Honeymoon - Vacation 7/2006

The Great Smoky Mountains just northeast of Gatlinburg, TN.

Stately homes line the parks in Savannah, GA.

We enjoy the view at St. Augustine, FL.


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Dates: In February, 2007, after a long period of below zero weather.


Areas Explored: Northwest IL, and Mississippi IA

Transportation: 2000 LeSabre

New Frontiers: First time I had a meal at Kalmes.


Trip Diary:

By a miracle, little sister was able to get the day off and we went down to the Mississippi for raptor hunting. I am sure she was skeptical that it would be a fun trip, but eagle hunts are always fun. On the way, we got lost in Rockton, where I did spot one eagle along the Rock River. Perhaps, it was the Vengaboys crap on the radio that caused us to go off course, but Sam swears that it frightens the state troopers. Whatever the case, we continued on through Elizabeth and toward Galena, where we stopped to take in the views, eat some chocolate, and buy useless stuff like woodpecker toys.


In Dubuque, we stopped at Lock & Dam #11 and saw several eagles across the river. On the way back Sam talked me into stopping at the Mississippi River Museum, which bragged it was Iowa's 'Number 1 Tourist Attraction.' ("This is not saying much," I thought.) It turned out to be a highlight of the trip. The museum is well-organized and is filled with interesting tanks with nasty-tempered alligators, stingrays, turtles, otters, gars, and catfish of all sorts. I was also impressed by the museum staff and their attempts to keep Sam from drowning fake farmers in an interactive model of flooding and erosion.

We decided to go to Kalmes in St. Donatus for lunch, but took a wrong turn and ended up at Bellevue near Lock & Dam #12. A few years back this spot yielded a great number of eagles when the weather was exactly as it was on this trip. I showed Sam the bluff above the city. We trudged through the snow to use binoculars on the breaks in the ice which were covered with bald eagles hunting and lounging on the edge. Their calls filled the air. When we descended to the town to get a closer look we were not disappointed.

The sun was heading down, as it tends to do in winter, so we drove up to the Luxembourg village of St. Donatus, where I showed Sam the old church and Way of the Cross that I visited at Rene Daubenfeld's insistance several winters ago. It was very snowy so we passed on climbing through it to the top of the hill and settled for dinner at Kalmes Restaurant. At first it seemed we were not welcome since everyone in the place stopped talking to stare at us when we walked in. It is a very small town, so I was not surprised at the reaction. Soon, though, we were served like family and ate Luxemburger sausages to our heart's content. 

The ride home along IL-64 and IL-72 from Savannah to Jefferson Park was dark and lonely. We kept awake by playing name that tune. Soon the suburbs began to take shape, but it was still desolate. It wasn't as lonely as I thought it was in East Dundee where I was ticketed for speeding.  

All photos copyright 2007 by J. Bezold All content copyright 2007 by S. Plencner