My dad has been an encouraging voice for me throughout the years, urging me through all of my weird and daring ideas. Even when we've butted heads, he's always insisted that I am capable of anything, armed with common sense and a “damn German” sense of perseverance. He insisted to me that his side of the family – though I never had the pleasure of meeting them – dreamed big and never gave up.
I've always been fascinated with my father's past, settling in to hear his stories over lengthy card games and crackling fires. “My mom was born in 1906, my dad in 1902,” he tells me. He shares stories of a small town in Iowa where his ancestors settled and where his boyhood was played out in a time when the world was entirely different.
He vowed that one day, for his 50th high school reunion, he'd go back.
Now it's my turn to make his dreams come true.
I'll confess that I know nothing about Iowa. I actually have no idea what to expect. What I do know is that we'll touch down in Chicago late one night and we'll wind our way through historic old towns with unfamiliar names.
Bettendorf, Wheaton, Eldon. A relatively short loop, but one rich with discoveries. Perhaps we'll walk across the Davenport Skybridge, explore the ruins of Joliet Ironworks, find mysterious meadows at Franklin Creek. Maybe we'll discover fame and fortune where American Pickers is filmed at the birthplace of Buffalo Bill. Have some tasty treats at the Candy Kitchen in Wilton. Shivering with goosebumps, we'll hear the whispered tales of Teresa Dolezal Feldevert's mysterious black angel.
As we close in on Cedar Rapids, I may see remnants of the old Amana Colonies and develop a clearer picture of my father's roots. He doesn't know it yet, but I plan to take a leap and soar with him on his first balloon ride! I want to see Grant Wood's American Gothic House. We'll tour Brucemore, where quirky Howard Hall kept a pet lion.
We'll sit in the same shops that my dad sat in, meet up with childhood friends and distant relatives, comparing pictures from half a century ago.
It seems fitting, doesn't it? Father and daughter on a midwest road trip, side-by-side, comparing and contrasting the past with the future. I can hardly wait.
Here's where I need your help. My dad and I are taking the trip one way or another, but we're working with Go RVing and are in the running to WIN a travel stipend and an RV to use during our trip. In an RV, dad and I would have the freedom to go at our own pace (important as he's almost 70 and I'm…well…not so spry myself) and the flexibility to make impromptu stops. But that's not all. Anyone who votes will be entered to win one of two prizes of $500 to put towards their own adventure. So, by my calculations, it's a win-win!
I would so, SO appreciate it if you would click here and vote for us daily from May 1-May 31.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Go RVing via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.