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Simply Smiles provides bright futures for children, families, and communities. The organization partners with populations in need to create physical and emotional environments where suffering is alleviated and from which local leaders can emerge.

Simply Smiles blog

Follow our blog and read insights from Simply Smiles staff, volunteers and other individuals whose lives are affected by our work!

#bigredbus - The Bus Chronicles, Pt 3

Timothy Nurnberger



Good morning, everyone! It is the morning of day 4 of the #bigredbus trip, and what a four days it's been. Yesterday, we tackled the remaining portion of Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconson. I'm writing now from Sparta, WI, about an hour away from the Wisconsin Dells.

After a five-star night in Indiana (well, compared to the Hotel du Horror), we hit the road for Illinois. Of course, since we knew we'd hit the Chicago Skyway highway before lunch, our mix tape of choice was one of exclusively Kanye West tracks (with 'Wanderer' by Blues Traveler thrown in at the end). The drive started off without a hitch, until we came to realize two things: 1. Traffic on the Chicago Skyway makes I-95 rush hour look like a Daughters of the American Revolution luncheon and 2. Indiana's tolls are not only unnecessarily close together, but are surprisingly low-tech. We hit traffic around noon and it didn't break up for about an hour and a half. Which, in a normal vehicle, is frustrating but manageable. Let me reiterate the "no air conditioning" aspect of the good ol' #bigredbus, as well as Chip's ever-increasing energy level (which was our fault, really, for buying him a Chuck-It at a Petco in Indiana and letting him get a peek). So, as Kanye dropped beats and sweat beaded off of all of our faces, we passed the incredible Chicago skyline and were rewarded with a tremendous downpour of rain that cooled everything off immediately. Thanks, traffic gods!

Illinois lasted a long time, and a lot of tolls, so for Chip and Maddie's sake we stopped at a little state park for some Chuck-It throwing. We learned here that if Maddie was a high-schooler, she'd be the captain of the lacrosse team. If Chip was a high-schooler, he'd play the oboe and wear a retainer. Let's just say sports aren't his 'thing'. Here's Maddie after lacrosse practice - oops, I mean Chuck-It throwing:



Nice and tuckered out. We were pretty tuckered out too, so once we hit Wisconsin, we started looking for a hotel. The problem with Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin is that there is water, water everywhere but not a thing to drink - meaning, there are about a million hotels, but none of them allow dogs. Finally, after deciding to move away from the Dells' tourist attractions, we trucked on to Sparta, WI, where I redeemed by Hotel du Horror honor (I forgot to tell you guys that that disgusting hotel reservation was booked by yours truly, oops) by making us reservations at a perfectly acceptable place that allows dogs and has a pool. Woo!

Today's plan is to motor through Wisconsin and into Minnesota. Man, the states on this side of the country are big!



Until next time, I remain your faithful blogger.

- Haley