Day 1 & 2 of the 1K Country Adventure

by Country Inns & Suites
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I’m not even really sure where to start – so much to share and say, and today is only day 3 of the 1K Country Adventure.  It’s been a whirlwind of fun so far, and I have a bit of a “techno-glazed” expression on my face from spending the lst 72 hours glued to the computer, watching twitter, facebook, and our participant blogs.  The stories, pictures, and videos have been so heartwarming that I wish Iwas on the roadtrip adventure!  Make sure you click on “MORE” to see all the various multi-media gems that have already cropped up, courtesy of our adventure families!  A sampling?  Pictures of a giant orange moose, Ross riding a giant deer, kids reflection in the Chicago Bean, a Kare 11 news clip, and a “meet the bloggers” video segment, in addition to the SWEET Suite Stops that are guiding the travelers along the unknown roadtrip path!  I’m exhausted from just writing this post!

Let’s go back to Saturday: Our three families arrived at the Country Inns & Suites By Carlson Mall of America property, where I FINALLY got to meet them and their fabulous kiddos – let me tell you, after months of talking to these families via web and phone, I felt like I was hugging old friends –  for the first time!  An Avis representative was on site to explain all the features and benefits of the Ford Flex vehicles they’d be driving, and our fabulous staff and agency partners talked the families through the structure of the roadtrip, and how to best utilize their JVC Everio HD Cams and Sprint Samsung  Momentsmartphones, and how to use the Duracell chargers to stay connected on the road!

After many photo opportunities, we all departed… but unexpectedly got the call to regroup at 9 AM the next morning because Kare 11, the Minneapolis NBC affilliate, told us they were going to show up to shoot a segment for the 5 o’clock news!  Awesome! 


And after that… they were off.  First stop?  Mall of America!  It’s a little known fact to anybody outside of Minnesota that the MOA was built on the grounds of the old Metropolitan stadium, which was later torn down when Minneapolis decided to build the Metrodome, current home of the Minnesota Vikings football team, and former home of the Minnesota Twins baseball team!  So after they found the plaque commemorating the OLD home plate:

they were off to see the new:  since Target Field opened in Minneapolis this April, baseball in Minnesota has never been more exciting.

 (Can you say “Christmas card”?)

Whew!  And once they’d all completed their Minnesota Suite Stops, they were off to Wisconsin:   

Amidst rolling fields peppered with barns and cows, their stops included Cady Cheese Factory, a giant orange moose (what?), the state capitol, and a few other Suite Stops before settling into the Country Inns & Suites By Carlson Madison West property for a long slumber.

That comes PRETTY close to wrapping up day 1, but to be honest, there is so much to talk about I feel that I can’t even do it justice (going forward, these posts won’t be as long – I’ll do one day at a time – but this Saturday, Sunday, AND Monday are all rolled into one recap).

Are you still with me? 

Moving on to Day 2, the families journeyed to Milwaukee and Chicago where they took in sites such as Miller Park, Northpoint Lighthouse, and finally — after battling some rush hour traffic — Millenium Park and the beloved Bean sculpture (officially called the Cloud Gate sculpture).

Again, so many pictures and memories to share:

And after a long day of exploring, adventuring, and battling rush hour traffic, they snuggled in for a long sleep at the Country Inns & Suites Naperville property, where I’m told the adults enjoyed some beverages in our on-site lounge, while the kiddos drifted off to sleep.

Follow @countryinns, @karasw, @sveback, and @doubleadventure on twitter… to make it easy, we created a list –!  You can also become a fan on Facebook in order to see all the fun pics, videos, and posts that I put up daily as I follow these families on their adventure.

And don’t forget their blogs — well, you can always visit our Facebook page for the latest and greatest, but if you’d like to add the blogs directly, make sure you add Ross, Kara, and Sharlene to your feed readers, in addition to Sharlene’s writings at Trekaroo!

ALSO – I know you’re all dying with anticipation to know their final destination.  Got a guess?  You can visit The Vacation Gals blog to give a guess and the winner will receive a cookbook, courtesy of Kara Williams!  But my lips are sealed… until Saturday, anyway! 

WHEW – I’m exhausted just from writing this, so I can’t imagine how tired our travelers must be.  On that note – I’m signing off for now… but I’ll be back tomorrow to give you a Day 3 update!

I love this Country!

PS: You can watch Day 1 and 2’s Suite Stops here here, herehere, herehere, here, here, and here!  Happy viewing!

PPS: Avis donated use of the vehicles, JVC donated the Everio HD Cams, and Sprint donated use of the Samsung Moment phones.  Duracell donated chargers for all contestants, and we’ve comped their rooms at Country Inns & Suites.