Monday, October 18, 2021
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Monday, October 11, 2021
We hung around, opened gifts and managed to get some good family photos. It was a very enjoyable afternoon.
Saturday, October 9, 2021
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
From there, we headed south on MN95 that ran along the St Croix River. It is along that stretch that we saw the most color. I spotted a sculpture garden alongside the road and had to do a U-turn and go back to check it out. It is a place that I might want to stop at another time, as we just didn’t feel like doing that much walking.
It was just a short driver farther south to the sweet town of Stillwater. We found a place to park and checked out a few shops before heading back home. It was a very nice day in good company.
Thursday, September 30, 2021
Sunday, September 26, 2021
When I got back home, Frisco and I went for a nice walk on this beautiful fall day. Temps are in the upper 60s and will warm up to a perfect 80 degrees today. I fixed myself a healthy egg scramble with onion, spinach and cheddar cheese when I got back home.
Saturday, September 25, 2021
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
On Sunday, we left Cedar Falls and headed southwest to Griff’s RV Park near Altoona, IA, not much more than 100 miles and a 2-hour drive. The park is very large, with 150+ sites and we are in the older part of the park where the sites are much smaller, gravel with a concrete pad, and among the worker bees. The newer parts have beautiful lawns, a fountain in a small pond, and much bigger sites - I guess that is where the longer term guests get to stay. We do have a nice grassy area, a horse pasture, and a couple of very nice evergreen trees behind us, so we are good for another week. The nicely paved Chichaqua Valley Trailhead (20+miles long) is adjacent to the RV park and we have walked it several times.
The Bridges of Madison County was our destination on Tuesday, after breakfast and a walk. It was after 11:00 when we left the RV park and we had a 50 mile drive south to get to St. Charles where the visitor center and the first of the six covered bridges were located. The Imes Bridge was the first that we saw. We chatted with a sweet little old lady at the visitor center who shared some great tips about what to see in the area.
From there, we headed west to Winterset and saw the Holliwell and Cutler-Donohoe Bridges, then farther west to the Roseman Bridge (the one that was featured in the 1995 movie, “Bridges of Madison County” with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. A side road led us to the Pammel Park Campground (we were not impressed) and the Harmon Tunnel (we were impressed) that was built by a man and his 4 sons in 1925.
Back in town, we walked around the 1876 Courthouse that was under major construction and centered the town square. The friendly lady that we had spoken with in St Charles suggested that we visit the Montrose Pharmacy that had an old fashioned soda fountain that has been run by Cathy for the last 32 years. I opted for a cup of Cheddar Potato Soup and a piece of apple pie. Tom and I shared an old-time Cherry Coke. We then drove north on US 169 to the Hogback Bridge before heading back to our home at the campground.
The bridges were all painted red and the inside walls were covered in graffiti, mostly initials and dates. Surprisingly, we didn’t see many dates earlier than 1995 - I guess people had more respect for property back then and were not interested in defacing the bridges. Several of them were built by the same man out of massive boards and different structural arrangements, designed to withstand the severe winters and be able to carry people and goods across the rivers. The water levels in the Middle and North Rivers were all pretty low, I don’t believe a canoe or kayak could float down them right now. We saw all but one of the six bridges.
It was an all afternoon excursion that took us through some beautiful parts of Iowa and was a good way to spend an afternoon. For years, whenever I passed through the area, I would see the signs and say “some day I will come back and see the bridges” - now I can add them to the list of places that I have been to see.
While walking on the Chichauqua Trail that runs along the RV Park, we noticed a huge construction site with 3 large cranes and after doing some research, I learned that it is an expansion of Facebook’s Data Storage Center. There are already several large Facebook buildings nearby.
Tom spotted this guy on the concrete trail - haven’t seen a Praying Mantis in a while.
The last few days of my stay were spent taking long walks, doing some shopping, taking naps, and hanging around the campsite.
Saturday, September 18, 2021
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Yesterday, after our walk, we drove to George Wyth State Park and Blackhawk County Park to check them out, then stopped at a little bar for a beer on our way home. Today, we went to the Cedar Valley Arboretum and walked the paths, strolled through the gardens, and had the park to ourselves until we were ready to leave. The park is beautiful and the plants were identified well. The topiary was great!
We stopped for a Papa Murphy’s pizza on the way home and had a late lunch/early dinner, then picked up some firewood and sat around the campfire for a while. Neither of us could remember the last time we had a campfire.
Saturday, September 11, 2021
On Thursday morning, they came over here and saw my apartment and then we walked the 9 Mile Creek trail. After that, I met them at their hotel and we went to the Farmer’s Kitchen Restaurant for some lunch and then walked the trail to the Stone Arch Bridge. We parted and later that evening they came back to my place and we walked to Willy McCoy’s for dinner. It seems like all we do is eat.
Friday night we met at Ben and Jill’s, ordered dinner from Broder’s, and had some wine and lots of good conversation. It’s been about seven years since they have seen Ben and his family. We had a great visit!
Monday, September 6, 2021
Jo left late in the morning yesterday and Frisco and I went for a nice walk around the neighborhood. I took a nap in the afternoon and finally got around the hanging my glass balls in the living room window.
Thursday, September 2, 2021
I sold my dining room table tonight - to a gal that sure seemed to have an appreciation for the age, quality, and beautiful wood. I’m posting a picture of it, so I will never forget that it came from my good friend Marty and belonged to her Grandmother. It has had a special place in my home for years, there is no longer enough room for it in my small apartment.
Sunday, August 29, 2021
On Thursday, Lois and I took the girls to Eagle Eye Farm in River Falls, WI for a tour of their farm that has more unusual animals; Alpaca (several babies), Llama, Kune Kune Pigs from Australia, Highlander cattle, Shetland Ponies, and several breeds of Sheep. We got to go in the pens and feed and pet most of them, but the ponies were too feisty and the cattle had horns. The farm is spotless, as the pens for the Llamas and Alpacas were artificial turf to keep their hair clean as they only get shorn once a year. By that time, their wool is 6-7” long and it is sent to a processing plant for cleaning and spinning into wool. The products that were sold in the shop were just beautiful - soft and luxurious.
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
From there, we drove around Baraboo and Madison and I got to see several of the buildings that Pat has worked on this summer. He has amazing plastering skills, that son of mine! In most cases, the projects are repairs of old stucco and structures. The Wilmer Neighborhood Center (bottom left) had crumbling brick and mortar in the corners and the arch above the window was deteriorated. After our drive, we hung out at their house and I made Collard Greens with Bacon and Ham for dinner - it was a big hit for their keto diet.
On Friday, after coffee with Pat, Dawn and I got a nice walk in, although we left a bit late and it was starting to get hot and humid again. I hung out with her and Pat and Tracey until it was time to meet Patty at the new Tru Hotel in Stoughton for our 55th class reunion activities. We managed to get a little pool time in before the Friday night informal gathering that was held on the lovely patio by the river at Nauti Norse. We got there early so we could have their tasty fish fry. Folks started trickling in and we probably had a turnout of about 30-35 classmates. There was a lot of story telling and laughter going on and we were back at the motel by 10:30 - we are getting old!
Frisco was happy to see me and I got to see the girls’ new trampoline and have dinner with the family - a nice topper to a great week!
Wednesday, August 18, 2021
I arrived at Dawn’s and got setup in my room, we chatted a bit, and then I walked over to Pat’s house to say hello and to meet their two new kittens, Ally and Cass. They are rambunctious and cute little kittens.
Sunday, August 15, 2021
There was a group of about 50 people heading to the creek for a Baptism this morning. I was invited to join them, but continued on with my walk instead.
Saturday, August 7, 2021
Yesterday, I drove to Osseo, WI and met my cousins JoAnne and Jonnie for lunch. It was a 2-hour drive for each of us, coming from opposite directions and meeting in the middle. We had lunch at the Norske Nook, known for their Norwegian foods, bakery, and pies. Jo was the only one who ordered traditional and she had a lefsa wrap with Norwegian meatballs. I had fish fry and Jonnie had shrimp. I brought a piece of apple lingonberry pie home for dinner - it was yummy!