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Brian Fleck

Blame it on the dogs

Walkin'

I’ve been putting off replacing the plastic mat underneath my chair in the upstairs bedroom that doubles as my office. A man’s home may be his castle but in my case the only estate I am sovereign over is the office and the garage.

Key to a Hawkeye move

Walkin'

Nov. 20th marks the 10-year anniversary of the final move into our current home.

Asked and answered

Walkin'

Five things the far left, the far right and almost everyone in between seems to agree on but nothing ever gets done:
Campaign finance reform. Have you noticed that the more money that is spent on elections the dumber the political discourse gets? Here in Iowa we just finished a heated race for an open senate seat with spending near $40 million, 85 percent of which came from outside groups unaffiliated with either campaign.

Indiana state of mind

Walkin'l

Last week I traveled to Indianapolis to babysit my grandson while my daughter traveled on business.
He’s 11 and quite mature, so who babysat who is a bit of a question.

Home front update

Walkin'

The old linoleum floor in my parent’s Chicago home was the big topic of conversation during a recent family gathering to celebrate Dad’s 90th birthday.

New car, no sodas allowed

Walkin'

At 224,000 miles, my old green Honda and I have driven the equivalent of nine times around planet earth.
It was brand new in 1998. Bill Clinton was president and clinging to his office after an affair with an intern became big news. The Unabomber was in jail and the federal budget balanced for the first and only time since WWII.
Like the responsible budget, the new car smell didn’t last for long.

Honeymoons past

Walkin'

“My wife and I spent the first night of our honeymoon at the Golden Door,” the old man at the end of bar told us. We were on the 10th day of our two-week bike trip, sipping a beer and chatting up the locals at the Wind Up Lounge in Traer, population 1,703.

Iowa, no fly over state

Shut out by a trail closure toward Winterset, our bicycle trip turned north to an overnight in Johnston and then to Ames, where we stayed two nights.
We used the off day to visit the Reiman Gardens for Sabra and a brewpub for me.

Water over the dam

Walkin'

Free, men’s Oskgosh overalls, size 56, never worn, call…
I read this ad in the Keota Eagle shortly before pushing off for Oskaloosa on a dreary misty morning.
I always make it a point to read the local newspapers while on the road and have found some gems over the years. My favorite was one that read, “found $300 in the bank depository without a deposit slip call to tell us who you are.”
The ads exemplify one of the things I love about our bicycling trips; the people. Not only is it interesting to talk to someone new but we’ve received so much kindness from strangers it’s amazing.

On the road again

Walkin'

This year’s ride started as planned Thursday morning. After winding our way through the familiar streets and trails of Iowa City we soon found ourselves on Black Diamond Road, a remote ribbon of tar going from nowhere to no place. Sometimes I wonder why I love cycling but rolling quietly over roads like the Black Diamond brings it all back. It’s the sun on your back, the forgotten cemetery you would have missed if in a car, the smell of clover, the time to remember and reflect while you inch your way along… At mile 16 we arrived at the KTZ’s Roadhouse in Windham.

Boulder nuts

Walkin'

Sabra and I recently returned from a trip to Colorado where we ran into a shocking development.
No, I’m not talking about legalized recreational marijuana… yet. I’m talking about brunch. It seems people in the Centennial State rarely eat breakfast or lunch these days but have instead opted to go with brunch.

Beef Days beeristory

Walkin'

The first Solon Beef Days I attended was in the early 1980s.
Back then, the entire city was an open container zone during the celebration. People came and went from the beer tent and the half dozen taverns in town with cup in hand. Individuals also hauled in their own coolers bringing in more beer and liquor. People around town, myself included, scheduled family reunions and parties to coincide with the festival and often tapped a keg or two.