Friday, June 05, 2009

National Shrine of St. Therese

Friday, June 05, 2009

It was surprisingly quiet in the truck stop parking lot last night. We both got a good nights sleep. Left for our primary destination for the day, the National Shrine of St. Therese, the Little Flower, in Darien, IL. Arrived there about 10:00 am. Toured the wonderful museum dedicated to St. Therese and the landscaped grounds. There was mass at 11:30. Covering an entire wall in the chapel is the largest religious wood carving in the U.S. It was hand carved in Italy and depicts the major events in the life of St. Therese. The shrine houses a collection of statues of Our Lady of Mount Carmel from around the world as well as a display of antique rosaries. We thoroughly enjoyed our morning. After lunch we continued to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore near Michigan City, IN. Stayed in the Dunewood Campground. We drove along lake Michigan for a while but couldn’t find any place where we could park. The parking lots were all full. It was a great beach day; warm & sunny.

Black Hawk & the I & M Canal

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Drove to Rock Island, IL to visit the Black Hawk State Historic Site. The Site was dedicated to the Sauk and Mesquakie Indian tribes who occupied the land from about 1730 until they were driven out by the westward expansion of the US. This was the site of the westernmost battle of the Revolutionary War. In 1780 Americans destroyed the Sauk village. In 1804 the Indians ceded all lands east of the Mississippi River, 51 million acres in all, to the U.S. Government.
Later we drove to Sunset Park which overlooks the Mississippi River. I was hoping to see some barges come past. No luck. We continued east with Starved Rock SP as our goal. When we got to the campground it was a big disappointment. Not very attractive, not close to the Illinois River as we thought from the park brochure. We decided to continue on for Gebhard Woods State Park near Morris, IL. A wonderful park. Unfortunately, there is only tent camping. Oh well. The park is located on the old I & M Canal which linked Lake Michigan with the Illinois River at LaSalle, IL. It was built in 1848. The old tow path is now a 61 mile long multi-use path. We took a couple of nice walks and grilled our dinner. We had some bratwurst from Pella, IA and our favorite vegetable, bar-b-que sweet potatoes. Had the most enjoyable afternoon. The park is very popular. We enjoyed watching the people fishing, walking, bike riding, etc., on a perfect, sunny afternoon. The park closes at 9:00. We spent the night in the parking lot of the Travel America Plaza on I-80.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Amana Colonies, Iowa

Woke up to a rainy day. Drove the scenic back roads from Pella to the Amana Colonies. Rained all the way. The Amana Colonies is a group of seven villages. Amana, East Amana, Middle Amana, High Amana, West Amana, South Amana and Homestead. In High Amana we stopped at the High Amana General Store. From inside & out, it looked like the store that had been there since 1857. There were candies we hadn’t seen since we were children. Good ‘n Plenty, Mary Jane’s, etc. Bought locally made cream soda, root beer and cherry soda. We can’t recall the last time either of us has had cream soda. Bought some very good local German mustard. We drove around for a while hoping the rain would stop; never did. About 2:00 we gave up and went to the Middle Amana Middle Park Campground. $16.05/night. The park is surrounded by corn fields. I let Gopher off her leash to run for a while.
Iowa is an interesting state. Mostly agricultural in nature. Corn to the horizon most everywhere you go. I’m not sure just what I expected of Iowa but not the interesting places we’ve found so far.
The Amana Colonies have a very fascinating history. The Colonies were a German religious commune that thrived from 1842 through 1932. This link to Wikipedia tells the story:

June 3, 2009

A pretty, cool, sunny morning. In the morning we went to the Amana Stone Hearth Bakery in Amana. Bought three very good strudels and one cinnamon roll. Excellent. Our favorite treat is still the crumb cake & strudel from Hermann, MO. Walked through the Amana General Store and then toured the Woolen Mill. That was interesting. We watched wool fabric being made from the yarn. There was a loom from when the mill was first built in 1857. This is the only operating woolen mill in Iowa. Carol bought a cotton blanket for those chilly nights. We continued east stopping near Davenport, IA at the West Lake Park campground operated by Scott County.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Pella, Iowa

Friday, May 29, 2009
All the Lazy Daze people met at the Hospitality Hall for a farewell coffee and donuts; there were nine LD’s in all . We told the people about the town of Hermann, MO and the great bakery. Two of the group, are headed there for the day. There were nine LD’s in all. After that we headed north towards Iowa. Spent the night at the Crowder State Park near Trenton, MO. Only $10/night for dry camping. The campground was filled by the end of the day. Mostly families coming to camp for the weekend. There is a fishing & swimming lake. Found another HyVee grocery store and got a take out lunch. Hyvee is an excellent, high quality regional grocery store.

Saturday/Sunday , May 30/31, 2009

Today’s destination is Pella, Iowa. We got up early so we could get there before noon. Pella is a very pretty city. Dutch in origin. We toured the Pella Historical Village and Vermeer Mill. The windmill is fully operational. During the tour, the mill operator grinds wheat into flour. The Village is a group of 20 buildings including an old store, blacksmith shop, a log cabin, library and a home once occupied by Wyatt Earp. The downtown area is designed to represent a typical Dutch village. There is a town square surrounded on all sides by shops. We found the Jaarsma Bakery which has been in operation since 1898. Another great bakery find. Bought three types of strudel plus a loaf of Dutch apple bread. Wow. On par with the bakery in Hermann, MO.
Late afternoon we went to the Corp of Engineers campground on Lake Red Rock and stayed at the North Overlook camping area. We got a site with a nice view of the lake. I took Gopher for a walk to the lake. There was no one around so I let her off her leash. She had been in the camper all day. She had a great time running in the lake, chasing a stick & rolling in the sand. There is a 15 mile paved multi-use path that runs through the campground. The strong German influence in this part of Iowa is apparent from the name of the trail. It’s the Volksweg which means “The peoples path” We all took a walk before dinner on Saturday and two longer walks on Sunday. Need to walk about a hundred miles to work off all those pastries. Carol wants to go back to town on Tuesday to get some more. We have a scale with us. Each week we get weighed. As long as we’re at our weight goal, we enjoy the goodies.
Two beautiful, sunny days. This is such a nice place we decided to expend our stay through tomorrow. We left home on May 1st. Been on the road for 30 days. Having a wonderful time as we always do. We’re both so happy when we’re travelling. The longer we’re out the longer we want to stay out.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Today we ran errands. Did laundry, filled the propane tank, went grocery shopping then made another visit to the two downtown Dutch bakeries. The weather is starting to turn rainy again. There is a front moving through the Mid-West. Tonight we’re supposed to get some strong thunder storms.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lake Red Rock, Pella, Iowa

Some photos from Lake Red Rock near Pella, Iowa. This is the Corp of Engineers campground we stayed in while visiting Pella.