Pegging Around Iowa

Sena and I got the Iowa map cribbage board and pegged around the state. It was a great way for us to relearn what’s great about Iowa. There is a ton of fun things to do in Iowa.

The 2022 RAGBRAI route, scheduled for July 23-30 will run from Sargeant Bluff to Lansing. It’s the oldest and largest recreational touring bicycle ride in the world, according to the RAGBRAI website. RAGBRAI stands for Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. It’s the largest, longest, and oldest recreational bicycle touring event in the world.

It was started by Des Moines Register reporters John Karras and Donald Kaul. The 7-day trip goes from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River with many stops along the way.

One of them is Mason City, where John Dillinger robbed the First National Bank in the 1930s.

Lake Okoboji in northwestern Iowa is well known for a lot of reasons. It’s a great place to boat and fish, but if you’re an X-Files fan, you’ll recognize that it was the setting for the episode “Conduit,” in which a young woman was kidnapped by aliens although Fox Mulder was unable to prove it happened. The show misspelled the place as “Okobogee,” a mistake that was easy for any Iowan to detect. It was actually shot in British Columbia.

Of course, Iowa City is the home of the Hawkeyes, The University of Iowa, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The African American Museum is in Cedar Rapids.

Clear Lake, as some of you might recall, is where the Surf Ballroom is. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, after performing there were killed when their plane crashed shortly after taking off from the nearby Mason City Municipal Airport in 1959.

Riverside is the site of the Star Trek Museum and the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk in 2233. There’s an annual Trek Fest festival. William Shatner played a hoax on Riverside in 2004 when he visited with a film crew, claiming that they were going to make a science fiction movie there.

Dubuque is the oldest city in Iowa. One of the places to see is the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium.

Although it’s not on the cribbage board Iowa map, about a half hour west of Dubuque is Dyersville, where the movie Field of Dreams was shot. The New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox played there in 2021.

The Pella Tulip Time Festival runs in early May.

You can see Albert, the largest bull in the world, in Audubon. The solid concrete sculpture weighs 45 tons. That’s a lot of bull (obligatory rim shot here).

The Iowa State Fair is in Des Moines, the capital of Iowa. Iowa State University is in Ames. I’m part Cyclone and part Hawkeye because I got my bachelor’s degree at ISU and my medical degree at UI.

Although Nashua is not on the Iowa cribbage board, it’s in our hearts. We were reminded of our wedding at The Little Brown Church there 44 years ago. Come to Iowa and make memories of your own.

The Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Boy, are you guys lucky! I woke up yesterday morning with the crazy idea of making a video of me singing “L-O-V-E.” You know, the one Nat King Cole made famous. What do you mean, “No, what are you talking about?”

No kidding, though; I even cleared my throat a couple of times just thinking about it, getting ready to burst into my full-throated, only slightly phlegmy 60ish voice. I let that go after my first cup of coffee, thank goodness. You don’t know how close you came. My singing would kill a cat from a hundred yards.

Anyway, Sena got a kick out of my Valentine’s Day card because it had a scrabble theme. The top line actually is made of 3-dimensional Scrabble tiles. I bought that card before I found the Tile Lock Scrabble game.

By the way, I’m zero for 3 games so far. We really need a Scrabble dictionary. Sena plays the video scrabble game a lot and she played the word “Qi” twice (at right angles to each other) in our second game, claiming it’s a real word. I didn’t argue and without a dictionary, I couldn’t challenge it. But she didn’t know what it meant. “I’ve been meaning to look that up,” she says.

It turns out Qi is a variant spelling of CHI (pronounced like the first syllable of cheapo, a variant of cheapskate, as in a guy who spends the least amount of money possible on a Valentine’s Day gift for his wife). Qi is defined as the energy or life force in everything and it’s the basis of most of Chinese medicine and philosophy. It’s also the single most commonly used word in Scrabble tournaments.

We made this deal a while ago. If we buy a cribbage board in the shape of the state of Iowa with a road map and names of major cities, etc. on it, then I would agree to play Scrabble. We got the Scrabble game first. A deal’s a deal, even if it’s backwards. Sena ordered the Iowa State Map cribbage board yesterday. She wins most of the cribbage games, too. Here’s how she counts her scores: “15 for 2, a run of 3 for 19 (laugh it up you people, these are the jokes; hint, you have to know what scores are impossible in cribbage), and a flush for a total of 29; hey, I win again!”

You guys need to thank for me another thing. At first, Sena allowed me to use just one snapshot of us in this post. It’s of us at Niagara Falls in front of the helicopter we took a ride on to get a fantastic view of the falls. But we got to looking at a ton of pictures. We laughed a lot. We chose more pictures.

Have a great Valentine’s Day!

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