Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Windy Exit

Friday September 30, 2011
Sugar Bottom Campground
Coralville Lake
North Liberty, Iowa


Yesterday, Thursday, when we awoke for the last time
in the parking lot of the Winnebago Visitors Center,
the winds were, as predicted,
25-35 with gusts from 40-64.
But, like they were when we left the badlands,
they were coming from the NW
and luckily we were going SE. 
So we lit out for the tailwinds
at about 10:15am


We stopped for gas and to have lunch about 2 hours
into the 195 mile trip
and then once more
when my kayak with the rudder started
moving back and forth in front of the windshield. 
We tightened the straps,
pulled back out in front of the winds
and drove in to Sugar Bottom Campground
about 3:30. 

We set up in Site 302 right next
to our friends Dennis and Holly Ann Rogers
who had told us about this
and even called with directions this morning.  
Are they nice or what???

We sat around with them and Miss Gypsy for a while
with their Vectra buffeting the winds for us
talking of this and that.



Dennis has a “sacred hour”  at 5:30 when the news comes on. 
He was a columnist for the Raleigh News for many years.
So I guess the “bad news” as I call it is still in his blood.  :-)
Time for dinner so we left him to it.

This is a Corps of Engineers campground on Coralville Lake
outside of  North Liberty Iowa just north of Iowa City. 
One of several campgrounds in the really large
recreation area around the lake. 

We have Full hook ups and a LEVEL concrete patio
for $24 a night  ($12 if you are a senior).  
Looks like it’s going to be a great place to stay
for its last 4 nights of the season.  
It closes Monday so we’ll be moving on then.

We’d definitely stay longer if we could.
But before we go, we hope to take advantage of
some of the MANY things to do here.
Hiking trails (well not me probably but maybe David)
biking trails (not sure about this but I might try)
kayaking (yeah! just let those winds die down)
and the Fossil Gorge.  
More about that after we see it.



I’ve been corresponding recently with one of my followers, 
a fellow hiker/biker/runner/RVer Jude Langhurst. 
When she found we would be in the Iowa City vicinity,
she wanted to get together.  
So we’ve planned to meet at the Prairie Lights Bookstore
tomorrow for coffee and pastries.  
She’ll then be off for a long week-end bike ride
and we hope to explore this park.  
And also hope the winds tone down by then.



This morning, Friday, I lazed around reading before
setting out for the Prairie Lights Bookstore.
Seems appropriate doesn’t it??

This is one of the GREAT independent bookstores
left in this country which seems to prefer Barnes & Noble
and the Kindle to real books.  Well everyone that is but
me and the folks at Prairie Lights.





The bookstore has a very nice cafe
which served great pecan rolls, my favorite,
and apple coffee cake made from local apples which
Jude and David had.


We had such a fine time talking with this
kindred spirit that neither of us thought
to take a picture of the 3 of us.
shame shame……all the more reason to see her again.
BUT here is a picture she sent me of her and
husband Val when they took their Class B
Pleasure Way – just like Nancy & Bill’s – in
August to Glacier and left JUST before I broke my ankle.
Good timing Jude!


Grinnell Glacier Montana - Aug 14, 2011

And here’s one of the cafe we took
AFTER she had left to pack up for her biking adventure
and we remembered the camera was around.




We’d had to put the car in a metered space
since we were just on time to meet Jude
so when she left, David went out to move it
while I spent LOTS of time looking around
the bookstore.

This is a GREAT bookstore which has readings
nearly every night as well as a fabulous collection
of books you want to read in every genre.
If you are in the Iowa City area, don’t miss it.
They are an endangered species at this point!




I found the perfect book for
Duckie’s and Roamin to read when they get together. 
Looks interesting don’t you think.
No matter what your interest
Prairie Lights has you covered. 




We stopped on the way home at the
Coralville Lake Visitor’s Center and
saw their excellent film on the 1993
flood and discovery of the Devonian Fossils
and the 2008 flood which really devastated
this whole area but enlarged the fossil beds.

Who knew??

I also had no idea that the Geode was Iowa’s State Rock
or that there were so many of them in SE Iowa
where we are now.

Wouldn’t you like to pick up a plain looking
rather round rock like this




And find quartz crystal formations  inside?




I also bought a book from the center called
Camping with the Corps of Engineers.
It is the 7th edition printed in 2007 and
they didn’t know if there was an updated
one coming out soon or not but
this one looked very helpful to me since
it lists all the COE campgrounds by state
with a map of each state showing the campground
locations and symbols showing
what services are available.

This does not contain National Forest Campgrounds
just COE.  But it will be helpful I know in planning
our stays on the road.  I’m sure all of this is
available on line as well but it’s quick and easy
to look things up here.


From there we went down to see the Devonian Fossil Beds.



There is a nice patio with information signs all done
on Limestone rock.


And this one with a very clear warning
to those pesky defamers of national treasurers



We learned that Iowa was once south of the equator
and was covered by warm, shallow seas
similar to the Caribbean Sea today. 
The Devonian age fossils are almost 200 million
years older than the dinosaurs.

During the summers of 1993 and 2008, Coralville Lake
exceeded the maximum capacity
and excess water flowed over the emergency spillway. 
The 1993 overflow continued for 28 days
and reached 17,200 cubic feet per second
washing away a road,
a campground
and removing up to 17 feet of soil and rock
exposing the Devonian bedrock
that became the Devonian Fossil Gorge. 
In 2008, floodwaters again swept through the gorge,
with flow reaching 19,500 cubic feet per second
widening the gorge significantly and causes millions
of damages to homes and businesses.


We walked SLOWLY down into the gorge.
The fossils were amazing and everywhere.
Here is just some of what we saw.







So cool looking at these ancient, I mean REALLY ancient,
sea creatures preserved in stone.










We came back home and had dinner.
About an hour or so after that David went out
for a run around the campground.

He took a picture of Coralville Lake in
the beginning of fall in Iowa.
Hope to get out for some kayaking in the next couple of days.



You can trade full hook ups for electricity only
and a site on the water.




I think this is the site David wants next time.
Or maybe he thought it was the one I’d want. :-)




This large campground was  empty in a lot of places.



And that’s about it for our first day at
Sugar Bottom.   Aint’ Life Grand!!!

Got the Call

Wednesday September 28, 2011Winnebago
Forest City Iowa

Yesterday, Tuesday, David went out running
around the local park
where they have a campground with
sites right along the river
$15 a night for electric

and the most dump sites (10) we’ve ever seen
anywhere we’ve stayed.


Here’s the Winnebago River
where they have a brand new 27 mile
Water trail.  We’re thinking of
giving some of that a try tomorrow.



Hmmmm wonder what you do about this part
of the trail?   Portage I guess. 


For such a small town this park is amazing.
Cool bridge connecting the two sides of the park
Golf Course

for the dangerous sport of golf

Frisbee Golf Course

And a playground with a vintage
rocking rocket and swing sets
which looks like they have had
some serious use


A nice bike path


They also have what looks like their
own carnival rides for whenever they
want to celebrate.




This is a GREAT little park for such a small town.
David was actually gone for an hour and a half.
And he really  doesn’t like running.
He only goes because it’s pretty difficult
to play racquet ball on the road.

While he was running,  I did my elastic band ankle exercises.
Last day at Winnebago 004  
And tried not to gain more weight.
HA!  See later references to Scoopy Doo!
He came back, had breakfast and then
changed the fuel filter and topped off
the differential oil which was down a quart.
And now his clothes smell so much like oil
they have been banished to the basement.
Last day at Winnebago 008
I finished reading a book that was given to me by
another full timer in Glacier when I first broke my ankle
She actually gave me two.
We had totally different reactions to them.
I really liked John Fowle’s The Ebony Tower
which she didn’t finish.
And she really liked The Master of Desires by Judith Merkle Riley
which I just finished but wouldn’t recommend..

I’ve always been a big reader and
usually read about 100 books a year.
Until this year. 
I’m at 25 so far.
But I’m picking up speed now that
I’m not having nearly so much fun outside.

But I also had a chocolate peanut butter malt
at Scoopy Doo.
(and thought of you Bill )
So glad to be back in malt territory.
Not sure how any ice cream shop can
possibly serve milk shakes but not malts.

This was visit #2 to this wonderful ice cream parlor
with its terrific proprietress
Julie Stahr Keeley who
refers to herself as a “scoopologist”
Don’t you love it??
Last day at Winnebago 009

I mailed my soon to be 91 year old father a birthday card
and picked up some groceries.
We checked with Winnebago who


they checked with HWH and the part is


to come in tomorrow so we


be right on schedule to have the work done on Thursday.


that happens then I’ll start


they can finish it in that one day and


not to think about those $100 hours ticking off.

This morning at 7:10 the phone rang and
it was Michael at Winnebago asking if we could
bring Winnona in at 9:00.  The part had come in.
WOW!!!   EARLY!!

OK then…….we’ll be there.

We were there at 8:55, they came and got her at 9:20
and say they’ll have two guys working on her to
get her done today.  OH NO - $100/hr X 2??

Looks like can be on our way a day earlier than we had
thought.   That’s GREAT! 
But when I walked into the Service Center Waiting Room
the weather gal was saying STRONG winds all day
tomorrow.  So maybe not!
Guess we’ll see what it looks like tomorrow.

We’d planned to go next to a COE campground about 200
miles from here and it would definitely be better
to get there on a Thursday than a Friday mid afternoon.

I sat around and talked with a fun group
of folks
 Last day at Winnebago 001
and Lucky the cat who was
pretty sure he did not want
this lady to pet him,
Last day at Winnebago 002

while David went out hunting for
the best price on fluids to do the oil and filter changes.
He also dropped his oily clothing into a washing machine
at the Laundromat.

Big day here in Forest City
(drum roll please)
at 2:50 out came Mitch
with the declaration that she was
ready to go.  After discussing the parts,
the labor and every thing else,
we paid the bill  -  CHOKE
and brought her back to her spot for her
7th night here at Camp Winnebago.

To Celebrate, after dinner,  we went back to
Scoopy Doos
where I had a double scoop hot fudge Sundae
with chocolate peanut butter ice cream,
Reece’s peanut butter cups on it
AND whipped cream and a cherry!!
They do sundaes right!!
mmmmm was it GOOD
David, the not SO ice cream lover, had
one scoop of Rum Black Cherry
which he also declared to be great!

Tomorrow we are on our way
to Coralville Lake COE Park
near Iowa City, Iowa.


the predicted 30-45mph winds for tomorrow
don’t actually show up.
Otherwise, well……….
we may just go back to
Sally’s for more pie
Scoopy Doos
for more ice cream.
(If you leave now Bill you might be able to make it!!)

Last day at Winnebago 011A
Last day at Winnebago 010A