Saturday, July 11, 2009

Back on the road, Leaving Dodgeville, WI

As happens so often in the RV world, when you plan to leave, it starts raining. So it was Friday morning for us. But we had restored, packed or whatever you call it on Thursday evening, so we had little to do other than our bag of clothes and some food that Beth wanted us to take. (She subscribes to a food source called "Consumers Supporting Agriculture" and gets a garden package every week.) The package is enough greens for a family of 4 for a week, so a family of one (herself) has an excess of everything.

Since she had left at 6 AM already, there was nothing to cause us to linger around, we were on the road early (in the rain). It soon tapered off to a mist and then nothing, but there were lots of overhead threatening clouds until we neared Prairie du chien and our grocery stop at Walmart. It took a while but Sandy did a nice job of refilling the rig so that we're good for another week.

It was then on to Iowa and Effigy Mounds National Monument. We've been there before, but a friend of ours volunteers there, so it was a convenient place to meet. (Their house is not on an RV friendly road.) We met Jerry and Connie Mays years ago in Marion at our church. They are recently retired and loving it. We went to lunch at a small restaurant in a wide spot on the road called Rossville, about 10 miles west of the monument. What a delightful place. Jerry is a "people person" and told us all about the owners, the town and people around the town. (And he has only been a retiree living there for a few months.)

After lunch (nicely done), we went out to an Amish bakery northeast of the town. (I didn't know there were Amish in that part of Iowa.) I eyed the cinnamon sweet roll pie tin with 6 rolls in it and knew better and decided to take a loaf of whole wheat bread. But Sandy came through for me and picked up the sweet roll package. She limited me to just a half a roll last night and was it delicious (sweet, sticky and a great flavor). Not only is the baker a great cook, but she is a very productive mother, with 15 healthy children and my guess would be that #16 is in the hanger. I guess some people are like rabbits, they just keep happening.

Jerry first met the family when he had their retirement home built in the Marquette area. It was done by Amish craftsman working for the developer and his wife, the interior designer. And what a home they have. It is kind of like buying an RV, they acquired the home and all of the interior furnishings as a complete integrated package, all well coordinated. I kidded them a little bit that it would be hard to put wheels under it so that they could be south in the winter so that they could continue doing volunteer work with the various parks. Jerry is a real people person and loves giving tours at the mounds and meeting people.

When you're having fun, time moves so fast and before we knew it, the day was well spent and we had to get moving on up the road. So regrettably, we parted company with a commitment to stop in again. We then trucked on up the road to stop in the city campground at Decorah, IA. But to our surprise, it was FULL and we were turned away. Next stop, on up the road to the little town of Cresco, a county seat with a fairgrounds. Thankfully, the fair is not this weekend and we nearly have the grounds to ourselves (2 other rigs here and both appear to be vacant.) The grounds are immaculately trimmed. Cresco has a division of Featherlite trailer manufacturing here, as well as a division of Donaldson, a printing company (I think). Both may be suffering some economically, but there was a lot of truck traffic at Donaldson's last night and there is activity this morning at Featherlite (on Saturday).

We're taking our time getting started this morning, as we have a short run to get to Forest City and the Winnebago GNR rally. (Sign in is not till 1 PM.) Then it is renew old friendships and sit tight for 2 weeks. From the reports we've heard, we were lucky to not have arrived earlier, as they have had much wind and rain the last few days. An RV is just not the place to be in stormy weather.

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