22 Sept, it is a much cooler day in Western Illinois., but the chiggers are fierce! Ron's rawhide is covered with bites. Cynthia has a few that may have passed from Ron’s clothing or from crossing a mown field while waking to Walmart. Fels Naptha soap helps the itch. We lunched at Ruby Tuesday's, ever so grateful for the garden bar assortment of raw vegetables; it is too bad the croutons tempt Cynthia, 14 fat grams! Wally World is a few blocks away allowing more steps to accrue. Ron rode into Edwardsville to visit Connie McK returning home amidst a gorgeous hot pink sunset and a frigid temp of 64 degrees (54 at 60 MPH). DNA is ever so compelling now that we are finding unknown ancestors.
21 Sept, Litchfield, Illinois is a cooler day. Ron became a tree and trail farmer again today. Cynthia opted out of cleaning trails after seeing chigger bites that have nearly devoured Ron. We may lose all of our blogger fans without having exciting hiking and traveling news. But it surely beats the main stream media.
20 Sept, In the wee, small hours of this day, Ron finally turned the computer off to sleep for a few hours before the energizer bunny woke him up. Today is another day just like our other days except Ron now has chigger bites. Dinner with sister Carol at Ruby Tuesdays is always fun. We get to eat so much!
19 Sept, After a thoroughly delightful breakfast with Bob A., a new motrcycycle afficianado/genealogist, Ron spent the day at Carol’s tree farm cleaning trails. We picked Cynthia up at 4 to meet nephew Eric and family In Edwardsville for dinner.
18 Sept, Edwardsville, Illinois home of the infamous Beatty storage locker packed with precious possessions, including an ancient Triumph motorcycle that is being gifted to be refurbished.
17 Sept, Litchfield, Illinois; Ron helped Carol tie pink ribbons on the boundaries of the expanded acreage of her tree farm. Cynthia opted not to ride on gravel roads. We had dinner (spinach) at Jubelt's bakery followed by a meal at Ruby Tuesday's. That bakery had a huge selection of delicious looking stuff we can't eat; but we stared really good.
16 Sept, 9:00 AM Jacksonville, Illinois and it is 70 degrees already with a promise of 87! We are outta here to Litchfield, Illinois, our home in a Hampton Inn for the next week. After lunch at Ruby Tuesday's (hooray!) we rode to sister Carol's tree farm where Cynthia took photos of Ron's Smiles Through the Years.
|Ron's Smiling Christmas Photo for Mom|
|Smiling Ron Childhood|
|Ron and Cousin Sandy|
14 Sept, was hot I thought we escaped heat once September arrived. We had a lovely visit with my second cousin Sandy in West Des Moines before getting going about 4 PM to beat the rush hour and made it to the Hampton Inn in Ottumwa without incident. The wind still blew us around a bit, but far less than yesterday. Again it was far hotter than we like - and I thought that this was supposed to be fall rather than more summer. Tomorrow we ride to Keosauqua to visit my first cousins Marvin and Ken (also proud owners of Beatty blood through their mothers, my father's sisters). Then off to Illinois.
13 Sept, From DesMoines, Iowa we made a side trip to Elk Horn, Iowa on IA 44 west for a lovely luncheon hosted by Cynthia’s friends. SW Iowa is home to the largest Danish settlement outside Denmark. The early part of IA 44 was very rough so we returned on a different but more crowded road. Iowa is boasting Freedom Rocks, a hand painted history in every county is most interesting.
Classmate Carol visited us at the hotel.
|Cynthia's friend Carol, Ron and Cynthia|
|The Smooches in Elk Horn, Iowa|
12 Sept, Northwood to Des Moines, a two hour trip turned into three hours because we took back roads instead of the interstate. Despite a strong south wind, the ride was very pleasant passing one cornfield after another with a bean field here and there. Lake Mills, Forest City, Garner, Belmond... towns Northwood played against during football and basketball season. But the most important part of sports was for the cheerleader who also marched in the band. Our hotel is only four minutes from Ruby Tuesdays where we met cousin Sandy for dinner.
11 Sept, 9.1.1, Forever etched in our hearts. This was a good day to catch up on projects. Dave, a Rambo cousin, and his wife Pat, joined us for dinner and great conversation. Packing ensues.
10 Sept, Northwood, Iowa has poor Verizon and WiFi or I would be posting photos from our day hiking at Pilot Knob State Park near Forest City. Annie and Connie hiked with us on the trail to the second highest point in the state, while Dave and Jim visited at the shelter. We had a great lunch together before visting a waterfall in Fertile, Iowa. Annie hosted a feast for dinner with Norwegian treats like lefse, cod, vegetables and fruits from their farm. She made fat and salt free bread, cake, etc. Her home is like a museum filled with family treasures. She lit memorial Candles for those who have passed away.
|Northwood Friends and Food!|
|Cynthia at Fertile, Iowa - The Top of Iowa|
9 Sept, Elk Creek Lutheran Church was the congregation Cynthia’s great ancestors belonged to and are buried. We attended the baptism of friends great granddaughter and joined their family for a great brunch of sweet corn, and grapes. Cynthia did eat the contraband (Iowa beef), but only the patty without a bun. When we returned to the hotel we ate a big bowl of oatmeal.
8 Sept, The Smooch family bounded out of bed at the crack of daylight-thirty to participate in the Tailgate 5K Run. Ron came in first place in his age group six years ago, despite being the very last person behind Cynthia and Ann. This year The 5K did not have age groups, so there were no winners in our family. We toured the newly restored Stroheim Building and the 100 year old Miss Winifred hotel now undergoing restoration. Cousin Ray M. joined us for lunch before we visited a courageous niece who has suffered through cancer of the jaw and tongue twice.
7 Sept, Northwood, Iowa. One word surfaced during the two hour ride from MPLS to northern Iowa Cynthia’s hometown: Order. Farms are well kept, equipment is organized, or parked in machine sheds, farmhouses are well maintained. The same is true of twins with manicured lawns and tidy houses. Perhaps it comes from well ordered Scandinavian or Germanic influence. We arrived about three PM, surprised by a large bouquet of flowers and a basket of vegetables and fruit in our room from Annie and Dave.
6 Sept, Minneapolis, MN on a pleasant, cool, but sunny day. The steel cut oatmeal was prepared with cinnamon and honey; honey is a no-no sugar for this diabetic. Ron is Rockin’ DNA. Our room smells! What’s the smell in here? Smells like shoe polish. Aha! It is Mink Oil for leather boots so they don’t dry out. Ron met his riend/former boss Kurt K. this afternoon and walked across the Mississippi River.
5 Sept, Minneapolis, Hilton Garden Inn, Shoreview: It is a windy Wednesday in MN. Ron is spending the day with his sister-in-law, Carolyn, treating her to an awesome dinner at McCormick and Schmitz.
4 Sept, Sioux Falls, SD: Rising early, Ron checked and rechecked the color radar making the determination to go north to Brookings, SD ... immediately, at 9:00 AM to avoid the gully washer soon to hit this area. We turned east from Brookings into MN, with a pit stop in Tyler a Danish enclave famous for Danish pastries, managing to avoid rain until we were close to Fairfax, MN with an inviting cafe. Oh, my goodness. A guy with extreme Daisy Dukes, cowboy boots, pink hair, and covered in body tattoos was a hoot. The cafe closed at two, so we opted to be Library patrons wait8ng for a break in the rain, which occurred at 3:00. The rain break didn’t last long! We got as far as Eden Prairie, MN at 4:00 when more intense rain and heavier traffic called a halt to the day’s ride. We opted to check in at a Hilton Garden Inn. Cynthia ranted at the idiocy of the reservationist when she tried to book by phone standing in the rain.
3 Sept, Hope you are enjoying Labor Day! 7:30 AM and we were packing the bike! Cynthia said, “This is one of those rare occasions we are leaving very early!” Ron said, “It is the ONLY time we have left so early!” We had an adventurous ride to Sioux Falls, SD through heavy, dense fog this morning. Pea soup. SD 44 East is a back road with very little traffic, with no farm equipment or school busses on this day. A pheasant flew up close and personal, a community of wild turkeys and about ten babies gathered alongside the road. Two deer bounded across the road. We crossed the Missouri River Lake. The joy was arriving to find a Ruby Tuesday restaurant in perfect time for lunch! Ron asked the hotel clerk for a hiking suggestion; we were both surprised when she said, “Yes, the Yankton Trails.” We ventured forth from the hotel for a great walk on terrific bike and walking trails along the Big Sioux River. We will check weather early AM to see if we dare venture forth very early to arrive MPLS without drowning. The weather looks clear until close to noon.
2Sept, Prairie Wind Casino and Hotel: Breakfast is deli and our only choice is oatmeal. No wonder there are so many unhealthy people! The buffet offered scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy for an affordable price. We walked through the smoke filled casino to the restaurant, which was almost empty except for a few elderly with oxygen tanks. But, the hotel was a place to sleep. The sun is shining, its a beautiful day, birds did an air show outside our window, and we are happy. Interesting to see the bike trails with overhead lighting. The ride through the agricultural Pine Ridge Reservation was most interesting with vast fields of corn— sunflowers, alfalfa, sorghum, and pasture land with black angus cattle. An abrupt change of scenery occurred crossing into the Rosebud Reservation on 18 east; the first 2/3 of the Rosebud Reservation were hilly and not good grazing land. An amusing contrast was seeing mostly Hereford cattle on the Rosebud side, while the Oglalla Sioux had only Black Angus. Also amusing was a doe standing by the roadside observing traffic. We were happy to arrive in Winner, SD at the Holiday Inn and discover we can eat cooked vegetables at the Mexican Restaurant across the street. Congratulations to Granddaughter Lauren for her first full time salaried position as the outpatient therapist for a new psychiatric hospital.
1 Sept, Guernsey, Wyoming was a disappointing night in the Cobblestone Inn. The scenic ride across pristine Wyoming grasslands turning from green to gold was mdeed pleasant. How fun to see advertising for Wall Drug! At Lusk, Wyoming we learned about the Cheyenne to Deadwood Trail, and at Hot Springs, SD we scarfed down an egg white veggie omelet and platter size pancakes with no butter at the Daily Bread Bakery not too far from the Black Hills, and we arrived at the Prairie Wind casino hotel on the Pine Ridge/Oglala Indian Reservation SD for the nights lodging. This is At least the Cobblestone Inn was clean. Our room appears clean except for hairs on the bathtub. The halls smell like smoke. The elevator is not clean, the stairs are gross. Glad we had that big lunch. We have had great experiences staying at casino hotels, they have been clean. Today is the 20th anniversary of Cynthia’s son’s death from Leukemia. Anniversaries of deaths are difficult. The many faces of grief are endless. Tomorrow will be here soon. After all, tomorrow is another day!