My name is Marion Vermazen. I am a traveler, hiker, avid reader, Sun alumnus, computer geek, Spanish and French language student, knitter, weaver and genealogist.
I am a traveler, hiker, avid reader, Sun alumnus, computer geek, Spanish and French language student, knitter and genealogist. I am retired after working for almost 30 years in the Computer Industry. I live in Reno, Nevada with my husband Duke.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
“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.
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.
This morning after breakfast we went over to the Maquaketa River in Manchester and watched the trials riders.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Before we left Cedar Rapids we walked around Czech village and had kolach in the 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.
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.
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.
From Topeka we headed east and stopped to see my cousin just north of Kansas City.
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.
We left Jefferson City and headed a few hours south. Tonight we are in a comfort in Willow Springs, Missouri.
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.
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.
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.
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.