Yep, this post is about Kettlecorn, not exactly the kind you eat, more like the city you visit! If you have kids around the age of 8-11 then you have probably seen the Disney show Suite Life On Deck, and if you have you all know what I am talking about, it’s the lovely city our dear Bailey is from. Although her town is in Kansas, Justin and I got to visit KETTLECORN, IOWA, last weekend.

We all know how hard it is for me to get a day off in the middle of the season, I asked for Friday the 25th of February off and was very happy that coach said yes. Justin had already requested the 24th and 25th off and luckily his shift was over minimums so he got it off.  We haven’t seen Gasper since he left in the middle of October, we all txt each other all the time, but it’s not the same. We all really miss him. I looked back in January to see when Gasp played at home and when it would work for me to ask for a day off… It just so happened that The Hawks were out-of-town on a week trip and Gasper had 1 away game 2 hours from home and 1 home game, and it was one of the only off weekends for Austin, he only had 2 practices. J and I both decided that Austin wasn’t going to go, we knew he would be so disappointed not to see his older brother, but taking the red-eye and not getting much sleep, then the 2 hour drive 1 way to Cedar Rapids for the away game and then 3 hours sitting for his game and blah blah blah, I think you get the picture and if you know Austin, he is not into sitting for very long!!! I thought he was going to be PISSED when we told him, but he was okay with it, partially because he knows he gets to see Gasper in the summer. Gasper is going to be at home in LA for part of the summer and told Austin he could come hang with him. So that was a partial trade-off!

So our travel plans were to go like this, Missy and Mishaela were going to stay at the house and watch Austin from the night of the 24th through the night of the 27th. It was easier for the girls to stay in the house, that way the dogs were taken care of too! The girls were so awesome enough to take Austin to both hockey practices he had.  The girls and Aust took us to the airport at 9:30 on Thursday, our flight was full but on time to Chicago, we were actually 30 mins early into Chicago. We landed at 4:30am Chicago time. Our flight to Des Moines was not until 7:30am. We walked around and got coffee and a snack and just walked around, at least because it’s a big airport and it was a decent time, most things were open! Our flight to Des Moines (or as we call it Kettlecorn!) was on time and pretty empty and only an hour! We went to get our car… okay, so trying to do this trip as inexpensive as we can… our flights weren’t badly priced and I booked us a full size car, suppose to be a charger, it was supposed to snow so… When we get to the rental car place, the only full size car they had been a Kia Soul… umm I looked at J and said the one the hamsters drive in the commercial.. YA NO… so we upgraded to a Nissan Murano, it was pretty decent, J liked it and we were the first ones to drive it!

We headed straight to our hotel, hoping we could check in umm ya 6 hours early. We had both only had like 2 hours of sleep, it’s still like 7am for us… We got lucky and we were able to check in and were both asleep by 10am Des Moines time. We set our alarm for 3pm, wanting to leave by 3:30, it was at least a 2 hour drive, I wanted to be at the rink in Cedar Rapids when the doors open, so we could not be rushed and watch warm ups! Wait, I forgot to mention, we hadn’t told Gasper this entire time we were going to be there! We had covered all of our bases about him not knowing we were going to be there. Our only concern was Austin texting Gasper… We threatened Austin with bodily harm (ok not really!!!). I had been texting Gasp like any other normal day, asking if it was game day and if it was home or away. We arrived in Cedar Rapids and had a hard time finding the rink, some nice guy at the gas station has us follow him to the rink.

I had no idea wha to expect when I walked into a USHL rink in the middle of Iowa. I was pleasantly surprised, i know some of the rinks are new and this was one of them. It was college night with $1.50 beer. They have a ton of fans, the rink is awesome and their game ops was incredible. There are no usher, because all the people behaved themselves! We had seats in Gasper’s d-zone right on the glass, I was dying because Gasp was with in 2 feet of me, I could almost touch him. He would look at the seats next to us and then on the other side of us, he admitted he was looking at the people by us because they had Bucs jerseys on but never saw us!

The game was fairly good, it was even for most of it, Gasp got an apple (assist for those of you non-hockey people!). They ended up losing 4-2. We went and waited where the visiting team goes to load their bus. There is a glass in between us, when we saw Gasp he walks right past us… I bang on the glass and you could tell he didn’t want to look, he told us later, he thought is was a crazy Cedar Rapids fan, because they always bang on the glass and then flip them off. He wouldn’t look, so I kept banging, he finally looked over and he was stunned, he stood there for a second, completely confused at why he was looking at us in person. He came around the glass and was still a little speechless. He asks, umm what are you guys doing here? J says, we were driving through and thought we would stop in and watch you play!!! To say the least he was very excited and happy to see us.  We txt on the ride home for a while, he was so surprised and very happy!

We took him to grab pre-game the next day, and then dropped him off at his billet home to get ready for the game. J and I went to this mall and area called Jordan Creek, super nice. The only nice, new thing in Kettlecorn, oh I mean Des Moines! In the end we hung out a lot at Jordan Creek Mall and observed the locals, all I have to say is, it’s not the West Coast and there is a lot of blue jeans being worn!

We went to Gasper’s home game, I was a little spoiled by going to Grand Rapids the night before, new barn, awesome game ops! Then we walked into the rink where Gasper plays and umm, well wood bench seats, concourse is not really a concourse, it was $1.00 beer night and one of their sponsors was giving away a lot of swag, something with a stork on it, I will get into that story in a different post!  His team I think is in 5th in their division and unfortunate they lost again, at this point they had lost like 9 out of the last 10. But that’s not what I cared about, I just wanted to hang with Gasp and watch him play. He was the featured player of the game so he had to do autographs post-game, which we stood inline and acted like superfans just to bug him! We took him to post-game dinner afterwards, his curfew was 1pm, so we hung out for a while!

Sunday was a day off for Gasp, kind of, because the team had been on a losing streak, they decided to play a little football as a unity thing. We picked Gasper up and went and hung out at Jordan Creek again, then dropped him at the rink so he could go play a little football!J and I decided to go check out a scrapbook store I found and it was downtown West Des Moines, well it being Iowa, everything was closed, but the scrapbook store and a few odd antique stores. We had to leave around 6:30 in order to catch our 8:10 flight. We were able to pick Gasper back up at 3:00, went and ate at Cheesecake Factory at Jordan Creek – are you seeing a pattern here! Then just walked around and talked until we had to take Gasper home. As we drove tot he airport, I had this awful feeling about leaving “my kid” in this one-horse town to play hockey… Neither J nor I wanted to leave him, I wanted to bring him back as my carry on, I want him back in Portland. I am sure his mom has felt the same for the last 2 seasons.

Well little did I know I would get to spend another day with him! We got to the airport, the huge airport  that it is, returned our car to the same people who were working on Friday morning. I had already checked us in online the night before and paid for our one bag so it was cheaper, yay me. So I went to use the kiosk to get our baggage tag and it says you must have customer service help you.. what? Well turns out the plane from Chicago couldn’t get there because of freezing rain. No matter where they could get us, everything to Portland was booked except the same flight out of Denver on Monday night. The only flight we could get anywhere out of Des Moines on Sunday night was the one from Chicago whenever it did come in and then we would be stuck in Denver airport until our flight Monday at 9:30pm… So we opted to stay in Des Moines so we could see Gasper some more and take the 5:30 flight out to Denver on Monday.

I txt Gasper, so what time is curfew tonight, his response 10:30, why are you staying!!! We went back to the same rental car people, asked for the cheapest car for 24hrs and went and got Gasper, went back to our hotel and got the same rate for the same room! We had to ask Missy to stay an extra day, Austin was NOT happy. At the hotel, we Skypedwith Austin, since we couldn’t be there, he liked that I think! J took Gasper back and we told him we would pick him up early to have breakfast and hang before he had to be at practice at 1:30. We would have to leave right after his practice for the airport. It was nice to watch him practice and hang for a few more hours, before we did have to say good-bye. I felt better on Monday afternoon, then I did on Sunday about leaving him there. It is still hard everyday, just as it is with not having Ian… I know that in a few years I will probably be with out Austin and that will be even harder, obviously!

Our flight from Kettlecorn to Denver was on time and full. We made it to Denver with enough time to eat dinner and charge our phones! Our flight was full and on time to Portland, we actually got to Portland 30 mins early, so we had our baggage before Miss, Mishaela and Aust got to the airport! Austin was so excited to see us, he mostly wanted to see what presents we had brought him back!

It was a great trip, so excited to see Gasper play and hang out one on one with him. He looks so good and is playing so well. Hope you enjoy all the crazy random pics. I will be doing another post soon!


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