Mission to Mars

Jenne was one of the first people that I met in college. We lived on the same hall in our freshman dorm, and she and her roommate and I and mine were the only ones to show up to the newcomers ice cream social. We stayed friends those four years and beyond, but though we’ve kept in touch, I haven’t seen her since the summer we got married on the same weekend and missed each other’s weddings.

So it was an exciting treat to get to visit her and Nate and their three boys. And to visit Mars of course. Who wouldn’t want to go to Mars?

The climate was quite hospitable, though a little hot, and our journey there was fraught with the stuff of great space movies… a delayed launch, unexpected difficulties along the way, an uncooperative crew, and the tension builds until finally a safe arrival. Ok, so it wasn’t exactly Apollo 13… more like a bit of a slow start in the morning, tons and tons of road construction, not choosing the best route, and really cranky kids with a day-after-an-amusement-park hangover. We were a bit frazzled when we finally got to Mars.

Parked at a rest stop to cook a couple cans of raviolis for lunch. It is very convenient that the stove part can be opened without putting the whole trailer up, making it possible to cook without setting camp like this. 

But what would a mission to Mars be without a little drama along the way? Mars, Pennsylvania of course. A quaint little community in the suburbs of Pittsburgh with both a sense of nostalgia for the past and a sense of humor about their name. We saw both as we walked through town… lots of nice old buildings, a little market, and a space ship on the corner. Well, you have to stop and take lots of pictures at the space ship, right?

Emelie, Bradley and Bryson all wanted to be at the top. King of the… flying saucer?

Family picture on the Mars space ship

The whole gang

Look, no hands!

We had a great weekend with old friends. Friday night when we arrived (much later than planned) we spent a little bit of time at the local pool. Saturday we explored Mars, bought cookies at a great little bakery, let the kids play in the backyard, and even met some of their friends at a campfire/movie night party they were hosting. Sunday morning we went to the church where Nate is the pastor and grabbed a quick lunch before getting back on the road. We were bound for Ohio – the second state on our cross-country adventure!

Swimming is always a hit, especially for kids who have been in the car much too long!

A boy and a swing… pure joy.

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