Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ledges State Park, Boone, Iowa

(Chuck) We are just finishing up a visit to Grandkidville in Ames, Iowa. Brent and Donna are the ones with six children and we just had one of the most enjoyable visits with them. Jan brought a cake to celebrate their 14th anniversary. The weather was good and we spent time on their large deck.

Michael who is 8 years old has recently purchased a chess set. He seems to use it with his friends at recess and it shows. He has command of a great skill level for his age. Next in line was his older brother Steven, also a good player. I was fortunate to come out with two victories. Brent and I watched the boys play each other and it was exciting play. I don’t think there was any dust gathering on the board.

When we visit the Ames delegation we usually stay at Ledges State Park near Boone, Iowa. The campground is located on high ground and there are thirteen miles of hiking trails that lead up and down steep slopes to scenic overlooks and through dense woods. A road continues down through creek crossings where cars drive through the water. Trails continue on each side of the road. It is a hiker’s paradise with constant bird songs to accompany your travels. The park gets its name from the sandstone "Ledges" that rise nearly 100 feet above the floor of the streambed.

The Ledges has a long history of being flooded by the nearby Des Moines River. The major flood water levels have been recorded on a "flood pole" located in the lower area of the park next to the river.

The park has 40 campsites with electrical hookups, 42 non-electric, and 12 hike-in sites. It is heavily used and if you want to get an electric site you need to be here by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest. We arrived Friday and we were fortunate to find a non-electric site that we could get into. They are primarily tent sites and most are small and have trees with low limbs. Non-electric is no problem for us because it isn’t air conditioner season yet. Our solar equipment does anything else that we need, although most who saw us in here could not figure our how we could survive without electricity. As with all state parks in Iowa, advance campsite reservations can be made online for one half of the sites and the other half of the sites are first come first serve. I seem to have this loathing of reservations and sometimes we pay the price for it when it comes to fighting for space with the weekenders. I must tell you I will take BLM land any day, any place, any time.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Yellowsmoke Notes

Our ten days at Yellowmoke Park near Denison, Iowa was a relaxing time. We enjoyed walking, kayaking , fishing and visiting with friends. Chuck, Lynn and Jim got together several morning for coffee, some days in chilly weather and many days in the beautiful sunshine.
Chuck and I walked the 4 mile trail from the lake to the edge of Denison and back on Saturday morning. It was fun to see a herd of deer in the woods grazing as we went by. We also walked the 2 mile trail around the lake and through the woods several times. Beautiful!

Mary had brought her kayaks along and she and I went out. What fun! It was so wonderful gliding across the water from on end of the lake to the other. Chuck and Jim went out, too.

I had been telling the girls about my beading hobby and, soon we were all starting a new bracelet. Mary, Jerri and Her daughter Mindi caught of very quickly and we enjoyed a couple of fun afternoons together. Thanks to my teachers Karen and Kaaren!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Family Fun

Last week-end was Family Time for us as we were at son Brent and daughter-in-law Donna's house for our grandson, Michael's First Communion Celebration. We arrived Saturday mid morning. There was so much to talk about and catch up on. The kids are all growing and changing. Little Madeleine is just a joy to hold and has just learned to crawl. We were joined by Donna's parents and our son Eric, his wife Cheri and their kids. Dinner was wonderful and the visiting and hugs so very special.

Michael had help from his sister Anne opening his gifts and cards. The kids went across the street to the park to play for part of the afternoon but the boys, Michael, Stephen and Ryan also spend time down stairs playing games at the family computer lab. It was a warm sunny day so it was nice to be able to go from indoor to out on the deck or to the park. Here's Grampa with his two oldest granddaughters Jessica and Katie and again with sons Eric and Brent.

The following two pictures are of Donna with daughter Madeleine and Cheri and Eric. Grampa and Brent are in the other with Michael, Libby and Anne. All too soon the afternoon melted away and it was time for Eric and Cheri, Ryan and Jess to head back to Chicago land. We were parked at Ledges State Park and spend the rest to the day taking walks and looking through the days pictures we had taken.
Sunday morning we headed back to Brent and Donna's after church to spend a little more time with them. We colored and sang songs with the grandkids. Eric and Cheri had brought flowers for me the day before for Mother's Day and on Sunday Brent and the kids gave Donna and I flowers. Very pretty and i've been enjoying them all week.

Monday was travel day for us, with a stop in Halbur to see my folks. The week flew by; more time with mom and dad, doctors visits for Chuck and I and a fun visit with friends Ron and Edna. Thursday we moved up to Yellowsmoke Lake near Denison; a pretty little county park with great walking trails. We're here with friends Jim and Jerri and Lynn and Mary.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

This week

Last Tuesday we journeyed down to Council Bluffs to do a little shopping. Our stop for lunch was at Panera Bakery, famous for their out-of-this world bagels. Another thing that is exceptional is there soup in a bread bowl, which we had for lunch. Excellent. Our first soup in a bread bowl experience was in San Francisco at Pier 39 in the 80's. It's been a favorite ever since.

One f the projects Chuck completed this week on a nice day was adding a fuel filter to our pick-up form the auxiliary tank to the main fuel tank. We had some sunny days this week but several that were cloudy and rainy. I guess that's weather in May in Iowa! Thursday evening Jim and Jerri stopped by for a visit. It was really good to see them and we made plans to spend a couple of weeks at a near by lake.

Yesterday we packed up the rig and got ready to head to Ledges State Park near Boone for several days. Our son Brent and family live in near by Ames and we will get to see them and celebrate Michael's First Communion. Our son Eric and family will come over from Chicago area, too. We stopped to see my mom and dad in Halbur on our way through. We enjoyed lunch together and spent time visitng with them.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

At the Farm

(Jan) After a nice visit at my sister's and a wonderful chicken cordon bleu dinner, Chuck and I headed north to Iowa. We arrived in some chilly, rainy weather but just in time to go with my parents to my mom's cardiac appointment. Mom, aged 87, has been suffering with atrial fibrillation for the past seven weeks. She's always been a ball of energy and it's hard for her to slow down. They fitted her with a heart monitor to record heart activity for 48 hours. Dad, aged 93, has slowed down this last year as walking has become difficult for him. But they have an excellent attitude and wish to remain in there home as long as they can. Saturday we brought dinner up for them and helped mom removed the monitor. My brother joined us so it was a lively visit.

Sunday Chuck and I drove to Lake View to visit Black Hawk Lake. It was a gorgoeus 72 degree sunny day. The water was calm, the birds singing and the lawn was studded with a million tiny little violets in shades of white to violet. We found a good spot on the lawn near the lake to enjoy our picnic lunch, read and talk about future travels.

After our sandwiches we walked on the Nature Trail. It is a trail we used to walk 40 or so years ago when we were dating. Early spring is the best time; the trees are starting to bud, everything is turning green and best of all NO mosquitoes yet! We ended our day with a drive around the lake and our favorite ice cream shop with double dip cones of Blue Bunny ice cream.
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