11-22 May 2016; North to IA…Nice Parks, Summer “Up Nort”

Greetings from the Hawkeye State!  We left Biloxi on the morning of the 12th as planned, and have had a great trip with great parks so far.  So, let’s take a look at the past 11 days.

We got to watch the kids the night of the 11th, as Jason and Meghan took the opportunity for us to babysit so they could have an anniversary night out. Terri got Peyton a tea set earlier in the day, so we got to have a tea party before we left.  By the way the pretzels are “crumpets.”

We made it about 350 miles on Thursday, and found a really nice Army COE park in Grenada, MS. What a nice place! Great rates for full hookups. I don’t think there is a bad spot in the whole park. The lake is about 35,820 acres, and the camp ground has 88 sites. We will definitely come here again.

Looking down at the conservation pond from our site.

Site #64.

Looking back across one of the smaller lakes at our camp site.

Looking across the large lake from the upper camp ground.

A family of geese joined us in the evening and in the morning.

Ahhhh….

Night falling on the lake.

It is always better with the naked eye, but I think you get the “picture.”

Wow…big Crappies on this lake.

Terri was up bright and early on Saturday, the 14th and caught this awesome sunrise.

Ya think?? Reminds us of a road we were on in KY that dead ended into a river with a single car ferry. Just out of no where…

We were gone quite early, but had gotten to know the nice camp hosts quite well the afternoon before, so there were hugs all around as we departed.  Thanks Clyde and Roberta for sharing all of the info on this beautiful park!

We traveled another 350 miles or so and stopped at an independent park in Cape Girardeau, MO.  The park wasn’t all that spectacular, but the riverfront downtown was really neat.  Was good enough for an overnight, but a bit pricey.  One thing we have learned, and most of you likely know, is the independent parks are typically quite expensive, with close sites, and the city, county, state and national parks are cheaper with much more room.

While we were driving, Terri was catching up on our travels since ’14. It’s hard to tell when and where for the most part with all of the areas that we’ve traveled more than once.

They’ve done a great job painting the walls along the river in old downtown Cape Girardeau.

The other side of the walls looking at the river.

Gives you a little perspective.

We were up and at it early again on Sunday.  Thank goodness for podcasts, as when we are travelling on Sundays, we usually listen to podcasts of churches that we’ve been too and liked over the past few years.  We put on less than 300 miles on Sunday, which leaves us about 1.5 hours south of our destination of HWH in Moscow, IA for Monday.  We found another gem of a camp ground.  It is Wakonda State Park in La Grange, MO.

They have an abundance of hiking and biking trails, as well as several ponds to fish in, as well as the river.

Another full hook up site for about $20. Tons of space, and the Mississippi river in our backyard.

Showing up at these places on a Sunday afternoon usually gives you plenty of options. This is a first come, first served park for the most part, with some reservable sites.

Looking South from La Grange.

A nice walk along the river and one of the locks in La Grange.

One of many barges waiting their turn to go through the locks. They have a nice area where you can sit and watch and talk with the crews that are working this section of the river.

Today’s towboats range in size from about 117 feet long by 30 feet wide to more than 200 feet long and 45 feet wide and have diesel engines that can produce up to 10,000 horsepower. North of St. Louis on the Upper Mississippi River towboats are usually 3,000 to 5,000 horsepower. As the river becomes deeper and wider below St. Louis the boats are larger because they are allowed to push more barges. A typical barge carries 1500 tons of cargo, which is 15 times greater than a rail car and 60 times greater than one trailer truck. An average river tow on the Upper Mississippi River is 15 barges consisting of 5 barges tied together and moving 3 abreast. The same load would require a train 3 miles long or line of trucks stretching more than 35 miles.

Terri reading in the back yard.

Cannot get over how nice and large these sites are.

Starting to get dark.

We departed earlier than planned on Monday, the 16th as some bad weather was moving into the area.  We got out in good order and only ran into a few sprinkles on the way to HWH.  We arrived just past noon, and were told to park in one of their electric only sites, and we would be seen first thing Tuesday morning.  Just as Terri and I were getting ready to head out and explore, a knock came at the door and they said they could get some things accomplished today and hopefully get us on the road early Tuesday.

Nothing ever goes as planned…

HWH is the company that manufactures and sells the air leveling system as well as the hydraulic slide outs for our Coach.  Things have gone so radically wrong at other facilities, we decided to come to the source.  Long story short…they fixed some minor things we knew they could, but stuff still isn’t quite right.  May go back next week, as we are only 40 miles or so away.  They do a free inspection each year, and found some air leaks that they won’t touch because it is not their components that are leaking.  When we park, we are typically at 120PSI, and it used to hold that pressure for a few days.  Now, we are down to less than 60PSI in under 12 hours.  Not good, and the place that said they fixed all of my leaks, well, they didn’t.

In any case, we got some new manifolds and solenoids installed, and we will see how it all holds serve.  So far, not so well.

The motor home was on a lift at HWH, so I was able to get a good look at the leaks they had found. They placed a zip tie on each one. They wouldn’t allow me to work on them in their shop…dang, would have been great with the Coach up in the air.

A shot of the left rear. You can see the air bag, the new rear shock, and the gold thing is the ride height control valve. It has a leak as well, as you can see the zip tie.

We were out of there a little after three, and headed over to the north side of Davenport to Scott County Park which is located in Eldridge, IA.  Another great place!  This is a true first come, first serve park, but the lady at the ranger station was kind enough to say they had plenty of sites available in their full hookup area…$24 per night!  She was right, plenty to choose from.  Boy are we glad we got here on a Tuesday!  Folks started pulling in on Wednesday, setting their rigs up, then leaving to go home and back to work.  They come out this early just to secure a spot for the weekend.

We had planned to meet up with Ashley and family in WI for the Memorial Day weekend, but Dumb Ron waited too long to try and get reservations anywhere, so that is not going to happen.  We will extend here until the 30th, the day that our reservations start at Cliffside Park in Caledonia, WI where we usually stay when visiting Ashley and family.

Our site at Scott County Park.

On Wednesday, I got into Truck Country in Davenport to get some leaks looked at. They got a few, but not all. Terri has the right attitude…I don’t. I fret and worry too much over the minor stuff, and have to stop doing that and enjoy the ride more. Our Coach is way at the end on the left. The tech here was real nice, and seemed to know what he was doing, but we just didn’t stay parked there long enough to see if all the leaks had been addressed. We should have aired up and waited at least an hour or more to see what happened.

The weather here has been AWESOME!

This part of the country is so beautiful this time of year. We took a road trip on Thursday along the Mississippi, and ran into the town of Le Claire, home of Antique Archaeology and the American Pickers.

Mike and Frank were not around, but we got some shots with the car they feature at the beginning of each show.  They had a lot of nice stuff for sale…very expensive. We got a pin and a towel…

We had lunch at a nice place near their store, located in a huge renovated home overlooking the Mississippi.  We then headed north along the river, and crossed over the river in Clinton, IA and came down the Illinois side of the river.  We got back in time for Terri to start a fire and enjoy the evening.

You can see remnants of the cards to a certain game that I hate in the fire. We’d read them, and the “stupid” ones went up in smoke. Most of the cards went…

Friday was spent running a few errands, and after noticing my awning over the living room slide was not working properly, we did some research and called Zip-Dee, the manufacturer.  After some troubleshooting, we determined the spring is shot, so we have one on order.  We had to go to an RV place to get it ordered, as the park here does not accept packages…and the post offices close at 2PM, so no chance to get a general delivery address.  We wanted to get it ordered Friday so we have it early next week and can install it.  I don’t want to travel without it repaired, as the spring tension is what helps keep the awning tight against the Coach when we travel.  We could travel if we had too, but would need to use various methods to ensure the awning stays tight against the Coach.  They last thing you want is an awning to fly out while doing 65 on the highway.  Terri also bought her first hatchet today, so she spent quite a bit of time making kindling.

We’ve met some great people here that are from the local area, and were given many suggestions for what to do over the next week or so.  Every Saturday morning they have a farmers market in down town Davenport right on the river.  It was huge!  We bought some cheese and some bread, then headed over to the quaint village of East Davenport.  Another nice place with many shops and restaurants.  I grabbed a haircut, and Terri shopped.  After that we headed back to camp and enjoyed the evening.

At the farmers market.

Later in the day, we got a photo from Jason and Meghan…and their new camper!  Can’t wait to join them in MI and WI in June!

Today has been a bit warmer, but nice once again.  I took a bike ride this morning, and Terri has been busy cooking and organizing/cleaning the Coach.  We said goodbye to a few folks we met this past week, and are being joined by new friends as we speak.

Miles of nice trails, roads, picnic areas, a pool, a golf course and a pioneer museum all within this great park.

One of many, many picnic areas. When I took a ride late yesterday, I noted several of the locals drive out and have a fire in one of the picnic areas and hang out for the day and grill. Nice.

There are no fees to just picnic in the park. There are also many shelters that you can reserve for special events. There are a lot of graduation parties going on this weekend. They have three other campgrounds here as well. Two with 30 AMP and water, and one that is a wilderness site.

That about covers the past days.  God willing, on the 30th we will head for Wisconsin, and enjoy most of the summer there, with a trip over to Michigan in late June for our nephews wedding, then back to WI for the 4th, followed later by a wedding in northern WI over Labor Day weekend, and then HOPEFULLY on to Maine and Vermont for the fall.

As always, we hope this finds you Happy, Healthy and Living Your Dreams!!

We really do love our home state…this is funny though.

 

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