The primary reason for our 2010 road trip is to attend Duke's High School reunion in Manchester, Iowa this weekend. We are in Manchester now. For the last few days we set a leisurely pace. From La Crosse Wisconsin we followed the Mississippi south to McGregor Iowa. The Mississippi is so big in so many ways. When I look at how wide it, how beautiful it is, how powerful it is, I can't help think in poetic terms about how it is at the heart of this country.
The Indians must have felt that way about the Mississippi too. We stopped at Effigy Mounds National Monument where there are 31 early American Indian earthen mounds in the shape of animals. Some of these mounds are as much as 2000 years old. We took a walk with a ranger and then continued on our own seven mile hike. We have really been lucky with the weather on this trip. The weather for the hike was pleasant and not very humid. After Effigy Mounds we spent the night in McGregor and then headed for Manchester.
On the way we stopped to see Montauk the home of William Larrabee, Iowa's twelfth governor. it reminded me of a small English Country estate with beautiful gardens and bronze statues.
Next we stopped in Spillville to see the Bily Clocks. They were carved in the early 1900s by two Iowa farmers who were brothers and are quite impressive.
For lunch we stopped in Gunder and considered having one of their famous Gunder Burgers but they are a half pound of meat so we went for a smaller burger. It was wonderful! If you are ever in north eastern Iowa I would highly recommend The Irish Shanti in Gunder.
Today we went to tour Cedar Rock in Quasqueton. It is a Frank Lloyd Usonian house in beautiful condition with all the original Wright chosen and designed furnishing. There were only four of us on the tour which was very well done and I even got to play the Steinway piano.
Lunch today was at another of my favorite north eastern Iowa restaurants. Schera's restaurant In Elkader Iowa serves Algerian food as well as typical Iowan fare and the food is always wonderful. Schera's was even featured recently on the State Department website. It is a fascinating story. We sat on the patio overlooking the Turkey River and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, good food and wonderful weather.