"Quit hanging on to the handrails... Let go. Surrender. Go for the ride of your life. Do it everyday"

Monday, February 28, 2011

Chattanooga Tennessee

On our way down to Savannah Georgia we stopped off in Chattanooga for a night.  This would have been in August of 2010 so it was pretty sultry. I had driven through and by Chattanooga several times, but I had never actually stopped there.  We wanted to have a nice dinner and walk through the city.  Chattanooga has a fun riverwalk, where you walk along the Tennessee River.

It was hard to capture the setting sun because of the hills that surround Chattanooga.  The riverfront has a great area where water runs down some steps and ends up in a pool at the bottom.  So you can walk through and kids can play in the water which was a lot of fun.  Wish I had known that and I could have brought my bathing suit.  You can also take a dinner cruise on the river.  We weren't there long enough to do this but we were able to see the cruise redock after one of their river cruises and talked to some people that had been on it.

The place that I really wanted to go and visit was called Lookout Mtn.  At Lookout Mountain you can see seven states, an underground waterfall, and ride a steep incline railway.  I really only wanted to see the waterfall, hike around some and maybe see if I could see the waterfall.  Imagine my surprise when we got to the top of Lookout Mtn (after some steep turns and a bit of a drive) to find out that you can't just walk around Lookout Mtn.  You actually have to pay a ticket price to see anything!  The morning that we were there was so very foggy that we didn't want to pay the ticket price, only to find out that we couldn't see anything because of the fog, so we passed.  I was a little disappointed and hope to be able to go back there and try it out again.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bayfield, Wisconsin

This past October Colton, myself and my mom took our official 2nd fall colors trip together.  For the last two years, and hopefully continuing I have dragged my mom with me to go look at fall colors.  October is a VERY busy month for my husband and I'm a total leaf peeper so this way I get to see my fall color and spend time with my mom.  This last trip was up to Bayfield, Wisconsin.  Far northern Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Superior. 


This is a beautiful little town that has a yearly Apple Fest that is HUGE and a lot of fun.  Of course they have apple everything (cidar, meals, caramel apples, pastries, pies) along with an arts and crafts show, live bands, carnival, wine tasting and food galore.  I've never had an apple wine before, and it's really pretty good!  It's one of the best small town festivals in the U.S. and the town just swells with people.

The town has a harbor and is a big sail boating mecca.  Every Friday the harbor will have a Parade of Lights where the boat owners will decorate their boats and then drive them close to the shore for the audience to judge and see how pretty they look.  There are even ice caves that I would LOVE to be able to see sometime in the winter, they look gorgeous and you can kayak or sometimes even walk through them.  There is also snow skiing for those interested in that, but I was there in the fall and colors were what I was interested in.  If you ever get to Bayfield Wisconsin you must try the white bass they fish out of Lake Superior, really yummy!


The Apostle Islands are close by and you can take a ferry to Madeline Island, the largest island and/or boat or kayak around the islands yourself.  There are beautiful beaches along the lake to walk along and a wonderful boardwalk trail as well.  The weather was gorgeous while we were there so we were able to do lots of hiking.  Oh and be aware of Green Bay Packer fans, they can be a little crazy! 
Just a short distance southeast of Bayfield and along a beautiful scenic drive along the shores of Lake Superior you come to an area where several waterfalls occur close to Lake Superior, some of the highest in the state of Wisconsin.  You can also white water raft down some of these rivers.  We stopped at Copper Falls State Park and were able to do some hiking and enjoy the falls there.



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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Keokuk Iowa

Keokuk Iowa is the town where I go and do most of my shopping and such.  It is situated on the Mississippi River and was once a booming river town, before river towns became less needed.  There are still barges that run up and down the river, at least until the river freezes and then all barge traffic stops.  Keokuk is one of the towns that the bald eagles stop at during the winter months.  The lock and dam keep the waters relatively clear of ice so they can catch fish.  I love watching these guys in the wintertime.
Bald eagle in a tree in Keokuk
Keokuk does a Civil War battle reenactment every year of the Battle of Pea Ridge in the spring time and they have activities all throughout the weekend during the reenactment.  It's a lot of fun to come and visit and see the actors play out this battle.  It is held in Rand Park, which is the park in town where you can sit and watch the Mississippi River over the bluff.  They have park benches and places to walk.  Cars park along the roads during lunch hour to relax for a bit before heading into work.


I love the old buildings down on mainstreet, a lot of them are closed up but you can walk down mainstreet and just imagine when the town was bustling with activity.  They also have some older pre-Civil War houses that are HUGE and beautiful stonework.  I hope to be able to get pictures of the buildings and mainstreet itself closer to summertime.  Until then, here is a picture of the town sign as soon as you cross over the river from Illinois.


Looking at Keokuk from the Illinois side of the river


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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wausau, Wisconsin

For my very first post on here I am going to take you to the midwest and my last weekend trip.  My husband, who is an avid skiier, myself and my brother Chad took a long weekend up to Wausau Wisconsin over the New Year holiday.  This will have been like my 3rd time skiing and my brothers first time snowboarding.  Needless to say I was not ready for Colorado yet.  I wanted to have some time to practice skiing and Wausau is a great place to do it if you are in the midwest.  It is consistently ranked as one of the top ski places in the midwest.  We went to Granite Peak to practice our "moves" so to speak.

Husband Jonny and I at the base
It was so great to be able to practice skiing without having to worry about my son, so I could actually learn how to carve and feel more in control of myself while skiing.  It was very foggy and icy the two days that we went skiing so this is how I spent most of my time.

No, I'm kidding I did not spend "most" of my time on my butt, just some of the time.  My husband said that I was starting to "get it" which I loved to hear.  I knew that I was too, because I felt more in control, instead of just careening down the hill full force.  In fact my husband said I was doing so well that he decided that I had to move from the green (easy) trails to some blue (intermediate) blue/black hills.  I was feeling pretty cocky so I said sure.

Up the ski lift we go to the very top of the hill and we got off and headed to where we were to ski down.  I took one look at that hill and started to freak out!!  And when I freak out I start to cuss like a sailor, really!  So with one breath I'm cussing out the hill, my husband, skiing in general and then with my next breath I'm apologizing to God for cussing.  Finally one of the ski guys, who work at the hill, had, had enough of my standing around and screaming so he came over.  This very nice man offered to take my skiis and send them down the hill so I could "walk" my crazy butt down the hill.  Well that was about all it took, because NO WAY was I going through the humiliation of walking down the hill.  With a quick prayer to God I headed down that black (read hard) hill.  My husband swears it was mis-labeled, I'm not so sure of that.  Needless to say I am here writing about it so I made it down the hill safely.  In fact, I made it all the way down the black hill only to loose focus and fall on my butt on the green hill.  Talk about embarrassment.  The cool thing is that I can say that I skiied down a black diamond, in Wisconsin, but still a black diamond.  I am pretty proud of that.
If you are ever in the midwest and jonesin' for a day of skiing check out Granite Peak.  It was fun!  It even had a cute ski lodge for you to put your feet up and rest in and eat.

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