Fun (and Tiring) Day in Amana

Saturday, September 16, 2017

It didn’t cool down very much last night. This morning was pretty overcast but by noon it had cleared off the sun was out in full force. We decided to do an early bike ride. We chose one recommended by the lady at the Visitor’s Center. The Amana Colonies Gravel Bike Trail begins from the paved trail over to Middle Amana but then turned out through a residential area on the streets. It continued on streets out of town until the road became a gravel road. We had been told this was a gravel trail. In actuality, it was a gravel road and remained so all the way to West Amana. Fortunately there was very little traffic – just a few cars and tractors. Shortly after becoming gravel there was a split. To the left was the road to High Amana and the right, to West Amana. The trail to West Amana was listed as 17 miles round trip. We thought we would enjoy doing that trail, so to the right we went. It was listed as a difficult trail. It was correct. There were two nasty hills to climb. However, the most difficult aspect of the ride to us was the gravel. We have biked gravel trails before that were great. These roads were very rough. In some areas the loose stone was pretty treacherous.


We continued on to West Amana. There we stopped at the Broom and Basket Shop and saw the largest walnut rocking chair in Iowa. It was pretty impressive. We also watched a gentleman making brooms. Today was the apple festival so businesses were giving free samples of things apple related. The Broom and Basket Shop had mini fried apple pies. There were very good. We then had to start the ride back. It took us longer to get home than to West Amana. We also discovered the seventeen miles round trip was the gravel portion only. It did not include the paved trail and roads you took to get to the gravel roads.


So, we biked a total of 23 miles today. We were tired and hungry. After a quick lunch we drove into town for the Amana Colonies Apfelfest (apple festival). There were all things apple to try. Apple cider, caramel apple fudge, apple cake, apple tea, apple coffee, on and on. Surpisingly, there were no apples to purchase. We were expecting to be able to buy some good local apples. Nope, none to be had. We were disappointed.


Footloose programReturning to the camp ground we found that several dear friends had arrived. So we visited until time to get ready to go to the Old Creamery Theater. The production tonight was the musical Footloose. We especially wanted to see the play after our Disaster Rebuild project in Elmore City, OK where the event happened on which the story was based. (Click here to read our blog entry from Elmore City.) The play was excellent!! We had such a good time. Now we are home and all the exercise today has caught up with us. We are really tired and now going to bed. Good night.

After show dance
The audience was invited to an after show dance.

Working Day

Friday, September 15, 2017

This morning was not as cool as the previous 2 days and it was hot, windy and dry this afternoon. We did have another really nice sunset.

Parking teamWe started the day with the NOMADS Board meeting. We got to meet some of the board that we did not know so that was nice. It was a pretty typical meeting that ran from 9-4 with an hour break for lunch. Lots of business to discuss and decisions to be made. Max only attended the morning session because he worked parking during the afternoon session. We had about 50 more rigs come in today and the parking crew is tasked with meeting each rig and leading them to their site, welcoming them to Amana and giving them their welcome bag. Max probably had more fun than Anne this afternoon.

Wood fired pizza oven
Wood fired pizza oven

After the meeting was over and Max finished work we decided to go into town and have a wood fired pizza. It was very good and loaded with toppings. When we got back to FRED we rode the bike trails again. It is so nice to have bike trails right here at the campground so we don’t have to ride on the roads. We then spent the rest of the evening walking around and visiting with friends who arrived today. It was another good day.

The tree we saw earlier in the week has become even more colorful
The tree we saw earlier in the week has become even more colorful.
Another beautiful sunset over the RV park
Another beautiful sunset over the RV park

More People Arriving

Thursday, September 14, 2017

It was another beautiful day in Iowa. It has warmed up and is actually hotter here than in Alabama. No what we were expecting or wanting, but it cools off enough at night that the mornings are really nice. By afternoon it’s getting into the upper 80’s, but today was the hottest in the extended forecast. We had a beautiful sunset tonight. Slept in again so don’t know what the sunrise was like. That’s too days in a row. Unusual for us. We have a board meeting at 9:00 tomorrow so won’t be quite as lazy tomorrow.

Riding by the lily pondThis morning while it was still cool we biked back into Amana to the post office. We took the trail around the lily pond again but didn’t make so many stops at the shops today. We did stop at the visitors center in Amana and a really nice lady there helped us with additional trail maps. Looks like there are some more nice trails we hope to ride.

Interesting planter outside one of the businesses
This is an example of the beautiful flowers and landscaping all over Amana.

The rest of the day was basically spent meeting new people, and renewing friendships and catching up with old friends. More people have arrived early than we expected.  Every time we went back outside more rigs were arriving.  Probably because its’ a really nice RV park and lots of things to do in the area.  Tomorrow we will check in at registration, go to the meeting and then Max will be helping with parking rigs tomorrow afternoon.   Don’t know if we will get much riding in tomorrow. We should have time later in the week. Thank you God for a wonderful, relaxing day.

Sunset at the RV park

Exploring Amana

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A nice start to the day. Slept late this morning. After all the early mornings we have had lately it was really nice to have a slow start to the day. It was in the 50’s when we got up, so a little cool but a beautiful sunny day with temperatures climbing into the 80’s.

We decided we wanted to do some bike riding today. We needed some exercise after all the driving of the last week. We discovered there are several bike trails in the area. Based on our reading before arriving we had planned to return to do a trail that runs beside the river in Iowa City. However, we found there are trails here in Amana and the other colonies so we decided to stay here and ride and explore the area at the same time. The trail we chose today was from the RV park up to Middle Colony. We didn’t explore that area but continued on the trail around the lily pond. We are sure that area would be beautiful when the lilies bloom in June. However it was neat to see all the lily pods today. We thought of all the florists and flower people we know that would love to have all those pods for their arrangements.


From the lily pond we rode into Amana and began exploring there. We didn’t get much exercise there because we kept stopping at all the various shops. The first stop was the furniture shop. There were beautiful hand made pieces of furniture and clocks. Also some beautiful quilts. There was one coffee table with bear paw prints that we thought Donna would love. It was a beautiful piece. Sorry, Donna, it wouldn’t fit in Fred to come back to Alabama. Next stop was the bakery. Goodness, everything looked delicious. We didn’t bring anything home for there either. (We ate it.) Then there was the fudge shop, actually two of those, the general store and the popcorn and ice cream store. So many neat things to admire and taste. Decided we would have to go back in the truck since we can’t carry much on the bikes. Then we were back on the trail back to the RV park. We stopped to find a couple of geocaches along the way. Don’t know how far we rode today because the GPS was all over the place with us riding and walking and going in and out of stores. We think it was probably only about 7 miles.


Yard art in front of one of the bed and breakfasts in town
We also saw this impressive collection of metal yard art in front of one of the bed and breakfasts in town.

After the ride we came back to the rig and had our leftovers from last night for a late lunch. We noticed that several more NOMADS had arrived so the rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing and visiting with our friends and playing with their puppies. It was a very nice day.

Drive to Amana

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

This is how our drive started this morning.Today didn’t start out too pretty. We both slept well last night in the rest area parking lot. Yes, there were truck running and generators running but inside FRED it was a dull constant roar that was easy to sleep through. It started raining about 3:00 this morning and it rained until about 1 1/2 hour after we left Hayti.

We finally drove out of the tropical rains.
It was a relief when we finally drove into the sunshine.

We did not leave as early as we had planned because it was still so dark and raining hard. We had wind most of the day until shortly before we arrived in Amana. It was not an easy driving day.

We thought it was funny that we drove through the town of Tiffin.Shortly before arriving in Amana we drove through a little town named Tiffin. We thought that was rather funny since we just left Tiffin Motor Homes yesterday.

Where we had supper tonightAfter we arrived at Amana RV park, our dear friends Mike and Ruth pulled in behind us. It’s been over a year since we have seen them and it was such a joy. Later we went out to dinner with them as well. The food was great! We have lots to see and do as well as lots to do to get ready. It’s going o be a great week. Now we are going to bed. It was a long driving day – more miles than we usually do in a day. Night, Night.

On The Road Again

Monday, September 11,2017

First, we have to start the day remembering September 11, 2001 and the horrible loss of life on that day. The terrorists attacks changed our country forever. We must never forget all those that lost their lives and their families. We must never become complacent.

This day started very early for us, again. (We are in need of a few sleep in, quiet mornings.) Anne was up at 4:30 and left at 5:30 for Tuscaloosa. Mama Ruby had an appointment at 8:45 with the orthopedic surgeon. He did not dismiss her as we had hoped. He said it had been 4 months and there was definite healing but it will take 6 months “at her age.” He did agree to continue the home therapy. Mama Ruby really likes her therapist and he has really helped her a lot. So, we will return in one month for another x-ray and recheck.

While Anne was in Tuscaloosa, Max was also up early preparing Fred to go back in for more repairs. This time it was to bay 25 – the cabinet guys. When we were returning from Lumberton we noticed that the backsplash behind the sink was no longer attached to the wall. That was one of the problems we took to our dealer. Big mistake!! The dealer did glue the backsplash into place. However, there was sealant/glue every where, all over the wall above the backsplash and the trim around the backsplash and the counter top. We were very disappointed. Not only did it look terrible, but it remained tacky to the touch and would have been nothing but a dust and grease magnet. That was one of the main reasons we went to Tiffin this time. When the cabinet tech first looked at it he really wasn’t sure what to do. He agreed with us that it had to be repaired but said we could not remove the glue from the wall. Anything we might use would damage the wall and make the situation worse. Anne was pretty upset over it all while trying to remain calm. Supervisors became involved and quickly let us know that it would be repaired but it was going to take some custom work. In the end, they removed the backsplash, got all the glue off of that, reinstalled with lots of the proper adhesive, polished everything and then made an addition to the backsplash that covers the wall where the glue couldn’t be removed. It’s different that it was before. We think it is fine but are still looking at it to decide if we want anything additional done.  Right now we still have two additional support pieces holding everything in place for 24 hours.  We will decide after we take those down.

Of course, this was also the day that the remnants of Hurricane Irma arrived in Alabama. We new this was coming and really wanted to head north and west as soon as possible. We really try to avoid driving Fred in high winds. When Anne left Tuscaloosa, the wind and rain had already started there. However she drove out of it shortly before arriving back in Red Bay. We were able to hook up the truck, say good bye to our new friends, and pull out of Red Bay about 12:30, just ahead of the winds. We did have some gusts but nothing that made us feel unsafe. We left Alabama, drove through Mississippi and Tennessee and tonight we are at the Hayti, Missouri, Welcome Center on I-55. Missouri allows you to spend the night at their rest areas so we decided to give it a try. A new experience for us. Hopefully it won’t be too noisy. We are really glad to be “On The Road Again”, but are very tired from all the running we have done the past few weeks. We will try to get some rest tonight because tomorrow we hope to drive on into Amana Colony, Iowa. We hear and read of many interesting things to do there and we want to get some sightseeing done before the meetings start.

Sunday at Red Bay

Sunday, September 10, 2017

After the late night last night, we slept in a little this morning. It was another beautiful morning and we decided to go to church at Red Bay First UMC. It’s located just right down the road from the campground. The pastor is deployed with the same Guard unit with Bryson that we asked you to pray for Friday. The “fill-in” appointment is Yohan Hong. We never really know what to expect when we visit a church on our travels and today was the same. We really enjoyed today’s service. Pastor used the scripture about Jesus turning the water into wine at the wedding feast. He reminded us that Jesus was an invited guest at the wedding, but that Jesus doesn’t want to be our guest but rather our Lord and Master. Very good service and very welcoming congregation. Will definitely go here again next time we are here. Other RVer’s from our campground visited today as well. We were all impressed with the church.


After church I was back to the campground and lunch. We did some cleaning and straightening in preparation for hopefully departing tomorrow. We shall see. The rest of the day was spent walking, and visiting with others in the campground. There are some really nice people here. We have made several more good contacts for NOMADS.

Sounds like we may have some bad weather headed this way so everyone be careful!