Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Something different....Decorah here we come!

Tuesday July 30th we had everything packed up for a trip up north to Decorah, IA  We have been hopping back and forth between Squaw and Morgan Creek so kinda excited about something different. We have been here before and loved it so we knew what to expect. The trip wasn't to bad, the roads a bit bumpy. We left fairly early cause there was a chance of rain. It just sprinkled a bit and was gray a lot. The park was pretty full when we pulled in, they suggested a site but after going there we knew that wasn't gonna happen. They gave us a different spot and that one was successful. Site #23. The day stayed gray and cloudy so after setting up we just walked around the campground. Pulpit Rock Park is a city park and does not take reservations. It's all first come first serve. It has lots of trees, a stream running through it, is very clean and also has a great bike path right there. The city of Decorah is so nice, it's got lots of restaurants and shops. Its really clean, quaint and friendly. We love it.

Wednesday we got up and still cloudy. The temperature was nice but not what you would expect for the end of July. We rode our bikes into town for breakfast at T-Boks. We had heard they have good pancakes, so pancakes is what we got. They call them plate cakes and now I know why, they cover the plate, you can't even see the plate. They were tasty but a bit more than I could eat. We just wandered around town looking in the shops. Later in the afternoon we rode our bikes back into town to the farmers market. Found some sweet corn, green beans and purple green beans. I know that sounds weird but they were deep purple and very petite, after you cook them they are green and sooo good. I wish I would have gotten more.

Thursday was a big day. We planned a trip down the upper Iowa river. We dropped Jeff's bike off at our pull out spot and continued to Bluffton. We got our kayaks in the water and away we went. The water was running good we thought (it was our 1st time) The weather is unbelievable blue sky, warm, not hot and sunny. The scenery was very nice. Bluffs, trees, waterfalls and wildlife. There were a couple of bald eagles flying over and we even spotted and heard one in a tree...I got photos. Another thing we thought that was awesome is we didn't see one other boat all day so we had the river all to ourselves. The trip was longer then we thought  (about 11 miles on the water)  but still great. Jeff lead the trip and he got stuck a couple times but no wipeouts. Well until we got out and I was trying to take out my kayak. It was grassy and a hill and I slipped and fell in the river. The funniest thing was I had no idea how deep it was...(only about a foot) I was laughing...(no photos)

I waited with the boats while Jeff rode his bike 8 miles to get the truck. He made it back and we loaded  up and headed back to the campground. I was glad I decided to leave our wiener dog at home.

Friday we had decided to do the bike path around the city, the last time we were here the bike path wasn't finished so we wanted to see the finished result. Another beautiful day. The bike path was great, they really did it right. You really get to see a bit of everything, Iowa never looked so good. For dinner we went to the restaurant up the road," McCaffeys". We had ate there last time and liked it.

Saturday went back into town for the farmers market riding our bikes. We got corn, bread, and ever berries. Another reason we love it here, very bike friendly. 

A friend had said we should visit a town Lanesboro,MN only 30 miles north. We jumped in the truck and away we went. A very pretty ride but what a surprise when we arrived.... Normally the city is very quiet but it just happened to be Buffalo Bill Days....yikes it was crazy. We talked to the lady at the visitor center so she explained what was going on. Not the norm so we just looked around. It was very unique that's for sure. Neat shops and very pretty. They actually have a bike path that's 60 miles long, we didn't do that. Just drove there to explore but we got more than we bargained for. It was fun just too busy for us.

Sunday, since this August weather is crazy and cool we had a morning campfire. We watched everyone packing up to leave. We thought this place was busy when we got here, over the weekend it was crazy packed.

Monday we did some cleaning and headed back into town to check out the shops and eat lunch at a local pizza place that's been around for 60 years.  We know why Mabe's Pizza has been in business all those years, our Pizza was excellent and prices are reasonable. And after lunch we found a little bakery that sold crispys....YUM!!!!!

Tuesday was our moving day and woke up to foggy weather so we waited for that to lift. We had planned to head north for a couple weeks but Jeff's ears are bothering him and we think we might be rushed. Didn't have any reservations so we aren't locked  into anything. One reason for heading north is relief from the heat but that isn't the case, so decided to head back to our base camp. Squaw Creek/ Morgan Creek- Cedar Rapids here we come...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Squaw Creek - Chicago Trip

Monday July 22 we traveled across town again. He had packed most of the stuff ahead of time so we made good time. We timed it just right as we were pulling a big 5th wheel was coming out of the park, jokingly I said we are gonna take there spot and I actually think we did. We had the 1st spot on the left , we had it before and liked it cause its close to the showers, the dump station, etc, its handy lets say that. I did up some  laundry and we had some odor issues so we worked on that. Went to town for supper and when we got back the weather looked a bit scary luckily it missed us... yeah!

Tuesday the weather had changed it was really nice in the upper 70's. I decided to make good use of the weather, first a walk then when I got back I brought all the screens out and washed them. So when I put them back inside I had to clean the windows and the sills. Funny how one thing leads to another. Jeff was busy outside washing the roof. I also managed to give our schnauzer (Belle) a haircut.

Wednesday another lovely day and another great walk. I saw 3 baby deer and 2 big turkeys. Today I worked on cleaning all the a.c. vents, fans, and anything else I could find dusty. Jeff did some waxing on the HOW.  We had supper and I started to get things together for my weekend away. We went across town to watch Ashton play hockey. He always seems happy that we come, you can tell by his face.

Thursday July 25th my oldest sons birthday...he's 34!! I kinda have a tradition I like to call them 1st thing in the morning and sing to them... They say they hate it but secretly I think they like it. We had planned to meet them at Red Lobster for supper. I brought him a cheesecake. Supper was tasty and everyone left full. I went home with Seth and Katie, Jeff left with Ashton. Now my weekend was completely different then Jeff's. Jeff was at the HOW with the dogs and Ashton. Me, I spent the weekend in downtown Chicago with my boys and daughter in law. We took off toward Chicago around 7am. We stopped at the outlet mall, it was a bit rainy but nothing we couldn't handle. We had a room at the Hilton. It was a nice place but as we arrived the place was packed. Full of people in red. I forgot to tell you that we were in Chicago to attend the Blackhawk convention. We waited in line to check in, at least they were quick. The boys went down to check out the convention and the opening ceremonies. Katie and I went to check out Michigan Avenue. We met at PF Changs for dinner. Then by the time we got back everyone was exhausted. Katie and I walked all over town... My dogs were barking!

Saturday Seth was up so early you would have thought it was Christmas morning. They headed to all the festivities of the convention. Us girls headed for breakfast and then to check out the Chicago bean before all the people woke up. Both of us really liked it, better when it's not so crowded. The weather was so weird, remember its the end of July and I don't think it hit ..70 degrees. Not complaining its better than 90's and humid. Kt and I walked all over Chicago. We met the boys for lunch, oh yeah they are having fun too. More shopping and of course when in Chicago you have to get caramel corn at Garret's. Met up for supper then back to the room. Was gonna hit the hot tub & pool but was too tired.

Sunday up, dressed and headed out to beat traffic and we did. Stopped at Ihop for breakfast. Stopped at a hockey store to get Ashton a new stick. Then our last stop before heading home....IKEA, love that store. We kept getting phone calls from Ashton wondering when we were gonna be home. I think he was excited about the surprises Mom and Dad were bringing.

Ashton and PaPa had a great 3 days together. After spending the night on Thursday we got up early Friday for a 5 mile bike ride around the park. Later we headed to Prairie Park Fisherie for some fishing fun.. Ashton caught 14 fish of all kinds. A half dozen catfish, a couple of stripers and a few blue gill and perch. He really had a good time . Later in the afternoon we went to Pancheros for a late lunch-early supper and after that we headed to the Collins Road Theater for Iron Man 3.  I would say we most definitely had a full day of activities and both of us were tired at the end of the day. 

We started Saturday with another bike ride and some Geocaching. After we  logged a couple of caches we made our way to the playground so Ashton could climb and swing on the equipment. I asked him what he wanted to do in the afternoon and he told me he wanted to go to the Play Station. This is a kids indoor jungle gym with slides, tunnels, ball pits and other apparatus for kids to play on. He of course had a good time while I watched from the spectator area. In the evening we stayed in and watched the movie Captain Ron.

Sunday we just hung out around the campground and played some Frisbee horseshoes and some trac ball. Ashton was excited for his Mom and Dad to get home because they had told him he was getting some surprises.

We had planned to leave for Decorah on Monday but I had lots to do so we waited one more day.

Monday was a busy one for me, I did laundry, defrosted the freezer, hit the grocery store and filled up the gas tank. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Bounce back to Morgan Creek

Monday July 8th we were packed up and on the road by 9 A.M. We backed into spot #12. I think it was good we were so early cause its really hot &. humid. Jeff has been dealing with some ringing in his ears so he decided to call his Dr. He can see him on Thursday so he also called our dentist to check if there were openings on Thursday. Yes it's a go. I got the laundry done today and to finish off the day we met some friends for dinner. We went to a new place called Parlor City, it was very good but the company was better. Jeff liked it cause they had lots of different beer on tap. He found one he really liked and stayed with it...I had Pepsi.

Tuesday it's so so rained a lot so Jeff took me over to clean my younger sons house.

When we woke up on Wednesday we had a surprise the humidity had dropped, it was wonderful. We went for a nice walk and since the weather is nice I thought I would sit outside. We got a call from our daughter in-law telling us our grand daughter is sick so we got to babysit. I hate that she doesn't feel good but she's so snugly and loving when she doesn't feel well. It's Wednesday night so we watched Ashton's hockey.

Thursday morning we had to make our last reservation in Florida but we didn't get what we had hoped for. That made us almost late to get Jeff to his Dr. Appointment. It was close but we made it on time. While we were in town we got to visit with friends we haven't seen in awhile. Had lunch with my best friend. Jeff got to stop at the fire station and catch up there. For supper we made plans to get together with Porters some of the nicest people we know. The dinner was good too. The only bad thing we talked so much we ended up driving back in the dark, something we don't like to do.

Friday a beauty of a day, got to talking to the campground host and shot most of the morning but it was worth it. We enjoyed the rest of the day and even had frozen yogurt from orange leaf....yum !!

Saturday we got up and decided to surprise our grand kids so we hopped on our bikes and rode to there house. It's not that far away but the main road is fairly busy and not much shoulder to escape to. So we went around another way. It was cloudy and it sprinkled a bit. Our daughter in law was in Des Moines running in a color run. Sissy and I decided to support her with a chalk drawing in the driveway.

We came back to the campground and decided to take a rode trip. We drove to the Amana Colonies. Did a little shopping, they have lots of homemade items. Fudge shops, ice cream, coffee, pastry,need I say more. They even had a quilt store...yeah! We came back home again and the weather still wasn't that great so we went to a movie (The Heat) so funny. What a full day that was.

Sunday went to church and then our younger son came over for pizza. Visited with some neighbors and that was about it. Kinda boring considering our Saturday schedule. Did have a little excitement though our power went off.... Really like having electricity, it definitely makes life easier.

Monday I'm not sure what got in to me, I started cleaning and it was so contagious. I cleaned out everything, the cabinets, drawers, medicine cabinet, closets you name it i cleaned it. I even got rid of a lot of stuff. Then to finish the day I even got my laundry done.

Tuesday we had the grand kids for the day. So to start it off we had pancakes. The bad thing was it was so hot. We went for a walk. Then went to the store. Well Walmart... Sissy and I had a big decision to make....what color of tulle to get for her princess dress, she picked purple. Since it was so hot we watched a movie and made cupcakes. I even got to paint Sissy's toes. Sissy went home but Ashton stayed all night.

Another scorcher on Wednesday. Ashton picked waffles for breakfast and let me know how good they were. We went on a bike ride which was horrible cause it was so hot. Ashton rested up cause he has hockey tonight.

Thursday was smoking hot again. Didn't do much just trying to stay cool. We did have another visitor, Barkley the wonder dog came to spend a few nights with us. Three dogs might be pushing it a bit, I kinda thought I might want another dog but after watching Barkley I've decided that 2 dogs are plenty. Friday was a bit cooler but still pretty warm. We just tried to keep the dogs separated. It takes awhile for them to get used to each other. It's only the 2 weenie dogs that have problems.

Saturday we headed to the farmers market in downtown Cedar Rapids. We went with our daughter in law and grand kids. I have to say that this farmers market is one of the best ones. They have everything, from produce to crafts. It's really busy though. We got a few things, well Jeff did. He likes the honey and got some maple syrup. We had the kids come out around supper time. The kids had a wedding so we got the gifts.(grand kids) Went to Godfathers for pizza, then home for a movie. They picked them up that night.

Sunday Justin picked up Barkley so it was really quiet here at the HOW! I decided to do some baking, one of my favorite things to do. Jeff went to a movie and I started piecing together a quilt. Going to hit the road tomorrow back across town for a  week before heading north.