On the Road Again….Summer 2021

The last month has me feeling like I joined the circus by all the balls we have been juggling in the air. Will moved his mother back to Virginia due to health reasons, we moved out of our home due to pulling both kids from the school we moved to the neighborhood for and are heading back to the county for public school for Betsie, living in what I call transitional housing due to our house not being ready till late September, and Anna Cate graduating from high school!

Graduation Day

We have had a senior trip planned for Anna Cate for over two years. However, covid changed our plans of the destination. Due to many obstacles with flying internationally and so many unknowns along with realizing how amazing our own country is after our trip last summer. We learned there is so much Anna Cate can do in our own country when we travel and after all this trip is to celebrate her!

At the beginning of planning the trip we were going to have a caravan behind us with family joining us on this two week journey; however, due to various reasons it’s only the Rabke Five (plus Pawley). When choosing our destination there was one criteria it had to fit- a place none of us has visited. The second was we needed to be back in time to take Betsie to camp July 4th weekend. The search began and the UP of Michigan is where we landed!

Since my parents couldn’t make the trip with us we wanted them to experience some part of the RV life, so the night we loaded up (Friday, June 18th) we decided to have my birthday cookout at the RV. It was perfect! Burgers, sweet potato tots, fruit salad, cucumber dill salad and WPA’s cookie cake!

Mom, Betsie & Me
All the ladies…never got one with everyone!

The next morning we leisurely woke up before we headed out to begin our Summer 2021 Senior Trip for Anna Cate!

I should also note this is the first time we are towing a car. If you remember last summer we rented cars in all the places we visited which adds up rather quickly. When Betsie got her car for her birthday and paid the down payment we had a few rules in the type of car. My first priority was safety and Will’s was it had to be towable behind the RV. Did I mention priorities!?!

Will and Jeff (his law partner who is co-owner of the Ghost) researched the best tow kit and anything related to towing the car. They even had a lesson from the guy who installed the kit. Yesterday was our first time towing for a long distance and besides the initial hookup (which takes time), everything was great. Will bought a windshield and hood protector for Betsie’s car and this took the most time. However, once it’s on you don’t need to remove unless you will be driving the car long distance (like a day trip). (Remember the “cover” for tomorrow’s post).

When initially planning this trip with our caravan, Will had planned to have two stops making it so we had two short days of driving. We didn’t change this plan as all of our reservations for the UP were set and places were booked. It was very relaxing and not having long days has been a breath of fresh air!

We made it!

The first stop was outside the town of Shanksville. Why? Will wanted us to stop at the Flight 93 National Memorial. Before leaving for the trip we also watched the movie, Flight 93 to prepare the kids on a deeper level for the visit. The memorial was beautiful. I have to say, going to a National Memorial of an event that has happened in your lifetime and one you remember vividly changes your experience.

Anna Cate was nine days old and I was feeding her in my bed on the morning of 9/11/2001. My mom was with me and Will was on his way to DC for work. My grandmother called to see if we were watching the news and to tell us to turn it on. From that moment we were glued to the TV for hours. I was so scared. I had so many emotions anyway due to just having a child, but then this moment added even more.

Yesterday walking through and watching the same Today Show I watched almost twenty years ago brought back the deep sadness of that day. At the very end of the inside tour I became emotional seeing all the faces who lost their lives that day right where we were standing. After doing the inside tour we walked the hiking path (which was totally handicap accessible with some hills on the shorter side but could easily push a wheelchair) to Memorial Plaza. At the Plaza is where they have the wall of names and also the viewing point of a large boulder. This rock signifies the exact point of impact. Behind a large gate there is a path to the rock; however, it is only accessible for the family members of those passengers and flight crew who lost their lives on 9/11/2001.

I wanted to share some words and facts with you from the literature we received…

Just before 10am the plane is seen flying low and erratically over southwestern Pennsylvania. At 10:03 it crashes, upside-down, at 563 miles per hour into this Somerset County field. There were no survivors. All 33 passengers, seven crew members and four hijackers are killed.

What happened on board Flight 93- why it crashed here and why it did not strike its target- revealed itself as a story of heroic action. When the terrorist-hijackers took over the plane, passengers and crew began phoning family, friends, and authorities to report the hijacking. Their calls- 13 people placed 37 calls-told them of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. Their plane, they now realized, was part of a planned attack. Passengers and crew then made a collective decision, by vote, to rush the terrorists and try to retake the plane. The crash site is 18 minutes flying time from Washington, D.C. The action of unarmed passengers and crew thwarted and defeated the terrorists’ plan.

The cockpit voice recorder became important evidence for the FBI in this, its largestever investigation. This was the only voice recorder recovered from the four hijacked aircrafts to yield information. This “black box” gave critical information about the aircrafts final moments and the struggle for control. Other evidence found here would enable the FBI to trace how the terrorist attacks were financed.

Flight 93 National Memorial is the nation’s memorial to the passengers and crew of Flight 93. The Tower of Voices stands in musical tribute at the gateway to the memorial. The Visitor Center Complex, on the hill above the crash site, introduces their story. The Memorial Plaza borders the crash site, which consists of the impact (marked by a boulder) and debris field. The fields and woods beyond are the final resting place for the passengers and crew; their remains are still present.

Tower of Voices
Walk to Visitor Center
Back of the Visitor Center from hiking trail
Walk to Memorial Plaza
Even saw a deer on our walk
Pawley enjoyed a walk too!
Memorial Plaza
View of the boulder

Our time at the Memorial was just around two hours, but I will say it didn’t feel that long at all! After we left we had another hour drive to Madison, Pennsylvania where we would be staying overnight at a KOA.

We pulled in around 7:30pm, hooked up and were eating within an hour. I had prepped most of our dinner on the ride, but we were still using the grill. I had picked up a meal kit from Publix to try and it was the perfect quick meal to get us started on this trip! We had grilled chicken with a peach glaze that was amazing! A side of marinated asparagus along with leftovers from the night before! By 11:30pm we were all tucked in and ready for bed.

Our new grill master

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