Sunday, August 19, 2012

Destination Notre Dame {Day 4: La Crosse to South Bend}

Pay to drive system in full effect

Sleeping through most of the breakfast hour, we ate lobby fare hurriedly before loading up and shipping out of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Stopping briefly along the shores of the Mississippi River to purchase fuel and de-bug the windshield, we discovered a bait room with a full refrigerated tank full of bait, including leeches. Yum! No time for fishing, or cutting bait, so east we headed on I90.

A more urgent sense of reaching our South Bend destination has quickened our steps and our stops; no picnicking today. Fast food from a taco place sufficed for lunch and other than a rest area or two for necessary relief, we’re strictly down to the business of getting somewhere this day.

A powerful witness talk called “Winning the Game for Christ,” by Major League All-Star Mike Sweeney, lifted our spirits along another monotonous stretch of road. Anyone who questions the life changing, soul marking power of the sacrament of baptism aught to hear Sweeney describe the beginning of his walk with Christ ~ at his infant baptism in a NICU unit and miraculous cure. Sweeney’s talk highlighted the need to let Christ be our guide and driver on the road of life. His encouragement to weather any of life’s storms by fixing our gaze entirely upon the face of Christ hit home in a very meaningful way.

Rehearsals for the Chicago Air Show over I90

Delays on I90 over this stretch of our journey included the expected multiple stops to pay road tolls, and an unexpected but exhilarating air show over the city of Chicago by an Air Force acrobatic team. The jets roared over us in a trinity formation, diving, rolling and ripping through the urban skyline. Many drivers were understandably distracted and the crawl through Chicago easily endured with such sights above.
Below the golden dome; Zachary's arrival at the University of Notre Dame 

Spotting the first sign on I90 marking the distance to South Bend increased the need for speed, and with Zac riding shotgun, we arrived in his new hometown in good time, losing another clock hour as we entered Eastern Standard Time. After quickly depositing our belongings in a spacious hotel room, we made our way to the University of Notre Dame campus. The picturesque approach to the golden dome was accented by a perfectly timed text from ND Alum Grandpa Pete asking if we had arrived yet. Indeed we had arrived.

A stroll across Notre Dame's campus gave us a peek of the glorious architecture and sprawling grounds, and brought us to the famed Grotto at the very hour that the public Rosary (Gospel meditation) was being prayed. Before hundreds of votive candles blazing in the simple rock cave dedicated to the Blessed Mother of God, we lifted our praise to God in community.

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name..."
       ~Luke 1:46-49

Rough play in the pool; on our last evening together at the South Bend hotel before Zac's move-in day.

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