Welcome to Massachusetts!

Ben’s Boston Trip Travel Log 8/2/2003-

Saturday, August 2, 2003 – I got up this morning about 7:30 which has been my normal weekday rising time this summer. I had made a pretty big list of things the night before that I needed to get together before we headed out on our annual summer vacation, so I was soon busy running about the house trying to get everything I needed done before we left. This year we’re going to hit a family reunion for my mom’s dad’s family in West Bend, Iowa before continuing on the rest of our trip, because of this my youngest sister, Josie, rode down with my uncle Jim so she was not along for the first part of our trip which was also shorter than usual. It took us only a few hours to move south through Minnesota and into Northern Iowa. We spent most of our time settling into the car and listening to some music. After arriving in West Bend and checking into our rooms in the new hotel their we met a number of our relatives for snacks in the park across the street which is home to West Bend’s claim to fame the Grotto of the Redemption. At five o’clock we all got together for dinner in the hotel’s conference room and continued catching up with each other (the last time we all got together was for a reunion in 1994.) At seven we all moved out to a farm outside of West Bend where we had a beautiful outdoor Mass and then a campfire with entertainment and stories provided by each of the families. I had a great time catching up with a number of my second cousins and hearing what they have all been up to. There were also some fantastic photographic opportunities to be had and I can hardly wait to see how the photos I took turn out. Later in the evening those of us still around made some fantastic s’mores over the campfire before heading back to the hotel for the night.

Sunday, August 3, 2003 – We all slept in a little bit this morning and then headed over to the park at nine where we had fresh made to order omelets; and of course, more socializing. Our family headed out about eleven and headed East across the state of Iowa, the sky has just been beautiful all across the state, a light blue with big white clouds just popping out of the sky. In Cedar County I took over the driving while they watched Clueless and John Q. in the backseat. There was a lot of construction going on I-80, and our progress was slowed even more by about half an hour of torrential rainfall, which I later heard had temporarily closed some city streets in Chicago. Once we got to New Lennox, IL we decided to stop for dinner at a local family restaurant. After filling up with food and fuel we continued on through Illinois and Chicago paying a thirty cent toll as we passed the lights of the city. We quickly passed the state line and were into Indiana. I was navigating with my dad driving as the others started to watch the movie Ghost in the backseat, after examining the maps for a bit I decided our best bet was to get on the toll road continuing East to South Bend, IN. It was quite a full day and by the time we got to South Bend I had already called ahead and made a reservation for us to stay the night. I was quite exhausted and soon in bed for the night.

Monday, August 4, 2003 – Noah is anxious to get on the road this morning and get to Sandusky, Ohio; home of Cedar Point amusement park. We were all out of bed by 8:30 and downstairs by about 9:20 for an excellent free continental breakfast. At about ten we were packed up, checked out and on the road headed east again. While the people in the back finished up the movie Ghost I continued to navigate for my dad. We soon were out of Indiana and changing our clocks for daylight savings time; although Indiana is in the Eastern Time Zone they do not use DST so during the summer months they have the same time as the Central Time Zone. After getting a little ways into Ohio we stopped for some coffee, to stretch and change drivers. With Anna at the helm we continued our journey Eastward through the vast agricultural land of Northern Ohio. We got to Sandusky around 2:40 and started looking for a place to spend the night. After looking and calling hotels unsuccessfully we decided to drop Noah off at Cedar Point because he could get in with his Valleyfair season pass and the rest of us went out for dinner at Steak n’ Shake. While natives to cities where Steak n’ Shake’s exist may not be excited by the prospect of visiting one, when you only see them once a year or less it’s a little bit more of an event to eat there. We eventually found a room that would accommodate us closer to the turnpike and further from the city of Sandusky than where we had originally looked. After getting our things into our room we headed back out to Cedar Point to join Noah for a starlight admission buy one get one free deal. Everyone except Noah rode on “Raptor” the inverted coaster, and then we met up with Noah and rode “Mean Streak” one of the largest, longest and fastest wooden coasters in existence. Unfortunately, after that ride most of the park closed down due to thunderstorms in the area, we stuck out the first dousing of rain; but when it looked like it would be rainy the rest of the night we decided to head back to the hotel where Josie went for a swim well the rest of us watched Goldfinger on my laptop before getting some sleep.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003 – After getting up and eating a quick breakfast at the hotel we again took off down the Ohio Toll Road pushing further eastward. It was Anna’s turn to watch a movie so we set up my laptop in the car and proceeded to watch Catch Me If You Can while we moved through the rest of Ohio and into Pennsylvania. Before long the movie was over and Pennsylvania was behind us as we drove onward into Upstate New York. We decided it was a good thing that we hadn’t tried to go back to Cedar Point today as we ran into more rain all the way through Eastern Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and upstate New York. Yesterday we discussed if we should take a northerly or southerly route through New York and I suggested going out on the Northerly route with a brief stop in Rochester, NY to look at Rochester Institute of Technology, where I’m interested in looking at the graduate program, and coming back from Boston along the more mountainous southerly route. I am somewhat disappointed that we won’t be able to spend much time in Pennsylvania during this trip, as I recall the last few times we were out to the East Coast I truly enjoyed driving through the rolling Appalachian Mountains so eloquently showcased in that state. After getting some information on the M.S. IT program at RIT we got back on the New York State Thruway and mom took over driving while we watch The Day of the Jackal on my laptop. The last time we were in upstate NY was on our Niagara Falls trip several years ago and I had forgotten what the scenery looks like. With all the trees bordering the toll way it reminds me a lot of traveling through northern Minnesota. Unfortunately, it’s continued to rain and be a rather dark and dim day, we don’t seem to be able to escape this weather, I’m sure it doesn’t help that we’re headed East, the same direction as the weather, but it would be nice to see some sun again. Hopefully once we stop in Boston for a few days the weather will have time to pass and we’ll have some sun for a change. I’m took the last shift of driving tonight, after a stop for dinner outside of Albany, NY I drove us across the border into West Springfield, MA. In the backseat they watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off while we crossed out of New York and into Massachusetts. It was very dark and rainy so it took longer than we had originally anticipated but we eventually got to West Springfield around 10:30 and promptly fell into bed.


  1. Hey Ben seems like you’re living a pretty normal life over their in Massachusetts. I lived their for like 6 years and never had a dull moment 🙂 Try hitting up Sandy’s downtown!