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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Ida Grove, IA Tour to North Platte, NB

Picked up Aunt Barb at 8:30 a.m.  Drove by Battle Creek/Ida Grove High School and looked at where Ed and I had camped last year while on RAGBRAI.  Checked out Mom’s highschool, which is now used for Headstart, Great-Grandfather W. S. (William Seth) Finch’s former house at 404 Moorehead St., enjoyed a drive through Moorehead Park, our visit to family grave sites at the Ida Grove Cemetery, and dinner (lunch) at the Family Table.  I couldn’t resist another, but smaller haystack of onion rings. 

Enter Ida Grove, IA
  Finch home
Ida Grove sign post
Great Grandfather W.S.Finch's home
Methodist Church
George's barn
Ida Grove Methodist Church
George Hoffman's barn (Aunt Barb's brother)
We drove through the neighborhoods, Aunt Barb pointed out where Wayne Bennett lives, stopped and visited Danny Hoffman, George’s son, who was sawing a tree in town, and stopped by the former Finch Farm and had a nice visit with Linda Hoffman (Aunt Barb’s niece) and her husband, Art.  They were shucking corn with the help of two grandchildren and their two dogs.  
Finch barn
Grandpa Finch's barn where we Thompson kids played
Aunt Barb couldn't resist getting in there and helping       
Linda shuck sweet corn.

Asked Aunt Barb if she knew what Maid-Rites are as Bill had noticed them being offered by vendors on RAGBRAI.  She said they are somewhat like sloppy-joes, w/o the tomato sauce and Iowans often refer to them as Taverns or sometimes, loose-meat sandwiches…..interesting.

By 1:30 p.m. we were saying our good-byes and heading south on Hwy 59 with a plan to connect to Hwy 30 and travel over to Missouri Valley, home to Ben and Jen Finch.  But, that was not to be since Hwy 30 was closed and we were directed by local sheriff's to continue on Hwy 59.  Stopped in Omaha for a quick look see of the new Cabela’s and then on to North Platte for the night.  Stayed at the Big 6 for about $50.00.  Upstairs noise prevented Bill from getting a good night’s sleep in his room.
Hwy 30 to Missouri Valley closed
New store in LaVista, NB

Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Ida Grove, IA

Arrived in Ida Grove at Aunt Barb’s house at 3:00 p.m.  Weather is humid and warm and the guys thought they saw rain clouds.  Had a nice visit with Barb before checking into the ‘new’ Super 8; $54.00/night.  E-mail from Bob Thompson, ACTC member in Morgan Hill, that he has a cousin, Wayne Bennett, a former member of the State Senate, who lives in town and to say “Hi” if we see him. Yeah, right….like even in this small town we are going to run into Wayne Bennett.

Met Aunt Barb, her granddaughter Jill and fiancé, Jay, at the Family Table for supper, as they say in the Midwest.  To our delight Barb’s sisters, Marge and Ruth, were able to join us.  Jill is looking forward to graduating next year.  Missed seeing the kids, Shelby and Gavin and Barb’s grandson, Ben and wife, Jen, and their little one, Virginia.  Aunt Barb says Jen likes her new role as Harrison County Attorney.  Ben is back to work as a police officer after recent surgery. He works in La Vista, Nebraska, a suburb of Omaha and also home to one of the newest Cabela’s.
Jill & Jay
Hoffman sisters
Jill & Jay with a haystack of onion rings
Aunt Barb with sisters Marge and Ruth

I had just finished mentioning to my Aunt that one of our bicycle club members in California has a relative in Ida Grove by the name of Wayne Bennett, when my Aunt said, “Well, there goes Wayne Bennett now” as he walked by.  So I had to go over to where Wayne was seated and introduce myself and say “Hi, from Bob”.  I asked if I could take his picture to send Bob and he graciously obliged. He was dining with a very clean cut polished young man that had the appearance of a political aide and since Presidential candidates are running amok in Iowa right now my presumption might just be correct.

Family Table
Wayne Bennett
Try the onion rings!! The Best!
Found Wayne Bennett, ACTC'r Bob Thompson's cousin

In the middle of supper it rained buckets.  Southern Iowa is in desperate need of rain.  By the time we finished supper and our delicious humongous haystack of onion rings the rain had stopped. 

After dinner we took a drive to see Marge’s (Aunt Barb’s sister) restored barn and her century farm Then dropped in on George Hoffman (Barb’s brother) and his wife Ruth and daughter Anita.  Very much enjoyed our visit.  Discussed the weather and RAGBRAI and Ruth told us that a RAGBRAI’er  drowned in the river in Independence after going in for a swim at about 9:00 p.m. just before the storm.

100 yr. old barn
Marge & Oscar Rice's restored 1910 barn
Century Farm Designation
Helen, Brab, Bill
Helen & Bill with Aunt Barb on lawn of Rice family home