Thursday, July 05, 2007

Caramel Bugles and Iowan Coffee

This weekend's road trip had some interesting aspects to it. We originally set out on Friday for Galesburg to visit our friend Don, but when we called him as we left Oswego (basically the last of the exurbs along US 34, which is our preferred route to Galesburg even if it does add almost two hours to the drive time) he informed us that he was still in Palatine and would certainly not be there when we arrived. Since our ultimate destination for the weekend was Waterloo, Iowa, continuing on to Galesburg was no longer all that useful a plan. A brief consultation of an old-fashioned paper map (Google Maps doesn't work well when you have no Internet connectivity) advised a hard right at Mendota onto US 52 to Dubuque. We stopped just outside Mendota and acquired, amongst other things, the best snack food I have encountered in a long time: Caramel Bugles. I've never seen these before and I strongly suspect that they're being test-marketed in central Illinois. It's quite common for us to see odd things being test-marketed when we go downstate; we first encountered Code Red during a roadtrip to Quincy, for example. Anyway, upon determining that these are totally the bomb, we bought out the Citgo station in Mendota. We now have about six bags of the things, and wondering if we'll ever see them for sale within 100 miles of home.

The other mentionable from this trip is Jag's Java, a very nice little coffee place in Cedar Falls, Iowa that we've been to before, but I feel like giving him a little shout out for being there when we needed coffee, all three times that weekend. I'm pretty certain the guy in the picture is the proprietor. They're near the border between Waterloo and Cedar Falls; if you happen to be a University of Northern Iowa student, or just in that area, they're definitely a positive alternative to Starbucks. Jag's doesn't appear to have a web presence, although they do offer free wireless (but what coffeehouse doesn't). We've never actually stayed in the store; they have a drivethrough and we've used it almost every time we've been there.

Finally, some kitty porn: