Well it has been a while since we checked in. We’re back in Des Moines where we are enjoying time with family and friends before returning to MAJOR boat projects next week. So, we traveled by AMTRAK back to Iowa by way of Providence, NYC and Chicago. Let me tell you, there is nothing so relaxing as traveling in the comfort of a sleeper on the train. Comfortable beds, good food, and even a porter to bring you drinks and make your bed. No security lines, no crowded waiting areas, just miles of verdant scenery while someone else drives!
We did a layover in Chicago at the classic Drake Hotel on Michigan Ave, drank cocktails at the Cloud Bar on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Tower, got blown down the street by 50kt gusts, enjoyed Sunday Tea in the Drake’s lounge and napped on the train to Des Moines.
On arrival I began fabricating new luxuries for the boat, while Nancy prepared for her first official one-woman art show at a local gallery- Zanzibars Coffee Adventure.
Next we borrowed a car and headed on a loop to Montana to see Nancy’s brother and sister then on to northern Minnesota to relax at lake Lida with friends Deb, Warren and Jack. Then a relaxing night in St. Paul before closing the loop back in Des Moines. The theme of this trip back home has been to stay in classic, iconic hotels and we have done quite well I must say. Providence was the Graduate, formerly the Biltmore, with great lobby and sweet bar. Chicago had the aforementioned Drake. Sioux Falls, SD had the Hotel on Phillips with its bar in the bank vault. In Deadwood, SD the Martin and Mason was a true old miner’s-type hotel right off old main with all the history that Deadwood evokes. Three Forks, MT was the real sleeper; The Sacajawea, built in 1910, a beautifully restored porch inn with the best meal we have eaten anywhere, and a restored NP railroad depot across the street with a great museum inside. The Roughrider in Medora ND was a let down, but the bartender Donny made up for it, plus it had a fantastic library. Finally, the St Paul in St Paul, MN was elegance and style personified, with a famous bar and fantastic chicken pot pie!
So, tomorrow we are off to Rhode Island with a carload of parts and projects for the boat. Awaiting us will be a new generator and main transmission to install, new batteries and solar panels, a through-hull, some paint and polish, and the new bibelots I fabricated while here. Stay tuned, we’ll be back in the water before you know it.