October 5, 2010

In and Out of the Quad Cities

Gail-and-Toni-windturbineContributed by Gail McPike and Toni Hall

Amber waves of grain, pumpkins, beautifully colored leaves and the pungent smell of leaves burning off in the distance, all remind us it’s fall in the Quad Cities. And, as you read this and nod along – just think, burning leaves is illegal in most cities around the area. Yet, thanks to a few later-day outlaws, the rich aroma seems to be part of our fall landscape.

There is much to report this month. So without a great deal of literary doodling, let’s jump into our crazy month.
When was the last time you took the bus?

A few years ago we went to Chicago to attend a big knitting show and had a great time. Now don’t ask us why or how, but road side revelations have been with us since biblical times. Remember that stone pillow Jacob used along the road or Saul’s experience on the road to Damascus? Our little roadside revelation took place as we cruised down I-88 in the “girl mobile” (Gail’s dearly departed Oldsmobile).

Bus trip! Why can’t we have our own bus trip? When we got back we made a few phone calls and the rest is history. We became bus trip “empresarios” – the last of a dying breed. Here’s how it goes. We meet our friends at Hobby Lobby at 7:00 AM, climb aboard the bus and the party begins. Sometime around 8:30 we stop at the DeKalb Oasis for a quick shot of caffeine and by 10:00 we’re standing outside the show venue. We laugh, tell stories, visit and do a knitting “show and tell.” The bus driver being ever professional
pretends not to notice.

We completed our fourth such adventure on August 20th. Daytrippin’ with Gail and Toni was a blast. Even though hubbies Phil and Frank are getting sick to death of hearing about it, we can report; we have had four trips without a single fatality.

Wool and Sheep Show

Bah, bah black sheep have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.
One for my master and one for my dame..
And one for the little boy that lives down the drain…
…Fractured Nursery Rhyme per one Current Trophy Husband (CTH)

Two weeks later, we headed to the Wisconsin Wool and Fiber Festival in Jefferson, WI. No bus, just the two of us and our friend Gisela. What does a person do at a Sheep and Wool Show? We took classes and saw sheep shearing, lambs, and the Border collie competition. While some of our readers would rather be buried neck deep in a Texas fire ant hill than see these wonderful sights, it is our passion and we hope that you have your own passions and that you are pursuing them whenever possible. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to have fun!

River Roots

Antoine was a pretty hip dude. He founded Davenport. He built pretty nice house on Seventh Street in Davenport (we’ll talk about that next month) and he managed to get his name on a great park down by the river in Davenport – LeClaire Park. This place is magic. A half dozen or so times per year it transforms itself from a sleepy little river front park to a veritable music paradise. We (with CTH in tow) dropped into the festivities at this year’s River Roots Music Festival to see Credence Clearwater Revisited. A version of this band played a big part in our teenage hit parade. Two original band members of Credence still play in the band – and guess what? They are still Rockin’ in their 60s. While we aren’t quite ready to publicize our age, we are happy to report – we are still Rockin’, too.

Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa – Dreaming

Remember Kevin Costner back in 1989’s Field of Dreams? The real field of dreams is out in the country near Dyersville, Iowa. And we heard they were going to tear it down. So when our friends from Ames (Mark and Cathy) came to town for Labor Day, we (the six of us) decided to take a ride to visit the actual Field. Families were playing on the field and taking lots of pictures, and we mean lots of pictures. Pictures at first base, coming out of the corn, rounding home and pictures standing in front of the movie set house.

On the way home we discovered a great winery. Park Farm Winery is hard to find but great to see. It’s an honest to goodness Chateau located high atop what has to be one of Iowa’s tallest ridges. They have all manners of grapes and serve samples or whole bottles to guests visiting. We just happened in on an end of summer celebration that featured Davenport’s favorite son – Bob Dohr and the Blue Band. We sat in folding chairs and soaked in the last rays of sun from a great day (not to mention a bottle of great Iowa red wine).

We love to take these trips around Eastern Iowa,; there is just so much to see and around the our beautiful area. The weather will be turning crisp and the leaves will be turning colors. We hope to be out and about to enjoy it all.

Get out there and enjoy!