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Friday, April 20, 2012

POST 605: 04/20/12: DECORAH, IOWA - HARMONY, MINNESOTA

Decorah, Iowa has turned out to be an interesting town. Snuggled in a narrow valley with two rivers running through it, a thriving LUTHER COLLEGE has given a boost to the local economy...a boost missing from so many mid-west towns.

Left SPIA at 6:15 am; climbed out of Decorah to US 52 and walked north for 13 miles...then returned to SPIA, taking the "old" road winding down off the upper plains through the valley which finally brought us back to Decorah and SPIA.


Please look carefully at the distant white ribbon...US 52 plunges down a steep hill...rises up the distant hill...before leveling out a bit on it's journey to the Minnesota border about 20 miles away.


The Northern Iowa River, passing under US 52.

Have been bombasted by strong winds and rain the past few days. My rain hood has been a constant problem in that it blows off my head with each gust or passing 18-wheeler. Today, I found the solution: Remember Maryann from whom I purchased the sheepskin gloves and hat...well, she also gifted me a set of "garters"...yes, the kind that hold up ladies hose...although these garters have "suspender" clips on each end with two inches of elastic between.

Looking closely at the above image, you might see the garter clipped to the top-center of the hood...the other half is clipped to my pig-tail ear-flap hat I wear most of the time walking.

The second garter is clipped beneath my chin...one clasp on each side of the lower part of the hood...this keeps the hood tight against my face, keeping wind and rain from entering.

...such a simple solution to keep me toasty and dry as we reach more northern latitudes.

Thank you again, Maryann.


US 52 hearing the Minnesota border.


We all know I have a thing with cows. Please note the group of eleven baby calves lying on that lush fiend with mama cows surrounding them. That standing critter walked from outside the circle, stopping to sniff each calf. When she saw me, she walked straight at me...stopped...and glared at me. I don't believe she trusted me much.



The "old" road winding through the valley toward Decorah.


...passing Luther College along the way.


...and, here flows the Northern Iowa river through town.



Downtown Decorah, not far from the river.


I seem to like tight places...well, it is an interesting image.


...as is this Mural (only part of the mural is shown), painted on the Senior Citizens building.


Please say HELLO to Brian (a.k.a. Hyuag) Lee, who, together with his lovely wife Nike (a.k.a. Hyon) Lee, own and operate the popular Chinese Restaurant CHO SUN.

I enjoyed lunch with them...and a good lunch it was.

Hyuag and Hyon also own a Japanese Restaurant down town Decorah...I asked "What, no Korean Food", to which Hyuag replied..."Americans do not like Korean food"...but, we make
Kim chi for sale in the local supermarket for which we receive $5.50 for a small jar.

Brian and Nike are from Korea...a bit Southwest of the capital city of Seoul, Korea...also, not far from the town of Suwon, Korea, where I was stationed during the Korean War...


SPIA and I drove on up to the Minnesota town of Harmony, 28 miles north of Decorah.

Since I only walked 26 miles on leg one of the day, I strolled south on US 52 for one hour to make up the missing miles. Then, I roamed downtown Harmony for a couple hours.


Please say HELLO to Jan.

Jan and I met in front of the Restaurant/Bar/Liquor Store where SPIA is parked for the night.

Being a retired truck driver, Jan and I had a long conversation about the trucking industry - remember, I spent much of my younger life working in our family trucking company in Pasco, Washington.


The Sign Of The Flying Red Horse...in the l940s and l950s, this was one of the most famous icons in America...denoting Mobil Oil which, together with Texaco, dominated much of the gasoline industry.


Harmony is home to a large number of Amish families. While walking in and around Harmony, I passed by no less than four such carriages pulled by a single horse...and all were driven by women. I learned my lesson of a few weeks ago...I made NO attempt to photograph the passing carriages.


Downtown Harmony, Minnesota.




Look closely in the driver's window...that little guy is Mugsy...please say HELLO to Mugsy.


Please say HELLO again...nicer this time. Mugsy got a bit bent out of shape with that first go.


...and now, Please say HELLO to Gary...Mugsy's daddy...


Gary and his Son own and operate a petroleum fuel business since 1979. Here Gary is filling his delivery truck with Kerosene, a "stove oil" used in this instance to heat water for a power-wash machine.

Gary and I had a long chat. Our family trucking company included being the northern terminus for P.I.E., a Los Angeles trucking firm. As P.I.E. also ran truck & trailer rigs for fuel oil, I was able to be somewhat intelligent about the business.


Walking back into the town of Harmony, I came upon this foursome teeing off on Tee # 4.


Wheelers Bar & Grill...where SPIA is parked for the night.

After my walk, I stopped in for a cold one (Coors Light), where I met the most charming family...


Please say HELLO to Matt (l), his dad Orson, and mom, Michelle.

Matt is on the golfing team ... part of the round of golf I photographed above. Orson has a position in Harmony laying flooring...and dabbling in a few other vocations. Regret I did not register Michelle's role at the moment...she spent most of her time visiting with lady friends while Matt and Orson and I chatted.

Matt came all the way to the restaurant just to meet me...so Orson had some chicken wings waiting his arrival.

No rain today. Made our longest single leg (26 miles) this morning, so I treated myself to a Busman's Holiday by walking around town meeting a number of other folks, such as the lady at the IGA supermarket who came up with a superb solution for keeping my new sheepskin gloves dry in the rain...thank you !

Tonight is to be cold...near freezing. In the morning, plan to leave SPIA parked as I walk north toward the town of Preston, only 11 miles away.

Left leg was great while walking; it stiffened up a bit while sitting at the bar chatting with Matt, Orson and Michelle. Should be ready to go by morning.

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