Marcus field trip

One day, we loaded up two cars and toured Sheldon IA and the family plots there at the East Lawn cemetary.
Grandpa Bob identified Dockendorf and Ward ancestors and talked about his parents.

Gina Rassel at the Drug Store

Thelma Gravenish with Reed grandkids.

We had lunch in Marcus and met Gina Rassel from the pharmacy, Thelma Gravenish from the Marcus News, and others.

We followed with a private tour by Nancy Hier of her heritage farm.

See more Marcus photos here.

Lake Okiboji

Just finished a week at the resort lake area in NW Iowa. Lots of good eating and good family times.
Ken M. and the boat we fished from. More bluegill photos here.
Bob Sr’s old high school buddy Ken McQueen has a summer place on the lake, and he and another summer resident took me out bluegill fishing one morning. We caught a 5-gallon bucket load, and these guys methodically carved the filets out of them. I took about a pound of filets and contributed them to a sweet corn boil with the family later that afternoon. bobathelm2628
see more Okiboji boating photos here.We spent several afternoons out on the lake, with a ski boat, a pontoon for the whole family, and on the last day, Rick and I took out a couple of jet skis. I did everything I hate about jet skiiers and made a pest out of myself on the lake.

Northern Pike

We don’t have internet access at our lake resort, so my checking in has been touch and go, finding hotspots and taking the time to review personal and work email, and upload photos to flickr.
This is a pretty active vacation destination, and the lake is crowded and choppy from boat traffic even during the weekdays. However, I got out on the dock at sunrise a few mornings and have the place quietly to myself. And after observing some familiar topwater lures in a local tackle shop, I tied on my reliable 4″ chug bug and gave it a go. I landed a nice northern pike (weird looking fish), and he was hooked pretty bad. In the process of getting him loose, he thrashed and drove a barb point deep into my index finger. Once I finally got the fish extracted from the mess, I woke up Linda and she drove me to an emergency room, and a good humored doctor numbed up my finger and dug it out. Nice fish, sorry I don’t have a picture.

American Gothic

So we crossed into Iowa on some obscure road in NE Missouri. We were following a zig zag two lane route to Des Moines as mapped out by the GPS. We were passing through a small town and spotted a brown sign indicating “American Gothic House“. So we followed it, and it was the real deal.

Gina lined up this shot (and I am so sure we are not the first to try this, although I only found one other attempt on flickr).



I checked on the St. Louis Gateway Arch on the web first thing friday morning, and unfortunately, no tickets for riding up in the arch were available for the weekend. That was my first disappointment, and it might have been a clue that things weren’t ok in St. Louis.

We needed to meet linda at the St. Louis airport at 8pm friday night. Gina and I made our way from south of Nashville, stopping off at a civil war battlefield and picnicing, and taking some fun back roads. By the time we crossed into southern Illinois, we faced about an hour of fierce thunderstorms coming the other direction. We crossed the Mississippi into St. Louis about 5:30 and I followed the GPS directions to the airport on the NW side of the city.

With 2+ hours to kill, I started looking for a hotel on the northside. The first intersection off the freeway had a dead traffic light. Then the second one was dark too. uh oh. I should’ve paid more attention to the news reports about the widespread power outage and state of emergency declared for the city of St. Louis! Lets head for the airport hotels, those should be running I thought. Struggling through traffic that was choked at 5 out every 6 intersections, I noticed lines at an open gas station. That was when I noticed my fuel light had just gone on. uh oh again. That was when I realized this was not going to be one of the better days of our vacation. Forget the hotel, lets find some gas.

We waited in the chaos at one gas station, watched a fight nearly break out, then the manager came out and started bagging the pumps. He had run out of gas. We headed down another road with functioning traffic lights in the distance. After about 10 slow blocks, I pulled into another jam-packed gas station and started trying to work my way into position for one of the pumps. After 20 minutes, we got a full tank of gas, and headed back out to seek the airport hotels.

Found the nearby hotels with help of the gps, however, they were running on emergency power only. Every hotel had travelers sitting on the curbs outside trying to cool off.

None of the restaraunts seemed to be open. This is clearly post-hurricane type conditions. People seeking ice, water and gas. So we headed directly to the airport to sit and wait for linda.

BTW, the St. Louis airport is a dump. Her plane was 45 minutes late, but we were all glad to see one another. I explained my plan to drive out of town, head north towards Hannibal, and find a motel once we got a little further than a cab ride distance from the airport.

Turned out we had to go 90 120 miles. Every motel off of Highway 61 was booked with AC-seeking refugees from St. Louis. We finally checked into the last room available at a Super 8 Motel in Hannibal, about midnight.

Movie review: Field of Dreams

We popped some popcorn, and gathered up to watch the 1989 Kevin Costner movie the other night. Linda and Gina liked it; I not so much. Truthfully, I nodded off somewhere in the middle of Costner’s road trip to Boston and other places. When I woke up, Burt Lancaster was in the movie playing a doctor of some kind. Turns out, Costner was time tripping I guess which I missed. Anyway, it was a pleasant movie but not for me. Kevin Costner has a great haircut, and Amy Madigan is charming and genuine, sort of a Holly Hunter but more believable. Reviewers make lots of comparisons with Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart movies, which I’ve always liked, but not this one. Maybe Roger Ebert captured why I don’t like this movie:

Field of Dreams” will not appeal to grinches and grouches and realists. It is a delicate movie, a fragile construction of one goofy fantasy after another.

trivia from IMBD: Matt Damon and Ben Afleck appear as extras in the Fenway park baseball scene.

shark video

Summer 2005 I caught a small shark while fishing off the beach, and Linda was nearby with a digital camera. I made a 2 minute video of the catch shared it with a fishing discussion list and posted it on google video.

This past April, I uploaded it to, where it has attraced a little more attention. As of this date, nearly 4,000 people have viewed it, and there’s a small discussion/comment thread about it.

ps. the quality is a little better on google video.

see all my youtube videos here.