Saturday, 7/9/11 - We cross over the Mississippi River from Illinois into Iowa heading for our friends, Chuck & Ann. They said as we exit at 294 on I-80 we will pass the world's largest truck stop, boy they weren't kidding. It's call I80 and is huge, they have a truck museum and every imaginable thing there for trucks. I can't wait to go back and take the tour of it. Well GPS girlfriend knows right where to go and in about 15 minutes we are there.
They have a beautiful home complete with 2 big barns (filled with tractors and every imaginable thing) a silo (which they store wood in) a gardening shed (Ann has a fabulous flower and vegetable garden.) The place is gorgeous. We set the RV up right in their side/front yard, in front of their 5th wheel and one of the sheds. Put out the awing & lawn chairs and have a million dollar view of lots of green corn and soy beans.
After our hellos they take us on a tour of the sheds w/all the antique tractors and truck, all the equipment.....these people are COLLECTORS, big time collectors and they have a lot of stuff and everything is as neat as a pin. It was truly unbelievable. I of course am trailing along taking pictures of everything. After we head into the house for a tour which is a large, open floor plan with an amazing basement the size of the house. Will and I decided we could live down there very easily. The basement has a large TV and viewing area, guest bedroom & bathroom, pinball machines, their Christmas tree that they leave up all year long in the basement and more collections of everything.
This is John Deere country and they have a lot of green and yellow here.
After the tour they take us to one of their favorite restaurants for dinner. Bluff Lakes. An interesting story about this place. Some years back the owners had a home on a fishing lake filled with catfish. When you caught a fish they would cook it for you, with time this grew into a restaurant & gift shop being built there. They are open 4 days a week, Thursday through Sunday and the meals are served family style. To get there you enter a gravel, county road, going by houses with barns and animals (seeing no one) and all of sudden - down the hill you see a jammed parking lot and people milling around everywhere. We arrive there at 4:10 pm (the restaurant opens at 4) and there must have been already 50 people there. They say it is not unusual to have a 2 hour or more wait....ours was just one hour. We had drinks and free popcorn out on the deck and fed the catfish & ducks while waiting for them to call our name.
Each night has a different menu, on Saturday night its all you can eat, fried haddock, cold slaw and french fries. They keep coming around to your table asking if you want more of anything. The food is delicious, Will and I agreed the cole slaw was the BEST we had ever tasted but the fish & fries (fries cooked w/the skins on) was delicious. We had a window seat overlooking the lake with a water fall. What a great place, so glad they brought us here.
Prior to arriving at the restaurant they took us on a tour of the countryside around their house. Wheatland, where they lived before moving to their present home (which is outside of Wheatland city limits.) Ann then drove us to her town where she was raised and showed us homes and schools of her past. It seems most people in this area spend their entire lives living right here. Ann's daughter lives 1 mile down the road from them and Chuck has several children that live in the area. Ann knows EVERYTHING about this area and was able to tell us so much about the farming, etc and you know.............I had questions.
Well we were dead tired by the time we returned home, it had been a very long day. So grateful to have such wonderful friends in Ann and Chuck and I can't wait for what tomorrow brings. Much love to all family and friends.