Trans Iowa trip III

You might have noted only one other “Trans Iowa trip” blog post, which brings one to wonder whether I had mistitled this post.  Nope.  I never wrote about our trip to see Julie’s family in Iowa two years ago, which came only two months after I began living full time as Gina.  (Beats me how I neglected to write about it.)  That makes our early September, 2017, trip number three, though post number two.

As 682-mile trips go, this one was pretty uneventful.  When one is transgender, uneventful travel is especially welcomed.  Indeed, during our nine days at Julie’s folks’, the biggest things to happen came to me from Indianapolis, by way of the phone.

Julie and I have been married since 2001, so we have made numerous visits to her folks and family, some of whom live close to her parents, while the others are faithful about coming from Minnesota.  It’s only since I retired in 2014 that we’ve been able to make annual, week-long trips to see the Leckband clan.

Besides being with this fun bunch, I love the week in the country.  Even more, the Leckbands have created a gorgeous oasis in the cornfields of northwest Iowa.

Julie grew up on a farm, not quite two miles to the south of the house, below, which her folks built in the early 1990s.  Dad had left farming for other endeavors, so the move was on.

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The view of the Leckband ranch from the gravel road. Directly across the water, the road is about a city block from the house. Unless you keep a boat handy or can walk on water, you need to take the lane around the pond. On my running app, I checked the distance. It’s exactly 1/3 of a mile from garage to mailbox.

Ain’t it gorgeous?  And dig that pond, which has been affectionately dubbed “Lake Leckband,” and which had to be dug in order for us to dig it.

The pond’s ten acres were dredged by the Leckbands.  In 1979 (Julie was seven), Dad put his vision into action, and employed Mom in the work.  Two years later, the creek bed had been turned into the pond, with the east end dammed.  Below, I was standing on the dam wall, which must be traversed to get to the road . . . or to the house . . . depending on your direction.

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The view west from the dam wall. The house is hiding behind the trees, upper right. The northern portion of the lane is an especially beautiful strip, with lots of grass and trees lining the way.

Thanks to Google, the next picture is a Hawkeye’s view of the whole pond-and-caboodle. Note the larger trees across the top.  Julie planted those.  Sister Sheri planted the two rows of smaller ones, just below—the two straight-as-can-be rows.  Julie also planted the majority of the trees that are set about the property.  To know that the family created this oasis from a creek running through pasture land is, well, mighty impressive stuff.

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Across the top of the aerial view, that green patch is all crops.  This is Iowa, kids, so it is acre after mile after county of corn after soybeans after hay fields.

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Standing in the same spot as in the previous pond picture, I turned to the northeast. On the left edge of the horizon sits the village of Ocheyedan. To the right, behind the line of trees, one finds the almost-well-known Ocheyedan Mound.

It’s one thing that we have to travel the three consecutive I states—Indiana, Illinois, Iowa—to see Julie’s family, it is another to have to cross Iowa nearly all the way to South Dakota.  See the red county, below?  That’s Osceola County.  That’s where the Leckbands live.  That’s a whole lot of Iowa to drive.

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Northwest Iowa sits at a higher elevation than the rest of the state.  The effects of the glaciers is seen in the Ocheyedan Mound, below, which is a glacial kame.  From the Leckband’s, the Mound is two miles as the smell of the manure flies.

Kames are deposits of sand and rock, left by melting ice.  This kame made the Ocheyedan Mound the second-highest point in the state of Iowa.

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On the final day of our stay, my jogging route took me one mile north and a mile west, so that I could take a picture of the Ocheyedan Mound.

This post is woefully lacking in pictures of human beings.  My bad on that, especially when Julie and I enjoyed a reunion with a good friend of mine from my ministry days. (Thanks, Paul, for the lovely afternoon!)  Rest assured that we enjoyed much family time. And lots of great food.  And I went running six of the eight full days we were there. And read two books.

And took a nap every day while Julie actually accomplished things for her folks.

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