The DMV and Indiana Dunes NP

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I am in the process of relocating to the DC Metro area, otherwise known as the DMV, so I’m closer to family and away from the winters of Iowa. I had two primary goals for this trip: one, to find a place to stay and two, celebrate the publication of Recorded Solo Concert Spirituals with my family. I think I found an apartment in the area that would be available when I need it, but I won’t know for sure until September.

By Friday, I was able to take time to get my hair professionally done (I could almost hear the strands singing “thank you” afterwards) and visit my cousins on my mother’s side of the family. Then, on Saturday, I met colleague and former vocal coach Millicent Scarlett-Smith for lunch to catch up. Somehow, although I hadn’t planned on it, she left lunch with one of my last three books because I know she will use it with her students.

That night, my immediate family in the DMV joined me at a restaurant and celebrated the release of my book. It was a quiet affair compared to the launch of my first book, but I enjoyed spending the time with my family. My sister-in-law talked me into adding an extra day so that I could come to their house Sunday evening for dinner. She and I went to church that morning, and I got to see a display of a Grinnell newspaper article about the lifetime achievement award I received for my work from the Music Library Association that the members of the church had kindly put up. As my contribution to the family dinner, I baked German Chocolate Cake, a family favorite. I didn’t take a picture because the cupcakes I attempted looked awful but thankfully that didn’t affect the taste.

I bid my family and the DMV farewell Monday evening, getting caught in the dregs of the Memorial Day traffic. I had one stop planned on the return trip to a national park that seemed to be not too far off my normal route back to Iowa.

Indiana Dunes National Park is the type I’ve come to not like very much, one that is peppered with private property. I find that kind of park to be more difficult to enjoy any kind of scenic driving and it’s hard to find the areas that are part of the park. As usual, I made my first stop the park’s visitors’ center and talked with the rangers about how to take best advantage of the limited time I planned to spend there. I didn’t have a swimsuit and didn’t feel like having sand in my shoes all the way home, so I limited myself to sightseeing. Some of the pictures I got, including a couple of murals on display and one of several interesting houses, are below:

The entire set of pictures are available at

I wasn’t paying adequate attention to the time and got caught in Chicago’s evening rush hour traffic. Oh joy!! Still, I really enjoyed the trip.


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