Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Missouri and Iowa

On Saturday morning we said our good-byes to Larry and started out for Iowa. Somehow I missed spotting a sign that said we were leaving Kansas City, Kansas (known as K.C.K.) and entering Kansas City, Missouri (known as K.C.). These pictures, I determined after getting home and searching the Internet, are of K.C., which is considerably larger than K.C.K.

The bridge in this first picture is the Christopher S. Bond Bridge, and spans the Missouri River.

Skyline of K.C.

The shiny, flat, curved roofs are the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

After spending the morning hours on the Missouri road system, we finally reached Iowa.

As we drove toward Bingse's home, we passed by farm after farm. Although the soils had been prepared on most of the farms, it was a little too early in the season for planting. Of course, Iowa is a major Corn Belt state, so in a few weeks there will be fields and fields of corn.

The main reason for taking this trip was to see Dan's old college roommate, Bingse. While we hadn't seen Larry (our Kansas friend) for 43 years, we had more like 45 or 46 years of catching up to do with Bingse! He had been about to leave for Vietnam when we saw him last, in 1968 or 1969.  Sadly, we didn't get to meet Gaby, his wife, because she was in Germany visiting her family. But we heard story after story about her from Bingse, and feel like we almost know her now! Bingse says they will be coming to Texas in the fall, and will, hopefully, make a stop at our house. We're really looking forward to meeting Gaby then, as well as repaying a little of Bingse's great hospitality.

We spent three days and four nights at Bingse's house, and they were the most peaceful, delightful days of our vacation.

Bingse lives on a 20-acre farm in the middle of Amish country. His neighbors, Daniel and Sarah (and their many children), are Amish, and they actually farm his land for him. I was pleased to get to talk with Sarah a couple times when she came to the door to ask about work to be done in Gaby's vegetable garden. While the Amish do not want full-face photos taken, they are alright with photos taken at a distance or from the back. Out of respect, I chose only to take a couple photos from Bingse's window, discretely, of buggies going by on the road below. But you don't know how hard it was to resist taking a picture or two of the little ones that tagged along behind Sarah when she came to the house. They were adorable  - the girls in their bonnets and the boys in their wide-brimmed hats.

Bingse's house sits in an idyllic part of Iowa. Here are a few photos taken of his beautiful yard.  We would have been happy to stay longer, had we not had a very important reason to stick to our schedule (more about that in another post).

Because the Amish don't use motorized vehicles or tractors, the silence was seldom broken except by the constant singing of birds. I'm not a bird-watcher, but couldn't resist snapping a few pictures of various ones that I saw. The orioles were the most common birds. There were also bright yellow finches, which I failed to get pictures of. The picture I took of the wild turkey was my favorite, because when I showed it to Bingse, he was surprised, having never seen one on the property before.




Woodpecker ???

Wild turkey
 On the second and third days of our stay, Bingse played tour guide. He drove us all over the area - around the Iowa countryside and across the borders of Wisconsin and Illinois - and gave us a running commentary on some of the major sights.

I'll save those pictures for my next post.

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