25-Jun, Chicago to Winkle Family Reunion

The main reason for us taking this trip was to go to the Winkle Family Reunion, and this was the first day. Our plan was to pick up a car, go to Indiana Dunes National Shoreline, then head down to Parke County.

When we got up one of the first things we did was to check the weather, mostly for Indiana Dunes. It did look wet, so we decided to bypass that and think about going to Oak Park to visit the Frank Lloyd Wright House. We knew it would take about three hours to get down to the reunion, so it seemed we had plenty of time.

We packed up, checked out, then got onto the train for our last ride to the rental car agency. Upon arrival, we were a bit surprised to see a sign on the door saying that office was closed. Being directed a couple blocks south, we walked in that direction to find a (thankfully) open office. One agent was trying to work out a misunderstanding with a couple customers, and we went to the other agent. Things looked OK, but when I looked at the bill, it was twice what I expected. The agent couldn't figure out why there was such a large discrepancy, but it took until the other agent was finished with her customers to get everything straightened out, and for us to get the quoted rate.

Since getting the car had taken more time than we thought it would, we decided to just eat lunch (since it was about the right time) and drive straight down to the reunion. We did that, but along the way we realized we forgot about Indiana being on Eastern Time, while Illinois is on Central time, so instead of arriving at about 4:15pm, we would show up about when people were starting to gather for dinner.

Winkle Family Reunion

We arrived in Parke County, IN, found the house, and checked in. As it ends up, people were still trying to get things together for dinner, so we had plenty of time to introduce ourselves (neither of us knew anyone who was there at that time), find our room, and get settled. There were a few different places where people were staying, and we ended up at the house where people gathered for meals. Before dinner was served, we looked at a large family chart that Curt had printed which showed back a few generations. It was easy to find us since Melody's grandpa was the youngest of his brothers. It was still pretty early to match faces, names, and relationships, but we would refer back to the chart pretty often during the weekend.

After dinner we joined Ken, Ethan, Mya, Eleanor, and Abigail on a walk down by Sugar Creek. On the way back, as they went to the house, we went down to the covered bridge which was right there. We were able to walk both across and under it to get a good look, as well as read the sign which told the history of the bridge, as well as explain why bridges were covered (it protects them from the weather so they last longer).

After we returned to the house, it occurred to me that I wasn't getting a very good cell phone signal. In fact, I could get one bar in a few places, but it would quickly go to no signal. At one point I noticed I had voicemail from Kevin who wanted to coordinate what was going to happen the next day (he and his whole family were driving over from Paris, IL). I found one bar with the phone on a flat surface, so called him on speaker and didn't move the phone; we were fortunate the call didn't drop.

Later that night, Bill and Carola from Boise showed up, and we had met them before (Bill in Seattle, then both of them in Spokane last year), so it was good to see some familiar faces. Carola made sure that we had met everyone, and was good at finding common ground between us and other people so we would have a good place to start talking.

With everything squared away and people met, we were more than ready to get some sleep.