The Arizona Chronicles, Days 5 & 6: Chillin in Cooperstown & The Glowing Grails of Golfland

Very little happened on day 5 of this adventure.  As always, I woke up early and had another bowl of oatmeal.  During my breakfast, Arizona Mat walked into the dining area and gave me a hard glare as he noticed me deftly shuffling a deck of cards with one hand.  I mustered up my most innocent expression, but failed to completely hide the smug grin on my face.

Tall Square needed to lay in some supplies, so Arizona Mat drove him to a nearby gas station, while I went to the clubhouse to work on my laptop for a little while.  A few hours later, we had thrown our gear into Arizona Mat’s car, said our goodbyes to Barry, and began our trek back to Phoenix.  I kept myself occupied with a mystery game on Arizona Mat’s 3DS, while Tall Square and Arizona Mat sniped at each other with alphabetical insults.

We decided to have a late lunch when we reached Phoenix and Arizona Mat decided we would eat at Alice Cooperstown, owned partially by rock legend, Alice Cooper.  It is an interesting meld of music and sports (Cooper co-owns the restaurant with a professional athlete and is a sports buff, himself).  I marveled at the rock memorabilia, but was disappointed when a bass guitar signed by Paul McCartney was not on display in its case.

The food was terrific.  The portion sizes are normal sized and not the inflated portions one tends to see nowadays.  So it’s filling, but not bloating.  Tall Square and I enjoyed Kate Upton Burning Love burgers while Arizona Mat indulged in a sampler platter that had BBQ brisket, port, sausage, and turkey.  After a satisfying meal, we returned to Arizona Mat’s home and spent a quiet evening doing our own things.

On day 6, Arizona Mat told me it was time for the Icy Plunge he had alluded to on day 1.  Since a picture paints 1,000 words, I present the following video to explain it.

Fortunately, Arizona Mat had hot towels ready for us after that experiment in idiocy and I wondered how I let myself be talked into it. 

After drying off, Arizona Mat took us to Republic Ramen for some lunch.  This place comes as close as one can get to enjoying authentic Japanese style ramen in America.  The servings are ginormous as Tall Square’s bowl shows you.

He had opted for the original Republic Ramen, loaded with vegetables and pork, but he requested an additional serving of noodles, eggs, and beef to be added to it.  For myself, I ordered the original Chili Pepper Ramen with chicken as my main course.  Needless to say, I couldn’t come close to finishing off the bowl, but stopped at that perfect level of full.  Arizona Mat chose the traditional Miso Ramen.  The difference between the traditional and the original is that the traditional ramen is prepared Japanese style with traditional Japanese fixings, while the original is Americanized ramen with vegetables like spinach, shallots, etc.

After lunch, Arizona Mat challenged us to a battle of precision and skill:  miniature golf.  He took us to Golfland, a three course park in Mesa, Arizona.  This is actually a good place to while away the afternoon.  Being winter, the water park and one of the courses were closed, but I gladly dueled these two on the remaining courses.  I won the contest by over ten strokes.

And, no, to answer your unspoken question, I did not cheat.  Not that I wouldn’t have, but their aim stank so much, I could have putted blindfolded and done a better job.

Mysteriously, we did manage to unearth some artifacts while we were there.  Whilst golfing, we began to discover clues referring to the Glowing Grails of Golfland.  It was said that he who could prove himself with intelligence and dexterity would be deemed worthy of the treasure.  I handled the solving of riddles and trusted my almost magical luck in a game of chance to discover one grail.  Arizona Mat’s steady eye and reflexes resulted in the netting of the remaining grails.  Tall Square. . .well, he was there.

To celebrate our discovery, we ended the night, eating a meal at In and Out Burger.  This fast food chain is located pretty much in this region of the country and has a simple menu (and a secret one, as well).  I ordered a cheeseburger, animal style, as suggested by Arizona Mat.  Animal style is a fancy way of saying the works which makes it a bit messy.  Arizona Mat and Tall Square devoured triple cheeseburgers done animal style from the secret menu.  Their eating of those burgers was nothing short of miraculous as I’m still working out the physics of how they fit their mouths around them.

Tomorrow, my chronicles come to an end, but I still feel one more adventure may get squeezed out of this.

The Arizona Chronicles, Day 4: Idling in Idyllwild

Miraculously, Tall Square escaped from his, ahem, “accident” at Mount San Jacinto with a few bumps, bruises, and scrapes.  We returned to Barry’s home, where I put him to bed and then gave Arizona Mat a “tsk, tsk, tsk” before I left him at the dining room table and went to bed.

As I headed to the kitchen the next morning, I found Arizona Mat unconscious at the table, with his face in a big ol’ piece of pie.  A goose egg had formed on his head where he had obviously been slugged.  I heard soft chuckling coming from Tall Square’s bedroom and knew what had happened.  (As if there was any doubt.)

Chalking it up to more of the same old, same old, I fixed a bowl of Cinnamon Spice oatmeal for myself and then left for church whistling a jaunty tune.

I attended services at Sacred Heart in Rancho Mirage and I was blown away by the chapel.  This is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever been in.  It was still decorated for Christmas and I could have sat inside and soaked up the atmosphere for hours.
The church was quite full which did my heart good, especially since it seemed people willingly sat up front first which is something I don’t see enough of in worship services nowadays.

It was a great service as well.  The pastor was a warm, welcoming man who gave a terrific sermon on keeping focused on Jesus at all times. 

After services, I was picked up by Arizona Mat and Tall Square, who seemed to have an unspoken truce going on between them.  Arizona Mat drove us up to Idyllwild, CA which is on top of a mountain.  It was an absolutely fantastic drive.  The scenery was pristine and gorgeous as the road twisted and turned on our drive up to Idyllwild.

Once we had reached the town, Arizona Mat decided he wanted breakfast, so we stopped at the Mile High Café.  Having eaten already, I wasn’t very hungry, but opted for something small as I knew I probably wouldn’t be eating again until supper.  I had a ½ biscuit and gravy with a bit of bacon and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice while Arizona Mat enjoyed a chicken fried steak with eggs over hard, hash browns, and toast.  Tall Square enjoyed the same sides as Arizona Mat, but had his eggs over easy and opted for some sausage as his main entrée.  It was a tasty meal/snack with a beautiful view of the mountains and forest, though I thought the freshly squeezed orange juice was a bit overpriced at $4.50 a glass.

We then spent a while helping Tall Square explore the town for a shot glass which we finally succeeded in obtaining at the last shop we visited.   Tall Square also picked up a pocketknife at one of the gift shops we visited.

From there, we drove down the mountain and headed to the Whitewater Preserve. 
This is a massive area full of hiking trails and one could easily spend hours, even days, exploring the trails.  Arizona Mat was in a rush to get back to Barry’s to watch the Denver Broncos play the San Diego Chargers, so he said we’d only do a brief walk around the preserve and stated we might return tomorrow as he had a trail he wanted us to wander through.

Tall Square was not too happy with this and promptly removed his pocketknife and poked a hole in the bottom of Arizona Mat’s water bottle, spilling its contents onto the sand.  In an attempt to avoid a fight, I rushed to a nearby stream and filled my canteen.  I then gave it to Arizona Mat who thanked me before taking a long, deep drink.

Immediately, he blanched, gagged, and his face turned a sickly shade of green.

“Where did you get this water?”  Arizona Mat gasped.

“From that nice, clear stream over there,” I replied.

“That water has been traveling over the desert floor for 67 miles,” Arizona Mat managed to get out before rushing for cover and purging the contents of his stomach.

Tall Square rolled on the desert floor, laughing so hard that his face turned a bright blue.  After he had caught his breath, he helped me carry Arizona Mat to his car.

We returned to Barry’s home where he and Arizona Mat watched the Broncos defeat the Chargers, putting Arizona Mat into a better frame of mind.  Barry cooked some lip smacking ribs and baked potatoes for our supper which seemed to relax the tense atmosphere that had been building for the last couple of days.

After dinner, I suggested a game of poker was in order.  Tall Square’s pockets were quickly emptied of his cash due to his numerous tells.  Arizona Mat was a bit craftier, but I ended up taking his money with an all in on a straight.  I thought he would pitch a fit, but he said, “At least it wasn’t Tall Square” before going to bed.

But I’m willing to share the truth with you, my loyal readers.  I was cheating.  I was going to get paid for this gig one way or another and Arizona Mat had it coming to him.  So as I count my winnings, I wish you a fond good night and shall see you tomorrow for some more adventures.

The Arizona Chronicles, Day 3: Arizona Mat and the Peak of Peril


After 2 days, it was finally time to begin an exploration with the alleged explorer, Arizona Mat. 

My day began with my eyes fluttering open at the crack of dawn.  I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, let loose a mighty yawn, and blearily padded my way to the bathroom for a long, hot shower. 

As I walked down the hallway, I bumped into a solid wall of a man.  Knowing that I was the only one in the house who rose at this early hour, I feared a break-in and immediately leaped back and assumed an awkward karate pose.  My sleepy vision then cleared enough to see that it was Tall Square carrying a glass of milk.  I sheepishly apologized for nearly unleashing my hands and feet of fury upon him and he looked at me with a cocked eyebrow before returning to his bedroom.

After performing my ablutions, I made my way to the kitchen for a bowl of oatmeal and some V-8.  I was heartily greeted in song by Arizona Mat’s electronic parrot, Polly.  I finished my meal and completed organizing my gear for today’s journey.

Two hours later, I was sitting inside Arizona Mat’s Nissan Sentra and he began the drive to Palm Desert, CA.  I looked in the rearview mirror to see Tall Square giving Arizona Mat the finger as he began to chase down the car.
Apparently, Arizona Mat had “forgotten” Tall Square, though I suspected he still rankled over his defeat at the hands of Tall Square in last night’s board game.  After chasing us down for six blocks, Tall Square caught up to us at a stoplight.  Sitting down in the front seat, he gave Arizona Mat the look of death as he struggled to catch his breath.

Three hours later, we arrived at the home of Arizona Mat’s father, Barry, in the unincorporated community of Thousand Palms, CA.  I was quite surprised to learn that they were related as Barry was gregarious, cordial and polite.  Barry has a very nice trailer home in a retirement community.  It reminded me of my grandmother’s house back in Storm Lake, IA and I was looking forward to this little home away from home for the next few days.

After settling in, Arizona Mat drove Tall Square and I to the Mount San Jacinto State Park.  After boarding a tram, we began an 8 minute ride up to the top of the mountain.  It was an amazing experience as the tram rotates as it glides up the rock face, giving us an incredible view of the mountain and the valley below.

Upon reaching the top of Mount San Jacinto, we breathed deeply of the fresh, clean air and began hiking around the park.  Arizona Mat attempted to send Tall Square on a snipe hunt which triggered a rather loud, unpleasant argument between them.  Shaking my head in resignation, I began climbing to the top of one of the peaks.

After reaching the top of the peak, I was greeted by a sight that had to be the prettiest this side of heaven. 

The vista was awesome and the view brought a sense of peace to my soul and gave me the sensation that everything would be all right in my life.  I then succumbed to my inner child and unleashed a roar of “Drago!!!!” from the top of the mountain.  Soon, I was joined by Arizona Mat and Tall Square and the sharing of this spectacular view seemed to spark a truce between the two of them.

After soaking up the scenery, we began to make our way down the mountain.  I heard a grunt and then saw Tall Square go bouncing past me.  I turned to look back up the peak where I saw Arizona Mat grinning evilly.  I sighed and reached into my backpack for my first aid kit, hoping that I could patch up Tall Square quickly enough for tomorrow’s adventure.

The Arizona Chronicles, Day 2: Puttering Around

After a night’s sleep on Arizona Mat’s best accommodations (an inflatable bed), I was awoken by a most hideous sound erupting from the kitchen.

“What sort of beasts could be making such an awful noise?” I wondered.

As I carefully made my way into the kitchen, I saw Arizona Mat and Tall Square fighting over some Eggo Waffles like two stray dogs battling it out over a raw piece of steak.

Back and forth the tug of war raged until the waffle tore in two.  Arizona Mat fell flat on his back while Tall Square did a victory jig and scarfed the waffle. 
I chuckled softly to myself while I grabbed the fresh waffle that just popped from the toaster (very delicious, btw) and prepared a bowl of oatmeal for myself. 

After breakfast, Arizona Mat gave me the nickel tour of his home.  It’s actually a quaint home.  A few pictures of the place are seen below.

As I was washing my dishes, Arizona Mat again ambushed me with the Nerf gun, but I nimbly dodged the rubber projectiles until he caught me smack in the chest with his final shot.

“Getting better,” said Arizona Mat.

Arizona Mat, Tall Square, and myself then took a walk around the neighborhood on this surprisingly cool day as it was only in the upper thirties.  It was a quiet neighborhood which held some interesting homes and cacti.

Arizona Mat said he didn’t have much planned for the day, so I spent the day organizing some notes and catching up on some reading.  We took a lunch break around noon when the three of us went to the Chino Bandido, a Chinese-Mexican fusion restaurant.  All three of us opted for the sides of black beans and Jamaican fried rice.  For the main course, I chose a teriyaki chicken quesadilla and a jerk chicken burrito.  Very tasty and the restaurant is definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the Phoenix area.

The big “event” was an exercise in quick thinking and strategy.  It was a DVD board game called Atmosfear.  This game had been published in the 1980s as a series of games called Nightmare and was rebooted in the mid-90s as Atmosfear.  The thrust of the game is that you play various horror characters (a zombie, a ghost, a vampire, etc.) and move around the board attempting to collect a key from each of the realms.  Once you collect all of the keys, you make your way to the center of the board and attempt to have your “fear” (usually something comedic that you’ve made up) pulled from the Well of Fear in order to win the game.

Not only are you thwarted by your opponents, you are also at the mercy of the video host, the Gatekeeper, who randomly appears to throw obstacles in your path and occasionally reward you.  You are also racing the clock as you have about 50 minutes to win the game or the Gatekeeper is declared the victor.

On our first go-around, the Gatekeeper toppled the three of us.  The second time around, Tall Square managed to eke out a win, much to the dismay of Arizona Mat.  At that point, Arizona Mat announced that the exploration would begin tomorrow.  In a few moments, I will begin packing a bag for a trip to Palm Desert, CA.

I wonder what adventures lie ahead. . .

Wayfarer to a Wedding–Day 4: Take the Long Way Home

Under the peaceful crackling of the electric fireplace and the soft glow of the Christmas lights, I slept the sleep of the peaceful and exhausted.  I awoke the next morning to a winter wonderland.  Belmond got a bit of the severe weather plaguing the southeastern part of Iowa.  It was only a few inches, but it certainly put me in the Christmas mood.

I spent the early morning hours organizing some photos on Facebook and then it was time for a hot, filling breakfast on this fine and frosty morning.  Along with my OJ and milk, Connie started my meal with a lemon roll.  I perused the morning paper as I savored each tasty mouthful.  A small dish of banana followed shortly thereafter and culminated in a plate of French Toast with a side of sausage links.  As usual, the breakfast was too much for my appetite, so I wrapped up some of the toast and returned to my room where I wrote yesterday’s article.

Soon it was time to head to church so I brushed the powdery snow off of my car, loaded my things, settled my bill, and headed over to St Francis Xavier Catholic Church.  I really enjoyed this church.  I was warmly welcomed inside and it had an older quality to it that reminded me of my old parish of Holy Rosary when I lived in Fort Dodge, IA.

After the service, it was time to make the journey home.  Since the weather wasn’t bad on my way home, I took an alternate route through Storm Lake, IA.  My grandparents lived in the little town of Storm Lake from before I was born until about 2000 when they moved to Papillion, NE.  Both have passed away and are buried in Storm Lake and I wanted to stop and pay my respects and wander around the place.

It was bitingly cold outside, but I walked around my grandparents’ old neighborhood and took some photos of their old parish of St Mary’s and their old home.  I meandered past a couple of old playgrounds that I often played at in my childhood.  The equipment had changed, but I still remembered the days when one of the playgrounds had a great jungle gym and pole where I often pretended to be Bruce Wayne getting the call from Commissioner Gordon about the latest villain infesting Gotham City.  To the Batpole!!  I would slide down the pole to my waiting Batcycle (OK, my grandfather’s old bicycle) and zoom off into the streets as Batman, the Caped Crusader!!

When I felt good and frozen, I hurried back to my car and drove up the city’s namesake, Storm Lake.  I wandered out onto the jetty and looked at solid sheet of ice that was the lake.  I walked down the halls of memory once more as I remembered all of the times I had been kicked off that jetty by my family members in my childhood.  I come from a family of fishermen on my mom’s side and I was a very energetic child who lacked the patience for fishing.  I often amused myself by tossing rocks into the lake, marveling at the splish and splash they made.  That’s when I’d get the boot because I was scaring the fish.  I always thought it was unfair because Grandpa always sneezed with the subtlety of a nuclear explosion and undoubtedly scared off every fish within a 10 mile radius.

After returning from my mental perambulations, I continued my drive home.  It was nearly 2pm and I was tired and hungry so I hoped to stop in Early, IA and have a late lunch at the Crossroads Restaurant.  I was in for a mild disappointment as the restaurant had closed at 1:30 that day to begin the Christmas holiday.  I drove for another hour and stopped in Denison, IA at Cronk’s Restaurant where a patty melt and a side of fries restored enough strength for me to finish my long drive home.

I’d like to take my moment to wish all of my readers a Merry Christmas.  I’ll be starting a new series of articles in a little over two weeks when I journey to the wilds of Arizona.

Wayfarer to a Wedding–Day 3: Bells Will be Ringing


After a good night’s sleep in Klemme House (pictured above), I was ready for a rousing breakfast to fortify me for the day ahead.  Connie started my morning repast off with a snickerdoodle muffin and a small dish of bananas and grapes along with glasses of milk and orange juice.  I contentedly munched away while reading the morning newspaper.

Shortly afterwards, Connie brought out the main entrée:  egg puff.  It was a kind of egg soufflé stuffed with cheese and ham.  Very delicious and needed protein for the long day looming ahead of me.  After serving me, Connie and Al sat down and chatted with me while enjoying their own breakfasts.  I found them a most congenial couple.

After my meal, I finally had the chance to explore Klemme House in a little bit more detail.  Pictured below is the Hoyt room which served as my quarters for the stay.

The Hoyt Room

The Hoyt Room





And a bit of the house proper.


From there, I drove over to Josh’s home to keep him company until we headed over to the wedding.  He was watching The Lone Ranger when I came in and I sat down to join him.  Now I had heard terrible things about this film and it was a box office bust over the summer.  With my bar set below the zero level, I found that I didn’t hate the film.  I can’t say I particularly liked it either.  I think the decision to go comedic was a bad choice, but I will say that I found the last 45 minutes quite enjoyable with the revelations and the action packed train sequence.

About 1:30, the groom’s party had all arrived and we got into our tuxedos and headed over to the Oakridge country club in Goldfield, IA for the ceremony.

It was a lovely ceremony and was capped off by Reed, Josh’s groomsman, and I pulling out lightsabers that Josh had bought for us (the wedding had a Star Wars subtheme) from our suit coats and making an arch for Josh and his new bride, Malissa, to walk under.

We had a delightful time at the reception and then closed the evening with some apple pie shots at the B & S in Eagle Grove.  I then returned to Klemme House, weary, but happy, where I collapsed into bed.

Wayfarer to a Wedding–Day 2: Driving, Driving, Driving

What a busy, busy day yesterday.  I awoke from the best sleep I had in many a moon to a cold and frosty day.  I found that my car had a thin sheet of ice on it from the freezing rain which was making its way along the southeastern part of Iowa.  I knew it was going to be slow driving and a very long day so I needed to start things off with a bracing breakfast.

After cleaning up, I went downstairs to the dining room where I found goblets of water and orange juice waiting for me.  Joan started off my morning repast with a small plate of fruit (bananas, grapes, cantaloupe, and strawberries).  Joan and I chatted a bit about the weather threatening the state and my journeys as I nibbled away. 

The second course was an almond, blueberry, cinnamon muffin about the size of my fist.  I took a few bites and then put the rest away for another time as I am a very lightweight eater and I still had the entrée to go.

Fortunately, the entrée was a small serving of blueberry French toast with a glaze of vanilla and a side of nice, crispy bacon.  Fortified from this meal, I was ready to chip my car loose from its icy prison, pay my bill, and hit the road.

The roads were fairly empty and I took it nice and slow as I journeyed to Fort Dodge to pick up my tuxedo.  I briefly wandered around the old homestead and marveled at the many changes that had taken place in just over a year.  Several businesses had shut down, others had been remodeled, and new ones seemed to be springing up all over the place.  Yes, it certainly seemed like the old burg was experiencing a bit of a renaissance.

I picked up my tux which was a perfect fit (thanks for the measurements, Omaha Playhouse).  The owner said she wished all guys could fit in a tuxedo as easily as I did.  Josh arrived at the shop about 20 minutes later, looking fit after dropping about 50 pounds since July.  We caught up on old times and I headed over to his place in Eagle Grove.

As we dropped off our clothes, we immediately hopped into his Trailblazer and headed over to the Oakridge country club in Oakfield, IA to begin decorating for today’s wedding.  The place looks truly grand.  Pictures to come in tomorrow’s tale.

And I digress a bit.  I learned something valuable with this blog today.  I thought I could keep space open in my media library if I deleted photos after posting them.  But I found that deleting them in the library also deletes them in the posts.  So what have I learned, if nothing else?  DON’T DELETE THE LIBRARY!

About 3pm, Josh ran me back to his place, so I could hop in the car and make my way over to Belmond, IA for my home away from home for the next few days:  Klemme House Bed and Breakfast.  This fine little home is owned and operated by Al and Connie Mattison.  It only boasts 3 guest rooms, so I was grateful that I had nabbed the last one when I originally made my reservation.

As it turns out, my famed luck was with me once again as I was the only guest on Friday since the other 2 reservations canceled due to the inclement weather plaguing Iowa.  As a result, I was once more upgraded to the finest room in the house (the Hoyt Room).  I had little time to explore the place because I had to get back to the country club to finish decorations and get Josh to his bachelor’s party.

About 6pm, Josh and I were joined by our mutual friend, Reed, Josh’s future stepson, Jordan, and a friend of Josh’s named Jeff and we headed over to Thor, IA to experience Unkie’s Entertainer Lounge & Restaurant.  This is a little dive bar, but it’s reputed to have some of the best food in the state and I found that reputation to be well deserved.  Reed ordered a sampler platter of appetizers for us (onion rings, cheese balls, mushrooms, and green pepper rings) which were all breaded and tasty.

For our dinners, Reed, Jordan, and Jeff opted for the Unkie’s specialty sandwich (ribeye steak, ham, and some other toppings) while the groom enjoyed a prime rib and I enjoyed a ribeye steak.  It was an excellent cut of meat that I probably would have paid twice as much as I did in a fine dining establishment.  If you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods, try a meal here, but they only take cash.  Fortunately, there is an ATM on the premises.

From there, we headed to the B & S where we enjoyed some conversation and drinks to close out the night.  The highlight of the evening was watching Josh down his first shot of Jagermeister.  I truly wish I had filmed it as he appeared to be Dr. Jekyll changing into Mr. Hyde after downing the liquid.

From there I returned to Klemme House where I fired up the electric fireplace and settled in for a long winter’s nap.

Until the next time. . .

Wayfarer to a Wedding–Day 1: Can You Tell Me How to Get to Adams Street?

It was a gray December day with a prediction of freezing rain and snow.  Twas not a day one would consider for a road trip, but this was no ordinary road trip.  For today, I was heading to the wedding of my best friend, Josh.

Josh and I have been best friends since we were 4 years old.  We’ve seen it all, done it all, and one couldn’t ask for a more loyal pal.  I moved out of our hometown of Fort Dodge, IA in 1993 when I was 15 and I am now 36, so that should give you an idea of the solidity of our friendship.

Tomorrow I am going to be putting in a lot of driving as I will be bouncing through multiple towns for various reasons so I decided to split my trip up into a couple of days to make things a little easier on myself.

I think I prefer road trips to flying because there’s something peaceful about driving, especially when one takes the back roads and travels through a lot of small towns.  There’s just a purity about watching the scenery and the character of small towns always seems to bring a lightness to my soul.

It doesn’t hurt that small towns usually possess my lodging of choice:  the bed and breakfast.  I fell in love with bed and breakfasts about a decade ago when I attended a mystery weekend at the Victorian Villa in Union City, MI and since then, I try to stay at them whenever I can and am embarking on visiting as many as I can for my own enjoyment and for this blog.

Why do I like them so much?  I suppose it’s because, unlike a chain hotel, each establishment has its own character and history.  They’re also small (4 or 5 guest rooms is the norm) which guarantees peace and quiet and also allows me the chance to meet all sorts of interesting and fascinating people.  They’re also private homes, so it’s always quaint and cozy.  And the breakfasts. . .delicious and always a surprise.

“Aren’t they expensive?” you may be thinking.  Yes, some can get kind of pricey.  But experience has shown me that the going rate is usually on par with a decent hotel, so for a similar price, I’ll always take a bed and breakfast.

I’ve stopped at Carroll, IA for the night and am currently ensconced in the Adams Street Bed and Breakfast.  This fine establishment is owned and operated by Joan Reiling, who warmly welcomed me into her inn.  I was ready to take a load off as it was a gloomy, bitterly cold day.  I had arranged to stay in the Vintage Retreat room, but, to my surprise and delight, Joan said she had upgraded me to the Magnolia Suite, free of charge.

Regrettably, there’s a bit of freezing rain going on so I didn’t do much except look at some Christmas light displays in the neighborhood.  Right now, I’m sitting by a roaring fire and am getting ready to enjoy a long, hot soak in the whirlpool tub.  So I wish you a good night and ask that you come back tomorrow for another tale.