Iowa State Capital Tour….

Did you ever drive across Iowa on I 80 through DesMoines and look to the south?  You would see a huge building with 5 domes.  The center dome is the largest and is glimmering and shinning of gold in the sunlight.  This is the Capital of Iowa.  I have known this but it really didn’t make that much of an impression.  A number of local people at the park said we should go visit as it was beautiful.  So after we seen the Luminaria, we went to the Capital.  Driving across the river from down town the view was so stately.  The capital has high on a hill and the street went straight just like Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington DC.

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View from Capital to across the river downtown

We parked on the south side in a beautiful park area.  It was full of memorials and monuments of long ago.  It turned out to be a beautiful day.  Their were so many trees on the grounds hiding the capital on our walk to the door.  But the beautiful gold dome was peeking out shinning of brilliant gold in the sun.  This dome is one of the largest gold domes in North America.  It is the only state to have 5 domes and one of 10 states to have a gold dome.  It rises 275 ft. above the Capital grounds with an 80 ft. diameter at the top.  The original 23 karat gilding was $3,500.  The dome was regilded in 1905 at a cost of $8,800, again in 1927, for $16,500, again in 1965 for approximately $80,000.  The last time was 1996 at a cost of $482,000, with a protective layer installed to save it from the elements.

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The Capital was originally in Iowa City but was decided to move it to DesMoines.  The original building was started in 1871, dedicated in 1884 and finished in 1886.  It is built with brick and faced with limestone granite and sandstone.  We entered at the basement level that was designated Visitor Entrance.  We went through the Security area and walked down the corridor to the center of the building.  We passed many tables and chairs as the cafeteria is on this floor.  We arrived at the Tour Center.  The tour guide gave us a self guide tour map and explained many things to us.  So off we went to the nearest elevator.  No stairs for us.   We exited the elevator on 1st floor onto the rotunda area.   Amazing.  We walked over to the main dome area and looked up………

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Soooo Beautiful.  It is really hard to see the height.  Their is a row of windows near the top and more beautiful gold and lights.  In the center is a flag floating in the blue sky with clouds.

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Here is the upper floors of the dome.  We walked up to the 3rd floor.  That is all the public is allowed on their own.  Now this is the rotunda floor.  It is all glass.  It was just restored around 5 years ago to original.  For many, many years it has been open down to the basement floor.

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Now we walked down a corridor to the old Supreme Court.

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In 2003 they built a new Supreme Court building across the street.

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A close up of the beautiful gold Chandelier. We walked to another hallway and found this case full of dolls.

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These are dolls whose dresses are modeled after the First ladies.  They are dressed in a copy of their inaugural gowns.

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Onward to the huge grand staircase in the back wing.  Huge pillars of different shades of granite.  (See Rich?  tee hee) .  But did we walk the stairs?.   lol.   No….elevator to the right.  We accidently skipped 2nd floor and went to 3rd floor.

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We were at the balcony area of the Senate.  Of course, nobody working….lol…Empty….Back out the door, around the balcony area looking down on the Grand stair case and in the distance the 2nd floor rotunda area.

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Just look at those tile floors.  The most beautiful designs I’ve ever seen.  All different designs blending together.   The shine was beautiful.

Onward around the balcony to the other side of the 3rd floor to the House of Representatives.

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Again we went into the balcony area of the House.   and Again…Nobody Home….lol…Now it was time to go back down to the 2nd floor.  We found 4 spiral staircases.  2 by the Senate and 2 by the house.  They were enclosed and somewhat hidden.

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How beautiful they were.  All original and extremely sturdy.  Now down to the second floor.  This is actually the main entrance levels to the House and the Senate.

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They are situated in each wing on each side of the main rotunda.  We walked into the House and Rich was wanting to get a new Job……Sergeant-At-Arms.   lol.   I think he’d make a good one.  All he needs is a gavel….or a gun?….lol    Now for the very best area of the Capital.   We were blown away.   We opened the door to the Library.  It is situated at the west end facing down town……Beeeeeautiful…..

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Breathtaking…..I stood in Awwwwe…..I just looked, taking in all the beauty.  I really don’t think I have ever seen anything like it before.  Look at the tiling of the floors.  The white wrought iron spiral staircase at the other end.  their are 4 stores of balcony’s of books after the main floor.  They are all accessible by 2 spiral staircases.

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I was allowed to climb up this spiral staircase just 1 floor to take pictures.  If you look at the first story up, you will see a small corridor of light that is a door to the back area.  This is the access point on each floor to get to all the books on each balcony floor.

20160922_154937.jpgHere you can see the door openings against the back wall of each bookshelf.  This gets you to the other side of the bookshelf.

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Finally I had to take another picture  of the floors.   Beautiful, beautiful blending and designs of colors. Finally after probably half hour or more we left the library.  I did talk to the lady librarian.  Their is over 100,000 books.  They still use all the all the different levels of books for research except for the 5th level.  That one is more for storage of books and items not used much anymore.  The ironwork and the flooring are all original.   Again, this room is the most beautiful room I’ve ever seen.  So finally back to the rotunda area on the second floor.

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We looked over the side to the main floor….The center piece of glass…..Now elevator to the basement.  We walked back to the Tour Directors area which is right underneath the glass floor.

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She pointed out  over on the wall was some pictures and the story of the installation of this floor.  It came in pieces and fit like a puzzle to install.  They had to construct special ramps to roll in the pieces and not damage the floor tiles.  Then also a crane to hold them in place to install.     Some Facts……29 different types of marble use in the Capital…..12 types of wood, most native to Iowa…..24 fireplaces throughout the Capital…..

Now this was an awesome tour.  We just wandered around at our leisure.  I have not included a lot of what we seen.  It is just to much to mention it all.  Their was many places we didn’t go.  Many of the offices were open for viewing.  We didn’t do any of these.  Now this really makes me ashamed.    When was the last time YOU WERE AT YOUR STATE CAPITAL…..Or Have you Ever Been their..…I haven’t been to mine in Illinois since 8th grade.   You don’t appreciate it then.  Nor do you retain many memories.  Illinois has so much history.   We need to spend a day in Springfield Illinois this fall on our return to Texas.  So anyone who reads this……Make plans to visit your State Capital…..You can also visit any State Capital as you travel.   It is free.  It is an education.  We have so much to see and visit in our country not to mention our own states……Take the Time…..Enjoy…..iowa-capitalIowa State Capital ……DesMoines Iowa

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“Luminaria” Fabulous

We came back from home and worked Adventureland last Saturday and Sunday.  Its almost over.  I think everybody is ready for it to be.  Wednesday, Rich was watching the news and they had a show going on downtown DesMoines at the Cowles Commons, DesMoines Performing Arts.  It was called a Luminaria.  This one is entitled “Arboria” by Architects-of-Air, Alan Parkinson of  Nottingham England.    Website:  Architects-of-Air.com

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“Arboria” is about a half a football field long when set up.

A Luminarium is a sculpture that people enter, to be immersed in radiant light and color.  Since 1992, the Architects-of-Air’s 22+ luminaria have enchanted over 2 million people in 41 countries around the world.  This is the only one touring in the US.  Their are others touring around the world.

The tickets were only $5, what a deal.  So I ordered them on line.  Thursday morning we woke up with rain.  It finally stopped around 10:30.  We arrived downtown about 10:45 and found a parking deck about a block away.  What we didn’t know was, the whole downtown is connected by sky walks.   How cool that was.

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We went from our parking garage straight to the sky walk.  We followed it across the street and through the building to the other side of the block.  Finally across the street in the sky walk and we were in the right building, took the escalator down and outside we went to the “Luminaria”

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Being we already had purchased tickets, we were able to go right in.  First thing we did was to take off our shoes and put them in the cubies.  The whole structure was made of vinyl plastic.  We had to stay on the plastic to enter.

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Finally we had a short speech from the Volunteer before we entered.  We were allowed to wander around at our own pace.  We could sit down or lay down if wished to enjoy the beauty and sounds.  Be careful of the walls and try to stay on the flat part of the walk as the edges start to lift up.  Parents, please keep your Children with you…….Yes Please……So in we went through the Air locks……….First Impression…………..”BREATHTAKING”……

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Each room or area has a dominate color.  The first room was green. ( There’s Rich )

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The ceiling was soooooo  beautiful.  It is entitled “Arboria” because of the influence of the geometric shapes and graphic representation of trees.

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On to the next room.  As you look around, you see round tunnels.   People at the other end just standing and staring.  Some even laying down……More color down the tunnels…

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You end up in the main room.  Words cannot even explain the feelings that you see.  You have been told that the tunnels are zippered on, and that every everything else was hand glued together.  All the different colors are glued by hand.  Then you look up………

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Whoaaaa…………The end of the stripes have a small blue dot.   This picture does not do the colors justice.  This main dome was 33 feet high.  As we stood their, we listened to the music.   It was so soothing and beautiful.  It was soft sounds of piano composition and wildlife sounds originated from the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest by musician Alice Eldridge.  It was as if time stood still.   You wanted to just stand their and look.  Your eyes wandered up….around….down…in circles….People just sat down or layed down to enjoy the experience.  Rich said he wanted to sit down also, but he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to get up……lol….getting old we are….lol…

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Traveling on, we took one of the tunnels, and we arrived in the blue room….In front of us a a beautiful blue tree trunk.  It rose up so gracefully to a beautiful ceiling.

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This dome was 26 feet high.  ( There’s Rich again )  As you walk, you almost feel unstable…..dream like….

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Around the edge of each room are little pockets.  A long slice of color is added.  They said these are little out of the way rooms that you can sit and just take this all in.

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They even let wheelchair and people with canes enter.  They wrap the wheels and protect the bottoms of canes.  I thought this was so amazing as I seen this man wander through the tunnels.  He was so amazed and thoroughly enjoying the atmosphere.  They told me they do like to bring the physically and mentally impaired people in on the slower days. It gives them a great calming effect.  I can’t even imagine how they must enjoy it.  It is out of the realm of anything they have ever imagined in their world.   As far as that goes, ours also. Their were a number of Volunteers inside that were helpful with info, and especially one that gave me all her time.  She loved her Volunteer time and was so enthusiastic to help and answer questions.

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This is the red room.  Again you can see the geometric influence on the ceiling.  As you walked around, you not only felt a little unstable, but I also felt like things were hazy….dreamy….It was just such an indescribable feeling….

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Now all this light you see is just natural light shinning through the plastic.  It was a dreary overcast day, but yet the inside was so bright and vibrant with color. I can’t imagine what it would be like on a sunny day.

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The inside was very comfortable in temperature.  It was air conditioned.  You didn’t hear the air blowing, but around the outside little pocket areas, you would find the air ducts and feel the air blowing in.

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We are blue lovers, so this is our favorite room.  We probably walked through the tunnels at least twice.  We stood in the rooms and the especially the big dome room for quite awhile, taking it all in.  The looks on peoples faces were amazing to see.  Some were laying on the floor with eyes closed, some eyes open just staring at the ceilings.  People were just looking and turning in amazement.  If i didn’t know better, I felt I had just visited HEAVEN. Could this be what it is like?   Finally Time to Go.   We went out side and sat by the Fountain….

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This reflecting pond was also a wading pond, open for the kids to walk through.  It also had some “Dancing Waters”.  lol.   We sat their for along time, just taking it all in.  Looking at the whole sculpture and seeing where we were.  The Big Dome Room….You can see the different colors, the Red Room and all the little pocket rooms around the edge.  I read that it takes around 4 hours to unpack and weight it down, and then only 30 minutes to blow it up.  Taking it down is fast, 90 minutes and ready to roll.  As we sat their, a volunteer who was just relieved was walking by.  We started talking about her job of Volunteering for the Civic Center and all the activities.  Such a Nice Lady.  Then she told us about a food court in the next building over.  We were sure hungry by now.  Back we went into the building and up the escalator to the sky walk.  We walked several blocks to the end and back just to see everything.  The Food Court Building was called the Kaleidoscope.  They had food and shops on 3 floors.  We choose loaded spuds…..

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Huge potatoes loaded with butter, sour cream, cheese, and bacon…….Hmmmmmm….Bill? Under $15 for 2 with drinks……Finally done and off we went to walk the sky walk again.   Now maybe we are behind the times, or we just came out of the corn fields, but this is magnificent.  You can park your car in the parking garage and walk the sky walk to work.  Where ever that may be.  The whole down town is connected.  Even the Civic Center, and all the Iowa Federal Court system.   In the center of it all is the Kaleidoscope Hub.  Walk to get your lunch and back to work.  Never go outside till you leave the parking garage.  We even seen a sign of a Condo for sale…..Open your door and your at work…..lol….Can’t imagine the price…..I looked at the signs for Sky Walk closing.   I found one that said the doors close from 2 am-6am.   You could go walking anytime, any weather.   Finally we walked back to our parking garage.  We left and drove around the city.  There is remodeling and building everywhere.  New buildings going up with new sky walks attached.  Old buildings being turned into Condos and Office space.   The city is growing and renovating.  Finally we headed back across the river to the east.  Directly across was the Iowa State Capital.  It stood proudly and stately on the hill with Court Street leading straight to it.  It reminded me of Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington DC.  The Iowa Capital has 5 domes total, with the fifth dome in the middle covered in Gold …….It was shinning Brilliantly in the sun.   We stopped and toured it also, but that will be the subject of the next blog.

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So much info to share….After that we hunted up an Rv Center and toured Motor Homes.   “We were trying to decide how to spend a half a million if we had it…..lol….”

Happy Birthday To Me….lol

Yesterday was my FRA Birthday.  I finally reached it….lol…What’s that you say?.  Well I just learned that from my good friend Randy, I went to school with.  His birthday was several days ago.   “FULL RETIREMENT AGE.   66   YEA”  Now you youngsters will have to wait later to reach your FRA.  I want to   “THANK EVERYONE”   who wished me Birthday Wishes the last several days.  It sure is nice to read and see all your messages come across FB.  It was just 2 years ago that I decided to start this blog.  It was my birthday, and I was in the final stages of working.  Wow.  So much has changed since then.  We have done so much.  It seems years since I walked out of Advantage Logistics for the last time.  Was It the Right Decision,  some of you may ask?   It sure was.  We have NO REGRETS.  It is the best thing we ever did.  We have seen so much and experienced so much in 2 years.  Their is such a big huge world out their.  So many wonderful places to see, and so many wonderful people to meet.  As I started the blog, the reasoning for it was so the kids would know what we were doing.  Since then, we have quite a following.  I’ll give you some statistics.   We have 424 followers, which isn’t a lot for some blogs, but I think its impressive.  In 2 years we’ve had 19,685 people read the blog.  So far I’ve written 108 posts including this one.  Most are about what we do.  A lot of history about the areas, and a lot about family happenings.  Also some thoughts on different subjects as to how I feel.  I always try to be fair and look at both sides of the issue.   After awhile, as I was writing these blogs, I was thinking that some day when we were gone, they would all be lost.  I felt their would be a lot of value in all of these to the kids, so I found a place to print them.  Its called Blog2Print.  It was a challenge figuring all this out but I did.  I now have received my 4th book of blogs.  I print them every 6 months.  This last one I printed in hardback.   So nice.  I sure don’t know why I didn’t before.  I think they are rather impressive.  Now I am happy that everything will be preserved for the kids and grandkids to hand down some day.

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So if any of you every wonder about life after retirement.  Remember their is a whole world out here to see.  Financially their are many ways to make it work.  You don’t have to be rich.  Workamping is a great way to make it happen.  You would be amazed at all the jobs and how many people are doing this.  It is also good for you to keep that schedule.  You need to have to do something everyday, or you could run into the danger of being a couch potato.  This is really a great life.  You can choose what you want to do.  Their are jobs to be found all over the USA, even Alaska.  Your retirement is what you make it.

So yesterday, on my birthday, we got up and didn’t really plan on doing anything, but then we decided to head north to Ankeny.  It isn’t far, maybe 10 miles.  They have an RV Sales their.  Our neighbor Dick and Mary Lou recommended it.  They have a little plastic thing that they use for hanging out socks and underwear.   It is sort of an umbrella looking thing with clothespins on the ends.  She loads them on from the washer and just hangs it out.  Perfect.  Many of us have washer dryers, but many of us hang out to dry. The weather has been so  warm it, theirs no need to run your dryer.  The convenience is huge.  I would hate to have to go to the laundromat with our schedules we had all summer.

So, we headed north to Ankeny.  Found the RV dealer.   We shopped in the store and found the clothes hanger thingy, lol, and also the rods you put in the refrigerator for traveling.  For those of you who don’t know, they make rods like suspension curtain rods to put in your frig. you put them across the shelves to secure your items on the shelves.  That prevents all your food from falling out when you open the door after you’ve been on the road.  We decided to look at all the new trailers and 5th wheels but they were all locked.  So much for that.  On up the road we drove and seen the sign for Saylorville Lake.   I had seen it on the map and it looked rather large.  So left turn and away we went.

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It turned out to be huge.  It was beautiful, the water was so calm and serine.  We drove in first to a deserted beach area, and then went on down to the Marina.   It was situated in a very large inlet off the lake.  The dock itself looked so steep and scary.  But all those house boats moored in the harbor area were so beautiful.

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We drove over by the side to an access road down to the harbor itself.

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Amazing large.  This was just a small part of the Marina.  Their was at least 3 covered areas of slips filled with boats.  Also a floating bar and restaurant.

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Their wasn’t much going on beings it was a Thur.  All people work on Thursday…..right….Except for us retirees…..We sat around for awhile, and watched 2 different boats unloading and loading their boats.  That’s always fun.  Things never go right and sometimes you can detect heated body language or overhear not so happy voices……lol…..Ive been their myself.  It’s so much more fun to watch.

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We followed the road over the dam and stopped on the pull off area.

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Their were a few fishing boats and a jet skier.  Onward down the dam and on the other side down by the spillway was a beautiful valley with a campground.  We drove in and parked down by the spillway.

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There were guys fishing on both sides.

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The guys on our side already had a pile of small fish.

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They used this net to catch the little minnow fish.

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They would throw it in the water and pull the draw string.  It would be full of the little baby minnow fish and then they would empty it into a bucket.  The minnows would then be used for live bait…….Free Bait…..Free Fish…..We watched them for almost an hour.  It was so peaceful, while the water from the spillway kept rushing and splashing down the river.  This river is the Des Moines River The Saylorville Lake is a reservoir on the Des Moines River.  It is 54 miles long, has a surface area of 9.27 miles.  It is 11 miles north of Des Moines.  The river then proceeds 214 miles to the mouth of the Mississippi River.  It was constructed by the Army Corp of Engineers for flood control.  We finally left and drove into Des Moines, visited a second hand thrift store…..Didn’t find anything…..Finally time for supper.   We ended up back near home at Prairie Meadows Casino. 

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They have a great buffet.  It was Barbeque nite.  We feasted on steak, ribs and all the extra, of course dessert…..Cherry Cheese cake for one…..ice cream….Mmmmm mmm good.  Last time we came, I put $20 in a penny machine and made $10….I cashed out and ran….So lets go do this again.   Their are 2 identical machines side by side.  They are Progressive slot machines.   I told Rich if there were people sitting in my machine I would leave.  We went up the escalator….turned the corner….It was empty…..We walked towards it and guess what…..just before we got their a man comes out of nowhere and sits in “MY MACHINE”……the other was empty……..I almost turned around, but decided…..Why Not….I put a $10 bill in…..started playing…..Wow guess what….with in 5 minutes I racked up $51.75.   hahaha…..The guy next to me kept loosing…..We cashed out and ran….again….

……….So Happy Birthday To Me………

 

2016 National Balloon Classic….Indianola

On our day off last Friday, we decided to attend the Balloon Classic.  It was being held all week south of Des Moines in Indianola.  It was maybe a half hour drive.  It has been going on since the early 70’s.  It its early years, Rich’s dad and stepmom Dorothy had lived nearby.  We came for a visit and they took us to the festival.  All I remember was, it rained, it was miserable out and the balloons never took off.  lol  We have seen the Albuquerque Balloon Fest in New Mexico.  It is absolutely wonderful.  Words cannot express the beauty of hundreds of balloons on the field taking off into the sky.  In Albuquerque, it is common to see a balloon or two in the air on a nice day. The wind drafts make it easy to fly.  Because of the mountains on both sides, it makes like a box canyon effect and they can fly to certain levels and attain different wind currents to fly in a circle.   I can remember being at my dad and stepmoms house in the bathroom and hear the sound of the burners.  I would look out and see a hot air balloon flying by. I was fascinated.

Friday morning, the first thing we did was go to HyVee and stock up on grocery’s.   The gates opened at 4 pm.  So we took off and headed south.  We found a little family restaurant in Indianola that had really good down hometown cooking.  We both had chicken fried steak.  Our next stop was the National Balloon Museum.

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It was just chocked full of balloon equipment and artifacts.  So many different types of equipment have been used through the years.

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This is an experimental chair called “Yankee Doodle”.  It was built and used in the 60’s in the early flights of hot air balloons.20160805_164339

 Rich, ready to take off……lol…

Now this next picture is of a two man carriage that hangs below a blimp or airship.

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It is really neat.  The very back is a large propeller.

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This picture will give you an idea of how large the blimp is compared to the carriage underneath.

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Their most prized display is “The Channel Champ”.  It was the first hot air balloon to fly across the English Channel.  It occurred April 13, 1963. This flight introduced the modern hot air balloon to the world.  It was flown by Ed Yost. Don Piccard accompanied him and filmed the flight.  This is probably the most historic existing hot air balloon artifact in the world.  It was in the Malcom Forbes Museum in France until 2004 when it arrived in Indianola.  So much to see.

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The beautiful stain glass window in the front of the museum.  After that, on to the Classic.  It was located out in the country.   It had moved to a new venue in the 80’s.  We drove in a they collected $5 a person.  They directed us to park in this huge field.  In the distance we could see all the food stands etc.. set up.  We walked in and rented two white plastic chairs for $2 a piece.   Now, How do you forget to bring your chairs….lol….We found our place and sat down.  Now this was farm grounds at one time.   But what a perfect layout.  It was like an auditorium or amphitheater .   The ground we were on was terraced down just like stadium seating.  Not a bad seat in the house.

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Way down in the middle was the band playing music.  Excellent songs and sounds.  It looked so far away.   But it sure wasn’t…….We heard their were going to be around 70 balloons.  Many teams were from the area and surrounding states.  Some even from Albuquerque.  All the trucks and trailers with their balloons in tow, met on the top of the hill for a drivers meeting.  At 6:30 it was announced the weather was a go…….The balloons always depend on the wind and weather if they will fly.  Now we expected a mass ascension, but that wasn’t what happened.  All the trucks drove off back down the hill and disappeared.  On the hill in front of us on the left was a giant x.  At the end of each arm was a plastic swimming pool.  Also their were 4 tall poles in the ground.  In the center was a mannequin type figure with a batch of balloons coming out her head. The pilots of the balloons launched from a distance, a mile or more away, and a few just over the hill.  They came one by one….Then several at a time.  Some very high, and then they would drop down near the target.  Some stayed low and tried to reach the target.  Most of them missed by a long way.  They wind draft just wouldn’t co-operate.  But what a site it was as they rose from the distance and flew in.

The trick was to pick their launch so the wind would float them over big x.  They had a stuffed animal in their baskets to throw in the pool, and hula hoops to throw over the poles.  Each trick was worth money.  If they was able to grab the balloons from the mannequin, it was the top prize.  Only 2 balloons made the toss in the swimming pools and nobody made the hula hoop throw.

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They also had 3 balloons give rides.  Before the balloons arrived the inflated and loaded up and took off.

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These went right over our heads.  They had large baskets on to hold the people.

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They were all so beautiful.  Finally the contest was over.  Of the approximately 70 balloons that took off, only about 35 was staging for the night glow.   Some had landed on the hill, some had flown way over, landed somewhere else.  Packed up, drove back to the park area, and then unpacked and blew it up again.  I think many balloons probably didn’t want to come back and unpack again.

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The balloons were staged across the hill side at twilight.  The band played on and finally the announcer was ready for the “Nite Glow”.  It was really “AWESOME”….So beautiful.  All the balloons were regular or teardrop balloons except for one.

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This was “Peg Leg Pete”…….

All the balloons lite up again and again….The announcer played to the pilots to “GLOW”….over and over……Just Beautiful…..

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Finally they left the public down on the field.  I went down and took a few pictures. The sounds of the burns were tremendous.

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The pilots demonstrated and answered many questions.  They were very courteous.

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This picture, they are doing a burn into “Peg Leg Pete”

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This is our first attempt at a selfie….lol…Rather silly looking aren’t we…..lol….Finally it was all over.  We had a fabulous time.   This was a great Festival.   And only $5 a piece.   So worth it and much more.   We headed home after a wait in the parking lot, Finally only an hour later, home and ready for bed…………..

Saturday, the start of another Work Week…..Yuck……

The “Monster” is Now Running

The new ride,  “The Monster” is now open for business.  It was opened a little over a week ago.  The night before, they let the park employees ride it.   Nope, NOT US…..but we watched.   The next morning the local newscaster rode it solo, live on his newscast, with a Go Pro on his head.  That was all I needed to see    NO THANK YOU.  We’ll stay on the ground.  The Iowa Governor was their that afternoon also.  They have installed some fabulous lights on it.  They are continually  changing colors.  As the coaster fly’s by the tracks color changes again as if the coaster is a shooting star.  Of coarse then you hear all the screaming coming from the car.  lol.

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Saturday, June 11, was our oldest grandson Camerons “18th” Birthday.  He drove out with his friend and spent 2 days.  He went to Adventureland of course, did some fishing at the pond here and grandpa took them out to eat at Bonanza Steak house in DesMoines while I was working.  We had different days off, so it was impossible to do things together.  I think they had a good time.  I know he enjoyed the road trip of 4 hours, especially since he just traded his pick up for an Eclipse.  That would be one of those models you fall in….then crawl back out…..

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Happy “18th” Birthday  Cameron

I didn’t get a good picture of him here but this is one of my favorites from last Christmas when they were down at South Padre Island for the holiday.  We rented this jeep to ride on the beach…….So now he is “OFFICIALLY an ADULT”…..lol….Responsible for all his actions, Good or Bad…..lol….But at 18 you generally know it all right?….LIFE IS GOOD….

I’ll go back a bit with some pictures we took at our Workampers Chicken Dinner and Orientation. 

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This is the HR Director Gary Paredekooper.  He took us all for a walking tour through part of the park before we opened full time.

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We stopped at  RATHSKELLAR Beer Gardens.  They offer 21 varieties of imported German Import Beers.  They also offer sodas and hamburgers, fries and other snacks.  We were allowed to all have a beer.

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We walked back to almost the Waterpark and seen the back part of the Tornado Rollercoaster.

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This roller coaster is The Outlaw.  After all that we went to back to the front to the Palace Theater.  We were given a Nice Chicken dinner and Welcome speeches from the Owners and managers.  They have hired over 300 Workampers this year.  We have been given free camping and an hourly wage, plus bonus is we stay till the end of the year.  Gary went to Arizona, Texas and Florida, last winter to recruit everyone.  So we have people in the campground from all over.  It is quite a group, and all so friendly.  Some have been coming back for many years.

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Here  is Rich in his uniform on his way to work.  We have been given 2 shirts, we supply kaki shorts or pants, black shoes with black belt, or white shoes with brown belt.  We are also given a hat or visor, and of course a full length rain coat.  We are out their   RAIN OR SHINE….and we have already used the rain coats.  We can only go into the park on week days on a day off to buy food or retail.  Otherwise we cannot shop or ride rides, in our uniform on working days.  We have a commissary for breaks with really cheap food.  But how have we been coping?     Well…..OUR FEET ARE SORE….standing for hours is really hard.  crowds had been really light so not a lot of business at the games.  We have to stay at our game at all times.  I have worked the games now in all 3 areas,   Alpine, Dragon and County Fair.  I’ve worked Bingo, Can it, Bash a Bully, Guess your Age and Weight, Roller Bowler, Derby Downs, Sea Race, Goblet, and Smashing Plates…..that’s just a few….lol….We change every day.  Now Rich works a ride for a week at a time.  He has worked as an assist on Himalaya, and then Operator on Chuck Wagon and now operator on Tilt a Wirl.  Starting tomorrow, he will be an assist on the rollercoaster The Dragon.  The weather has been really hot the last several days.  Mid 90’s with heat index over 100……..Last week I not only had achy feet, I started to ache all over and get a scratchy throat.  Well it developed into what I will call the Iowa Crud.  lol.  It seems every state has the crud that seems to take you down for a while.  My head was so full, I wondered how I would make it,  I really was beginning to think it wouldn’t, but it has now broken and every day is better.  I will survive.  But guess what,…..I gave it to Rich….He is in the recliner resting up for our next shift this afternoon of 90 degree weather.   I remember when we were first at the Gas pipeline last September and it was so hot, I thought we wouldn’t survive.  Once you get accustomed and find out how,  it really isn’t that bad.   Then you begin to enjoy your surroundings……lol…Words of Wisdom…..Yesterday, I brought my water jug, filled it full of their ice they supply.  Cameron showed me these Cool Wraps at Walmart.  I bought a 2 pack, and I believe they will be the answer.  Yesterday it felt so good to wrap my neck or just wipe my forehead with it.

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“THANK YOU CAMERON”   This is my Salvation…..lol….

If it dries, just poor more water on it and it soaks in.   Great Product.  They were a 2 pack for $8.   Not bad at all.  Yesterday, I worked from 3-10.  I only had to rewet it twice.  It was nice to have something cool and wet to wipe my face and neck.  I worked the Duck Pond again, and we had more kids.  That made it more enjoyable.  It was a good evening, so I think I’m over the hump.  Feeling better and maybe now I can start enjoys this gig a little more……Rich is just going to have to suffer the next few days also.  My next day off is Thur, and his is Fri.   After that we should have Fridays off together.  Everything just seems to take time to work out…….

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Just wanted to report on this poor momma duck.   I had put her picture in the last blog.  She is still sitting in the middle of her flower pot on Main Street.  She has weathered several driving rain storms and all this high 90s heat with no shade or protection.  I sure hope her eggs hatch soon.  I have walked by her and she is panting.  I’m sure she stays their from the time the park opens till it closes to protect her eggs.   Kids are always walking by and talking to her and showing their friends.  Apparently they don’t bother her.

Tomorrow, I will be able to see her again and see her progress….