It’s been two months since we last wrote. And were talking about Spring at that time! But Spring has taken its sweet time to get here. With snow lasting well into April, we might just jump ahead right into Summer. But we need Spring. It is an important step to transition from Winter to Summer.

Although I am a huge fan of Summer, Spring has many good points we cannot overlook. We need this in-between time. Farmers might be rushed, but they need to plant their crops. The ground needs to warm up to be able to awaken seeds and dormant plants. Small producers and artisans, scrambling, will need to get ready for Farmers Markets. My house will thank me again this year as I spring clean and open the windows to let in the fresh air. Nothing like a cool spring breeze floating in. I enjoy the windows-open season no matter how short it might be before I take the plunge and turn on the air conditioner. I like the feel of a light jacket after wearing a heavy winter coat. And the transition from winter boots to lighter shoes makes my feet smile. They know it won’t be long before I’ll be stepping into flip-flops or even going barefoot. Spring might only be a few weeks in May this year, but we need Spring, no matter its length.

Spring is a great time to travel too. After the never-ending snow this year, it has finally melted away and the ground, brown and yucky, has suddenly been painted a lush green. And temperatures have risen. Spring rains have fallen.  Oh heavenly green grass, how we missed you! Trees are starting to bud on the once barren branches. What a great time for a road trip! Everything looks so fresh and new. Open the sunroof, and enjoy the warmth of the sun and the breeze flowing in. If you have a convertible, that’s even better yet!

The poor birds, arriving some time ago in hopes of finding Spring, have been laying low for a few weeks. They too, are ready for Spring as they build nests and hatch their young. Soon butterflies will be flitting from plant to plant. Oh and my favorite- when my lilac blooms and the air is filled with its aroma.

Spring is also the time when road construction gears up. The Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway corridor has seen road work activity this Spring, between snow storms. The turn-off to Chelsea will be permanently closed and all traffic re-routed a bit further east on Highway 30 before heading south to Chelsea and Belle Plaine. The main work will be on Highway 30 between Tama and Cedar Rapids, in what the locals call the”Bohemian Alps.” Early Spring work included the burning of trees removed to create the new 4-lane roadway to the north of the existing road. The DOT has also been doing some culvert and dirt work. In the process of this road improvement, we lost the John Ernest Winery that sat directly along the Lincoln Highway, just east of Tama. We were saddened that the new route would go directly through their vineyard.

But we are excited to have Youngville Cafe opening again for the season. They are open May 1st – Oct 30th on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 AM-1:30 PM and serve soups, sandwiches, and pie. If you haven’t ever eaten there- you should. It is at the intersection of Highway 30 and Highway 218, just west of Cedar Rapids.

The Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway staff has been writing grants all Winter.  We are poised to get going on these projects. As they develop, we will be sure to share our progress with all of you. We also entered into a fundraising campaign with CrowdRise. It will end May 11th at 11:59 AM EST. Funds go to the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway program. If we collect $3,000 in donations, we will be entered into a pool to earn $10,000-$100,000 in grants. So get your donations in SOON!

We needed this transition period called Spring- to regroup, re-energize, and prepare for Summer. The Byway is prepared for the surge of Byway travelers. The Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway has oodles planned for Summer. Check our Facebook page for up-to-date progress at https://www.facebook.com/LincolnHighwayHeritageByway .

Absence may make the heart grow fonder but dear Spring, don’t do this to us again. And Summer, please feel free to stick around as long as you can.