The Last Leg

In A Few Birds, Brews, and Friendly Visits, we traveled from Iowa, through Illinois, to Indiana. From Indiana, we entered Ohio.

Columbus, OH, was our target destination — the home of Hoof Hearted (say that out loud a few times) Brewery & Kitchen. Mark had been there before. This time, he sampled Permanent Marker Pen Disguises and Steel Toed Aqua Socks. Yes, those are actual beer names. And he bought a four pack of the Steel Toed Aqua Socks for his sister.

That night, we stayed at the Logan/ Hocking Hills KOA in Logan, OH. The owners were super nice and even upgraded our site to one with a patio. 🙂 Beautiful view of the hills. And we had a surprise visitor: a cedar waxwing in the tree above our patio.

Jamie and Andy recommended that we visit Hocking Hills State Park. A few of our fellow KOA campers also mentioned Old Man’s Cave to us, so we checked it out (in the rain).

We couldn’t find an available campground or Harvest Hosts site that night, so we stayed in a cheap (somewhat sketchy) hotel in Altoona, PA. The next day we were off to Equilibrium Brewery and Tap Room in Middletown, NY.

Our Harvest Hosts site, The Castle Fun Center in Chester, NY, that evening proved to be less fun by night with the constant highway traffic, poor wi-fi, and gently sloping parking lot. However, I did find a family of geese for entertainment.

The next morning felt less like a cross-country road trip and more like just driving home. We headed up the Taconic Highway in NY, then hooked up with Interstate 90 East. Before we knew it, we were back in Massachusetts!

Back in MA, we pulled off the Pike and travelled north to Holyoke for a hike at Mount Tom State Park. Not too many birds to see, but a beautiful butterfly greeted us. And the view wasn’t bad either. We could actually hear cows mooing down below as we took in the view.

We took a detour to Tree House Brewing Company in Deerfield that night where Mark enjoyed some of his favorite brews, while I enjoyed the decor.

We treated ourselves to a nice hotel room in Northampton, MA, and in the morning, dropped by our youngest daughter’s place around the corner to say hi!

Back on the Mass Pike (90 East), we stopped at Tree House Brewing Company’s Charlton location to pick up a beer order for Mark’s siblings who own Knotty Pine Design & Consignment in Hudson, MA. We delivered the beer to Hudson and headed for home.

In case anyone thinks this road trip sounded ideal, please know that I neglected to mention the struggle to regulate the temperature in the van overnight, the frequent Walmart visits for all the things we realized we needed along the way, the oatmeal that boiled over on the induction cooktop right down the front of the fridge to the floor, the prescription driving glasses resting comfortably at the bottom of a marsh somewhere, and the overhead van cabinet that’s coming loose from the wall, among other things. Just thought it appropriate to interject a dose of reality.

All in all, we had quite the adventure. And can’t wait to do it again!

P.S. The line from one of my favorite John Denver songs played in my head. (Ok, I sang it out loud.) Hey, it’s good to be back home again…

Little House In South Dakota

If you’re just joining us, you may want to start at the beginning of our adventures with Maiden Voyage and Whirlwind Visits. When we last checked in, we’d spent a rainy day driving through Custer State Park to Mount Rushmore. Sesame Street’s It’s A Rainy Day played in my head. If you don’t know it, look it up. You’re welcome, in advance, for the earworm.

After Mount Rushmore, we headed for Rapid City, South Dakota, to dine at Firehouse Brewing Company. The food was very good but the beer was nothing to write home about. We bought a much needed warm blanket at Walmart and settled in for the cold, rainy night at a KOA campground in Rapid City.

The next morning, we got on the road early and headed east on Interstate 90. The flat land and endless views offered another song for my internal play list: I Can See For Miles and Miles by The Who. We crossed the imaginary line into Central Time and crossed the Missouri River. There wasn’t much else to see until an Ingalls Homestead sign popped up near De Smet. I was so excited! Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books were some of my favorites growing up. We had to stop.

The buildings on the homestead were all replicas, but the land itself is the land Charles Ingalls homesteaded. The Surveyor’s House and the First School are actual buildings from Laura Ingalls’ childhood. So cool!

We treated ourselves to a hotel room in Sioux Falls, SD, that night with dinner at the local Red Robin. And the next morning we were off again, headed toward Forager Brewery in Rochester, Minnesota. The sun came out! So, of course, the Sesame Street theme song seemed appropriate. Yes, I sang a couple of lines. Sunny day, sweepin’ the clouds away…

At Forager, Mark enjoyed a couple of beers: Antiquated Methodology and Kaleidoscope Kookaburra. He bought two crowlers of the latter on the way out, which he subsequently shared with friends along our route. Sorry, none left to sample when we get home.

We left Forager, aiming for Decorah, Iowa, and another brewery called Toppling Goliath. But guess what popped up before Decorah — another Laura Ingalls Wilder sign! We had to stop. Again. We pulled into Burr Oak, IA, and found the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum.

Decorah and Toppling Goliath were not far Burr Oak. There we touched base with Eric, one of the brewers, whom Mark had met in 2018 on a previous brewery road trip. We ate dinner and Mark ordered a beer flight: DDH Pseudo Sue, King Sue, Scorpious Morchella, and Term Oil S’mores. No favorites among them ’cause they’re all good! He followed that with an Assassin 2022. After dinner, we sat outdoors for well over an hour listening to seventeen-year-old Carter Guse play his guitar and foot tambourine while singing songs from the fifties to the present. He even took requests. Very entertaining!

We tore ourselves away from the music and checked in at Pulpit Rock Campground in Decorah for the night. More adventures in Iowa and beyond coming soon…