My Van Life: Day 30

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Downers Grove, IL - South Bend, IN - Greenfield, IN


Van Life is officially back on! After over a week in Downers Grove, a week that went by much too quickly, we are officially back to our travels and back on the road in our little home on wheels. After successfully managing to sprawl half of our present belongings all over the guest room, I was expecting our entire morning today to be spent packing the van back up again but truthfully it wasn’t too bad. I managed to make a few trips back and forth before Adam even woke up this morning and we were all packed and ready to go by 8:30am. We even managed to refill our water tank. I should also mention Adam and his dad took the van to the car wash last night and after 2+ hours washing it both inside and outside, she was looking and feeling good as new this morning. Ready to hit that dusty trail – quite literally.


We had one final stop before really leaving Downers Grove and that was Stan’s Donuts. Imagine my surprise when we pulled up to the donut shop, procured our donuts (somehow making the incredibly difficult decision out of the dozens of amazing and unique flavors), sat down to enjoy them only to realize – thanks to a small blurb on the side of the donut box – that Stan’s is in fact an LA establishment that migrated out East to Chicago. Could you believe it?? Well whether they’re a Chicago original or not, Stan’s is pretty darn good. I especially liked the Birthday Cake Flavor. It was just a donut weekend now wasn't it after yesterday’s BB’s Baby Donuts for Logan’s birthday. Although those don’t really count, they’re like one bite each.

With bellies full of donuts we now felt confident in taking flight and bidding adieu to our lives of luxury. How we will miss thee. How Coco will miss thee! On today’s agenda we had every intention of driving to South Bend to see Notre Dame, then driving South to Knightstown to see the Hoosiers Gym and then shooting out east and landing just outside of Columbus, Ohio. I’m happy to report we did approximately one of those things. Yes, you read that correctly, ONE. LOL.

Neither of us realized we officially crossed over into the Eastern Time Zone during our drive so we lost an hour out of a travel day that we already started later than we would have liked. At the same time it was one of those days where I’m not 100% positive where the day went? We did briefly detour this morning into Chicago to pick up our souvenirs (magnet for the van fridge and sticker for our Yeti at home), which definitely ate up some time navigating the busy city streets. Then of course gas stops, the grocery store, all that eats up time little by little. Once we finally arrived in South Bend it was already pushing 4pm (shoutout to that hour we lost) and we were more transfixed by the beautiful campus than I think either of us originally thought we would be.

When I was a little girl I had dreams of going to Notre Dame, I’m not sure why exactly other than I really liked the mascot and the school colors plus my lifelong fascination and love for the French language likely had something to do with it but when the time came, I didn’t even apply to this dream school of mine. Having the chance to walk around campus today was a special experience. I’ll admit in those moments I can’t help but feel a twinge of guilt. I had such lofty goals for myself as a young girl and I don’t always feel as if I truly lived up to my potential. Not that there was anything wrong with the University I attended, but there’s a little voice in my head saying “what if…” That little voice was practically shouting today as we walked around campus, and I couldn’t help but feel the anticipatory giddiness that going back to school brings – namely at the University level.


I’m just far enough away from college where I still feel pangs of nostalgia for the life that was, the life that was not too long ago even. Before I get too engrossed, let me remove myself from this cloud of remorse and return back to the present moment. We spent some time on campus before hitting up the local grocery store to stock up on food for our week ahead. We had heard from family members that there wasn’t a whole lot to South Bend outside of Notre Dame and I must say, they weren’t wrong. It sure feels like a college town and by college town I mean the college literally is the town.

With groceries secured for the week we drove down the street to pick up dinner, knowing neither of us had the energy nor wherewithal to cook that evening plus we had some more driving to do. Unfortunately the Hoosiers Gym I wanted to visit in Knightstown isn’t open on Sundays so we made the call after dinner to find a nearby Walmart and post up for the night so we can get some shut eye and wake up bright and early to see this local landmark before starting the work day.


We’re at the point in our trip where we’re running up against some time constraints so we have to be especially planful. We’re hoping, based on what we mapped our tonight, that we can make it to Maine by Friday and then we’ll have a little less than two weeks to pop down to Florida before heading back out West. We need to be in Las Vegas (as of right now, assuming nothing changes with COVID restrictions), for Adam’s sister’s Bachelorette party by September 16th which is really only a little over a month away if you can believe it. We’ll make it happen, I’m confident (but slightly anxious) about us achieving our little road trip goals.

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