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Stranded… in Iowa

All the Peanuts in St Paul

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!

Ahh…. the famous Hudson River Valley on the NY Central water level route

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.

Providence surprised us
Chicago skyline from 1000 ft up
Lake Michigan from 1000 ft up

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.

Nancy’s gallery showing
Friends and family at the grand opening

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!

Montana Safflower fields
On the route of Lewis and Clark. Clark’s graffiti is on the pillar
Sioux Falls city art…
Three Forks village art at the Sacajewea Hotel
Great art deco theater in Billings, MT. We saw Astroid City!
Family in Billings
The famous Donny concocting his fabulous…
Butterfly peaflower martini

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.

Relaxing at the lake cottage
Along the Yellowstone River

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  1. Trina Severson


    Hello Randy & Nancy! It was so great to meet you two at the Three Forks Sacajwea bar over dinner enjoying an Old Fashioned and stories together with myself, Trina, and my boyfriend, Jacob, as we were also on our vacation adventure camping across the states of Montana, Idaho, Arizona. Nancy, looks like you had a successful art show! Also, not sure if you knew but I’m from Minnesota, my sister got proposed to just out front of the St Paul in St Paul, MN in the park – I’ve been to the bar there for a lovely cocktail (or two) with my sister celebrating the special place and memory! Excited for you to get back on the boat and do some maintenance – hope the new generator install goes smoothly. Jacob and I are still interested in getting a tour of your beauty sometime!

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