Week 137: Iowa

Sep. 12 - Sep. 18, 2021

Sunday, we enjoyed a new recipe for breakfast, eggs benedict casserole.  This needs to become a recurring menu item. So good, I also made the "English muffins" from a recipe called English Muffin Loaf. I found both recipes on Pinterest, the casserole is from Southern Living and the bread is from Restless Chipotle. I used Hollandaise sauce from a mix rather than making it from scratch. Next we tried to visit the Hub City Heritage Corp. Railway Museum.  It did not look open so we just walked around the buildings and rail cars.  Next we needed to kill about 20 minutes before the movie we want to see started so we went to Ace Hardware.  I needed a piece of wood to replace the base for my footstool and I also wanted a flower pot to put my mint and spider grass plants in.  I was successful in finding both.  We saw Shang Chi at the Grand Theatre of Oelwien, there were only 4 of us in the theatre.  I enjoyed it.  Once back home, Elard cut the board to size for me and the new pot holds all my plants nicely.  I don't remember if I mentioned that when we visited the FLW house in Kansas City the owner gave me basil and variegated spider grass cuttings from his garden.  That was about 7 weeks ago and they are both still alive.  I also bought a mint plant here because I wanted a mint julep and it is almost impossible to find fresh mint at the grocery store.

Monday, I decided I needed a sew day.  I mended a pair of pants and I completed the blanket/counting book project for my great nephew.  It is so darn cute. I didn't have time to work on anymore tiny houses but I did cut all the sky fabric I have for the houses into 2.5 inch squares.

Tuesday, we did the southern half of drive number 60, Great River Road, from "The Book".  I must say the Mississippi river valley is absolutely beautiful.  If it just was a little warmer in the winter time I'd consider Iowa or Missouri as a place to live.  The rolling hills, the water, the work ethic that is evident, it is beautiful. We started and ended at Lock #10, I wanted to make sure we got some pictures of at least the outside of the Lockmaster's House.  The museum is only open from Noon to 4.  We got there at around 10, got some pictures and made it back there at about 3:15 to tour the inside.  It was cool. But once again, there were no barges to watch go thru the lock.  We headed north to the Effigy Mounds National Monument.  How cool, I know the Poverty Point site is huge but this site seems to have more locations spread over a larger area.  We didn't climb to the top of the trail (I'm a wimp, it looked straight up) but the visitor center had a nice model of the sites.  Next we crossed the river to the Wisconsin side and visited Prairie du Chien.  It started as a fur trading post.  The Villa Louis was closed so we could only take pictures of the outside. I'll bet it is really pretty inside. We continued south to Dubuque and Fenelon Place Elevator.  It was built in 1882 for a local banker and former state senator J.K. Graves, so he could get home for lunch in time to get back to work.  It is billed as the shortest and steepest railroad in the world and was opened to the public in 1884.  We didn't ride it but the view from the top was spectacular.  Turning back north, we stopped for more spectacular views at the Balltown Scenic Overlook, WOW.  Once we were done at the Lockmaster's house we returned to the small town of Elkader to photograph an old stone arch bridge we saw on our drive in the morning.  It was cool.  I'm always amazed at the debris that collects at bridges.  We ended the day at the Oelwein Pizza Ranch. They had some really good fried chicken.

Wednesday, time to pay our quarterly estimated taxes...no escaping the tax man.  We spent the day just relaxing and planning what we are doing for the next few days.  The weather has been really cooperating.

Thursday, I spent nearly all day outside piecing the travel quilt.  It is coming together nicely.

Friday, we did drive number 67, Illinois Northwest. It began with a stop at the Field of Dreams movie site.  It was pretty cool but would probably have been better if we'd actually seen the movie!  I know right? Next we passed thru Dubuque Iowa over the Mississippi and on to Galena, Illinois.  Galena was a mining town, lead mostly, and  home to General Ulysses S. Grant after the Civil War Ended. There were several historical homes to visit and we ended up at a sculpture park. West Street Sculpture Park has some pretty interesting things to see.  The artist, John Martinson, moved to Galena to operate the Galena Blacksmith Shop and the sculpture park is a great way to view his talent.  As we continued down the east side of the river we stumbled upon the Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. Of course we stopped for a tasting.  They had bourbon, vodka, rye and gin.  Their rye really surprised me so we had to get a bottle of that.  I also really enjoyed their HellFyre Vodka, it is flavored with jalapenos, habeneros, and black peppercorns. I can't wait to make a bloody mary with it. Apparently, Bill Murray likes their products and the "Brothers" like him.  There were several interesting portraits of him in the building.  We continued on to the little town of Fulton where there is an authentic Dutch windmill named De Immigrant built on the levee. It was built in the Netherlands specifically for the town of Fulton, then dismantled, shipped, and reassembled in 2000.  Two craftsmen traveled from the Netherlands to assemble the windmill and two Dutch masons joined them to build the brick base.  The bricks were salvaged from a 120 year old building and a 150 year old building in the Netherlands. They actually use it to grind wheat into flour and sell the flour locally.  The town of Fulton also has a connection to Ronald Reagan.  His family's from the area and there is a family plot in the Fulton cemetery.  We stopped for a late lunch in Clinton Illinois at the Candlelight Inn Restaurant for their famous "Chicken George". It is kind of like Raising Cane's and delicious.  The view was great too, the restaurant is in a fake paddle-wheeler that is also a casino. We watched boats coming and going on the river as we ate.  The city has a wonderful walking/biking trail right along the river. Crossing back over the river at Port Byron we headed for home.  Our last stop was to take a picture of someone's barn.  They had painted "American Gothic" on the end facing the road.

Saturday, I spent another day working on the travel quilt and chatting with the park owners.  They are getting things ready to shutdown.  They close the park for the winter in mid-October. I missed getting out on the lake with one of their kayaks, they've already put them away for the season. I forgot to ask when they open back up in the spring. Oh and the HellFyre Vodka makes one heck-of-a good bloody Mary! It was another very nice week.

Make Life an Adventure!