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I used to fantasize about being a rock star. Heck…I STILL think about it. Me… in tight leather pants, my name emblazoned on a giant tour bus, and thousands of fans following me on social media. And in some bizarre parallel universe, this MIGHT be possible. Unfortunately in the real world, leather pants do not come with an elastic waist. I can barely make payments on my used SUV, let alone afford a tour bus. I have no clue how to use snapchat. AND…I can’t sing. (In the spirit of Milli Vanilli, I also stink at lip syncing.) Thus any dreams of the Iowa Roadie winning a Grammy are quickly squashed. However a recent Iowa Roadie adventure did result in an encounter with a Real Live Rock Star. Sort of. Meet Jack. Jack has owned the 405 Lounge located at 405 Main Street in Reinbeck, Iowa for the past 38…

Check yes or no. This year’s Christmas shopping involved alcohol. If you answered no, you are either a direct descendant of Buddy the Elf and have eggnog running through your veins. OR…(and I believe this is more likely the case)…you are lying. It is virtually impossible to survive December at the Mall on only an orange julius from the food court. Pour a little tequila in that julius…and suddenly the Old Navy line becomes fairly tolerable. Therefore, following a Special Day purchasing gifts for our dear family and friends, it should come as no surprise that the Iowa Roadie and her husband found our way to The Prairie Creek Saloon in Norway, Iowa. Norway, by the way, is home to the Tigers, 20-time state high school baseball champs and focal point of the movie “The Final Season.” Upon entering The Prairie Creek Saloon, we found our customary seats at the…

Sometimes the best things in life are right under our noses. Such is the case with the latest Iowa Roadie adventure that takes us only a few miles down the road to Bradford, Iowa…home of the Stumble Inn. Now if you follow the Iowa Roadie at all, you’ve likely seen the pictures I’ve posted of the food here before. Specifically their “crispy pig”…a monster of a breaded tenderloin that was recently honored as the second best tenderloin in Iowa by the state’s Pork Producers. But behind every good sandwich and order of cheeseballs is a good cook. And in this case, that cook is named Johnny. Earlier this fall, Johnny was hospitalized for a week with septic pneumonia. Because of his illness, he missed weeks of work and acquired thousands of dollars in medical bills. To show support for their beloved chef, The Stumble Inn recently hosted a benefit for…

I am a sucker for a good gimmick. Seriously. I am the reason those “As Seen On TV” products exist. My husband and I recently attended the Iowa State Fair. Did you know that the area under the grandstand is a haven for binge shopping…especially if one has been relaxing in the Craft Beer & Wine tent for a good portion of the afternoon. So while Hootie & the Blowfish were entertaining thousands of people enjoying their favorite food on a stick, I was purchasing a miracle drug whose primary ingredient is tumeric (I know, right?) and a vegetable peeler that proved way too complex once I got it home. But rather than learn my lesson, I continue to seek out what is unique and interesting. (You’ve yet to read an Iowa Roadie adventure about a visit to Applebees.) Which is why on a recent trip to The Flea in…

(This is the second in a two-part series about an Iowa Roadie adventure in Buffalo County, Wisconsin.) I am not a fan of cliffhangers. Remember the whole “Who shot JR” mystery? We had to wait an entire tv hiatus to discover it was Kristin, JR’s scheming sister-in-law and mistress, who pulled the trigger. It took seven books–I repeat SEVEN books–for Harry Potter to defeat Voldemort. And Star Wars fans were in limbo for three years as they awaited Return of the Jedi following the whole “I am your father” Darth Vader revelation. So while a cliffhanger may be a clever means of enticing the audience into returning, I personally believe people prefer not to wait. If patience were truly a virtue, there would be no such thing as Netflix binging. Rather than taking nine seasons to learn the fate of the Dundler Mifflin Paper Company, Office fans can instead watch…

(Note: This is the first in a two-part series about an Iowa Roadie adventure in Buffalo County, Wisconsin.) I recently celebrated my birthday. I must admit that once you hit a certain age, one really does not “celebrate” a birthday as much as “commiserate” it. After all, I already have my driver’s license, voter registration card and a legal ID. The allure of pinatas and ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ have diminished in direct proportion to my memory. And I’m afraid if I tried to muster the energy to blow out my candles, I’d pass out for lack of oxygen. (My husband would disagree and tell you I have enough hot air to assist a centenarian.) The only bright spot is the cake and ice cream…which is also a no-no, according to my doctor who recently classifed me as “mildly obese” following my annual physical. So all things considered,…

These days my life reads like a country song. I am currently unemployed.My dog recently woke up a paraplegic.And I am living in a house with no walls. These are all Very Traumatic Events, and I’m sure if set to music with Johnny Cash or Blake Shelton crooning the lyrics, it would be at the top of the country billboard charts. Unfortunately an imaginary #1 is pretty much useless in real life. (One has to wonder if this fantasy could transition into reality if Thomas Rhett were involved…) Regardless, these are the sad facts of my life. And while I am confident that I will find a new job and (semi-confident) that one day I will no longer live in Remodeling Hell, I am not as optimistic that our dog will regain the ability to walk. In case you are wondering, we do not know why our dog suddenly became…

She truly enjoyed people. That was how the obituary read for our good friend Jody, who passed away unexpectedly last week at age 65. We met Jody about a year ago on an Iowa Roadie adventure in the little town of Dows. Although Jody typically tended bar at The River Bar, that night she was seated at the counter, drinking her trademark vodka and cranberry juice, and sharing her famous zucchini salsa and pickled asparagus with fellow bar patrons. Yet to Jody, these were not just customers. They were friends…which meant they were family. On that first night at The River Bar, Jody welcomed us–total strangers–into her world. Admittedly her world wasn’t flashy. She liked gardening and accompanied her friend Wayne to the National Hamm’s Beer Convention each year. Jody was spunky and sassy, with a spirit rivaled by few. Her bank account may not have been full, but her…

My husband and I still enjoy “date night.” Admittedly date night has evolved a bit after 25 years of wedded bliss. Now instead of dinner and a movie, a night out typically involves a trip to Menards. Seriously… what part of a large home improvement center does not scream “I love you?” Romance surely lives on in the aisles of paint supplies and power tools. In fact, I am convinced that without Menards, there would be no “date night.” We would instead be relegated to evenings at home eating frozen pizza and watching “Impractical Jokers” with the dogs. (I realize that some of you may PREFER an evening watching four lifelong friends embarrass one another at the expense of innocent onlookers. Or you believe that cardboard carbs deserve the distinction of its own food group. I, however, enjoy the experience of shopping somewhere I can purchase both drywall AND bacon…

I believe chestnuts are underrated. For example, if you were on Family Feud and asked to name a popular nut, what would you say? Peanut? Almonds? Maybe even a cashew? When the top answers are on the board, I doubt that Steve Harvey will award anyone money for answering “chestnut.” Somehow, the chestnut lacks the popularity of a nut wearing a monocle, and has yet to cross over to the candy bar market. Until now, the chestnut has been relegated to a solo line in an old Nat King Cole Christmas carol. However my husband believes that chestnuts are the new cash crop of Iowa. (I suggested hemp will be an even greater money maker.) Still we recently found ourselves at the Iowa Arborteum attending an eight-hour chestnut growers workshop. (The question is not so much WHY we were here. Remember CASH CROP? But rather HOW could such a workshop…

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