A few pictures of the area. No common thread or anything like that-just some comments.
There really aren't enough good Japanese-Mexican places, so my pal Hiroshi Rodriguez started one. If you get here, try the teriyaki fajitas with miso de gallo and have umeboshi flan for dessert. Knock back a Modelo Especial sake and you have a dinner to die for!
I don't know anything about this house, except that it overlooks a pond (which was most likely a quarry once upon a time) and the Mississippi River, and I would buy this place in a second were it for sale and I had the money. I love this place and the location!
Here's a pair of quad fifties, part of the formidable Le Claire, Iowa, harbor defenses. Those godless bastards over 'cross the river in Port Byron get uppity and try to sneak over and steal our wimmenfolk, and they'll get a faceful of 'fitty cal'. Serve 'em right!
Of course, it's a veteran's memorial in Le Claire. And I believe the veteran's memorial in Port Byron has a 75mm pack howitzer. Seriously. That'll put paid to the machine guns.
Between Sabula, Iowa and the old hometown of Savanna, is a bridge over the Mississippi. This causeway leads to the bridge. On both sides are the backwaters and sloughs which are at present frozen over. I saw where some snowmobilers had been driving on the ice. That's generally OK around that part of the river because the water isn't that deep. If one breaks through, he or she'd be about waist deep in water. There are spots where you can hit a thin spot on the ice, fall in, and, if you're lucky, just lose the snowmobile. If you aren't lucky, you drown because you can't find the hole you fell into. It happens every once in a while.
The area has a generally swampy feel about it in the summer. I remember about 20 years ago driving by here and seeing about a dozen National Guard Hueys 'coptering over the treetops. Looked a bit like what I'd imagine an airmobile operation in the Mekong might have looked like way back when.
The blue shacks along the sloughs tell me that there are some people ice fishing. Whether they're ice catching or not is anyone's guess. There used to be a spot north of Savanna that had lots of people ice fishing in the winter, but I haven't seen anyone there this year. My guess is that the water has gotten so shallow and silted in that the place just freezes solid.
Finally we have the riverboat 'Twilight', which is docked for the winter. In the summer and fall, 'Twilight' does two-day river excursions. It has the old-time calliope and is reminiscent of something out of a Mark Twain novel. It isn't a cheap trip-the excursion includes an overnight stay in Dubuque (figure about 200 mi (450km) or so round trip) but I'd like to do this sometime.
Just a few items of local color, deep in the heart of a Midwest winter. Hope you liked.