Road Trip day 15 – Lino Lakes, Minnesota to Ames, Iowa to Correctionville, Iowa

We are heading west towards home now. This morning we left my cousin’s house near St Paul and drove south to Ames, Iowa where I attended College at Iowa State. We walked around the campus a bit, walked through the memorial union and saw my sorority house.

Iowa State from in front of the Memorial Union
Delta Zeta House

We had lunch In Ames with a good friend I went to college with and her husband.

Tonight we are spending the night at the home of Duke’s sister and her husband in Correctionville, Iowa.

Road Trip Day 13 and 14 – Lino Lakes, Minnesota

Wednesday we drove from Marion, Iowa to Lino Lakes, Minnesota where we are visiting my cousins. On our way we stopped at the library in Manchester which Duke’s parents supported. The library has a lot of great old pictures of the town on the walls.

We have been having a great time visiting with my cousin and his wife.

Today we went for a hike along the St Croix river in Interstate State Park.

Then we stopped at Franconia Sculpture Park.

It’s been a wonderful day!!

Road Trip days 11 and 12 – Marion, Iowa

Monday our reunion friends all headed home and we drove from Prairie du Chien to Marion, Iowa to spend a couple of nights at our friends, Butch and Myra’s house. So today I could have titled this blog post Marion in Marion. That night friends got together and there were games, great food and talk.

Yesterday first thing we went for a hike in a nearby park.

We checked out an old bridge over the Cedar River that is now a hike/bike path.

We stopped at a farm stand and gift shop.

August 10 was the anniversary of the devastating derecho that hit this area one year ago. Everywhere we went we could see evidence of the damage it did. So it was strange when a severe thunderstorm came up yesterday afternoon. Some of the corn across the street was blown down and a couple more giant limbs broke out of one of our friend’s trees.

ROAD Trip day 11 – Exploring a bit of northeastern Iowa

Today was a busy day. We are traveling with two couples who we have travelled with in Europe, Roger and Gayle and Rick and Elaine. Duke went to High School with Rick, Elaine and Roger. Our first stop this morning was the cemetery in West Union where some of Roger’s ancestors are buried. It is a beautiful cemetery. I was particularly struck by some of the tombstones that were carved to look like trees.

Gravestone in West Union Cemetery.
Gravestones in West Union Cemetery

From West Union we went to Montauk Historic Site near Clermont. Montauk is a stately home built in 1874 by Anne and William Larrabee. William was the Iowa Governor from 1886 until 1890. The historic site is 46 acres. Although we were too early for a tour we had fun exploring the grounds.

The Larrabee Family home at Montauk Historic
Site

It started to rain while we were there so we sat on the front porch for a while and talked.

From Montauk we went to St Olaf for lunch. They have a bar that is known for its pork tenderloins. Duke and I shared their giant pork tenderloin. oh my was it wonderful!!

St. Olaf Tavern
A Giant Pork Tenderloin at St. Olaf Tavern

Our next stop was the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah.

“Seed Savers Exchange conserves and promotes America’s culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants. “

The heritage farm has wonderful gardens and an interesting visitor center. I really enjoyed exploring it all.

The Visitor Venter at the Seed Savers Exchange
Garden at Seed Savers Exchange

From Seed Savers we went to the Toppling Goliath Brewing Company to do a bit of beer tasting.

The endless green field of corn and soybeans make Iowa beautiful this time of year. Driving through such beautiful country and enjoying it with friends made today a great day.

The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye!
Iowa Corn

Road Trip Day 10 – Manchester and Duke’s 51st High School Reunion

This morning after breakfast we went over to the Maquaketa River in Manchester and watched the trials riders.

Rider in the Manchester Trials Competition.

Next we had a tour of Duke’s high school. The principal gave the tour. I was very impressed. West Delaware is a beautiful and very well equipped school.

The theatre at West Delaware. high School
The cafeteria at West Delaware High School.

This afternoon we spent a couple of hours visiting with class mates at a local friends house. This evening we attended the main reunion get together. It was a very well planned event. We had a lot of fun. I enjoyed meeting so many of Duke’s former classmates and hear all their stories.

Road trip Day 9 – Hannibal, Missouri to Manchester, Iowa

One of the reasons we are taking this road trip is to attend Duke’s High School Reunion in Manchester, Iowa. Today we made it to Manchester. We started this morning in Hannibal, Missouri. Hannibal was Mark Twain’s boyhood home so we walked around downtown and along the Mississippi a bit and then went by Twain’s home before heading north into Iowa.

The Mississippi in Hannibal, Missouri.
Mark Twain’s boyhood home.

As we were driving through Cedar Rapids, Iowa we saw a sign for the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library. Duke and I agreed that we should visit the museum someday then a few seconds later Duke said, “We should visit it now!” So we did!

The museum was fascinating. It tells the history of the Czech and Slovak peoples and the stories of the Czechs and Slovaks who immigrated to America. The building itself was interesting because it was badly damaged in the flooding in 2008. As part of the repairs it was moved 480 feet and elevated 11 feet higher.

National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library.
Traditional Czech and Slovak Clothing.

Before we left Cedar Rapids we walked around Czech village and had kolach in the bakery.

Czech Village Mural
Inside the Czech Bakery

All the motels in Manchester are full this weekend so we are staying in Independence, Iowa about twenty miles west of Manchester. We met our friends in Manchester and chatted with many of Duke’s classmates at a bar overlooking the river.

On the deck at River Bend Pub and Grill in Manchester, Iowa.

Tomorrow tnhere is going to be a motorcycle observed trials competition in Manchester. A couple of the competitors gave a demonstration while we were visiting and having dinner.

Observed Trials demonstration.

Family in Memphis and then on to Hannibal, Missouri

Duke and I have completed the first week of our road trip. Yesterday we were in Memphis visiting my sister and her family. We hadn’t see them for three years so it was great to be able to visit.

Memphis was the farthest south and the farthest east we will be on this trip. Today we head north. We crossed the Mississippi and the Missouri and are in Hannibal Missouri tonight.

The Mississippi

Road Trip Day 5 – 2 State Capitols

Duke and I had a busy day today. We started the day in Topeka, Kansas where we walked a short couple of blocks from our hotel to the state Capitol building. The Kansas Capitol building is one of the prettiest I’ve seen. We did a self guided tour.

The Kansas Capitol building in Topeka.
The two wings of the building were built first. Then when they could afford it they added the center.
The Kansas Capitol Dome.
The ornamentation in the Kansas Capitol impressed me.
Duke in the Kansas House of Representatives.

From Topeka we headed east and stopped to see my cousin just north of Kansas City.

Barry and me.

We had a nice visit and then drove to Jefferson City the capital of Missouri. We took a guided tour of the Missouri Capitol building.

Missouri Capitol building

In front of the Missouri Capitol building with Thomas Jefferson.
The Missouri Governors Office.

We left Jefferson City and headed a few hours south. Tonight we are in a comfort in Willow Springs, Missouri.

Road trip day 4 – Coolidge to Topeka, Kansas

Duke and I like to visit state capitols. We have never been to the Kansas Capitol building so today Topeka, the Kansas state capital was our goal. We drove across Kansas from Coolidge on the western border to Topeka not far from the eastern border. We are very much on the Great Plains now.

The Great Plains in the middle of Kansas.

We have been on highway 50 since soon after we left Reno. Today we left 50 and headed a bit north. We stopped in Abilene where the Eisenhower Presidential Library and boyhood home are located. The library and museum were closed because of covid but we enjoyed walking around the grounds.

President Eisenhower boyhood home.

I’ve just started reading the Robert A. Caro’s book, The Path to Power, about Lyndon Johnson’s early years. The book talks about the big cattle drives after the Civil War when unbranded cattle were rounded up and driven north from Texas to the rail yards in Abilene, Kansas. Johnson’s ancestors ran some of these early drives and made a lot of money doing it. I enjoyed seeing Abilene, where the cattle drives ended.

Rest area historical marker near Abilene Kansas.

In Wichita we are staying at the Cyrus, a very nice old refurnished hotel about two blocks from the Capitol. We had burgers across from the hotel at a restaurant called the Pennant.

Road Trip day 3 – Gunnison, Colorado to Coolidge, Kansas

Today we continued to travel east on highway 50. We crossed the continental divide at Monarch Pass (elev. 11,312 ft.) and from there it was all down hill across Colorado following the Arkansas River.

Arkansas River in Colorado

Tonight we are staying Just over the border in Kansas in the little town of Coolidge (population 171 and elevation 3,356).

Coolidge, Kansas City Hall

We are staying in a very nice little cabin at the Trail City Bed and Breakfast.

Our Cabin at the Trail City Bed and Breakfast in Coolidge, Kansas.

The restaurant in Coolidge is closed this week so we drove 15 miles east to Syracuse and had a good steak dinner at the Black Bison Pub.

If you would like to see more pictures of our trip let me know and I’ll add you to the Apple shared album our the Google photos shared album.