Westward Bound!

Mom's Farm House
Mom’s Farm House

We finished visiting with my mother and headed West on Sunday the 21st of August to continue our trip.  I have to say that the first one third of our trip was quite different than we expected.  We scrapped the Michigan portion of our plans to take care of matters in Illinois.  We are both hoping that we have things  squared away for a period of time with my mother.  It is hard being a long distance advocate, but I believe that she is getting the best care possible and is happy.  She refuses to leave the area where she grew up and I can understand that.  Her dementia continues to worsen and I’m afraid that more frequent visits and longer stays by us are going to be needed in the future.

We got to visit with our friends Rick and Vickie again and visit the family farm and cemetery.  All important items in remembering my heritage.  We drove mom around to all her old familiar haunts too,  which she enjoyed.

Arborcrest Cemetery
Arborcrest Cemetery

We are now headed north and west through Iowa, Minnesota and then to North Dakota.  We stopped in a place called Clear Lake in Iowa on our second day, planning to stay one night.  The weather was absolutely beautiful with blue skies, temperatures in the upper 70’s and low humidity.  Just the change from Georgia weather that we were looking for.  We did, however, have a significant amount of  high wind and the forecast was for more the following day.  Since we have kept our schedule flexible, we decided to stay one more day in Clear Lake.  The park is above average (except for Wifi) and only about half full so it seemed like a good place to wait out the wind.

Beautiful Weather
Beautiful Weather
Downtown Clear Lake looking toward the lake.
Downtown Clear Lake looking toward the lake.

Well, after talking to the camp hosts we found out the Clear Lake is a vacation destination for many folks because of the – you guessed it-  lake.  So, it has quite a few restaurants and activities associated with it.  We also found out that it is noted for being the last place that Buddy Holly performed before being killed in a plane crash.  He, along with Richie Valens, JP Richardson “The Big Bopper” and the pilot were killed after performing at the Surf Ballroom in February of 1959.  I was only 7 and my wife was 5 at the time so we were a little too young to remember Holly, but certainly recognize his music.  Songs such as Peggy Sue, It’s So Easy, and That’ll Be the Day are very familiar.  So, we decided to check out the museum and historic site.

I have to say that we were a little surprised at how much we enjoyed visiting this historic site.  We both love it when we unexpectedly stumble onto these little gems when we travel.  It was only by chance that we stopped in Clear Lake and had we not, we would have missed out on a big event in American music history.

Monument at the Surf Ballroom
Monument at the Surf Ballroom

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Visitors 58 Chevy - Similar to Buddy Holly's parked in front of the Ballroom
Visitors 58 Chevy – Similar to Buddy Holly’s parked in front of the Ballroom
Newspaper account of the crash
Newspaper account of the crash
Liz in the Ballroom Seating
Liz in the Ballroom Seating
Inside Ballroom
Inside Ballroom
Marker at trail to crash site. In the middle of a corn field.
Marker at trail to crash site. In the middle of a corn field.
Memorial at Crash Site
Memorial at Crash Site

One of the other amazing things about the Surf Ballroom was the number of famous artists that have performed there.  Just about anyone of US rock and roll fame and many country artists have appeared there too.  We found this amazing, for such a small venue.   There are pictures of most of them on many of the walls.

Performing Artists
Performing Artists

Our plan now is to stay one more day in Clear Lake as my Iphone gave up the ghost.  I have been nursing it along for a couple of weeks, but I can’t take the frustration of it not working right any longer (neither can Liz).  Fortunately, there is a Verizon store in Mason City and they are having a replacement sent to the store and I should have it today.

On to Sioux Falls….

4 thoughts on “Westward Bound!”

  1. You’ll probably travel past Lake Okoboji on your way to Sioux Falls. It’s a delightful “Lakes” community nestled in the Iowa corn fields. Stop and explore if you have time. Here’s the website for the Sioux Falls CVB. Lots to see, do, and explore in our home town. http://visitsiouxfalls.com

    1. Thanks. I’m sorry we missed it as we were already passed it when I got the message. I think we will be through this area again and will make it a point to check it out. I’m amazed at how many little jewels are spread throughout this great country.

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