Be Back Whenever

Tag Archive: U. of Iowa

10/2023 Time for a new adventure

We’re off on another adventure and are hoping that try #4 will be successful for our trip to Nepal. The first three attempts were called off due to COVID and chemo but this attempt is looking better.
We’re not going on a trek or attempt to climb Everest or anything silly like that. This trip is to see Kathmandu and head south to the jungles to visit two national parks and look for animals. We’re meeting a German friend since this was all her idea 4 years ago!
Nepal is halfway around the world and we decided to come via Europe making stops in Munich, Salzburg, and Stuttgart AFTER we made a stop in Iowa City for a football game.

First stop was in Iowa City for a pretty dull football game although the weather was a perfect Fall day and we visited with some friends and the Hawkeyes won!

We flew to DC via Chicago from Cedar Rapids and were delayed about 5 hours. We were sitting on the fully boarded plane in Chicago when the pilot came on the speaker to tell us that a red indicator light wouldn’t go off so he was going to reboot the plane – no lie! This was a 777 so we guessed United needed it in DC, probably for a European flight that night. The reboot didn’t work. Next step – replace the motherboard and reinstall the software! Fortunately, we were in Chicago so a motherboard was at hand. We all got off the plane and hung out for 4 hours while the board was installed. The SW was corrupt so they had to install the SW one piece at a time – takes longer!

Best comment of the day – “Should I be worried that we have a United captain explaining motherboards and software to us?”. The captain did a great job keeping us updated.

I found 2 Business class seats to Munich for not many miles BUT it involved a 15 hour layover in London Heathrow which always sounds like a good idea until the actual day. We got a day room at an aiport hotel, had breakfast, napped and showered and back we went through immigration, security and on to Munich. Given how much of a mess Heathrow can be, it all went amazingly well.

Only glitch was luggage. When we checked in at Dulles with United we expected our bags to be checked all the way through to Munich. United said “no go”. The connection to Lufthansa was too long and we’d have to pick up our bags and recheck them. There’s not much arguing with an airline but we did check with Lufthansa at Dulles and they agreed.

When we had our bags in Heathrow at 5 AM, we immediately went to Lufthansa to recheck them. Nope! Can only be checked in 3 hours before the flight. We asked a superrvisor and she agreed – Lufthansa doesn’t have a room anymore in which to store the bags for 15 hours!

We finally made it to Munich, ready to start the Oktoberfest fun after some sleep.

Marstall tent at Oktoberfest in the afternoon. It wasn’t crowded at all.
We spent 2 afternoons with Josh and Sam Crowe, U. of Iowa friends.
If you need a toilet, look for cupid!
One day it rained. This made the tents more crowded since the outside seating wasn’t very desirable.
Yes, we do own some Bavarian dress.
The Munich firemen had to get a sick person down from the top of St. Peter’s Kirche. The stairway is too narrow for a stretched so they took him down the outside of the church using ropes.

September 5 – The trip begins!

The adventure has started!  Stop 1 was Iowa via Omaha and, as Mark likes to say, the trip is all downhill from Iowa!  We started in Omaha (cheaper flight from Denver) with an overnight before heading across Iowa through all the fields of ripe corn and beans and spending the weekend in Iowa City.  Thank heavens the University of Iowa beat Wyoming in the opening game of the season or the entire city would have been filled with VERY unhappy people!

Hawkeye Fan Shop

You can find Hawkeye gear all over Iowa City.

University of Iowa ties

Just in case you need a U. of Iowa Tie

U. of Iowa sox at the Hawk Shop

Just in case you need to update your supply of Iowa sox you can find them at the Hawkeye Fan Shop in Coralville, IA.

Tailgating spots at Kinnick Stadium

These are highly prized and expensive reserved parking/tailgating spots right outside of Kinnick Stadium at University of Iowa.


The route back west across Iowa to Mark’s Mom’s house took us through Washington and Pella, Iowa. We went on a hunt for Susan’s long-ago relatives in Washington cemeteries and found a few 5th cousins 4 times removed. (We share great great great great great great grandparents – and, yes, the number of “greats” is correct!)

John Baker Tombstone

John Baker tombstone in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, outside of Washington, Iowa.

Pleasant Hill Cemetery

Located about 5 miles outside of Washington, IA in the middle of cornfields. We’re guessing my relatives had a farm somewhere in the vicinity in the late 1800’s.

The rest of the Iowa stop involved visiting sisters, nieces and nephews and Mom and watching Va Tech beat West Virginia University on Sunday night late!

Road Trip to the eclipse

We had a pre-trip trip when we decided to go to Nebraska last weekend to see the total solar eclipse and, yes, it was spectacularly worth it!  We’d heard the dire warnings about traffic – have enough gas, food, water, etc. so we packed up the car and left about 5 AM on Sunday for Alliance, Nebraska.  Taking the “back roads” of CO 14 to Sterling and heading north to Sidney (Home of Cabela’s who are not open at 7 AM on Sunday morning) and further north to Alliance, we made it in 4 hours with no traffic.

U. of Iowa flag flying

Mark and Vivian Payne found the Well’s Ranch who mowed a field and rented out space for campers and tents so we met them there by looking for the University of Iowa flag, set up the tent in the Nebraska wind, and hung out in the sun, watching more and more people arrive for the grand event the next day. About 850 people watched the totality in total at Wells Ranch. While the vast majority were from Colorado, people came from as far away as Switzerland, London, Minnesota, California and Texas .

The faithful long-lasting tent. This is the same tent we took to Europe for 9 weeks 26 years ago. It might be time for a more modern one!


Kite flying and wine drinking

We enjoyed some margaritas and wine and a cold beer with our munchies and appetizers.


Morning fog

Mark and I were a bit panicked at 4 AM Monday morning when we looked out the tent and saw nothing but heavy fog.  By 8 the fog cleared and by 10 we had clouds and blue skies.

Mark watching the eclipse

Susan watching the eclipse

“sunset” appearance at totality

Total eclipse

The eclipse was spectacular!  As the moon covered more and more of the sun, wispy clouds floated across the sky and made the sun look very much like the Halloween pictures you see with a witch flying across the moon.  The temperature dropped 15 degrees during the eclipse. We all agreed that those 2 1/2 minutes flew by.  Be the end, Mark muttered something about planning a trip to Chile or Argentina for 2019.  Next time, we’ll take some binoculars to see sunspots and flares during the eclipse.

The trip back to Fort Collins started about 4:30 but about 5 miles outside of Alliance we could see cars for as far as we could see so decided to run around and either put up the tent in the wind again or find a hotel room. Victory!  The Quality Inn in Alliance had a lovely room complete with a shower and A/C that worked well.  We even found a pizzeria across the street after we made a visit to Carhenge outside of town.  Tuesday morning we left at 7:30 Am and were home by 10:45 without running into much traffic until I-25 between Cheyenne and Fort Collins.

Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska