Stone State Park, Gravesites, & Blue Bunny Ice Cream - Undaunted Porridge - CycleBlaze

June 5, 2018 to June 6, 2018

Stone State Park, Gravesites, & Blue Bunny Ice Cream

By Jen

We celebrated my brother Phil's birthday (June 5) with a short ride. We started out at the New Victorian Inn on the outskirts of South Sioux City, meandered along the Missouri River, and then up to Stone State Park, which is to the north of North Sioux City.

Negotiating our way from the hotel to the Riverfront Trail was a bit of a head-scratcher because Google's recommended route took us to a large and chaotic construction zone. We re-traced our pedal strokes back a few blocks and thankfully spotted a Sioux City police car. The officers kindly pointed out a narrow bit of scaffolding in the construction area that we could scoot through to get to the trail.

The tunnel led us from the chaotic Sioux City road construction to the beautiful Riverfront Trail
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Jen gives Lewis's dog Seaman a treat
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Riverfront Trail
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From there it was smooth and traffic-free riding on the Riverfront Trail all the way to highway 12. Heavily-wooded and beautiful Stone State Park was about 5 miles up the road. We unloaded the bikes, set up camp, and rode up to the office - the only place in the park with cell coverage. There, we called Enterprise to schedule a pick-up/ car rental for a detour to Remsen, IA on Wednesday, June 6. We had originally planned to add this spur to our route, but it was too hot and humid (highs in mid-90s - bleh!) to add extra miles.

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Entering Stone State Park
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The original campsite before the gang of young punks showed up.
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The drive to Remsen took us through bucolic rolling Loess Hill farmland and past several chicken/turkey/hog feeding structures. Imagining how many animals were jammed into these window-less buildings, I felt very lucky that I was  not born into this world as a commoditized creature.

Our destination, the Remsen Cemetery, was on the west end of town - Catholics on the right, Protestants on the left. This made the search for my ancestors much easier, and Ron found the Meinert and Fisch grave markers pretty quickly. It was very cool to call my mom in Colorado to let her know that we found her grandparents and that the cemetery was beautiful and well-maintained. Shortly after, I found my mom's parents, who are buried alongside 5 of their 11 children. My mom was unable to attend her brother John's burial, and was happy to hear that he had a nice marker honoring his service during the Korean war.

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The bonus of our cemetery visit was finding the gravesites of my former manager, Don's, ancestors. When we worked together a few years ago, we discovered that not only were we born less than a month apart, our families were also both from Remsen and LeMars. (What are the odds?!) Anyhow, I sent him some photos of the headstones, we exchanged a couple of texts about our peeps, and he forwarded the photos to his dad.

From the cemetery we took a short drive around the handsome and tidy town of Remsen and visited St. Mary's Church. The interior architecture and artwork were impressive and featured ornately-sculpted stations of the cross with German captions.

Elaborate artwork at St. Mary's
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Next was a stop in nearby LeMars for lunch with my cousin, Toby. He took a circuitous route from his home in Terril, IA and spent a couple of days trying to chase us down while we were in and out of cell coverage dead zones. (Thanks for your persistence, Toby!) We hadn't seen him in 10 years and it was nice to catch up.

With Tobey in front of Blue Bunny
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After lunch ... Blue Bunny ice cream in downtown LeMars! The silence in the parlor as customers devoured the chilly delicousness was clear evidence of why LeMars has the nickname 'Ice Cream Capital of the World'. I had a double scoop of my favorite, mint chocolate chip, and mocha almond fudge. Ron had his favorite, plain ol' chocolate.

By the time we came out of our ice cream comas, it was time to stop at the LeMars Walmart to pick up some food and get back to Sioux City to return the rental car. Enterprise had a driver ready to give us a ride back to Stone State Park, which was very nice because temps were in the mid-90s.

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If anyone is in the Sioux City area, it's worth it to take a trip to Remsen and LeMars. They are beautiful towns, and my distant relatives will appreciate your tourist dollars!

Today's ride: 18 miles (29 km)
Total: 247 miles (398 km)

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