In Mountain Views, I mentioned that one of our plans for this van trip was to do some birding. But the weather and our daily routine of driving to the next destination left us less time than anticipated. The day we left Pulpit Rock campground in Decorah, IA, we decided to remedy that.
First, breakfast at Magpie Coffeehouse in downtown Decorah. Apparently, penny mosaics is a thing out here.
We left Decorah and crossed the Mississippi River before noon.
A search for local birding sites brought us to Nahant Marsh Education Center. FYI, it’s pronounced Nay-hant (rhymes with ant), unlike the New England location of the same name.
I pulled my new camera with its new lens out of the travel bubblewrap to try it out. Unfortunately, much more practice and time to adjust the shooting menu are needed. But we saw many red-winged blackbirds there, as we’d already seen just about every day along our route. Plenty of other wildlife, as well. There was even a pair of baby screech owls being rehabbed inside the facility.
That night we camped at Rock Island/ Quad Cities KOA in Rock Island, Illinois. Nice waterfront site.
We got on the road by late morning the next day and stopped for lunch at The Lone Buffalo by Tangled Roots Brewing Company in Ottawa, IL. The food was good, but not much to say about the beer.
After lunch, we crossed into Indiana and headed to a friend’s house in Valpraiso. Chuck and Tiffany and their two boys were perfect hosts. (Thanks for the use of your laundry facilities, Chuck & Tiff.) The boys were coming and going with youth baseball, so we only managed a photo with one of them.
The next day, we landed in Muncie, IN, to visit more cousins. It was great to see Jamie and Andy again and to meet their kids who, by way of their natural curiosity, taught us a few new things about our van.
We brunched with Jamie and family the next morning. My Aunt Janet stopped by, too. Then, we were off again, heading toward Ohio and the next brewery. Hit a bit of traffic on the way.
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