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What President Obama (And Another Politico) Read On Vacation

August 13, 2016

President Obama found some time to relax this week while vacationing at Martha’s Vineyard.   As always I am curious what my leaders read and so was interested to find the following books were tucked into his traveling bags.

‘Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life’ by William Finnegan … ‘The Underground Railroad’ by Colson Whitehead … ‘H is for Hawk’ by Helen Macdonald … ‘The Girl on the Train’ by Paula Hawkins … ‘Seveneves’ by Neal Stephenson.

I took some time with James this week to visit the Great River Road.   We got some hiking in on a very small part of the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge encompasses approximately 194,000 acres in parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. This land and the wildlife need to be preserved and honored.  I saw young kids learning the importance of this area and I trust as they grow places like this will always remain important to them.

We saw everything from barges, bluffs, and scenic vistas.  We took a respite to enjoy agricultural tourism with a stop to the Elmaro Winery where we sampled two varieties and relaxed with a plate of cheese and crackers while overlooking the vineyards. We heard the huge dams at one point high from a bluff and while walking in a county park saw eagles, turkey vultures, and herons.

We were pleased to have the new “Green Rocket”—our convertible Mini Copper–take us about.  The strong scent of pine filled the air many times–that is when one knows the city is long gone. The best meal was without doubt at the Trempealeau Hotel where James had Seafood Stew with chorizo sausage while I ate Louisiana Style Etouffee. We rented a cabin in Onalaska and spent time in the late day swimming in the pool and reading.  I took along The Glory And The Dream by William Manchester while James read La fille laide by Yves Theriault.

The rain rattled the roof one night so long and hard James started thinking building a raft for the Mississippi River might be in order. I replayed what Huck Finn might do but could not find a corncob pipe with which to ponder it all—so just listened to the rain fall.    The next morning we heard that not so far from where we stayed up to 7 inches of rain had fallen overnight.   But the morning was bright and clear and the day called for adventure.

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