‘Are we there yet?”

Now there is a familiar phrase, one heard by anyone who has ever taken a trip with kids-or adults for that matter. But if you don’t travel too far and for too long, you won’t hear it too often. This year my annual post card from the Koseys on vacation to my readers finds us not traveling too far from home. So here goes.

Dear Friends,

This year we have decided to go to Utica, Illinois the site of Starved Rock NAtional Park for a three-day stay at the Grand Bear Lodge. Piled into the van with us were grandchildren Stephanie, Elena and Max (grandson Parker is still too young, and changing diapers would not constitute a vacation for me; but his time will come soon enough).

We all had enough stuff with us to stay for a week. I always overpack, even though Husband Joe contends whatever we need we can always pick up. My most important bag is the one containing my makeup, a book (which I never finish), my knitting (knitting a scarf in the heat keeps one thinking cool thoughts) and anything else I can’t leave home without, which varies from year to year. Husband Joe gets everything in his oversized gym bag; he travels light. The kids had a suitcase apiece-can’t mix their clothes.

Snacks in the car are a must, so we were well stocked with water, juice boxes and munchies. After all, we would be on the road for about an hour-and-a-half. You don’t want to dehydrate or starve. Then everyone piled into the van-Stephanie and her iPod, Elena with her book, and Max. He was way in the back, so we don’t know what he was doing, but we were good to go.

The ride was uneventful. Saw lots of farmland, which probably won’t be around much longer if the for sale signs are any indication of things to come. Development, development, development. We did manage to see a few horses, though.

We’re here! Arriving in Utica, we checked into our destination, the Grand Bear Lodge. It felt good to be able to stretch our legs. The lodge is relatively new to the area and offers everything for a family in one place. The big attraction is the indoor water park-not that I was going to go in the wave pool-but the rest of the group couldn’t wait to splash their way in and float around the Lazy River, or flop down the water slide.

It was very, very hot outside while we were at the lodge, but there was no reason to go outside, so we just stayed and enjoyed all there was to enjoy. The lodge also has an arcade, miniature golf course (too hot to play, though I know I would have made par-mini golf is my thing), activities, Jack’s Place Restaurant, Grizzly Bear Caf (I was able to have my coffee), the Honey Pot Sweet Shop, which provided ice cream and candy (the best salt water taffy ever).

There was a boat trip on the river so the Kosey crew (not me) learned a bit about the area and why it is called Starved Rock, the poor Indians.

The kids knew they said they learned it in school (those Riverside schools are so good), but now Husband Joe and I know too. It was too hot to do any hiking so our “hiking” was to and from the water park.

Had a great time, wish you had been there!

Get ready RB alums

This is the big weekend! The Blast from the Past Reunion for all Riverside-Brookfield High School alumni is being held at Kiwanis Park in Brookfield on Saturday, Aug. 12 from 3 to 8:30 p.m. A good time is being planned for all! Be there or be square! I can’t believe I wrote that!