.

That evening we went out to dinner with Ty & Austin and then back to their house to hang out.  Everyone was pretty tired after the long day so we ended up not staying too long before we headed to the hotel.  The next morning we spent some time in downtown Cheyenne and did a little site seeing before having an amazing lunch at Shadows Pub & Grill.JamesKonaWY

That evening we enjoyed dinner at Austin’s parents house with some of Ty & Austin’s friends.  It was a great time with a lot of interesting conversations as well as a lot of laughs!

Saturday morning we enjoyed a late breakfast at Little America, a really cool resort/hotel that had an excellent breakfast buffet.  After completely stuffing ourselves, we headed off to Vedauwoo Recreation Area in Medicine Bow National Forest to walk off the calories!  Upon arriving we decided to do the hike around Turtle Rock.  This is a hike we’d done on a previous trip to WY, so we were familiar with the trail and knew it would be strenuous, but not too bad!

Towards the end, most of us were dragging a little bit, but Mom and Ty decided to climb to the top of one of the rock formations to get a better view of the valley between Turtle Rock and the other mountains.  At first Austin, James, & I resisted climbing up with them, but eventually they got us to follow them up!  Dad on the other hand decided to stay below and enjoy the view from where he was.

After our hike around Turtle Rock, James and I stopped at the Tree in Rock historical marker along the  interstate between Vedauwoo and Cheyenne.  It was interesting to see the rock literally growing out of the tree and to realize it had been there for over 140 years!!  We then decided that before we picked up my parents (who had ridden with Ty & Austin back to Cheyenne) and headed back to Denver for the night, we’d visit the Wyoming State Capital building in downtown Cheyenne.

We’d briefly seen the capital from a distance Friday morning, but James really wanted to go there and take a few pictures.   One side of the building was under construction, but otherwise it was a impressive building with a lot of sculptures surrounding it!

After our brief foray to the capital, we met up with everyone else, said our goodbyes and with my parents in tow started back to Denver.   Due to our early flight, we had decided before coming out to Wyoming that we’d spend the night in Denver on Saturday so we wouldn’t have to get up as early to make it to the airport on time Sunday morning.  So, after making it to Denver by early evening and getting my parents the room they paid for (not some cheesy room with a twin bed and a TV that didn’t work), we all headed to bed pretty early.  The next morning we made it to the airport and checked in with time to spare, the flight left on time, and we were in the car and headed back to Kewanee by 12:30pm Sunday afternoon!

After arriving in Kewanee, my mom went and got Grandma Davis and brought her over to their house so James & I could see her and show her the pictures  from Wyoming.  We had a good time talking about our trip and just catching up before we needed to leave to head home.  Yet, as most people who know James know, we couldn’t “just” drive home, we had to take the roundabout way home.  This included taking some back roads to the west towards Sparland, IL before following the Illinois River down to Peoria and then Pekin before finally going a more direct route home!  On the way we drove through a wind farm and stopped to take some pictures, as well as going through Lacon just to view the water tower where you can still see where someone added some lines to make it the “B”acon water tower!