Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, totally worn out, shouting "Wow...What a Ride!"

Friday, September 14, 2018

Friends To See, Places To Go: Time To Roll!!!

September 1-12, 2018
Our last volunteer week at the Lake Coralville Visitor Center was Labor Day week which went by quietly, with rain and kids going back to school there were few guests coming in. Wednesday afternoon we were once again free to travel. Thursday was spent getting laundry done and packing all set.

Friday morning we headed out, for the last time, from Sugar Bottom Recreation Area and headed west to Prairie Flower Recreation Area on Lake Saylorville in Ankeny IA. After an uneventful 130 mile ride we arrived and headed to site A14, electric only but we had come with water in our fresh water tank. After getting set up we took off for a walk, with the temps in the low 70’s and the humidity down it was time to get some steps in. Our walk ended up taking us by our friends Cindy & Paul’s place, we already had dinner plans but we stopped in any way since we couldn’t just walk by without saying hi. A quick visit, dinner plans firmed up and we headed home. Dinner that evening was at Watcha Smokin’ BBQ & Brew where the meal was okay and Dave really enjoyed the beer but the company was excellent. They gave us a few ideas of things to do over the next few days.
Site A14
Saturday we headed into Ankeny to check out their farmers market, picked up a few treats and of course forgot to get any pictures. We knew our friends Mark & Nancy wouldn’t be in till late afternoon so after a walk around the campground (5 miles) we headed out to check out the High Trestle Bridge Trail that Cindy and Paul had told us about. Iowa has lots of bike/walking trails and this trail follows the old railroad line. It’s a beautiful paved trail with a ½ mile bridge over the Des Moines River, with a mile walk from the parking lot to the bridge we were certainly getting our steps in.

By midafternoon Saturday our friends had arrived, dinner that evening was cooked over the fire, Wannadingers (think biscuits on a stick) made buns for brats and hot dogs.
Dave was having an issue with his Wannadinger

Mark's slightly burnt hot dog
Sunday morning we got more walking in, we then moved to site C84 (forgot to get a pic)  so we could be across the street from Mark and Nancy. We spent the rest of the day hanging around camp. About 7pm we headed back to the High Trestle Bridge Trail to see the bridge lit up at night.

Monday we spent once again around camp visiting and walking. That evening Cindy & Paul joined us all for a steak dinner followed by a fire. A great way to end our stay at Saylorville Lake. We won’t see Cindy and Paul for at least a year L, we’ve got plans in the works to see Mark & Nancy when we get back into the states after our time in Canada next summer.

Tuesday morning we were on the road about 9am for our 60 mile ride to Howell Station Recreation Area on Lake Red Rock. We didn’t like the site we’d reserved so moved to site 149 where we can get satellite tv, Verizon signal isn’t very strong but enough to do a little web surfing. We took a ride into Pella the nearby town, it’s home to Pella Windows and Vermeer Manufacturing. 

The town was settled by immigrants from Netherland and has a rich Dutch history. We took the time Wednesday to tour the Vermeer Mill and Pella Historical Village.

While walking around town we discovered the Jaarsma Bakery…oh my, good thing we’re back to walking every day. 

Surrounding the campground is the Volksweg Trail which we walked every day. The campground is below the dam so there was plenty of wildlife to see. 

 Off to MO, time to catch up with Curt & Glenda of Camp Lowry for 3 weeks of fun.
Until next time…

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Fun Times: Family, Friends, Food and Fixes

July 1-August 31, 2018
 The silver lining to leaving Durango CO early was the chance to see family and friends.
We’ve been fortunate to get two visits in with my folks who live about 280 miles away. We stay in our go to place of Forrest Bo Woods in Sullivan IL about 25 minutes from my folks house. This is our go to place to stay when we’re in the area. On our first visit we got to check out what’s new in Casey IL, a small town with big things. We also checked out a few of our favorite restaurants and helped my folks with some projects at their house.

Moonshine IL home of the Moon Burger. A favorite stop with the motorcycle clubs.

Casey IL the new big things.

On our second visit we celebrated my folk’s 60th anniversary!!! Again we did a few projects and also got a quick visit in with my 94 year old aunt.

Hope I look that good at 94
Our friends Paul and Cindy spend their summers near Des Moines IA at another COE project, Paul volunteers to cut grass. They took a ride over one day to check out our project and to see some COE friends who now work here. We’ll see them a few more times in the next few weeks J

Friends Mark & Nancy already had reservations at one of the other campgrounds around Coralville Lake. We had a fun few days visiting with them on our days off. As is the case when we see them, fun times going by way too quickly. We’ll be catching up with them when we leave here.

DuWayne and Jackie live in Prairie De Chein WI about 2 hours away. We decided to meet up for lunch at Potosi Brewery in WI. Great to see them, we’ll see them again when we get down to our place on the TX Gulf Coast.

Since we planted ourselves right in their path our friends Curt & Glenda, of the blog Camp Lowry: That's How We Roll stopped into see us. They were fortunate to get one of the best sites on the lake. Our few days were spent catching up, making plans for traveling together in September and doing a bit of the tourist thing.

Great friends, a campfire and beer-for some of us, doesn’t get better than that. 

We went to the Iowa Raptor Project which only a few miles from our place here at Sugar Bottom Campground.  While there we took a walk down to Lake McBride, along the way Curt and I found a geocache. It was a great place to get a few pictures in.

The Queens

And their consort 

We’ve made some new full timing friends this summer, Greg and Jill have been on the road for 6 years. They came to the park for a month and have been splitting wood and doing landscaping around Sugar Bottom. Their goal is to volunteer in all the lower 48 states. We’ve gotten some great info from them on different types of places to volunteer and workamping. We look forward to seeing them down the road somewhere one of these days.

We decided to play tourist with them so off to the John Deere Museum we went. An interesting museum made better by the personal tour we had with a great docent.

After the museum we headed to Antique Acres where there was an antique tractor show going on.

Being a Grand Design RV owner has brought many new friends into our lives. We’ve known Annette online for a while now. Recently they were passing through the area and stopped in for a few hours so we could finally meet in person. Conversation flowed with lots of laughter. Thanks Annette and Mike for stopping by, we look forward to our next meet up.

We’ve been pleasantly surprised at the quality of food we’ve found here in North Liberty. Iowa has some of the best sweet corn we’ve found anywhere, we’ve frozen up 2 one gallon bags full of it for enjoyment when we leave here.

We enjoyed four meals at Fiesta Mexican Restaurant and plan another meal there before we leave. Run by three brothers who know how to cook some great meals, we’ll be comparing future Mexican Restaurants to theirs.

Mirabito’s Italian Restaurant has become our go to Italian dinner place, just wish we had found them sooner. Between the specially Veal Parmigiana and Tiramisu, Stuffed Shells and Antipasto appetizer and the other things we tried on our second visit we highly recommend them if you’re in the area.  

As with any home there’s always fixing and upgrading to do to our home. Our entry steps recently broke, we decided to go replace them with MORryde step above steps. After reading the installation instructions on their website we ordered a set. Installation was quick and easy, they are sturdy and so much nicer than our stock steps.

Our 5th wheel has always been heavier and listed on the off door side. The slide on that side houses the refrigerator, pantry and entertainment center. We upgraded the springs on that side, the 5th wheel now rides much more level. Forgot to take pictures but it once we had all the parts the installation was relatively easy just messy.  
While not the summer we planned on, being here has worked out. The Visitor Center here though has been quite slow so the days are long but we’re thankful we found a volunteer position in the middle of the summer. Being here has afforded us the opportunity to enjoy Iowa for a few hot humid months. Our time is winding down here, we leave on 9/7 and will be exploring new places as we slowly head south to the TX Gulf Coast. We have a Grand Design Rally in San Antonio TX in late October. We plan to arrive at our place in TX on 11/15 where we spend a few months before we start a year of traveling.
Until next time…