Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Okoboji Road Trip

Lake Okoboji is located in Northwest Iowa. It is the second largest fresh water lake in the state; albeit it is the deepest. Its depth gives it a blue appearance, it is only one of three ‘blue lakes’ in the world (Lake Louise in Canada and Lake Geneva in Switzerland are the others).

Lake Okoboji is where the ‘haves’ from Des Moines, Waterloo, Sioux City, Sioux Falls and Omaha come to play in the summertime. In the winter months the town goes back to normal, the seasonal shops and restaurants close down. The lake eventually freezes over and the ice fisherman and snowmobile crowd take over.

Okoboji is about 200 miles from Des Moines. The quickest route (taking almost all, paved, county roads) takes about 3 hours and 15 minutes. The scenery is farm structures, livestock, corn fields, soy beans and wind farms. It’s very boring and if you have to pee you better be willing to go in a ditch.

Fergie's ready to goooo

Look treeees!

a stinky hog lot

(still) a proud supporter of Bush


more cows

a wind farm

rolling hills (Iowa style)

corn or soybeans? (can't tell yet)

another farm

a bar close to the lake (no, we didn't stop)

Hunting and Gathering

Upon arrival, it’s grocery shopping time. You may shop at the tiny yet local and friendly Buy Rite, Hy-vee a larger yet still local option or you can one stop shop at the evil empire also known as Wal-Mart. Dickinson County has just over 16,700 people and yes they have a Wal-Mart *sadface*.

Okoboji Dining and Nightlife

There are a few decent restaurants around the lake. Kazerelli’s, Geppetto’s on the Lake, Yesterday’s and Maxwell’s Beach Cafe are staples for finer dining and better wines. For more casual food and drink there are several options. Lunches at The Ritz, The Wharf, Smokin’ Jakes and The Taco House are all yummeee. The Barefoot Bar is my fave place to sit by the lake, enjoy live music and drinks – they also offer a menu full of bar favorites. If you go by boat on busy, weather cooperative weekends, finding a place to dock can be difficult.

Whoo Hoo Three Day Weekend

This past weekend the weather was supposed to be windy, rainy and cooler. Not a good combo for a short lake vacay. But we decided to take a chance and go. Okoboji is definitely a Grunewald thing. I can be a hater about going. But I have learned to appreciate its good and try to forgive the ick-factors.

Friday night we arrived at the lake at about 7 pm, ate dinner around 8 pm at Yesterday’s. I had the tilapia which was very good…but the best thing there is the crab dip appetizer. After dinner we went to a bar called Cocktail’s. Cocktail’s is thought to be a gay bar, but in Okoboji there aren’t enough people for any bar to be anything other than a ‘white person’ bar. The male bartender/owner was wearing a Cocktail’s Crayfish Boil t-shirt that read ‘Suck Head, Eat Tail’, so mebbe he has something to do with the gay thing. It was karaoke night. I loathe karaoke but I was going with the flow (which is rare) and the bathrooms at Cocktail’s are clean so that’s something. We kept my in-laws out until about 1:30…a victory indeed.

Saturday I slept until about 11 am, it was an overcast and windy day, so no boating. We had a lazy day, watching movies. Saturday night we went out to dinner and called it an early night (meaning we came home to drink).

Sunday I slept past noon. It was really nice out – we hurried down to the boat for a leisurely ride before we were expected at a birthday party on a fish boat barge thingy. The fish boat barge thingy is a huge wooden structure that serves as a bar and usually stays docked. In fact I didn’t even know you could ‘take it out on the lake’. But I guess you can, because we did. It was okay fun…there were kids on the boat with us. I don’t like mixing kiddies and alcohol, but I didn’t plan this party…soooo nevermind. We cruised around for about three hours (insert Gilligan joke here), and were back docked sometime around 8 pm. We took our boat back to our condo, changed out of our swimsuits and headed to Buck’s.


Okayyy I’m not sure if this bar is actually called Buck’s or not…but that’s what everyone else calls it, so I do to. It’s not located on the lake so it has a, let’s just say ‘different’ clientele. The birthday girl wanted to go there because she lovesss karaoke…and Buck’s had it. Buck’s is a cash only bar and don’t you dare ask to ‘start a tab’. I think it’s supposed to be a biker bar. We know the owner; a badass biker dude that wears Hawaiian shirts. He’s ruggedly handsome…and scary. Karaoke is run by…ummm I don’t want to be cruel and name names…let’s just say his name rhymes with rinse and he could use one. Rinse is older (fifties but he could easily pass for the Crypt Keeper), he lives with his mom (I know this because I’ve met her, at the bar). Having never met his dad, I’m going to guess he’s a farm animal – probably a donkey or a horse based on Rinse’s facial situation. But he is very nice and he is a pretty good singer.

There’s almost always a fight at Buck's, and someone will be asked to leave (thrown out). There’s always one drunk guy who is the cliché drunk in the bar. They have free peanuts (you may throw the shells on the ground) and you can buy Slim Jims, Doritos, Corn Nuts and a variety of candy bars for drunken consumption. There’s a pool table (duh) and darts (I think). I got hit on by some guy that worked for one of the boat dealers…he was very persistent (and quite annoying). There was another guy there who was so drunk he peed his pants, but he didn’t leave…he sang karaoke and tried to pick a couple of fights – a true alpha male! There was a bigger girl with her ass crack hanging out…I took a picture (see below), her husband-type yelled at me. I heard Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline, Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing and a whole bunch of country that I didn’t know. The drunk that peed himself tried to sing Metallica’s Enter Sandman…another alpha sign. I laughed a lot…which is always a good thing.

Monday I slept in…when I awoke, my heart was pounding out of my chest. I asked my mother-in-law for her blood pressure machine, my BP was okay, but my pulse was 124 and irregular. I asked my hubby for breakfast and after a couple of Gatorades I was good to go *sorry liver* *sorry heart*.
We left Okoboji after 5 pm for Des Moines…The Principal Charity Classic started today the weekend is looking F-U-N, but then again when doesn’t it?

someone taking our pic while we were on the fish boat barge thingy

a butt crack at Buck's

goodnight kiss


  1. You detail your blogs so well.....I feel like I am right there with ya!!! Sounds like lots of fun....

  2. it's a good bar, I've been there and I think that's the real name. But I need more time to think about it, specially if you are posting about the candies because I can't remember anything like that, anyway, thanks for this great post it was very original.

  3. I really like this site, it's so important to know more about this topic, keep it up and of course every time I have time I'll love to check out again