Gotta Get Outta Here!

It has been a cold, rainy week and the girls and I have been hibernating in the house.  The only excitement we have had was the arrival of dance outfits from Grandma B yesterday.  The girls want to wear them 24/7 now and I am determined they survive to actually be worn to dance class at least once!  The hubby snapped some pics of them last night as they showed off their new duds to him.

So after a week of being at home, I decided spur of the moment that today was the day for an adventure.  It was either an adventure or a labotomy. 

Remember that movie The Bridges of Madison County with Clint Eastwood and Glen Close?  Well, Madison county and the city of Winterset which the bridges are centered around, is a mere 45 minute drive for us.  That may seem far to Iowans, but that is how far David drove to get to his salon in Cave Creek back in AZ.  It is also how far my commute to work has been many times in my life; from Bowie to Bethesda to teach ballroom dancing, from my 2 acre spread in rural New Mexico to get to Honeywell in Albuquerque, and my top down drive in my red convertible around the 101 in Arizona to get to Mesa.  So in my mind, this is a very close attraction. 

I told the girls that we were going on an adventure to look at bridges, the beauty of the fall landscape, and hopefully some wildlife.  I have to admit though, that most of the wildlife I saw, fox, raccoon and opposum, was smeared on the highway...yuck! 

We made a pit stop in Indianola to get a HUGE drink and I loaded the girls up with cheap candy, wondering if I was going to regret that decision. 

This was the first bridge that we came to on our way east to Winterset.  This is the Holliwell Bridge built in 1880.

At first the girls were a bit spooked by the bridge.  So I yelled, "I bet I can run to the other side and back before you" and took off.  They were fast on my heels and soon made me look like the tortoise half of the proverbial "Tortoise and the Hare" story.

This is the lovely river.

Angelina being a little hesitant to come back in.

I antiqued this pic to give it an old time feeling. 

A corn field processed and ready for the winter.  I thought the hills were pretty in the background.

We went into Winterset for lunch.  Winterset is one of those cute little Iowa towns that still has a town square.  We ate at the Northside Cafe, which conveniently enough, was located on the north side of the square. :)  I found out just tonight that this is actually the cafe featured in the movie where Robert Kincaid stops for coffee and offers Lucy Redfield a stool.  Apparently, the fourth stool from the door has been graced by the likes of Clint Eastwood.  And to think I almost sat there for lunch today...does this count as a brush with fame - my posterior on the same stool where Eastwood's posterior sat?  ;)  We moved to a booth because while the girls were really wanting to sit on one of the nifty swivel stools, they figured out they couldn't scoot closer to the counter so it wasn't convenient for little ones.

Angelina really likes ketchup.  It's the dip of choice for this girl.  Actually, food just becomes the medium by which she can eat ketchup.  You could hook her up to an i.v. of ketchup and she'd be the happiest little girl on the planet.

After lunch we happened by the birthplace of John Wayne.  Who knew??  Cute little white house on a corner not far from downtown.  Chalk up another reason to visit Iowa!

Then we scored our adventure...the city park.  Wow is all I can say.  We had the best time, like... ever!  It started with another covered bridge set amongst the beauty of fall.

 Trinity singing (as usual)

 Angelina climbing over the rock wall.

They're off and running!

I love this picture.  With the girls close to the bridge, you get a better perspective.

Kids will always find a way to climb...

gratuitous tree shots

Another bit from the movie.  This bridge was where the characters Franscesca and Robert had their picnic.  We so did the Bridges of Madison County getaway without even trying.  Hey you...stop climbing on there!

Sigh.  They just can't be stopped.

pretty leaves on the ground

"Mom, stop taking my picture and puuuuuuush meeeeeee!"

Another little known Iowa factoid:  Iowa is the birthplace of the red delicious apple.  I know I am repeating myself but "who knew??"

This may single-handedly be my favorite photo of the day.  They were trying to see if anything was living in the hole in the tree.  Sister helping sister...beautiful fall surroundings, gnarly tree...I love it!

To our great delight, we discovered the hedge maze.  Waaay too much fun!

We had the best time running around in this thing.  First we just tried to find our way out.  Then we tried to find the sundial hidden in the center of the maze...harder than it seems!  Then we played a combination of chase and hide-n-seek.  Angelina was reluctant to have her picture taken, so I had to ambush her!

more pretty leaves

Ummm...more pretty leaves (at least these are still on the trees!)  This is actually a one-way road/hiking trail that leads to a stone tower.  There's a stone tower??  We have to go see the tower - have to!

Coming around a bend in the road, lo and behold, there was the wildlife we had been hoping to see.  And it was up close and personal.  We stopped and rolled the windows down to watch her.  She was pretty nonchalant about the whole thing as you can see in the picture.  Instead of running away, she simply scratched behind her ears with her hind leg.  Oh, to be so limber!

We arrived at the tower.  Very cool, three story medieval looking thing. 

up to the second floor

up to the third floor

Once again, Angelina was not wanting her picture taken...geesh!

Yes, she is trying to climb out the second story window.  How do we ever survive childhood?!

gratuitous fall foliage shot

I had Trinity take a snap of me to prove I really was there and hadn't hired a nanny to take my kids away and give me a day of sanity.  Maybe not the best set up with the light behind me.  Ah, well.  My fault, not hers.

hey there cutie!

Trinity is at the top and Angelina is in the window below her.

We seriously had the best time at this tower. (castle)

We came under attack of a dragon and had to hide under the stairs.  Then we had to flee to the highest reaches of the castle before discovering that it was a friendly dragon that blew kisses and gave us chocolates.
(what's that?  you noticed Trinity's pants look wet? my, yes, you are very observant.  she peed herself at the playground and I didn't bring a change of she played in wet pants...sue me!)

Then all of us took turns being Rapunzel.  "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your long hair!"  None of us quite had the locks for a rescue.

But, alas, all fair maidens eventually have to head home.  Midnight comes all too soon.

You know it's been a good day when...


  1. what a fun day!! lots of super great memories for sure!! and so many amazing pictures...lots of framers there!! my favorite is the one where they are walking down the road together (appear to be holding hands) sweet. you just love hanging out with your kids?!? it's the best!!!!

  2. What a wonderful outing!!! I have to admit some of those shots brought a tear to my eye--very beautiful. The girls at the tree just got me. Gotta love some sister love!! Thanks for sharing!!!


  3. Ohh...How awesome. So many little adventures in one big adventure...When you headed out did you ever think you would get to see all of that? The joy of gettin got stay home with your kids!