Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Road trip to Waverly...with a detour to the Little Brown Church in the Vale

Last Saturday, I took a little road trip to Waverly, IA to watch my son, Dan run cross country.  It is about a 3 and 1/2 hour drive from home.  I could've taken the interstate half the way, but decided, instead to take the scenic route!  I intended to stop only on the way home since I wasn't sure how long it would take me and didn't want to be late!  I headed out of town about 6:45 am in the dark.  About 20 minutes into the trip, a deer ran out in front of me...luckily I had plenty of time to stop...it sure woke me up!  A little further down the road, the sun began to come up with a gradual change from gray to the lovely orange & yellow of the rising sun!  I just had to stop and take a couple of pictures...twice!  The second set was definitely the best...I am still working on figuring out the light settings, etc.
  The rest of the trip was beautiful with the changing leaves and rolling hills and perfect, sunny weather!  I made it there without taking a wrong turn and in plenty of time to watch the women run and get a feel for the course!  I also got a chance to talk to Dan, some of the other parents and the Coaches.  I still get a little nervous when Dan runs...hoping he won't be disappointed with his time or effort...hoping that he doesn't have any medical issues...that he can finish the race even though he has done so for the past year!  When I am not at the meet and I get a call close to the race finish time, I immediately wonder if something went wrong.  I can't help it...it's the Mom instinct in me to worry...but I don't let it consume me...I let it go!  I do still get a thrill when I see him lining up at the start line...it is just so amazing to see him run again!
 This meet he looked especially strong.  He finished the 8K with a time of 30:57...over 30 seconds faster than at the last meet at Ames!  He finished in 138th place (78th for the team) out of 174 runners!
 After the race, they always have to run a few miles for "cool down"...first, a couple of guys came back...then a couple more...then finally the only ones that hadn't come back were Dan and Brian.  Immediately my mind goes to that place...where in my mind I see him laying on the ground and something is wrong...but I snap back to the confidence that he will be ok...and he was!  Soon I could see him jogging up the field!  Whew!  After a few goodbyes, I headed back to the car to head back home.  I had decided to stop in Nashua on the way home...it is just a couple miles off the main road.  When I was a kid, we had stopped there to see The Little Brown Church in the Vale and I wanted to see it again and take some photos.
 It is located on the side of a highway just a short distance out of Nashua with a parking lot and park across the street.  They even have a crosswalk across the Highway so that you can cross over to see the church.  Upon entering, there was a couple inside visiting the church also.  It is really a very quaint church with lots of antiques and old photos, etc.!  It would be a great spot for a wedding!
As I was leaving, another couple was just coming in for a visit.  I wandered around the grounds a little...there was a prayer garden that would've been beautiful in the Spring but now the blooms were gone.  When I got in my car to leave, a transit bus showed up with about 10-15 people on it!  I was surprised there is still so much interest in the church - I'm glad it hasn't disappeared like many of our other landmarks.  Click here for the history of the Little Brown Church in the Vale.  If you're in the area, make sure you stop by to see this awesome little church by the side of the road!
 After that I stopped to get gas ($3.22 a gallon!) and go to the bathroom and then decided to stop at a park in town that I had passed on the way to the church.  It was right in the center of town, on a lake and there was a tank (yes, a tank) and other machinery there!  So, I parked, grabbed my camera and got some shots of the lake, the spillway & old power plant that fed into a river.  There were several people down on the river fishing.
 When I was done shooting, I got in my car...ready to get back on the road...and home!  I put in my key and went to turn my car on and...nothing!  It wouldn't turn over!  Here I was in a little town on a Saturday, knowing no one and I have car problems!  After using a few expletives (sorry!), I decided I had no choice but to ask the strangers down by the river for help!  Gulp!  Again, not my strong suit...asking for help!  I went down by the river and asked if anyone knew anything about cars.  A nice young man (OMG - that makes me sound ancient!) asked me what the problem was and he offered to take a look.  He tried the car and it didn't start for him either...he popped the hood, messed with a couple of things and then tried it again.  Success!!  He showed me what he had done and told me what to do if it happened again...I told him I had no intention of shutting off the car until I got home!  I was not taking any chances!  I offered to give him something for helping me out but he declined!  So thank you to the "nice young man" from Nashua for helping this "old lady" out!  You were definitely an answer to a prayer!
 The rest of the way home was uneventful...thank goodness!  I drove by some beautiful trees, buildings, and a rainbow that I would have loved to shoot but I was determined to get home safely...which I did with no more problems!  This week will be a full one!  Dan has his monthly appointment in Sioux Falls but this time he has the works:  IV chemo, a lumbar puncture and a bone marrow biopsy!  In other words, we will be there most of the day...although it will be the first time with our new doctor, Kelly.  Who knows!  Then on Saturday, Dan has a meet in Wisconsin...not sure if he will be able to run or not but he is planning on it!  He really has an iron will and I have no doubt he will run...not for time but just to get a run in and get that poison out of his system!  I am not going to this one as it is a really long ways for me to go!  I hope to get to the conference meet in Decorah on Oct. 29th, weather permitting.  Maybe I can stop and see the Decorah Eagles Nest while I am there...I know the eagles won't be there but it will still be cool to see.  Anybody up for a Road Trip???

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