{ 3,700 miles+car+4.25 days = letterpress }


I know it's usually just a catchy little prase, but me and Kates ACTUALLY drove half way across the country last week. Provo to Fort Collins, Co. to Chicago, Ill. to Ann Arbor, Mich. And back. All to retrieve my lovely, new tabletop letterpress! Turns out, shipping isn't recommended for these bad boys becuase cast-iron is brittle and often cracks or breaks in shipping. Hence the road trip.

You might think that driving for almost 4 days straight (no worries, we did enjoy Chicago for a few hours Friday afternoon, and we spent a couple hours in Ann Arbor) would be tedious, boring and unenjoyable, but no! I know...I was as shocked as you! The trip was surprisingly pleasant, and left me with far more new loves than I ever could have anticipated.

First new love: Fireflies They are the most magical little bugs on earth. I definitely pulled off to the side of the freeway at my first site of them to enjoy their glow-y bodies outside the view of the car. Man...what a great invention.

Second new love: Iowa My good friend, Amy, currently lives in Iowa for grad school. When she first told me where she was going, I never could have imagined what little gem this state is! It just so beautiful. Green rolling hills accompanied by a blue sky with whispy clouds. Tons of lucious trees lining the freeway. Not to mention decorated water towers everywhere (my favorite was painted yellow with a smiley face on in -- thank you Adaire, Iowa) and beautiful warm summer nights with a touch of humidity that I surprisingly enjoyed. And, it has fireflies.

Third favorite: Chicago To break up the 4-day road trip, Kates and I decided to stop into Chicago to look around since neither of us had been there, and it was only like a 45-minute detour from our route to Ann Arbor. When some of my friends heard we were stopping in Chicago they, without fail, said things like "I love Chicago!!" or "That is my FAVORITE city!" or "Take me with you!!" I can now see why. We may have only gotten 4.5 hours in the city, but it had all the charm of a big city (big buildings, big parks, lots of people, good shopping) without the dirtiness, smelliness or slight cold-shoulderness of other big cities. Plus, it's right at the edge of Lake Michigan! Totally enjoyable. We ended up just walking around, up streets lined with big buildings, through the "Taste of Chicago" street fair going on, around parks and through fountains and by statues. And I bought a water-filled glittery bouncy ball in the gift shop at the Art Institute of Chicago. Definitely a well-spent 4.5 hours.

Fourth favorite: Ann Arbor, Mi. Did you know Ann Arbor is charming? A cute little organic town with a brick-lined downtown, tall trees, fun shops, great eateries and a small-town feel? Totally true. And. Bonus; fireflies. Ann Arbor was the previous location of my press (it is now located in my garage) so we got to Ann Arbor, picked up the press from the nice man Tony, then headed downtown to eat dinner at Zingermann's, a charming Deli, bakery and store. Turns out we weren't hungry for dinner when we got there though, so we just ate some cheese samples, gelato and bought some baked goods for the road. On our way out of town we spotted a fireworks show that was part of the town's summer festival, and pulled over to the side of a fire-fly filled field to watch it and finish off the night before driving back to Chicago. Perfect way to end a pleasing evening.

Our trip also included a couple books on tape, a couple DVDs, a stop at Winter Quarters to view the visitor center, cemetery and LDS temple there, and two nights and a Sunday brunch with my family in Colorado. Not too shabby for a 4ish-day trip.

The letterpress after getting it home. That skiddy-wompy "neet" card was my first attempt at using the letterpress. I have a feeling I'm only on the way up from here. For the record, the press (and it's extra components) fit perfectly into the back of the Subaru.

Wind farm in Wyoming. Don't you think windmills are beautiful?

View from a gas station in Nebraska. Also beautiful. Just not AS beautiful as Iowa.

NOTE: the midwest sells partially blended ethanol-enriched gasoline -- both better for the environment and cheaper (and just as fuel-efficient in my car). Win-win-win.

Cloud Gate in Chicago -- it's the shiny silver statue that looks like a giant bean.

The inside of cloud gate is hollow, so it affords cool reflective views like this.

We may or may not have laid down underneath it to see what it looked like.

Beautiful little boardwalk, oasis park in the city. It looked like a zen-garden walk, complete with feet-dipping stream. Katy's sister, Melissa (on Katy's right) met up with us for the Chicago-Ann Arbor leg of the trip.

Katy taking advantage of said feet-dipping stream.

Lunch -- Chicago deep dish, stuffed Pizza at Giordanos. They don't mess around.

Candid at one of the fountains near cloud gate in Chicago. There were SO many people walking around to cool off in this fountain (mostly kids, but I think we fit in OK). We took a posed pic too, but I like candids better, so I included this random shot taken by a nice stranger instead.
From left to right: Melissa, Nicki, katy

On the drive back -- the Winter Quarters visitor center.

Winter Quarters cemetery (it was lovely)

Winter Quarters temple...also, obviously, lovely.

Other good news, I completed my laptop cover on this trip. Two 13-hour driving days made for some good crocheting time.

I am just realizing I didn't take any pics while I was with my family. Silly. Also, all the pics of Ann Arbor I took are on Melissa camera and I have yet to get them from her. I will post some if ever they get into my hands, just so you can see the quaint loveliness for yourself.


Club Narwhal said...

iowa AND letterpress!?!?!?!? i am so jealous! and so sad that i didn't get to see you lovely ladies :) did i tell you that i took a letterpress class last semester and it was awesome??

Dave and Catherine said...

Giordano's is delicious!

Kare said...

Nicki, you go and such wonderful trips. You are a wonderful person.

Mattcobabe said...

Nicki Schmidt...I think all that I can say is, SO JEALOUS! Looks like so much fun, especially Chicago. And I think you are the first person I have talked to that liked Iowa, but I am not surprised (Nicki Schmidt loves everything).

K Pax said...

nickischmidt!!! that sounds like the greatest roadtrip ever! i wish i could've gone. i love and miss you lots!!!! we need to play!

54 canoe said...

we're already compiling our Christmas card list to send our fancy letter pressed cards too.

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