Another day. Another precious day.
We thought yesterday we might head to Door County, Wisconsin. Or Madison, Wisconsin or the Milwaukee area or Spring Green. Instead, we wandered along the border between Iowa and Illinois, taking the Great River Road through Muscatine, Davenport, Camanche, Bellevue (where we stopped for lunch), and finally Dubuque, where we veered westward about ninety miles. We spent the night last night in Waterloo, Iowa.
As we meandered along the Mississippi River, I became enamored with the look and feel of several towns along the river. First, Muscatine captured my imagination; I could imagine living in a house (or in a mid-rise condo) with a view of the Mississippi. Then, I fell in love with Davenport—small enough to retain the charm of a semi-rural setting, but large enough to offer the amenities of a city. We roamed streets near the riverfront, driving by many beautiful old houses that seem to have been meticulously cared for. Based on listings we found on Zillow.com, I decided I could pay cash for a house in Davenport, which could serve as a lovely non-winter getaway. I am not serious about such an idea, though. Yet.
Davenport has a population of roughly 100,000, but I saw no signs of the ugliness of city traffic or urban blight (though, admittedly, we did not take a comprehensive tour of the town). But the little city holds enough appeal to warrant serving as a port-of-call for Viking River Cruises. As we drove through town, we were surprised to see a docked Viking River Cruise vessel. A Viking motor coach arrived dockside just as we entered a parking area reserved for buses (no cars allowed when a ship is docked…but we drove in anyway, after which I got gun-shy and insisted we get out of the way of the bus). Though the ship seemed enormous to me, it is a tiny fraction of the size of an ocean-going vessel. On every level (three?) of the side of the ship visible to us were balconies; people were sitting on some of them. I can imagine feeling quite at ease on a river cruise. Mi novia and I mused about the passengers, assuming that many of them must be Europeans or other foreign visitors, for whom a cruise up the Mississippi would be just as exotic as a cruise on the Rhine or Danube would be to us. In fact, we decided a cruise on the Mississippi would be an exotic adventure to us. One day, perhaps…
Today, we are thinking about driving northeast to Decorah, Iowa (just because…), then perhaps further north to Rochester, Minnesota. Then, we might head back southeast toward Madison, Wisconsin. Of course, that could change. And probably will.
We are only an hour (or less) from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where a former employee (from many, many years ago…like 37 years) lives with her husband. I have toyed with the idea of trying to connect with her, but have decided trying to set up another reunion with her might derail our meandering journey. I last saw her about twenty-two years ago, when I visited Cedar Rapids on business. We stay in touch, every year, by way of my annual birthday email greeting to her and her email response. That’s enough. A face-to-face meeting probably would be a bit awkward, in that we probably have very little in common after all these years and there would be little to talk about. So, we’ll use the time and energy that a visit might require for other experiences.
I got good news last night, via an email from my nephew, that my brother has been released from the hospital. He may yet be able to make his move to Ohio without any delays, but he’ll need to see a GI doctor first to see about what treatments, if any, he’ll need for his diverticulitis. Sudden illnesses are scary (a fact to which I can attest, from personal experience). When they resolve satisfactorily, one feels even more grateful for one’s health than beforehand.