Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Iowa, Iowa. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall...

So, hey. I'm finally on the last day of my birthday weekend. Monday, July 17th. It started out on the deck of the caboose with coffee and tea and the fresh raspberries that I just picked, admiring the beautiful horses. What a great way to start our day.

We finally had to leave our caboose haven and head out to do the fun things on our last day.

John always teases me about how I want to try and do everything humanly possible when we go on a trip. In my defense, I don't have a lot of time and money, so who knows if I'll ever get to go to any place again. I might as well try to do and see what I can while I'm there.

On our last day, we decided to go back and do the couple of things we did a little bit with the girls and just do them longer. Which meant that John and I would go back and ride the whole trail around Decorah.

We made it back to the fish hatchery and rode around there for a bit before we got back on the trail.

Everything about the trail was beautiful and it was so fun to ride.

We stopped often to take photos and check out the views.

Also, it was a beautiful day.

Oh, Decorah. You are so bike friendly. We were happy to spend our money in your town.

We had a nice lunch after our ride and then went back to the tubing place.

We wanted to do the longer route before we headed back home.

The whole float took us three hours. We had a strong headwind the whole way, but we didn't mind.

We had cold beer and wonderful company.

We had a few obstacles in our way, but they were easy to work around.

Of course, this being Iowa, our biggest obstacle was floating through the cattle.

I was a little worried, but like John said, there weren't any babies around and as we floated through them, they just moved over and stared at us like they had no idea why we were messing with their watering hole. So, we drifted on by and said goodbye.

We also got to see some nice birds - my favorite, a great blue heron and several eagles. Lucky us.

We finally made it to the end of our float and headed home. It was a lovely 4 days and we only had four more days until we took off again on another Iowa excursion. Again, lucky us.

Monday, August 14, 2017

In the Summertime When the Weather is High

Around this time of year, pretty much every meal I make is corn on the cob and some kind of receptacle for fresh de gallo salsa. Man, do I love Summer.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Go Outside Day, Sit in the Park Day, Watch the Sky Day

Okay. Now we're up to the third day of our Decorah trip, which was a Sunday and just happened to be my actual 52nd birthday.

I heard John get up at around 5:30 am and decided I wasn't that tired and it would be nice to go on a little run too. We were about a half a mile off of the beautiful bike path that goes all around the city, so I though I'd try and run on that for a bit. Boy, was I glad I did.

I caught the sun as it was coming up over the river.

The bike path was just lovely with sculptures and wild flowers...

...And wildlife.

I ended up running 6 miles that morning. That's the most I've run in months.

My shadow self has very long legs.

The best part of my run came when this little guy came out of the corn field for some affection. So far, my birthday trip has been full of cats. yea!

After I got back to the hotel, I took a shower and by the time I got out, John was finally home. He ran the whole trail, 13 miles and said the whole thing was amazing.

We finally dragged the girls out of bed and decided to head to the fish hatchery.

It was really cool there. We bought fish food and fed the trout there. I've been a fish head ever since I worked in the Salmon Restoration Project, but John and the girls had a good time there as well.

After we had lunch, we decided to rent some bikes for the girls and ride around the path John and I ran that morning.

It started out well. John wanted to take them on the prettiest part, which seems to always be the hilliest parts of a trail.

Then Stinky's pedal broke. Luckily, John can work on bikes, so John just put the bad pedal on my bike and switched out my good pedal for hers. Voila! It worked fine.

Of course, neither of the girls have been all that active lately and the hills on the path were a bit too much for them. Stinky felt badly for being so out of shape, because she used to always be so strong. I just told her not to worry about it. If she wants to be stronger, all she has to do is be more active in the future. We headed back to the bike shop to return the bikes and we drank a beer at Pulpit Rock Brewery while we waited until we could check into our AirBnB.

I was really excited to get to our AirBnb because it was a converted caboose. How cool is that!

The place also has a silo for AirBnb and since there wasn't anyone staying there that night, they let us check it out. It was pretty rustic and cool. There are also horses and fresh raspberries and they let you pick all the berries you want. That's my kind of place.

The girls had to take off back home, so we said good bye and figured out our next move.

This was what the interior of the caboose looked like. So nice.

Our AirBnb had many little leaflets of things to do in the area and john found the one for the Seed Savers place and Heritage Farm. I had kept saying I wanted to go there and since they were open, we thought we'd head that way before went back to town to get sushi for dinner.

It was beautiful there.

Of course, I had to get some more seeds for next year, since I don't have enough flowers in my yard, apparently.

We had a nice meal, picked up some beer and made it back to the caboose. They have a nice deck in the back and we wanted to make sure we got to watch the sunset. Of course, since my birthdays seem to always be magical, there were even MORE cats to spoil at the caboose.

 We had a nice talk as we watched the sunset. I got to watch the sun rise and set and hang out with my family and play outside most of the day. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. Happy Birthday to me.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Can't Read My, No, He Can't Read My Poker Face

Okay. So, I'm going in the Way Back Machine, to Saturday, July 15th. It really feels like about 6 months ago.

Anyway, we woke up to the beautiful scenery of the moon, the bluffs and a bald eagle flying overhead. None of us got much sleep (except John) on account of the late night, drunken shenanigans by the other campers.

We decided to pack up and head into town.

We noticed they had a farmer's market downtown and went to check it out.

Decorah has a large Norwegian population, so we bought ourselves some Norwegian food at the Farmer's Market. Mmmmmm.

We got some coffee and wandered around downtown.

Then we drove over to the Falls that aren't too far from downtown.

I even got to crawl around on the rocks. One of my favorite things to do.

The scenery was gorgeous...

...And my family was hilarious.

It was nice to get to spend time with the girls too.

We tried to check out the ice cave, but we didn't get very far in. We still have no idea if that's as far as anyone got, or if there was another entrance somewhere that we missed.

We did get a nice album cover shot, and that's important.

We got barbecue for lunch and when we drove past the local bike shop, I saw there were cages outside. When we were done, I asked John and the girls if they minded stopping by there and checking out what I thought were rabbits.

It turned out they were kittens, which was even better. The last thing John said to me when we got out of the car was, "We aren't taking any of them home!"

He did relent and come up and pet some of them with us, but we didn't take any home. Although, that would have been the sweetest birthday present.

We had reserved some innertubes to float down the river, but they told us to come there at around 3. Since we had some time to kill, we checked out the Pulpit Rock Brewery and had a beer before we hit the river.

The float was very nice. We only did it for an hour, because we wanted to check into our hotel room and make our dinner reservation, but as we were all tubing, we wished we had done the longer route.

We had dinner at Rubiyat and it was perfect.

The food was amazing and the service was great.

I even had birthday "cake" - a half fudge and half salted caramel brownie with ice cream and strawberries. It's like it was made for me.

After dinner, we decided to check out the Courtyard and Cellar bar. We walked by it in the afternoon and thought it looked pretty cool.

We sat outside at first, but it looked like it might storm, so we headed down to the basement bar.

We found a bunch of board games down there, but decided to get out the deck of cards I bought the girls when we were in DC and John taught the girls how to play poker. We played for pennies, so it wasn't extemely cut throat, but the girls did have a lot of fun teasing me about how I don't know how to shuffle. So, drinking and gambling - just good, old fashioned, wholesome, family fun...

By about 11, I was getting ever so sleepy, so we headed back to the hotel room. I wanted to be nice and perky for my actual birthday the next day. If it was going to be anything like Saturday, I would definitely need to rest up for it.