An Unexpected, but Pleasant, Side Trip

Before we left the Holy Family Chapel, we spoke with one of the volunteers there who recommended that we make a stop at the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, Iowa. Unfortunately the Grotto is located farther north than the route we were traveling.

I thought it was funny when she asked, "Do you like to gamble?" And her eyes twinkled a bit.

I replied, "Yes.

She told me that there was a nice casino near the Grotto!

Is it only me that thinks that is ironic? Sin and redemption in one fell swoop?

Luckily she had another idea that was nearby. She told us about this hideaway place that she takes all her visitors. It was only a few miles down the road. Between Jim and me, we tried to remember the directions and headed out.

We parked the car in the empty lot and headed off towards the Platte River. To the left was a road that was chained off. We walked for awhile and finally got a view of the bridge.

In the early 1800's there were five different railroads competing to provide passenger and freight service between Chicago and Denver. The Rock Island Railroad tried for years to work with its competitors to build a bridge over the Platte River. Finally, in 1890, land in both counties that bordered the river was purchased. In 1893 a 2600-foot long timber bridge was built. This bridge was used for over 90 years. In March 1981, the final train crossed what has now become the Lied Platte River Bridge. In the Spring of 2002, the pedestrian bridge and nearby trails were completed.

See that red covered area? There are several of them on the bridge. They are sitting areas that jut out from the bridge.

Major pile up near shore.

I thought that the big tree trunk on the top looked like a giant's foot; Jim thought the the giant's other foot was by the other arrow.

There wasn't a soul around. It was a beautiful area and I'm so glad I struck up a conversation with that woman at the chapel or I wouldn't have known about this place!

Jim decided that we should take a different path on the way back to the truck.

No problem, right?


There was a locked gate at the end.

Which we had to climb.

Sure. It was a piece of cake for Jim. He's an old farm boy AND he's almost a FOOT taller than me.

But, not to worry. With a little grunting and groaning, and Jim doing a little pulling, this old gray mare made it over the fence!

Next stop: Strategic Air and Space Museum
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