September 13 –
Today we took Mr. B to the airport. It felt strange to ditch him there, but he didn’t want us to hang out there for several hours. Rather he sent us ahead to carry on with our plans.
After about an hour’s drive, we stopped at Spirit Mound State Park for a stretch. We enjoyed a really nice walk about ¾ miles through tall grass prairie then up a steady, mellow incline to the top of the mound. Native people are said to have told the likes of Lewis & Clark that little people, no larger than 18 inches, haunted the hill and would shoot arrows at anyone who approached. Visiting with tribes being one of their duties, Lewis & Clark of course opted to investigate and found nothing but relatively expansive views, plants, bugs, birds and a stiff breeze. We found the same, including a wide variety of native grasses, wildflowers, bugs and frogs; we caught about a dozen frogs on our way up and ultimately held a frog race with the last pair we caught on our way out.
Then it was off to the Ice Cream Capitol of the World, LeMars, Iowa. I know, I know! Lewis & Clark didn’t travel here, but with a name like “ICE CREAM CAPITOL of the WORLD” do you really think we’d pass up such an opportunity? Turns out this is the home of Blue Bunny Ice Cream, maker of lots of your favorite popsicles and if you live almost anywhere in America, several of your favorite ice cream flavors as well. We enjoyed a walk through the Visitors Center (though we did expect it to be at the factory rather than downtown) topped up with some ice cream at the adjacent ice cream parlor. The best thing about working there, we noticed, was the unlimited supply of ice cream provided the teen employees while on duty. One strapping teen football player took a break with his own three-scoop combination complete with multiple toppings. The other kids teased him about his “hourly ice cream break,” but he took it well…hey, he had the ice cream in hand!
Rather than carry on, we opted to camp in the city park. The campground there is lovely, and complete with hot showers, giant Cottonwood trees and two ponds that served as a resting spot for southbound Canada Geese. On our way into camp we noticed a smalltown rodeo kicking off, so we set up camp, then walked to the campground where we caught the last barrel racer and a couple dozen bullriders.
A nice day in a small Midwestern town.