Whitewater Canyon.

Late again. Two weeks ago…

Iowa has three officially designated canyons, and one is about 45 minutes from CR. We drove out not knowing what to expect and found a breathtaking walk through rolling prairie — views and wildflowers for miles — that eventually dipped down to the edge of the small, wooded canyon. That wasn’t much to speak of, but eating avocado and crackers as the sun set on acres of quintessential Iowa landscape afterward was a highlight of the summer.

Wherever I end up after this, I’m glad to have rolled around in the real Iowa.

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Sister visit No. 256.

So, going on three weeks ago, Kat stopped by on her quarterly pilgrimage to the City of Rabbits. We headed straight for the bright lights of the CR Kernels baseball stadium. Facts: The Kernels are a farm team for the Minnesota Twins, their mascot is an ear of corn shaped like man with a baseball for a head. No, it doesn’t make sense. His name is Mr. Shucks. The biggest draw for us was the rumor of a pretzel the size of a pizza box at the concession stands and it exists and comes with six cups of cheese.

The next day we explored the cement vastness of the Coralville Lake spillway, right next to a gorge full of Devonian fossils.

And last, one of my favorite tour stops, the Brucemore lawns (here and here) where Kat asked for a “Bigfoot” picture stalking around the pond and the algae grew like some kind of mad alien underwater hive.

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IMG_2062Kat’s visits, without fail, perfectly combine good food and lazy sightseeing. I’d been eager to take her to Clinton Street Social Club in Iowa City for classy cocktails and poutine. Every time I’m there — which is kind of a lot because poutine — she comes to mind. It’s a Kat Place. We also made our Sister Places on the warm Sunday morning grass at the mansion and under a trellis of grapes, where K popped a bitter, unripe berry into her mouth on a self-imposed dare.

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IMG_2081More family in town next weekend. In the interim, it’s been just delicious to have no plans. Fruit of last weekend’s aimless Iowa wanderings to come on this blog. Hint: It’s more flowers and prairie gorgeousness and one chubby bumblebee.