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Read about our travels through Illinois, Iowa and Missouri!  Our adventures are detailed after the following pictures!  We had some good laughs along the way!

Click on any picture for a full view or click on the first one to view them all in sequence.

Bianca Chicago - Sis & Brother Diamond Lil Mary Ellen - Cousin Jean Linquist - Friend Virgie Lameyer - Friend Peterson Brothers - Cousins Bob Buntjer & Shirley - Cousins Freeport & Polo Willard Buntjer - First Cousin
Bianca Yvonne Diamond Lillian Mary Ellen  Jeanne Linquist Virgie Lameyer Peterson Boys Buntjer Cousins Freeport & Polo Willard and Joan
Chicago Chicago North Lake Rockford  Rockford Rockford Pecatonica Rockfalls Illinois Freeport
Blank. Blank.
Edna Lott - Freeport Arly Buntjer Seimans - Cousin Peterson Family - Uncle & Aunt Margaret & Stanley Lott - Shannon General - President Grants House Feedlot Restaurant - Muscatine Fort Madison & Galena St. Louis Arch St. Charles - Lewis & Clark Expedition Sis and Brother on the Missouri
Edna Lott - 88! Arly Seimans Johnny & Vera Stanley Lott Grants House Barnyard & Feedlot Quincy & Fort Madison The Arch Main Street Yvonne & Chuck
Freeport Freeport Shannon Shannon Galena Mediapolis Mississippi! St. Louis St. Charles Missouri River!


Day 1

April 26


I flew from Oakland to Los Angeles and then on to Tucson Arizona to spend the night with my favorite sister!

Day 2

April 27


We flew from Tucson to Phoenix on a commuter jet, then to Chicago O'Hare and then to the hotel for the evening.

Day 3

April 28


We picked up the car and drove to Lake Shore in Chicago and down to 47th Street to visit Ellie Peterson (no relation).  Then we drove back to the hotel and that evening Bianca, a friend of mine I met at Banc of America Securities in the Trans America Pyramid in San Francisco in 1999 when I was working on the Y2K fix.  Bianca now works in the Sears tower for the bank.  She picked us up for dinner downtown at a great Italian restaurant and then she took us to see her new condo on the 47th floor of a high rise on North Lake Shore. 

Day 4

April 29


Today to North Lake and the Concord Plaza Retirement Home to visit our 99 year old friend, Diamond Lil Krockenberger!  I gave her that name many years ago and she loves it!  We spent the day with her and she took us to lunch at the facility.  We all had a good cry before leaving.  Then off to Rockford and another hotel.

Day 5

April 30


Today in Rockford, we visited our cousin Mary Ellen for over five hours!  She took us to breakfast at a great restaurant called the Machine Shed! She gave each of us a quilt made by our grandmother at least over 50 years ago.  So nice of her.  Then that evening we visited Jeanne Linquist, an old neighbor of my sister when she lived in Rockford.  Jeanne lives in a retirement community, The Peterson Meadows, in a beautiful house.  Jeanne invited us to dinner in the facility restaurant and the food was great.  Then we visited her house and finally back to the hotel.  (I decided I needed gas so I pulled into a gas station and went to take off the gas cap.  Well excuse me, I couldn't get it off.  I was pissed as I had opened it two days before.  I finally asked a man in the next car what was wrong.  He had a good laugh and said he had bought a new car and the same thing happened to him, so you twist, turn, and press down, then up!  A lot of trouble but I didn't feel so badly as he said he had the same problem.  His wife was not amused by any of this!  I did thank him profusely!)

Day 6

May 01


We continued our stay in Rockford and visited my sisters friend, Virgie Lameyer.  They have been friends since they were freshmen in high school.  We spent most of the day with her, she took us to lunch and then drove us around to see what had happened to the city.  That evening my sister and I ate at the Hoffman House, one of the best restaurants in Rockford.  Excellent shrimp dinner and cocktails!  (While we were at the buffet for lunch, an African American man started to talk to us.  He was funny and said he was doing some construction work in the area.  That evening we went back to the hotel and as I walked into the lobby, who was there but the same man!  We had a good laugh about that, to see him at the restaurant and then at the same hotel.  Well the next morning my sister told me, she got up early for coffee and who was there but the same man.  He told her he was up drinking until something like four AM and feeling under the weather!  So goes his check!)

Day 7

May 02


Today we drove from Rockford to Pecatonica where I went to a one room school (and appeared on the cover of Life Magazine in 1946 when I was six!), and Yvonne graduated from high school.  We visited the farm we lived on for a number of years and then went to our cousin Richard Peterson and his wife Jan.  The Petersons are on my mother, Edna's side of the family, the Buntjer side is my father, Walter. Richard restores Model A and Model T cars!  We had a great lunch there and our other cousins, Ryan and Reggie came by to chat.  We then drove to Rockfalls and visited our cousins Bob Buntjer and Shirley.  I hadn't seen Bob in over 40 years as far as I can remember.  At first I couldn't remember him as I always called him 'Bobby' but now he is grown up and is Mr. Bob!  We had a great talk with them and then on to a hotel.

Day 8

May 03


This morning we drove to Polo where I lived until I left home in 1961.  I graduated from Polo High School.  We stopped to put flowers on our parents grave on the outskirts of Polo.  Then to Brookville where my sister was married and I finished grade school in another one room school house after Pecatonica!  On to Forreston where our grandparents on the Buntjer side lived.  Forreston celebrated the Sauerkraut Festival every year when I was growing up.  We had breakfast at a diner there and one of the men said the last celebration was around 1965, he knew as his daughter was the last Sauerkraut Queen!  We had to laugh at that. I believe he said they will celebrate the 150 anniversary of Forreston.  Our breakfast included coffee, eggs, bacon, toast and potatoes.  The cost for one breakfast - $4.00.  We told the waitress two coffees in San Francisco or Tucson cost $3.00 or almost as much as a full breakfast there.  She about had a heart attack!  Then off to Freeport.

Day 9

May 04


Here in Freeport we saw Willard Buntjer and his wife Joan.  Willard is a first cousin of our father, Walter.  Joan had a nice breakfast for us and we had a great talk.  Then we drove to Edna Lott Norton and she had lunch ready for us.  Her sister-in-law, Marjorie Lott, married to Edna's brother Arthur, and daughter-in-law were there also.  Edna Lott Norton and our mother Edna Peterson/Buntjer, were cousins.  Finally we went to Arly Seimans, another cousin living outside of Freeport.  Her mother was our father's sister, Rena.  She was married to John Seimans and they lived near Freeport for a time.  Arly has a nice house out in the country side and we talked all afternoon and she had baked a great banana cake for us to eat.  Finally we drove back to Freeport to stay at the hotel that my uncle and aunt once leased over 50 years ago.  They had two hotels, one was owned by them, the Licondo Hotel.  Across the street on the other corner was the Freeport Hotel that they leased.  The Licondo was torn down and a modern building is there now.  The Freeport Hotel was bought and now is the Stephenson Hotel and is being rebuilt.  Liz was my father's sister and her husband was Tony Agiou, sounds Greek to me!  (A cocktail story, one of two during our trip! I asked the bar tender to make me a martini up, and dry.  He got on his cell phone to call his wife to ask her how to make it)!  We had to laugh at that!  He said he usually only served a shot of whiskey and a beer!  That is fancy living in the mid-west!

Note: My first job in the computer industry was in Freeport at Burgess Battery on the river.  In 1960 they hired me and sent me to Chicago to learn how to wire 402 and 403 boards and the calculators!  The latest IBM equipment.  One day I was on the farm knee deep in manure, the next day I was at IBM school in Chicago, staying at a high rise hotel with a swimming pool on the roof.  Well guess what, I said, "This is the Life, no farm for this boy!"  We looked for the big brick building where Burgess Battery was located but found it had been demolished and now is a park.  So goes life!

Day 10

May 05


Today we drove to Shannon Illinois to visit our aunt and uncle, Vera and Johnny Peterson!  They have seven children but only four could make it, Randall, Reggie, Ramona, and Rita.  We did see Richard and Ryan in Pecatonica but missed seeing Rodney as he was out spraying crops!  We had another great lunch and sat in the back yard eating desert and talking.  Then suddenly, we sow a car drive up and it was Margaret and Stanley Lott.  Margaret is Stanley's aunt.  Margaret has a good memory as she remembered me driving her from Rockford to Freeport over 45 years ago!  We wanted to go to the cemetery to see the tomb stones for the family and Reggie was kind enough to drive to the cemeteries for us to find the tomb stones.  After a sad farewell, we were off to another town!

Day 11

May 06


Then to Galena, a beautiful small town.  We went through General/President Grant's home.  Most of the original furniture is still there.  It was given to him when he came back from the Civil War in 1866.  Galena at that time was prosperous and it's main wealth was in tanning and the lead mines.  Lead was used in bullets during the war.  Then the mines gave out and tanning moved away, the river silted up and Galena was not a main trading center any more.  Of note, his sons are buried in San Diego and the other in San Francisco!  Very interesting!  Then we drove to East Dubuque and Rock Island and the cemetery where Ken's (Ken was Yvonne's husband) parents are buried.    Then we stopped at Muscatine for a restful evening.  (Well this was an exciting stop.  A new hotel, very nice.  About three AM I woke up and looked out and the wind was terrible.  Suddenly it thundered, then more lighting!  Then the lights went out and it poured.  The lights came back on about 15 minutes later but it blew and rained for four hours.  Trucks were blown over on the freeways!  Scary.  Four inches of water on the streets and it rained until six AM.  After we drove about 10 miles the next day, it was bone dry, go figure!)

Day 12

May 07


From Muscatine we drove to Mediapolis and visited another cemetery.  We also had lunch in Mediapolis and laughed as the restaurant was named the Barnyard & Feedlot!  Then we stopped at Fort Madison, built in 1806.  We also stopped at Nauvoo Illinois where there is an area of brick and restored wooden buildings depicting the area when the Mormons lived there. Sis bought a bottle of wine and some blue cheese that we later had in Quincy on the Mississippi!  Finally we drove on to Quincy for the evening.  Our room overlooked the Mississippi and we sat on the walkway and watched the sun set over the river.  

Day 13

May 08


Quincy was famous for soybeans and had a whole area of town with fantastic houses from the great shipping ear!  We drove around the city before leaving for St. Louis!  On the way we stopped at Hannibal, where Samuel Clemens wrote stories about Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher and the Mississippi.   Then on to St. Louis and downtown to the Arch!  Since Yvonne had all ready been in it over 25 years ago, I went up alone.  After that, we drove around and went back on 70 East towards the St. Louis airport and finally decided to stay in St. Charles for the evening and had a great late lunch out doors.  St. Charles is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition that left from here in 1704!  (We got lost leaving the downtown area where the Arch is.  The signs are worthless and as soon as I got onto the freeway I knew I was going south instead of west towards the airport and St. Charles.  I yelled at a man in an SUV and he just shook his head.  Then zoomed up to us and said, "Follow me and turn at the appropriate street!"  We followed him for a mile or so, I got nervous.  Then suddenly he signaled and turned onto a street, I followed.  He stopped and yelled, "Go to the next block and turn left onto the freeway!"  He then did a U turn over four lanes to get back to his street.  Talk about a nice man!  We both thanked him profusely!)

Day 14

May 09


Today we relaxed and went gambling at the new AmericStar Gambling Casino in St. Charles.  I gave sis some money for a Mother's Day gift but that went down the drain fast!  I made some money so that was spent on dinner!  We also went shopping in St. Charles, 125 shops on a street at least 15 blocks long.  The businesses were in houses that were up to 150 years old!  Fantastic old town and shops.  Then to dinner at our hotel.  (Another cocktail story, at dinner I asked for a martini up, dry.  It came over rocks, no olives.  The bar tender asked what up means.  Then when I asked for olives, he gave them to me in a glass, no tooth pick.  Again my favorite sister said, "We are in the Mid-West Hon!") Excuse me!

Day 15

May 10


Well off to return the car rental at the St. Louis Airport and then a night at the local hotel to rest up for our trip back home.

Day 16

May 11


The hotel drove us to the St. Louis Airport terminal and we flew America West to Phoenix and then on a Canadian Commuter Jet to Tucson

Day 17

May 12


Finally a few days rest in Tucson before flying back to San Francisco!

Day 18

May 13


Lots of sunning and swimming and of course, playing cards with my favorite sister!

Day 19

May 14


Today I flew back to Los Angeles and then to Oakland.  Then I took Bart, our subway system to San Francisco.  Bart stops one block from where I live, very handy.  Talk about a good nights sleep after all that traveling plus I had been in the Netherlands for eight days the week before I did the mid-west trip!  That was a total of 27 days!

Return to the World Travels of Charles Walter Buntjer

  Charles Walter Buntjer

San Francisco California
Created on: 2004.05.25   

Updated on: 2015.03.25