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