While I love to hop on a plane and take off to far away destinations, that isn’t always feasible. To help keep my stress in check in between trips, I get outdoors and take “stay-cations” as often as possible.

This past weekend Bill and I drove to Elk Grove Village in the Chicago suburbs for an overnight. It helped that we were earning extra IHG points through their Accelerate Promotion while we were at it. We had dinner at Oba Contemporary Japanese in Des Plaines. I think I can speak for both of us when I say this is somewhere we would recommend if you are ever in the area. We shared two rolls (Dragon Roll and Soft Shell Crab Roll) and each received a small salad and soup as appetizers. The char on the eel of the Dragon Roll was a flavor I had never had before with sushi – but it was a great addition. Even the dressing on the salad was memorable! After dinner we went to Dave & Busters in Addison. Not my cup of tea, but Bill enjoys it and he had a coupon to get double credits.

Sunday was a perfect day for a hike, and we took advantage of the nice weather. (I believe the temperature topped out around 76 degrees.) We went to Ned Brown Forest Preserve, hiking 7.53 miles, complete with a visit to the resident elk.

While hiking, we exchanged pleasantries with a man on a business trip from North Carolina. He was admiring the elk during the same time we were and asked where we were from. We told him we were from Beloit and he asked if we knew the history behind the elk. Did they grow up there, were they brought there later in life – we did not. We failed to ask where he was from at that time, but when we passed him later he asked again where we were from. We again said we were from Beloit, and he explained that he misheard us and thought we said we were from Hawaii. I wish we were from Hawaii! Eighty degree temperatures year round, yes, please!

Later in the hike, we passed a group of twenty-somethings. One of which mentioned going to Vietnam. To this I responded (to Bill), “Don’t go right now!” (We came home early from a trip to Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam around this time last year. The first trip we have ever changed our flight plan on to come home early. More on that later, in another post.)