Dating Ideas Fall: Boone, Iowa, the Scenic Railway and Ledges State Park

by | Oct 13, 2011

Last Saturday I had a few appointments scheduled in the morning and before I left Mary Sue said to me, “Hey, it’s really nice out and the leaves are turning.  We should take the motorcycle out to Ledges and check it out.”  Cool.  What a great idea.

We have two old motorcycles: a 1995 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 and a 1986 Honda Shadow 500.  One of my sons had the 500 back when he was in high school and when he moved away, I bought it from him.  When I bought the Vulcan a couple of years later, I decided to keep the 500 because I could only get $1500 for it and it’s nice having an extra one in case one of the kids is home and wants to go with us for a ride.  We also bought a 8 X 10 trailer, big enough to haul them both, so we can take them when we go camping.

Here’s an earlier picture of the two motorcycles when we went camping along Green Lake in Spicer, Minnesota. Our daughter, had just passed her motorcycle permit so we were exploring the back roads NE of there. Lots of little lakes and towns dot the landscape.

I’m amazed at how many couples tell me they don’t have anything they do for hobbies together.  And then they wonder why they drift away from each other.  Hey, let’s find some things we both enjoy!  Fortunately, for me, my wife loves to ride motorcycle with me (on the back.  She’s not interested in riding it alone!), something we did when we were dating over 37 years ago!  I wish I had that bike still.  It was a 1965 Honda Dream 150.  It’s a classic today.  Can’t hardly even find them on the internet.  I bought it from my uncle, who had bought it new.

Here’s a picture of a Honda 150 Dream like the one I had, complete with the red seat. I sold it for $175. It’d be worth thousands today.

So I’m hanging on to these two.  Neither of them costs hardly anything to run.  The Honda 500 gets 60 miles per gallon and the Kaw gets 40-45.  I change oil every year.  Insurance is less than $100 per year per bike.  The Honda is nearing vintage status being nearly 30 years old and is still in great shape. The Kawasaki was the last year for the Vulcan with carburetors.  It’s a bygone era and only 18 years ago!

We’re not die-hard motorcyclists.  We don’t have full leathers.  We don’t ride 300 plus miles per day.  We’re lucky to ever do more than 100.  We mostly lollygag around Central Iowa going out for breakfast early on a Saturday and then hitting some of the antique shops in the small towns along the Iowa countryside.  Sometimes we just take one the two miles to the Dairy Queen or to HyVee for breakfast.  It’s just nice to have the wind in our hair.  Many times we’ll just ride around area neighborhoods for 15-20 minutes and putz around at 15-20 mph.

This is the street to the south of our house. If you look closely the trees alternate between purple and gold. Somebody was planning ahead.

Our favorite is riding in the fall.  It’s crispy out.  We have to dress warm, but the air smells so fresh and invigorating.  Seeing the farmers out harvesting in the fields, it’s easy to see how gracious the Lord is to us.

We usually do the Boone/Ledges State Park trip several times each year.  Boone is about 15 miles west of Ames.  We take the back roads to Boone from the North end of Ames and then cut through Boone from County E26 on Story Street.  Story Street is the main drag going north and south through Boone.  The county roads are closer to the scenery and crops than Highway 30 with it’s wide, four lanes.

Boone originally began as a coal mining town, heavily dependent on the railroads that went through town both north and south and east and west. Boone’s claim to fame today is the original home of Dwight Eisenhower’s wife Mamie Geneva Doud (The only wife of a president so honored with a historical site other than Abigail Adams.  I’m sorry, I couldn’t find a website for it.), the Boone Speedway with races every Saturday night (We can hear the racers when camping at Ledges State Park 3 miles away as the crow flies.), Ledges State Park (see also here), the Scenic Valley Railroad and Museum, Redekers’ Furniture Store, and the home of Fareway Grocery Stores (the first Fareway opened there in 1938 with  T-Bones at 25 cents per pound!).  There’s a Boone Visitor’s Center along Story Street near Redekers where they have more information on these items and other highlights.

One of our favorite stops is the Whistle Stop Cafe.  You can see our pic below and comments.

Story Street goes right through town north and south, passes through downtown and then along a residential area with grand homes from Boone’s historic past.  After the beautiful homes you’ll come to Redeker’s on the south end of Story Street on the East side.  Redekers is a regional furniture store, in business since 1930.  We’ve lived in Iowa since 1985 and nearly all of our furniture has been bought there, including the furniture at the Ames office.

Here’s some highlights of our motorcycle trip:

We go out to Ledges quite often in the evening at dusk to see and count the deer.  The most we’ve ever counted is 54.  That was a few years ago.  Lately we’re lucky to see 20.  Not sure why the drop in numbers.

Ledges State Park is a great place to camp or day-hike, to sit and chill, grill a lunch or just to drive through.  Put it on your list.

Dr. Bing Wall

Dr. Bing Wall

Dr. Bing Wall is a marriage therapist with a practice in Ames and Urbandale, Iowa. To set up a time to see Dr. Wall click here or call 888-233-8473.

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