Thursday, September 2, 2010

Family Visits and a trip to Purdue

Roger here....  One of the reasons we decided to spend some time at Prophetstown State Park was its proximity to Lafayette, IN and Dianne's family.  We were hoping to spend some time with the "cousins," but as an added bonus, my younger brother, Dick, drove over from Ohio where he is starting a new job.

My brother is six years younger than me and is my only sibling.  (Dianne here:  The "old photo gremlin" strikes again, tee-hee...)

We have remained close our entire lives, frequently spending quality time on the telephone; however, his employment has taken him all over the country (Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Oregon/Washington, back to Ohio), but never near Dianne and me.  Our visits have been few and far between, so it was a great surprise when he told us he would be able to drive to Lafayette on Saturday.
He showed up in his newest toy (he has always collected toys) a Nissan 350 Z Touring Car.  I must admit that his high-performance, two-seat convertible is a head turner.  After a visit under the awning (talking about his wife who is coordinating the move from the West Coast and his son - a junior at Gonzaga), the two of us headed to our alma mater, Purdue University, just a few miles away (in his car - with the top down, of course).  I offered to drive our Toyota Matrix, but he would have nothing of it :-).  I was happy to have a seat belt and a handle to keep me wedged in the car.

We drove around campus looking at the newest construction, including the new Neil Armstrong Engineering Building (with a bronze statue of Neal in front).  Amelia Earhart is another famous Purdue alumnus. 

  We drove by the update of Mackey (basketball) Arena.  Mackey is no longer just a big circle, but has extensive wings attached to the original structure.  I've been told that fans will no longer need body armor to get to the concession stands at half-time.  We also stopped at a couple of the bookstores to check out the latest Purdue-wear.  I did do some damage, buying a t-shirt and a rain-proof hooded jacket.  Following our motor home rule, I discarded an old ratty jacket and a frayed t-shirt before bringing the new purchases into the motor home.  

Side note.... Rumor has it that Purdue's men's basketball team may be ranked number one in the nation in the pre-season polls.  Time will tell.

Before leaving the campus, we parked in the "village" and visited an iconic Purdue institution -  Harry's Chocolate Shop.  For all the non-Purdue people out there, Harry's is really not a chocolate shop, though that is a good thing for students to tell their parents.  Harry's, founded in 1919, is a bar.  Rumor has it, that the "chocolate shop" was a front for a speak-easy during prohibition!  Nonetheless, with a huge antique bar and a plethora of TV screens it is still quite the place.  On the way out I picked up some plastic beverage cups to use with our Indiana University friends when we see them next weekend :-).

Dick wanted to try out my new bicycle (a possible new toy), so when we returned from our short visit to the Chocolate Shop, he took it out for a spin.  I went along on Dianne's bike,  after removing the white basket and the yellow flower.  Shortly after the ride, he sped off to visit his mother-in-law near Indy.  It was great to see him.  Dianne's turn.....

Dianne here:  I am SO mad at myself!!!!   This is the second year in a row that I've had my cousins join us at Prophetstown State Park for a cookout, and for the second year in a row I forgot to take any photos while they were here!   I just get so excited to see them that I forget all about it.  Here is a photo of the empty chairs where we sat and enjoyed wine, beer, and conversation after dinner.

My cousin Charles and his wife, Leslie, live on the Robison family farm (now theirs) near Mulberry, Indiana.  They provided the delicious hamburgers from their own farm-raised beef.  Leslie also graciously brought me some zucchini, squash, and tomatoes from her garden.  What a treat!   My dear cousin, Becky, brought the best black bean/tomato/corn salad we've ever eaten, and apple-grape salad, too.  What an easy dinner for me!   All I had to contribute was dessert.  It was SO good to see Charles, Leslie, Becky, and her husband, Rich.

Becky, Charles, and I were "stair steps" growing up; all of our birthdays fall within a few weeks of each other in late August and early September, with Charles, then me, then Becky born a year apart.  We always celebrated our birthdays together at grandma's house as kids.  We spent so much time together as babies, toddlers, and kids growing up, that they seem more like brothers and sisters than cousins.  I promise that next year when we get together that I will not only put my camera by the door (like I did this year), but I'll wear it around my neck so I don't "space it" again.

After Roger and Dick had their "guy time" at Purdue and Harry's Chocolate Shop, Roger took me there for lunch.  I took his picture in the scarred wooden booth.  I wasn't expecting much at all, but I have to say my veggie sub was one of the best sandwiches I've had in my entire life!  It was soft+crusty bread, warm grilled vegetables and mushrooms and melted cheese.  YUM.

Sometimes I think we don't include enough photos of the "boys"; after all, our blog is entitled "Travel With Whippets."  Here's a shot of them doing what they do best on a hot afternoon.

We've really enjoyed our time here at Prophetstown, but now it's time to move south to Patoka Lake to meet up with Chuck, Cindy, Pat, and Audrey again for our final camping weekend of 2010.  We'll update again from there!

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