An Ode to the ‘Secret Hot Girls Club’…

Another random post while I’m riding along with my online grad course. The inspiration for this post came from one night being home alone with no TV to watch so I ended up binge watching some of my all time favorite shows, Sex and the City. (Hey it’s my thing, let it go). Watching some of the episodes reminded me of the past year and it also put me in the mood to get some of my gal pals together, actually dress up and go out for a great meal.

This past year in November I got three other ladies who also work at the same place as I do together for a weekend: we took Friday off then drove up to the cities spent the day shopping at the Premium Outlets in Eagen, then spent the night at the Hyatt Place in Downtown Minneapolis with a night out watching the Drag Shows and dancing at Gay 90s, and spent all day Saturday at the Mall of America before coming back home that night. Six months later we did another shopping trip but just spent all day up there and came back that same night. I have so much fun and hope we keep doing this or if someone can’t come at least have someone else in the mix to keep the magical group number of 4 ladies having fun! I called it our Waldorf Ladies Shopping Group but fellow member Samantha, suggested we call it the Secret Hot Girls Club! (Both of us also like watching That 70s Show and thought that name from one of the episodes was very fitting!)

I’m reminded that over the years, some of my best friends have relocated to outside of our local area and I found that these three other ladies have been through the same thing. But now two of our group members will no longer bu around the area come November if we decide to keep up with our bi annual Hot Girls shopping trip. Like I said all four of us have been separated from great friends but I see that I was lucky to befriend you all as a group for the time we had. You all are great biotches and I still think so even when I have to find replacements for you! Haha i kid! Maybe you all will be able to hang out with ‘old’ friends that you haven’t hung out with in forever or make new ones. At least as an adult I’ve gotten much better at making acquaintances and friends than I did even in college and I’m glad I’m doing this at this point in my life when everyone my age is having babies or has kids already.

If you ladies are reading, let’s get sexied up, have a nice meal and get silly. I have a new dress that is yet to be worn and tall black pumps that are just calling to go out for another night. Having gal pals is a great thing, it’s been awhile since I’ve had one of these nights so let’s do it! If any other ladies reading have that group of girls they love going out with, I hope you have a night out soon as well!

 

The Lodge of Forest City

Anyone who has followed me on social media since March has seen how often I’ve posted or raved about the Lodge Restaurant. The name isn’t a new one as the establishment has been around for nearly 30 years. A residence turned into a hotel and restaurant resort off Highway 69 in Forest City, the name came to represent fine dining and accommodations; where you would go for a fancy sit down meal or recommend someone stay from out of town. In the late 2000s after the economic recession, the Lodge was sold from its original owner Winnebago Industries and it has changed hands several times over the course of 10 years. Whenever you would see the Lodge was for sale or sold in the community paper, you hoped that whoever would take it on would restore it to it’s former glory or at least something that works for our town. New ownership brought with it new restaurant management in November of 2016. When I finally visited the Lodge under new ownership in March of 2017, I can honestly say not only did they bring back the atmosphere of fine dining but the restaurant is better than ever!!

On March 9th, 2017 I achieved a quarter life goal of mine when I made my final student loan payment! I texted my husband to ask if he could have the night off (at the time he still worked on 2nd shift while I work days) and we could celebrate! He only was able to get half of the night off meaning he had to be back in at 7 PM. I really wanted to splurge on very nice meal for the both of us on me and wasn’t sure if I could do that in town when we only had two hours from 5 PM when I got off work to 7 when he had to be back. Both of us remembered The Lodge had reopened and since neither of us had been there since it happened, we decided it would be the perfect spot for the night.

From the moment we walked in until we left, I can’t say enough how much I loved everything about it. The dining room has a gorgeous view of the river and golf course and we were sat by the window. We started with a glass of house red and I ordered the cheese board as an appetizer; three different types of cheese and baguettes, some imported. The cheese addict in me was very satisfied. We were surprised that each dinner came with an ‘amuse’ (sorry if I’m butchering the name/spelling), tonight it was a jalopeno glazed deviled egg. Very tasty! Both Tyler and I ordered the Ribeye De Burgo which came with potatoes and vegetables. The taste and proportions were perfect! You won’t leave here hungry or too full! To conclude the meal, each guest receives a chocolate truffle which the head chef spends hours on so they can reach perfection!

After this meal, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much of an excellent experience it was and I was so upset that I didn’t take any pictures! I noticed a new lounge area was built upstairs and used this as my excuse to come back the following week. On Tuesday I would post to Instagram this picture:

The caption read: I’m drinking a martini in an actual martini glass in Forest City! Dreams do come true!! I decided this would be my new favorite place to have a drink when I’m by myself.

Thursday I came back and decided to try some appetizers at the bar:
  
I tried the Escargot as well as the Ricotta board. Way more food for one person but if you want to have fun on a budget, an appetizer is enough food for one person.
That following Saturday night, Tyler and I stopped back for drinks at the bar making it my third visit in a week span. We were able to get to know the Executive Chef Josh Hayes while bonding over our collective love of Cabernet. Chef Josh studied in Paris at Le Cordon Bleu and has been all over the world so it’s always fascinating to talk to him. Tyler and I love to hear his stories and appreciate his modern, forward thinking and what it has done for this establishment and essentially this town.

Lunch and Dinner Menu (has since been updated but more on that later)

The next week Saturday when Tyler suggested the Lodge for dinner and I didn’t put up a fight. Not saying that we fight over were to eat but I know we aren’t the only couple that at times cannot decide where to eat!!

Our amuse were duck wontons and I forgot about the loaf of bread that comes with each meal! My mouth is watering as I write this! We ordered the grilled shrimp as an appetizer and as you can see we scarfed it down before I remembered to take a photo. (Yes they are that good)

On to the main course: I had the ribeye de burgo again so I could get a photo of it. Tyler ordered the lamb chop and said it was sooo very tender.

The next morning I would take my parents for Brunch at the Lodge. Yes they have brunch and I was proud of myself for eating there twice in less than 24 hours!
Brunch menu:

As you can see, this is a wonderful, made fresh brunch meal and not a buffet. What’s even better is their Mimosas and bloody Mary’s!
 My parents and I each had a mimosa.
I wasn’t sure what to try as everything looked amazing! There’s a chicken infused waffle on the menu! My mom and dad both went on the lunch side of things and ordered a BLT:

Since this was brunch, I always tend to lean more to the breakfast type of food. I chose the Eggs Benedict. You can have them traditional with hollandaise or with crab cakes or salmon. I chose with crab cakes.. BEST DECISION!!

After brunch was over, this had officially been my sixth visit to the Lodge from March 7th to March 26th. However before the month was over, I came again and had lunch with a friend. I had the Ceasar salad, which comes with anchovies on top and I decided to add chicken to it.

I can’t tell people enough who haven’t been here yet to TRY IT OUT!!! It may be a little more than what people pay for a nice meal out but it really is worth every penny. I guarantee it will be one of best meals of your life!

Starting in April, Josh has updated the menu to have a more spring/ summer lineup. While there are still some things from the fall/winter menu, it’s entirely different and all good! Of course, Tyler and I have already tried it! I tried the Mediterranean pasta with grilled shrimp. I never though that purple pasta that resembled Medusa’s hair could be so tasty!

There also has been a separate bar menu added since then as well which boosts, appetizers, lighter entrees and lighter fair. My friend Maggie and myself were just there for the bar menu: I had the Lodge Salad and she had the special of the night: a Gyro with frites. Both of us enjoyed our meals!

As you can see this place is one of my obsessions and I feel so lucky to have it in my town of Forest City. It really is unique and I hope our local people of the area come and support it so it can stay around for many more years!!!

 

When your favorite store decides to go Bankrupt…

When my sister just had to share the post on my Facebook wall that Vanity, my favorite clothing store of all time, was going bankrupt and closing all their stores, it crushed me. Not only because at that moment I noticed every piece of my outfit that day was from that store but because I have been shopping there since I entered middle school. Literally over half of my lifetime!! Majority of my closet contains clothing from Vanity, how will I survive?!?! It really is the end of an era.

Besides planning out when I need to get to my nearest store and buy all the layering tunic tanks, leggings and other essentials I could get my hands on, I remembered the early days of when I started shopping there….
When I had entered middle school in 6th grade, I was this very awkward, nerdy, insecure, chubby, girl who had no idea how to fit in or how to even be myself. What clothes I did wear were hand me downs or things I had to have my mom buy me from discount places or sales racks. I wore what I was told or what I thought would look good, not what I actually liked. I know all middle school kids are just basically that: kids. Kids aren’t supposed to have good fashion tastes but really I was so clueless with no sense what how to dress myself what so ever.

It was 7th grade that I tried to start basic in developing my wardrobe: luckily casual and layering t-shirts were a thing so one of the brands of shirts I paired with my jeans from Vanity was Sugar. Trendy at that time. While I struggled with my chunkiness overall body image, I was happy that one article of clothing was comfortable and i felt I looked good in:

  Those awkward middle school years….

I remember getting a $10.00 off card in the mall for my birthday every year and I would always use them to buy a pair of Silver Jeans, since my Mom said would not spend $50.00 on a pair of jeans for me. Going over the Vanity Store in Southbridge Mall in Mason City, IA, nothing could get me more excited.

8th grade is when I really started to get my own sense of fashion and what would look good on me. At that time, black pleather pants were so in as well as rock style shirts and tanks. I had so many shirts, jeans, and THOSE pants in my closets. I also had my first part time job washing dishes so I was able to buy more of my own clothes and I didn’t have a spending limit on my jeans! Going through my old pictures made me a little sad I grew up in the time before smart phones and selfies and had to rely on disposable cameras and film developing for pictures. So many fun clothes I had but no photographic evidence. The ones I do have, who can remember this look (I didn’t only wear red! Black shirts were my jam since they were thinning):

 I was big into the whole rock start girl look.

 I bought my own flared Silver Jeans and remember when Doc Boots were worn with every outfit?!?!?

 I’m sad this is the only picture I have of my favorite middle school shirt: a red tanks that tied up on the sides!!! The word ‘ROCK’ was on the from with studs. That was soo cool to me then. Not a good quality but like I said the days of disposable cameras….

High school I had started to thin out and loved wearing the comfy lounge look that was in:

 Did you notice my shirt says ‘Ex Cheerleader’?

 Love this matching flame long sleeve under a short sleeve combo

The older I got the less awkward and more comfortable I became with who I was, what I liked and how I dressed. Confidence must come with age. Looking back on all the pictures after high school, it’s so amazing seeing how clothes from my favorite store were apart of so many memories:

-My 21st birthday
-After going through a much needed breakup before my senior year of college and buying a ‘I’m going out and looking hot because I’m now single’
-My senior year of college when my green plaid zip up hoodie was EVERYTHING
-Going to a concert with friends
-Going to Vegas
-Going to Europe
-When Tyler proposed to me
-Getting a new job- all the basic layering tees and tanks became my wardrobe staple.

For me, clothes are more than just fabric you place on your back. They are art like and more of an expression or exclamation of THIS IS ME!! LOOK AT ME!! I LOVE HOW I LOOK!! I’m FUCKING FABULOUS!!!! It’s amazing how as I grown woman of 30 I still shopped in the same store that I did at age 12 and not feel like ‘I’m too old for this’.

Vanity was there as I was growing up and started to discover who I am when that concept was impossible for me to grasp. I’m so sad that it will be gone soon but on March 5th, 2017, I drove to Southbridge Mall to shop at Vanity one last time. I did it right and didn’t care about how much things were: I loaded up, tried them on and checked out. After $215.00 worth of clothes, I left satisfied but nostalgic for the past and wishing I had more of these trips to make.

I know Vanity is just a store and nothing is made to last but I’m fortunate to have had this store and how it helped growing up for me become a little more enjoyable.

RIP Vanity.

 

 

My how my Fridays nights have changed….

One month ago, (the month of January), I had the freedom to get off work do whatever I wanted: come home, cook, maybe go to the Y and work out, maybe head out for a couple of drinks at any given night of the week, clean while blasting “I’ll Be Your Shelter” by Taylor Dayne on Youtube (it’s how I listen to random music at home). I was preparing to dance in our community Dancing With The Stars fundraiser (here’s a photo op for you curious ones)

and getting ready to go back down to Cancun with my husband the morning immediately after I performed in said fundraiser. (Same resort we stayed last year, Excellence Playa Mujeres!)
 
(I had a moment and upgraded us to First Class at last minute, something neither of us had ever experienced. Why not? YOLO bitches! So worth $198.00 per person! Building up those Delta SkyMiles…)

Lots of free time, ability to sleep in every weekend, basically I could leave my house after work and not come back until I felt like it.

Fast forward to last Friday night, February 17th: I am am home as I have been for the past four weekends. I have been taken hostage by a furry creature with razor sharp teeth:

I can’t leave this thing alone and she has thrown up three times in one hour!
Tyler and I have become fur parents! Meet Nikki, our beagle mix puppy! She came home on Saturday January 28th, the day after we came back from Mexico, and our lives have not been the same since then.

Last month in January, Tyler and I were in the beginning stages of considering adopting a dog, something we’d been talking about since we started living together over 4 years ago. Both of us had grown up with dogs and missed having one around and figured we didn’t have a reason why not. I had started looking up shelters around the area online and started the basic steps in the adoption process figuring it was a longer process and could take some time.

Friday January 13th exactly one week before Dancing With The Stars and leaving for our Cancun trip, I stumbled across Petfinder.com and did a search within 100 miles. I saw Nikki’s post and it seemed like everything kind of just happened from there: I called the number listed and talked to the lady who ran Pet Projects in Minnesota (where Nikki came from), I showed the picture to Tyler and asked what he thought, I set up a meeting time to see Nikki the next day in Fairbault, MN, we drove up the next day to meet her and wrote a check for the adoption fees, we drove up to Northfield, MN two weeks later and officially adopted/ brought her home. We didn’t expect to become fur parents this soon but even so we are super happy we finally are!

Like I said both of us had dogs in the past and knew what to expect with: feeding, taking her out when she has to go, cleaning up accidents on the floor, chewing, puppy biting, jumping up, etc but the reality of it is something entirely different and Nikki isn’t supposed to or going to be like any of our dogs we had growing up. It has been life changing for both of us.

I never realized how lucky I was to sleep in or get up and not worry about our house being destroyed while getting ready for work.

Don’t let this innocent face fool you, she has sharp teeth and can rip up anything! Things I didn’t think she’d do or be into, she is. Nikki was only a little over three months old when we brought her home so Tyler and I being on separate work shifts has been good for her as she adjusts to her forever home and growing out of the puppy stage. Good for Nikki but tough for Tyler and I as it’s hard to go to the bathroom without her glued to our sides wanting to come with. Her bathroom schedule now takes priority over our own bathroom or sleeping schedules. (It will get better the older she gets). It would be nice to eat and not have her put her paws on the table looking to see what we are eating. Just let me eat in peace!!! Each of us feels like a single parent when the other is at work.
How did this happen?!? I sometimes wonder… one month ago I was going out on Fridays nights, now I’m stuck at home cleaning up dog puke. Three different piles of dog puke!

I get by knowing Nikki is slowly but surely growing up and the more time we work with her, the better dog she will be. She has been lucky to have two people around constantly around her throughout the day, something not all dogs are lucky to have. I get excited when we go another week without her having an accident (Almost three weeks!!) and being able to be outside by herself without freaking out that we aren’t there but knowing we are inside.

The thing I have struggled with most was leaving her alone at home in her crate during the first week and beyond. I knew she would be fine in the crate for one or two hours if I had to run to the Y or to a meeting but I hated (still do) putting her in there and hearing her while/cry/bark. Even when I knew this was natural for dogs and Nikki would have to get used to it, the fact didn’t stop I would still hear Sarah McLaughlin singing in my head!!!

Even during it’s hardships, being a fur Mama is great! I have a companion to go with me on my walks, we have a source of entertainment when at home and I have her to snuggle with me while I watch the entire series of Gilmore Girls:

Seriously, my heart melts every time this happens!

I have learned to have patience, so has Tyler, but him and I also realize that neither of us have much of it at all. Even though dogs and children are not the same and you can’t really compare the two, we know that by adopting Nikki both of us are set on the decision that we don’t want children. We have given up a little bit of our freedom but are unwilling to lose it completely and that’s OK. At least we know what we want and agree on it. Unlike a kid, we can still travel whenever we want. Sure it will cost us money to have her boarded but we still have the option to take vacations when we want to.
I have learned how to time manage and prioritize more than I ever have. I have learned how to work with her even after she makes me so angry by not listening after saying “NO!” or “GET DOWN!” 50 times in a row.

Honestly, how can you stay mad at that face?!?!

I am seriously excited for the rest of the year as Nikki turns from a puppy into a full grown dog even though her mind might still be puppy for years afterward. I can’t wait to build a fence in our backyard so she can run around it. I can’t wait to take her on more walks. I can’t wait to bring her along in the car for the trips that we can. I can’t wait until we can leave her at home without putting her in the crate, or at least in one room without being completely contained. Nikki just gets better every day. I am so crazy stupid happy but at times I wonder if just my sleep deprivation kicking in…

End Note: During this whole process I can’t say enough how happy I am that we adopted instead of shopped. It warms my heart knowing we gave her a good home.

2016 to 2017

Intro

I didn’t want to be away too long, but when I haven’t been traveling lately and instead preoccupied up until November with: my regular full time job, a part time job and an online grad class, writing for fun has been pushed aside unintentionally. What ambition was left I began work on a post about women, for women on how awesome we are and all the double standards we face in our daily lives. Then… the election happened. That is all I have to say about that (ala Forrest Gump). During a time where tensions are still high and sides taken, I decided to wait but continue working on the post gradually. It should be for ALL women no matter what their stance; even when it will still be very challenging to not have it cross political lines but such is life.

When the election was all said and over with I decided that even when I may be unhappy with things going on in our country and the world, most of which is far out of my control, I wasn’t going to let things in my life that I CAN control bring me down or make me miserably unhappy. I was also at that time two weeks away from turning 30 and wanted to start this new decade of my life happy, thankful, in control and how wanted it to be.

Luckily where the election fell, I had just completed one grad class and waiting for another to begin. I looked at the things I had going on outside of my 40 hour a week job besides the course: a part time job and the upcoming Rotary Club Dancing With the Stars fundraiser I was in as one of the couples competing. Right away I decided to withdraw from the upcoming online term; instead of starting the class in November I’d wait to take it in February when it would fall within the range of spring semester of campus.

After what seemed like a long time over the previous months while debating the pros or cons over and over again: I knew it was time I quit my part time job. This has helped relieve so much by: allowing me to keep a sleep schedule, less stress by not worrying about hours or how others (mostly men) perceive me (will be touched on more in the article about women for women) or dealing with negativity from others. As I stated before there is enough negativity and toxic people in the world, no longer was my life going to be full of those things. I can’t believe how much more happier I am!

Even though I now had less money coming in, I feel I’m still doing ok in that area. There is so much to be involved in here in our small town of Forest City that keeping you busy can also help you save money. Since I no longer have had to work on Thursday nights: I could now return to being involved in a community organization I had started to the year before:

Forest City Young Professionals

I became involved with Forest City Young Professionals in early 2015 by attending monthly meetings and social functions until I took my part time job and was involved in community theater in early 2016. It has felt good to finally be involved with the group again. The organization is made up of people ranging from ages 22 to mid 30s who regular meet to network, socialize, volunteer and find ways to get involved in our community. We hold a monthly meeting, usually relaxed and informal but still making note of items discussed. These meetings have ranged from basics discussions about to group to having topics and speakers for the nights. Some of the topics have included:

Dinner for Dummies
City Hall and City Council Meetings
Departments of the City with the then Mayor of Forest City
Starting your Own Business
How to Invest
Loans
Credit, Finances and Buying a Home

These are just a few. At our most recent meeting we had a speaker from the Toastmasters of Mason City who gave a nice presentation on public speaking and other tips for organizations like ourselves. Young Professionals also do volunteer work: the Forest Theater, AFS Fun Night, Puckerbrush, etc.

Once a month we try and plan a social function that opens up to others in the community outside our organization: trivia night, pub crawls, concerts, hockey games and for this last month of December we had an Ugly Sweater Party at Ay Jalisco Mexican Restaurant: (Why I am wearing a Star Wars Christmas sweater above in my featured image)
  

  

If you notice our lovely green mugs in the photo: we had those on sale for $1.00 and with those you got $2.00 draw beers or $5.00 cocktails. Their bar menu for introduced that night for us: (I highly recommend their Blue Margarita!!!)

Brickstreet Theater

I was cast a small part in the Brickstreet Theater performance of Rumors last spring and wanted to continue on as an actor or work behind the scenes. I hadn’t planned on being involved with their December production of A Christmas Story because of everything else I had going on when the show was first organized and put together in September. I got a call the end of November from my friend, also the assistant director, asking if I wanted to help with the lights for the show. I wanted to say yes but was worried about this taking on too big of time commitment. We worked it out that I would share tech week with another light person and then we would take turns running lights for the shows running during the two weeks. After we worked the board, and I got comfortable and had so much fun! I most definitely could run the board by myself for tech week and all performances in the future! (Any Brickstreet people who may read this, please don’t not cast me because you are afraid you wont find a light person! haha I do like operating the light but I love acting and being on stage more! I’m first and foremost an actor! 🙂 I say this with love)

The show’s cast was made up of mostly kids and they did a marvelous job! The set was one of the best I’ve ever seen on that stage. I didn’t realize you could fit all those pieces on to it! I just hope more community will keep attending these shows and how enjoyable they are even if you don’t know anyone in the show! We have a lot of talent in this town and all the kids looked so stinkin cute!!!

Christmas and New Year

Besides Christmas, December was a good month and I mostly spend it in Forest City. Besides me not wanting to travel far with snow and sub zero wind chills there is so much to do and get involved with. We have some good local restaurants and drinking establishments that are unique and unlike anything we’ve had before. Despite critical remarks they are what this town has wanted and needs if we want business to remain local. I love eating the awesome food and margaritas as Ay Jalisco also having a place like Paddler’s Tap in town has been awesome. The change of pace of having a tap house with craft beer separate from your typical lounge or sports bar adds so much variety especially on main street which we have been trying to revive for years! Not saying there is nothing wrong with your neighborhood lounge or sports bars, those are great too but having variety and choices to pick from makes everyone want to stay here majority of the time and not feel like they have to leave town to have fun every weekend.

So now I am excited that 2017 has come and I can start fresh from the messy end of 2016. I’m not really much on New Year Resolutions but I feel the changes and schedule I started to make I can now try and implement on a clean slate that begins with the new year. I hope to continue on with writing and find a routine/schedule that works out the best. Also if I can attend and conferences or workshop that will help improve my writing or my format so I can just keep getting better at doing this. I have been working out regularly but hope to make more of the time I do and add more strength training. I still have stubborn weight that I haven’t been able to lose. I WILL pay off my student loans this year! I want to put more money in my savings. I want to book two more trips besides going to Cancun this month; one state side and one international. I want to hopefully obtain another position at my current place of employment. I want to be involved in more community theater productions but as an actor with a role that has more than two lines. I want to help out with causes and help spread awareness on issues that mean a lot to me: climate change, human rights, equality for women and all minorities, women’s issues, education, etc. Instead of just complaining about it I hope to actually help do something about it.

It’s a new year and a new decade for me, I’m ready for whatever this year and the rest of my 30s are going to bring.

Iowa: You won’t understand until you experience it!

This post was inspired by a question asked during my last trip outside of Iowa. My friend/trip companion Rachael and I cruised up to the bar at the Flamingo Go Pool and engaged in friendly small talk to our bartender while he was making our margaritas. After being asked where we were from and responding with, “Iowa” we got: “What is all there?”. I’ve gotten a variety of responses like this as I have traveled near and far but this one stuck with me. I tried my best to explain what Rachael and I do for a living and the town we reside in and how much there is to do in the summer. I think it worked? There’s a good chance this person was born and raised in the west coast and eventually made their way to Vegas and has never been anywhere else.
This one interaction inspired me to bring it to my writing and blog. I needed to emphasize The Vanessa Monologues highlights my life in Iowa when I’m not traveling the country and world. it goes back to my dream to be the female Anthony Bourdain; a world traveler but staying grounded in Iowa giving a glimpse of real North Iowa life to those who have never been here. It really is true to the rest of the world: you won’t understand Iowa unless you experience it and I hope to bring the experience to all of those I meet across throughout the states and globe.

It is summertime in Iowa and with the warmer weather brings more adventures and things to do. For this post I wanted to highlight this activity that my husband and I spend majority of the summer doing. I have been riding on the back of Tyler’s Harley ever since we started dating and it’s an activity we’ve always enjoyed doing together. Actually something we do with all of Tyler’s family. Sometimes we just get on the bike and go somewhere on a limb, majority of the summer though our destination(s) are determined by this book:

marble book marblestops

(Stops/locations are on the first page. The map located at the top of this post shows where all the stops are!)

Every summer we participate in the Find Your Marbles Run: Purchase your book for $10. from Ernie Williams or Okoboji Harley Davidson (proceeds from book sales go to charity, MDA) and stop at as many of these stops listed in the book as you can. When you go to each stop, you draw from a bag of six different colored marbles. The color of the marble you draw is recorded in the book along with a stamp of the establishment or a signature of an employee who witnessed you draw that color. No one knows how much each color of marble is worth until the end when all books are turned in and they draw each marble randomly to see which is worth more points. When the colors are given point values, each book is tallied by how many of each color they drew. Top 10 Winners receive cash and gift certificates to Harley and other participating establishment on the run. Even if you don’t place in the top 10, if you show up for the awards dinner in late September you could still walk away with a gift certificate and a free meal too! So if you don’t win anything, you still got a meal out of it. Above all this run is set up to give the money it raises for charity. It’s fun and for a good cause.

We’ve found so many cool little hole in the wall places to eat and drink at that we didn’t know about until we did the ride. Several of these stops as a matter of fact will have their own posts from me in the future. Sometimes just the ride from each place to another is the best part. This past weekend, Tyler and I rode to Clear Lake, IA to pick up some marbles then decided to get another one farther away: in Marble Rock, IA. It only took us about 45 minutes to ride from PM Park in Clear Lake to Whitetails in Marble Rock. We both had the steak sandwich! Other than this place, I can’t think of any other reason why we would have traveled to Marble Rock, IA. A nice little stop with a mini golf course next door!
The Dodens at Whitetails in Marble Rock
tyler vanessa

This post was the background information needed and also a preview of what is to come throughout the summer. Iowa seen on the back of Harley Davidson Night Train is fun and enjoyable even though my ass goes numb if I have to ride a long stretch. There is much good eats and beverages to share each stop along the way so if you want a random adventure to a town in Iowa you haven’t been, stay tuned!

One coat of sunscreen is never enough. Always reapply!!
sunburn