Each summer, Chicago's Marauders Motor Club throws the Barnyard Boogie - "A Motor and Music event to raise money and awareness for the fight against Juvenile Diabetes." It's a day of octane-fueled fun, filled with pre-1975 rides, live rockabilly music, vendors, food, camping, a bonfire, and more. Held in Monee, Illinois (where I spent a large part of my youth), the whole event has been taking place on a property known to many as "The Barnyard Boogie Grounds." To me, it's my Uncle Larry's House, as the Marauders Motor Club is run by my cousin, Loren. For a time in the mid-1990s, he and I spent many nights jamming in that Barn as part of a short-lived band called Epileptic Caesar. Now, our kids dance in front of it during the Barnyard Boogie, though it's been said that this is the last year it will be held at Uncle Larry's place, as it may move for 2014. With Monee over 100 miles from Rock Father HQ, getting there means a road trip, and this year it's been fueled by my friends at Contigo.
Just North of Chicago, right on the line of where Cook and Lake Counties meet, lies the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. It's often referred to as "A Treasure of the Cook County Forest Preserve," and for good reason - it's 385 of the most beautiful acres that you'll find anywhere. Despite living near it, and driving by it countless times over the past few years, we recently made our first family trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden for a full day of adventure as guests of the Garden.
Not long ago, the folks at Contigo approached me about joining them as a "Road Warrior." While I'm just as much a fan of MAD MAX 2 as the next guy, this had nothing to do with zipping across a post-apocalyptic landscape in a highly-modified vehicle while rolling with the whole "One Man Can Make A Difference" motif. What it did have to do with is the type of Road Warrior that I really am: A Father of two, rockin' a Military Camouflage diaper bag while driving my little ones to and from preschool, gymnastics, swimming, and then onto all of our other daily adventures. It might not be glamorous, but it can be a battle - and I always have a drink along for the ride.
Last Christmas, I bought Addie a set of five Scooby-Doo Action Figures - the whole "Mystery Inc." Gang. Oddly enough, in the six months since those figures arrived here at Rock Father HQ, we've been finding that somehow one of them keeps going missing. We're not sure how or why it's always her, but Velma Dinkley disappears about 33% of the time. Yes, it's a certified mystery, and one that needs solving... often under the cover of darkness. With that in mind, I set out to score some bright headlights that would help us in our next search, as Addie tends to run around the backyard like the Energizer Bunny when she can't find something. "It's lost forever!," the almost-four-year-old will tell me. No. No, it's not.