Archive for September 29th, 2008

Finally Phil & I got a night away… he’d been promising a night (or 2) for our anniversary. He had a big part for his combine to pick up in Iowa so we left early Saturday morning. We estimated it might take a good 3 hours. We had 4 hours to get there before they closed.

We went through about 10 road construction zones. hmpf!
We went through a town where we saw Jewish people going to (what we assume) their Sabbath services. Long beards on the men, long black dresses/robes on the adults, 2 young boys with Jewish caps & short hair except for long curly sideburns (long like 6″ long on 4 year old boys!), the young ladies, also in long black robes/dresses, had a sort of nontransparent hairnet covering their shoulder-length hair, the men had a scarf (prayer shawl, I now know) they carried.

As the highway snaked through town, we saw the most multi-ethnic & multi-religious variety of people any Iowa town could display. Quite fascinating!! (Later, I found out the town also had a quilt shop but we didn’t return to it.)

{I googled the town and it has quite a history with a kosher meat plant and then illegal business practices there. But reasons why such a mix in a small Iowa town.}

Great views as we continued on Highway 52 to northeast Iowa along the Mississippi River. Too bad we didn’t have enough time to stop at the many overlooks! Phil tried to drive, I tried to take pictures for us to enjoy later!

Not cropped… this close the edge as we drove by!!
They had overlook areas…. we just didn’t stop!
Finally we arrived at the tractor parts place with 25 minutes until closing. Whew!! I walked off my 3 1/2 hrs of sitting while Phil got the men hunting down his part. It slid right into the back end, Phil tied it down a bit, and we were done! ….with that part of the trip. Phil now was able to relax.
We went about 1/2 hr to Decorah, IA and found a very nice downtown. We parked and walked about a block to Ruby’s for lunch. A very clean and newly redecorated restaurant with Norwegian flair. Their shirts had a Viking image, one special of the day was Norwegian meatballs, and their accents told of their nationality as well.

We saw this building on the way back to the highway. A mural of farming:

Out the front window (which was clean when we left) and the sight was beautiful!

After lunch it was just 20 miles NW to Cresco for the first quilt shop! The Pine Needles Quilt Shop was across the street from the city park that was full with youngsters and lots of carnival rides. We were happy to have a parking place just down from the quilt shop on the main street.

The shop was HUGE and wonderfully stocked! A main area, the back room, and upstairs all had fabrics and kits. They have a Jo Morton Club and I’d love to be in that but will email them to get more specifics. Of course, I’d lose out on the gathering each month but may be interested in the club patterns.

I only got a few things knowing that the next shop I was headed to was part of the NE Iowa Quilt Shop Hop and had 20% off.

Instead of backtracking… we headed north and then east to pass through Burr Oak, a childhood home of Laura Ingalls Wilder. We were on a sort of back road so we had no signs to guide us. However, just a few extra miles of wandering (I was sure it would be on Silver Creek Road but it wasn’t…) we found the museum in the little town of Burr Oak.

If I had read her books, would I have known that?

We didn’t pay for the official tour but I saw this, the only childhood home of Laura’s still in the original spot. Right next to Barney’s Bar & Grill… is Barney in the books?

The Burr Oak Mercantile

By looking at the atlas, it seemed as if we continued on the road to the east, we’d cross 95 and then jog a bit and end up on the road into Lansing.


We were in the back country!!! Only 3 miles south of the MN/IA line at one point we could see into Minnesota for several miles. Up on a ridge… it was just beautiful!!

Finally a cross road and a sign that said “to 95 –>” so at least we felt like we were on the right track.

Yep… a dirt track!!

We were following another vehicle in its gravel dust and winding back and forth for many miles. Across Iverson Bridge (if that matters…) …. this bluff. Isn’t it so pretty?

I didn’t take many pictures. We were thankful the IA gravel roads were wider than our IL ones but still I was glued to the map for clues as to where EXACTLY we were driving.

Part of this jaunt was a very winding road along a creek. One side creek, the other side rocky bluff so we were glad to be on the gravel road. Only about 2 houses in this long expanse of curvy road.

Finally, finally, we got to 95 and headed north a bit into Lansing. A quaint little town and there near the river’s edge was Yellow Bird Art, the quilt store for which I was hunting.
After Phil walked in the store for a minute, he found a bench near the river and talked to the kids on the phone while I shopped!

The store carried a lot of what I like…. I came home with a fall wallhanging kit, another McKenna Ryan (her newest) pattern and some of her fabrics for a long wallhanging, some fibers in colors of the Caribbean, and a packet of clearance patterns. First I have seen the idea of packaging 3 clearance patterns in a bundle for 5.95.

I could have done some damage in the batik aisle and the Amy Butler & Kaffe Fasset aisle. Yummy!! Both of these shops have been featured in Quilt Sampler magazine so I had reread those pages on Friday.


Now it was time to cross into Wisconsin… unfortunately I don’t like crossing bridges. Phil had scoped it out as he sat on his bench… he was sure I’d not like it.

He was right.

It was a grated bottom bridge and “the highest bridge I’ve ever seen,” said the driver. So not only did I put my head down, I closed my eyes, and covered them with my hand. The bridge had a steep ramp UP /, then leveled off across the mighty Mississippi. As soon as I thought I’d breathe, a big bump again, and heading straight down \ !!! Oh my! No pictures of this….

We had about 35 miles south along the river to get to our hotel. A crowded highway but beautiful scenery with the bluffs to the east and the river to the west.

We easily found our hotel and then decided on a place for supper. However the map in the travel magazine in our room didn’t know where our restaurant was located! So after a bit of a drive around not-the-side-of-town-I’d-be-eating-in, I called the restaurant and she gave me good directions. It was actually near our hotel…. not in town!

After a good dinner and salad bar at The Barn, we headed out just as the sun was setting across the marina.

This has been a long & full day! I’ll write about Sunday another time.


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