To make it easier to go to Decorah, I decided to sign up for a race. The Driftless Discovery Trail Runs offered 5 races: the Crater 50 and 25K’s, Meteor 10K, Basin 5K, or the Lunar 1 mile kids fun run. Since I’m somewhat of a fit monkey, I elected for the Meteor 10K. I needed to be at the entrance of Van Peenen Park by 8:30 AM on Saturday, June 1.
To make the trail race, I had to convince the Greens to take their camper and camp at the lovely Pulpit Rock Campground and to give me a ride. Without too much begging, they conceded.
The Decorah Hatchery (an outdoor sports store) was the venue for packet pick-up. That is where I got my race number and t-shirt. Pulpit Rock brewery was pouring some Saftig and Porter for people (and stuffed monkeys) in line.
Once camp was set up, I gave the Greens their brochure and binder with the weekend itinerary. Next on our agenda was a walk up to the physical Pulpit Rock before going to the brewery. The Saftig and Coconut Migration (a collaboration with Singlespeed Brewery) were delicious.
Since I made dinner reservations at La Rana for 7:45pm, I limited the Greens to only one beer before we went there for a pleasant meal. The crab cakes tasted like we were on the coast, and the dinner was amazing.
On the walk to and fro dinner along Water Street, we found out Jiu Jitsu has made its way to Decorah, IA!
We took the Trout Run Trail to get back to the campsite where we had a fire, drank beer, and played some guitar.
Saturday morning was race day. I traded my shoes in to wear some Merrell trail running shoes instead. There are miles and miles of hiking and mountain biking trails in Barnhart-Van Peenen and Ice Cave Parks. Indeed, I ran for 10K completely on trails never repeating a section. It was a blast of an adventure.
Unfortunately, Jayme Green rolled an ankle at mile 4. With a third of the race to go, he managed to finish strong before icing it and getting some ibuprofen. Then, we had to call a tow truck to get the keys out of our car. Oops. There is always a story in Decorah!
Once showered and cleaned up from the race (nobody wants to deal with a stinky monkey), we had a late lunch and some bloody Marys at T-Bocks. This was followed by an excursion out to Toppling Goliath Brewery, which is now a goliath in itself.
There were many to sample that we cannot find in Kansas. Some of the interesting ones include the Valkyrie Strike (a unique beer using Norwegian kveik yeast that will not be brewed again), Dancing Dinos, and Dolphin Sparkles. It was a yummy time.
Since the trail run did not go by Dunning Springs, we went straight there from TG to check it out. Whenever I go, I always make a point to travel all the way up to the source of the springs. An ice cold pool awaits flowing out of a deep dark cave.
Since Dunning Springs is right next to Dixie’s Biergarten, which is the old location of Toppling Goliath, we had to stop for a quick pint. This is what you do in Decorah. Activity, drink, repeat. That is what it is like in theory anyway. More often, it turns into something like activity, drink, activity, drink, drink, and then drink some more.
We hit up Pulpit Rock once more before our 8pm reservations at Rubaiyat. That was followed by a stop at the The Courtyard & Cellar for a nightcap before heading back to camp. It was too late to bring out the guitars, so I drank water to combat any possible hangover in the morning.
Sunday morning was somber, as we had to pack up and leave Decorah so soon. Having barely scratched the surface of the things to do in Decorah, I hope the Greens will consider going back someday soon. It was nice staying inside their camper.
For the grand finale, we had a 9AM reservation at Rubaiyat for an amazing bloody Mary bar, coffee, and brunch. It has almost become a tradition to stop at either Barn Town or Taco Hangover in West Des Moines on the way back home. Barn Town was the choice on this trip.
I have many adventures! If you’d like to follow where I go, like my page at https://www.facebook.com/PleepleusShaw/.