The Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery

On my travels through the Midwest this summer, I found myself drawn to the life and times of the great man and then President, Abraham Lincoln.  And since Illinois is his home turf, it is a treasure trove of anything and everything connected to him. Some happier than others, but none the less, still worth a visit. One of those quiet and somber places was the Cemetery named in his honor.

rsz_img_6817rsz_1img_6831

Located in Ellwood, IL, covering 982 acres (yes this place was HUGE), it is easily accessible and about 50 miles outside Chicago. It was dedicated in 1999 by the Department of Veteran Affairs, and is found on the grounds that formerly was the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant. Which does make me curious how that works…

rsz_img_6821 (1)rsz_img_6823 (1)

Ironically it was named after the 16th President, yet he wasn’t buried or moved here. He can be found at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, which I also spent time at- BEAUTIFUL place!

rsz_img_6834

What makes this Cemetery revolutionary is that in 2015, the FIRST American federally approved monument was made to honor LGBT Veterans. VERY cool!

rsz_img_6826 (1)rsz_img_6854

I visited on a summer day, no admission required, just a simple drive in.  I stayed away from any burials going on, to pay my respects to so many there, and to see the Lincoln statue in the garden that was made.

rsz_img_6836 (1)rsz_img_6829

The statue is beautiful, inspirational words surround him, and it is worth a stop to see. It was quiet, peaceful, and I felt the love around me.  I encourage you to visit, thank you for stopping by!

rsz_img_6843rsz_img_6844 (1)

Thank you for your support!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Disney, Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

$1.00

Applying for my First Passport in 2021

I am not going to lie, I had no idea where to start. I assumed forms were involved, probably some legal documents, a picture to be taken, and that cool blue book you get!  I have been wanting to get mine for years now but I never booked anything outside the Country for it to matter so here we are.  It’s not the year I would have chosen in hindsight, but I feel like it’s a “Now or never” thing in case I want to visit Mexico and (borders open hopefully) Canada during my 48 States travel. My mom lives near the border in Texas, and I have friends in Michigan and New York that could show me some of Canada, so I thought it would be smart to at least HAVE it in case it worked out.

The first step is finding your State’s Passport site. Here is the paperwork you will need, and I HIGHLY suggest you fill it out online and print it out. You have more time to do it at home, can make sure it is all correct and just go over the fine details. If you wait to fill it out at the Post Office or wherever you get yours done, it will just take twice as long. And honestly you don’t want to be there longer than you have too, so again, I recommend doing it at home. I filled my paperwork out, saved the file, and then printed it when I had the ink.  DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING until you are at the location you are submitting it. There are rules to follow on this and trust me, it’s just easier to follow them and not have to repeat anything twice.

Now on the application, it asked me what Countries I would be visiting and for how long, and I left it blank. I assumed that when I got to the Post Office they would tell me if that was required or not. They asked for my spouse’s information, and also parent’s. I added what was necessary, left blank what they said wasn’t.  Took about 20 minutes to fill it out online and then they show you how to save it, print it out, and then what it will cost you to submit it and any other forms needed to complete it.

IMG_7991

For the picture part, they “say” you can do it at home but it’s tricky on what they are looking for, and for making sure you get the 2×2 size correct. I decided to head to Walgreens instead, just walked in, no appointment needed, and asked at the Photo Lab if they could do my Passport photo. Here is the funny part, they pulled down the white backdrop IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORE!  Not in the photo lab corner, not in a private room behind the counter, nope, let’s do it in front of the cigars! LOL  Thankfully I went early so there were few in the Store, she took it with a digital camera, stuck the SD card in the one hour machine, printed it out…and took all of 5 minutes for her to make it the correct size and me $15 lighter. Odd way to do it, but they give you two of them, so hey, if you want to remember your ugly passport photo besides on that very important document, YOU CAN!

Next you need to make an appointment at the designated Passport place. I chose the Post Office nearby, making sure I had my birth certificate, copy of it too, the paperwork from online, and the picture. Now I brought cash and a debit card because it was a bit confusing online what payment they would accept- it had to be a money order for the government but you can buy it right there at the Post Office.  I worried, what if I can’t? All that work to that point and be like “just kidding I can’t pay for it.” 

IMG_E8107

Mine asked me to be 15 minutes early, so I was, and because they had “no shows,” I was allowed in the unmarked door as soon as I arrived. I wasn’t sure where to check in, so I just waited in the line of people until I could “check in” with the available employee. We sat in a little office, masks on AND a clear partition up, and he went over my paperwork.  I was asked if I was me, and then showed me what to write and where to sign.  What took me by surprise is that he took my REAL birth certificate and the copy as well.  I was told I would get my birth certificate back 10 days after my passport came.  Ok, glad I didn’t need it for anything else. LOL He stapled it all together, stamped some of it, and I was escorted to his window in the Main room to pay for it.  $146 total for the Post Office $35 fee and then the $111 fee for the Passport itself. (I chose the book- you can get a smaller version for just certain Countries, but I thought, meh, I would then have it if for some reason I want to leave the Country again in the future.) He printed out the money order, I signed it over, they tell you specifically who it must be made out too, and then you get the receipts of everything and now my Passport wait’s to be born. I have been told about 3 months, I leave June 1st hence why I did it now so hopefully I get it in time or Craig will have to forward it to me somewhere on the road. So today is January 12th, I will let you know when I get it so you know how long they are taking. Oh, and they last 10 years, so that’s a pretty good investment for how long you have. Once the 10 years are up, you just need to renew it.

All in all, pretty easy to apply for, submit, and now it’s just the waiting game. Just very happy that piece in this giant jigsaw puzzle of an adventure is taken care of. Now, on to the next!

Thank you for your continued support!!

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

$1.00

Coming across my Namesake on the Road…this is Falkville, Alabama

So imagine driving one day, just enjoying the scenery, red vines in hand, and a sign catches your eye. “Falkville” in 10 miles…. I’m sorry, what? See, it’s my maiden name and I just about slammed on my brakes from disbelief! A town, a city, after my namesake? It’s one thing to see your name on a street sign, or on a business, but a WHOLE city? I was SO excited!!!

rsz_img_0989

Located in Alabama, Falkville is a small town in Morgan County outside of Huntsville (where Space Camp is located). The town was incorporated three times- in 1876, 1886, and in 1898. With a population of 1,248, the town is small but from the feel of their website, they boast a family feel, and I am ALL for that!

rsz_img_0991

I had no plans of stopping here, but my curiosity got the best of me.  Were there a bunch of Falks running around? Did they look like me? Yes, this is what I had in my head….keep in mind I had been driving for weeks at that point, so my imagination just went wild and I followed it.

rsz_img_0994

I drove into town, pulling over and taking pictures of what looked interesting to me. It seemed pretty quiet, so it was pretty easy to look around.

rsz_img_0995_4

I have to tell you a funny story that happened to me and what the difference in my excitement in something is someone else’s “whatever.”  On the way out, I pulled over to their combination of a Welcome Center and Florist (no seriously).  I walked in, they all just stared at me like I had three heads and I asked “Hi, my last name is Falk, and I wondered if you had anything with your Town’s name on it for me to buy?”  The gal then says “No….try the Dollar General.”  No smile, no hospitality, basically if I wasn’t buying flowers they didn’t care. Yeah, this was TWO years pre-covid.

rsz_img_0997

Well, I tried to bring my Falk rear end to Falkville, smile on my face, even after I left town with nothing buy photos on my phone.  I will tell you that I sent my Uncle and Dad a nice 8×10 of the towns welcome sign, and maybe it’s silly, but I still was VERY proud to be a Falk in that town for the day.

Thank you for believing me!!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Disney, Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

$1.00

My Top Ten Favorite Disney Snacks

Upon moving here back in 2011, I knew that I would enjoy every Disney treat I could get my hands on, hence why my weight is all over the place these days. Nothing would put a bigger smile on my face then being handed one of the below snacks and taking a stroll with them, or finding a quiet corner enjoying them while working on my phone. Here are my favorites….enjoy!

*Citrus Swirl….Orange soda and ice cream, the perfect duo!

rsz_img_2894

*Mickey Waffles with anything- ice cream preferably

rsz_img_4153 (1)

*Raspberry Dole Whip…bascially pineapple juice and any kind of ice cream makes this so delicious!

rsz_img_9271 (1)

*Egg Rolls from Yak and Yeti….they are just yummy!

rsz_img_e3103

*Popcorn from any Disney Park….it’s the perfect walk and snack…pre-covid anyways.

rsz_img_3674 (1)

*The Night Blossom at Pandora….I just LOVE those Boba balls!

rsz_img_3110

*The Mickey Bar…..a classic, this is not up for debate.

rsz_img_3171

*Cinnamon Roll at Gaston’s….there’s a reason the line is ALWAYS long here!

rsz_img_4128

*Chewabacca Cookie….Chewy you say?

rsz_img_4374

*School Bread in Norway… is it bread? Is it a donut? We don’t know, we don’t care- it’s delicious!

10488141_878632962166137_8395604738670207212_n

Thank you for your support!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Disney, Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

$1.00

Whoever Needs to Hear This…. It’s Ok to Travel Solo

I don’t know how society got it in their heads that traveling, living life, doing anything “solo” is somehow a bad thing.  I have traveled plenty a time with my immediate family, my family circle, friends, and so on. So MANY differences of when you do it alone vs with someone else, and I just wanted to break down MY experiences with it so you know that is OK to do so. (Not that you need my advice or permission, you are a grown adult, do what you feel like LOL)

0174

First, every decision is mine. When to wake up, to leave, to drive, to pull over, to eat, and so on.  I am not asking the back seat, up and down through every State, who has to use the restroom, who needs to eat, and so on.  As you can tell, I have driven across the Country with my hubby and kids, and I can tell you that the freedom in being able to make an adventure about yourself and no one else is pure bliss.

Second, people think you will get lonely. Now, that depends on who you are. In the great words of Pumbaa “I’m a sensitive soul, but I seem thick skinned.” So it wouldn’t matter who is with me or not, I see something that makes me sad, I cry. And when I get lonely, and for me, yes it happens, I go online and chat with my friends, I call my family, I Facetime or Marco someone, and I feel better. No one is really ever alone when you have the Internet.

rsz_img_8596

Third, there are MANY like you traveling alone so get out of your comfort zone and talk to them. Now, be safe, we don’t need anyone “Datelined” on their journey, so don’t give out personal things like where you are staying or that you’re even alone. Someone can be waiting for you at the room, getting gas, etc. while you talk or meet someone. My point? This World is still a scary place, but a beautiful one with still good people in it. Choose wisely.

IMG_2279

Last but not least, a journey with you and the Mother Road is food for your soul when it is just you and it. There is no one to talk too, if you choose, and that means talking to yourself and making peace with the demons in your head. It can be an empowering, soul searching mission which changes your life, BECAUSE you went alone. Taking the distractions out of our paths makes room for the clear vision we all need. Whether it’s letting go of emotional or physical stuff, it is in that time we build ourselves up to be better and brighter individuals and THAT is why going solo can be the best thing for anyone.

General IL2

I hope this has made sense, and that it isn’t coming off as a rant. I KNOW traveling with others can be just as fulfilling, I have made many a trip like that as well. But sometimes the scariest person we don’t want to travel with is the mirror looking back at us…. trust me, do it, it will change your life!

Thank you for your support!!

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

$1.00

That Time I Met “Tiffany”

It would be 2011 where I found myself sitting in a home amongst like minded Disney friends, chatting about the events of the area. A friend spoke up and said “I think I am going to the Survivor event.”  My ears perked up… I am a HUGE Survivor fan, what now?  He went on to show me online an event held by “Hearts of Reality” which brought Reality Stars from Survivor, Big Brother, Amazing Race, and so on to the city of Celebration for a charity weekend that supported the wonderful “Give Kids the World.”  I was hooked, and went every year from 2011 on, missing 2017 when I had briefly lived back in WI for a bit. 

IMG_1474 (3)

Then they announced they were having the 80s Pop Singer “Tiffany” amongst the rest of the Reality Stars, I jumped not only on the event, but I volunteered for the first time. I figured I would be able to do more with my time helping, than standing in line for hours (which I did every year prior).  .

I enjoyed helping them set up for the autograph event, meeting Omar and new friends though the process of the day.  Then the Survivors and Racers showed up and I was geeking out….it was hard to wrap around my brain that I was talking about the weather with Boston Rob. LOL And then she sat down….the bubble gum pop Princess of so many moments in my teenage years.  Trying to make heads or tails of basically meeting one of your pop icons was quite hard to grasp. 

11836763_1114564755239622_1477068955657370595_n

I had to “work” sort of speak, so my interaction with her was “Can I get you a water?” and so on. I was professional, until the end. The perks of volunteering is that towards the end of the event, we would get our own stuff autographed and get pictures with the Celebs.  I immediately went to Tiffany first, introducing myself and telling her how much I enjoyed her music. She asked if I was going to the 80s Karoke party that night, and I said yes and that I had hoped she would sing at it.  She then asked me to crouch down and said “I can’t, I’m under contract now, but I can sing to you.”  And like a dream unfolding in front of me… she sang “I think we’re alone now…” with a couple bars of it. Just me and her, nobody else was paying attention to us.  It. Was. Amazing.

11822337_1114379011924863_7840707623834619945_n11887871_1117637868265644_1984149321728861190_n

IMG_1615 (4)

At the 80s party that night, I was dancing and drinking with the Reality stars, and then Tiffany walked in with her people.  I just happened to glance at her and she said “Hey Amy!” and I remember waving and saying “Hey Tiffany” and that was all.  She went her way and I went mine and I was like “Wow, that just happened.”

11878936_1115393988490032_114105049662825846_o

She would months later be singing at the “Eat to the Beat” concert in Epcot, and I sat with a big smile, singing away.  Pre-Covid, these events and moments were WY I moved to Florida. I mean, who wouldn’t want to meet their 80’s Pop Icons? Thanks for stopping by!

10406627_1157741354255295_4517986549921506144_n

Thank you for believing me!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Disney, Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

$1.00

Let the Planning Begin

So, you have this idea. Nothing new to many, but new to me. Let’s travel all 48 States within a year (ish) and hopefully get to the hard 2 sometime next year. To dream this is easy, one simply must let their mind wander and voila, the idea is born. But like birthing a child, the idea is fun and great, then the realization comes hard after.  I have stuff to buy, I have things to prepare for, and then the actual day will come….

I am a planner. I cannot help it, it is in my blood. I look at a scenario, a dream, a goal and think “How do I get there?” and plan everything from day one to day one hundred and one because it makes me feel safe.  I wish I could just hit the road, drive wherever and whenever, but due to weather, timing, and people I am staying with, that’s just not possible with something as huge as this. 

IMG_7852

My team and I sat at a Panera yesterday with all sorts of maps to write on, reference, etc…and as I ate my delicious Chicken and Wild Rice soup with my Cobb Salad, I started to cry.  They probably thought I had lost my mind, easy enough with something like this, but I just simply said “What if I can’t do this?”

Folks, I am not going to apologize for my soft soul- she’s been with me since day one.  I am an Empath, and if you don’t know what that is, just google. I feel everything, and it is annoying. I am strong, but there are days when the tears don’t want to hold back and it just feels better to release them than pretend everything is fine.  It’s funny what we hold onto in our heads….I had a former boss tell me that I was weak for crying. I haven’t worked there in 11 years and I can still hear her in my head. People will tell you that words don’t hurt, just blow it off and get thick skin…some of us can, some of us can’t.

So anyways I had a moment of disbelief in myself, it passed, but this is bigger than I have ever dreamed before and it’s exciting at the same time. Do you know how hard it is to plan a trip like this and TRY to avoid the snow? Yeah, I know, you can laugh. But this Wisconsin girl thinks it’s pretty to look at, but hence why I have been in FL for most of the last 10 years- cold and dark isn’t for me.  It was like a war zone preparing for battle…charts all over the Restaurant table, every scenario we tried still had me ending up somewhere that wouldn’t work.  And it’s not even about GETTING to a particular State, but then finding what I want to do there and how it works to seeing people and the route that it is or isn’t on.

IMG_7322

And then during the last hour, the last clean map we had to draw on, we came up with a plan that I THINK is going to work.  And so begins locking in people to stay with, to see, to meet. Finding a plethora of cheap hotels and then also campgrounds to stay even cheaper so I can stay at the NICE places in Vegas or New York City (Pretty sure this is where having Exclusive Travel Partners as my Travel Agents will be AMAZING!). Safety being priority one.  I started a notebook for National Parks, places that are haunted, film and tv locations, famous graves and historical parts. State Capitals would be nice to see in each State, along with what makes THAT State special.  I have a great eating and exercise plan started that I have already begun so that I am a good routine of keeping it as I travel on the road.  Basically I want to leave my fun calories to meals with friends and new restaurants I have never tried. Sleeping will be the challenge…I will have aids to help but it’s never your bed at home, so I will have to just suck it up and do my best.  It’s just part of the adventure, right? And then there will be the packing part, the prep my car for the long journey part, and also preparing my mind and soul part so that all of these wonderful pieces fit into this giant puzzle of a dream. Easy peasy lol.

IMG_E1023

I was asked yesterday “You are going by yourself?!?!” Can I ask yall something, why does that matter? Safety I get, but am I not capable of doing this? Have I not proven it with literally THREE other road trips I have done since 2017? Yes, I will probably cry again before I leave and on the road because that’s just who I am. It doesn’t make me weak, it makes me human. I would rather FEEL it and get it out and move on than bottle it up and let it fester for days until I pop like a champagne bottle with no one around to help me shove the cork back in.  And I KNOW I have friends exactly like this that if we don’t let it out at the time it starts to bubble, we are a mess.  That emotion comes from stress, sadness, and honestly the lies our minds tell us when honestly most of the time everything will turn out fine.

So that is why it is SO important to meet up with friendly faces along the way so the loneliness isn’t palpable. I can do many days at a time on my own, but it sure is nice to see a friend or two a long the way for a meal, a sleep over, or a moment of just girl talk. It’s funny, but I AM the person who wants to meet people a long the way…new people. Making friends as I go seems more exciting to my soul than the places my eyes will fall upon. Connecting with another soul is so satisfying to me, and I can’t WAIT to meet you on the road. Stay tuned for more prepping and planning…it is going to be a wild ride!

Giving feels SOOOOOO good!!!!

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

$1.00

The Proper Steps for the Most Perfect Partaking of Disney

You MUST wear some type of attire which sports the Mouse, preferably a pair of Magical ears.

rsz_img_2066_1 (1)

You MUST try the spirits on Pandora, a delight of Avatar proportions.

rsz_img_9095 (1)

You MUST ride something that creates courage from fear.

rsz_img_9154_1

You MUST have a Whip of Dole, any flavor is perfection.

rsz_img_9273 (2)

You MUST dine with the Lords and Ladies of the Land, anything less would be unthinkable.

You MUST take flight on eagles wings, over the river and through the woods.

rsz_img_8967

You MUST stay on beds that turn like storybook pages.

rsz_img_8982

You MUST be treated like a rock star with your own photo shoot.

rsz_img_9419

You MUST enjoy every delicious bite of Disney delectables.

You MUST love the company you keep and the magic made with them.

Thank you for your support!

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

$1.00