Monday, July 30, 2012

Iowa Girls at Heart

I just got back from an amazing trip to Burlington, Iowa.  You're probably asking how much fun a vacation to another corn state in the Midwest might be, but it was a great weekend.  I actually spent the majority of my childhood in Iowa.  After living in Winona Lake and Evansville in Indiana, my family moved to Sioux City, Iowa, when I was just starting preschool.  My baby brother was born there -  a true Hawkeye!  So going back to Iowa for the weekend felt a bit like returning to my roots, and who doesn't need a little country peace and quiet once in a while!?  Needless to say, it was just what the doctor ordered.

My best friend/sister from another mister (Deanne) and her sister (Amanda) picked me up on Friday and we drove the six hours to Burlington, Iowa, a small town just across the Mississippi from Illinois.  Deanne's entire family lives in Burlington - aunts, uncles, and both sets of grandparents.  We stopped at her grandparents' house on her dad's side (the Landes clan) and then went to visit the Martins, her mom's parents.  After I spent the entire day at camp and made a six hour drive, I was exhausted and we basically went to sleep when we got back to her other grandparents' house.

Saturday we were all up bright and early to get ready for a canoeing trip down the Skunk River.  We went out to her grandparents' farm in West Point (about 25 minutes away from their house in town), loaded the canoe into the truck, and took it down to the river.

Cohen's grandpa and I trying to lower the canoe down the embankment so we could get it in the river.
The canoe trip ended up being an interesting adventure.  A long trip turned into a shorter one when we realized the river was really shallow from the recent drought.  We kept getting stuck on sand patches and Deanne and Amanda had to wade into the water and push us off the sand.  We ended up pulling the canoe out early just to push it up another steep embankment in patches of poison ivy, then Deanne and I had to hurdle an entire bean field to get back to truck so we could go pick up the canoe!

The rest of the day was spent playing with puppies on the farm and exploring Deanne's grandpa's "workshop."  His workshop is a huge two-story warehouse filled to the brim with old machines, cars, tractors, tools, and practically anything else you can think of.

Exploring the workshop/warehouse.

One of the reasons we made the trip to Iowa was to pick up Deanne's old 1963 Ford Fairlane.  The car has meant a lot to her over to the years.  She would pick me up in that car everyday during our junior year in high school and we drove that car to Fort Wayne to see her baby brother, Brice, the night he was born back in 2006.  She stayed with her dad and grandparents back in 2008 in Iowa and took the car with her, but it was time to bring it back to Indiana.  Unfortunately, after searching the car, the house in town, and the workshop, the keys to the Fairlane were no where to be found.  She was a little disappointed, but we found out it needed new brake lines (among other things), so she plans to make another trip in a couple months to work on it and hopefully drive it back.

Saturday evening was filled with a historic tour of downtown Burlington including a beautiful view of the Mississippi and exploring Snake Alley and Crapo Park.  Back at the house, we ate popcorn, watched movies, and spent time with Deanne's family.

The view of the Mississippi River in downtown Burlington.
We were up early again on Sunday morning for breakfast with the Martins.  After a meal of eggs and french toast, I took family pictures of Deanne and Amanda with their grandparents and we headed out to meet up with the Landes family after church.  We had lunch (a Landes family tradition) at Mazzio's Pizza and then left to head back to Indiana.  The entire weekend was a much-needed vacation from the typical chaos of life and an awesome time with my best friend.  I hope it won't be my last trip to the little town of Burlington.

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