Out West Trip Recap 4: Friends and Des Moines

The “storm chase” part of our trip rapidly turned into an extended vacation since there were no storms to be chased. We were in the Rapid City area so we decided to head further east to split up our drive home a bit. Thankfully, we have friends spread out all across the country and we met up with one of the groomsmen in our wedding and his girlfriend who happen to live in Vermillion!


They took us to their favorite restaurant in town – Cafe Brule. Delicious!


Can we talk about this potato dish? I still find myself day dreaming about it.


I also got to go into Hy-Vee! You all know how much I L.O.V.E. Hy-Vee.


We stayed with our friends and got up early the next morning to drive a few hours further east to Des Moines. AH! This was my first time back in DSM since we moved and it felt so good to be back! We saw lots of friends, visited our favorite spots and dined at our favorite restaurants.

When I moved to DSM, I was a little bit bitter. I’ll admit that I had a chip on my shoulder. I practically had my dream job right out of college and left St. Louis to be with Kevin, which was 100 percent my own decision and don’t blame him or anything. It was a rough adjustment and I will be the first to admit that I didn’t appreciate the city for all its worth. Now, I find myself homesick for DSM! It’s where we had our first home together, got engaged and adopted our little Gracie Girl. Des Moines will always mean so much to me.


We drove past our apartment and walked around like a couple of creepers. Not ashamed.


Then, we stopped by the bar where our engagement after party was.


We split their pretzels (which came in a to-go container?) and enjoyed a couple of beers on their rooftop patio. We spent the next couple of hours reminiscing about our favorite times in Des Moines, including our engagement party on that very rooftop.



For dinner, we headed to one of our favorite local restaurants – FONG’S! – with my previous coworker, Lindsey and her fiance. So good to catch up with them and eat delicious pizza! We shared a buffalo chicken pizza and their infamous crab rangoon pizza.


The night was young so we headed over to El Bait Shop after Fong’s for a few more beers. And then to Mickey’s for one more.


I woke up a big on the groggy side (vacation beer will do that to ya) but we got an early start so we could drive to St. Louis and spend time with my family (and see Grace!) in St. Louis.

(The view from our hotel room.)


I’ve missed QuikTrip so much too so we stopped by there to load up on their fountain lemon-lime Gatorade with extra crushed ice. Da besssssst.


And we saw one last storm cloud…


…Before making it to STL and giving our girl hundreds of kisses and hugs!


So, in case you missed it, we drove from Kentucky – Indiana – Illinois – Missouri – Kansas – Colorado – Wyoming – Montana – Wyoming – South Dakota – Nebraska – Iowa – Missouri – Illinois – Indiana – Kentucky. We drove 3,500 miles, got pulled over once, slept in our car once and only almost ran out of gas once. It was quite the adventure and I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with anyone else besides my hubby.

Vacation was AH-mazing but I think we were both excited to be back. And I was especially excited to get back since I started my new job the day after we got back!


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4 thoughts on “Out West Trip Recap 4: Friends and Des Moines

  1. Awesome road trip! You covered so much ground! We really enjoyed this (I read it out loud as Wyatt is mudding our drywall.) Glad you had a great time, and I appreciate your reflection on Des Moines (I get those feelings!).

  2. I’m impressed with how many states you drove through! How long was the whole vacation? How many states have you been to total?

    I’m moving across the country for a promotion next month. I was reading through your archives to see how much you wrote about all your big moves. It seems like you adapted well with each new place. Any advice? 🙂

    • Hi Courtney, first of all – SO sorry this took me so long to respond to! Our vacation was 9 days total, including stays in St. Louis. I’m not sure how many states I’ve been to now, I’ll have to add ’em up and get back to you on that!

      Congratulations on your promotion and big move! Big moves are hard and scary, but try to stay calm, make some lists and remember to take some deep breaths when you feel stressed – ha!

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