Thursday, December 6, 2012


Out and about
Frank and I recently decided to get out of town and hit the road.
This "adventure" wasn't really planned and therefore we sort of just WENT.
Historically a bit anal - I've learned that unplanned often means discovery!
Years ago we took
the old Route 66
from Chicago to Dubuque, IA.
Yes... you heard me...
Dubuque (more on that later)

We had a lot of fun and discovered things we never knew about Illinois.

Courtesy of
Funks Grove for instance!
We just happened upon this peaceful stand of Maples in Shirley Illinois!  Since 1824 the Funk family has been making delicious maple "sirup".
To ensure this tradition continues - they've protected their land in a trust forever!

Next time you're in a "funk" just pour some of Funk's on your pancakes!
And if that isn't sweet enough you can even get married at Funk's Grove!

The thrill of a road trip is not knowing what's up ahead.

Last night rather than spend
the night in Missoula  -
we continued across I-90
to Couer D'Aline, Idaho
in the dark.

Bitterroot Mountains - Photo by Christopher Caubleon
The weather was mild - high forties.
We had crossed the Continental Divide with no problems. Missoula locals said the distance was "about an hour". In fact it's 166.6 miles.
Real men don't need maps!

Somehow our pioneer spirit got the best of us and all reason was lost!
Who knew our route would cross multiple STEEP mountain ranges?
Who knew it would rain most of the way?
Who knew that speed crazed semi truckers would be passing us constantly?

We got there
and it seemed as if everyone had turned the lights on for us. Actually the electrical spectacle was their annual Couer D'Alene Resort Holiday Light Show. We checked in and had a lovely dinner.

Proof that whatever happens on a road trip... it's always good!

Now... back to Dubuque.
For years I've used that hamlet as an example of the heartland.
To all Dubuque residents and former denizens - I meant no harm.
I simply chose Dubuque because it's not small - not large - just "normal".

Normal is not boring!
If you're ever in Austin, Minnesota visit the Spam Museum. This temple to tinned protein is a multi-media extravaganza.  Seriously - you'll have a great time - we did!
By the way - my processed meat of choice is Taylor Ham - a true Jersey delicacy.
Learn more about Taylor Ham...

My suggestion is go ahead - get out and explore.
You might wander up a Montana road only to discover you're in Lewistown.
Now THAT would be amazing!