Our Own Field of Dreams in Iowa

The set field from the movie, Field of Dreams, is near by; in fact Tracy used to enjoy visiting it, but now we hear buses of tourists stop there. Here, in the city park of the small town of Elkader, we have our own field of dreams campground.

All-star Friends

The anchor of the dream team here is, of course, Tracy’s best friend Dave and his wife Deb. I wrote about them back when we visited Deb’s brewery in Elkader last year. They just re-opened their brewery tasting room this past weekend after having wisely sold bottles and cans of beer curbside during the worst of Covid 19, so they’ve been busy as heck every day, but they’ve stopped by our campsite at least once a day to visit and share beer that they currently have on tap.

I spent so much time so far on this trip meeting up with old friends, and now it’s Tracy’s turn. What a joy it is to see him so happy and relaxed. Not that we’re not usually happy and relaxed (we are retired, after all), but there’s that to-the-core relaxation you get around old friends when you’ve dropped your guard fully and are just yourself. Turns out that’s as rewarding to watch as it is to experience.

All-star Campsite

One reason we keep getting primo campsites at this tiny city campground—a short walk to Deb’s Brewtopia—is that, when Dave’s not helping with the brewery, he’s working for the city; in the summer he maintains the city grounds, including our campground. So he’s our in. The first time we visited, he’d picked out the best site for us and was here to guide us in when we arrived. This second time, he ID’d the rowdy section and steered us clear. He’s the best campground host we’ve ever had, which is pretty funny as this campground has no official host.

It’s really small with vaguely defined sites among large trees, and a lot of the RVs are parked all summer so people visit on the weekends or bring their kids/grandkids to the city pool. Because we arrived on a Sunday and are leaving on Thursday, we’re mostly missing those people and have parked kind of in the middle of a four-lot space.

We’re situated with an unobstructed view of the city baseball field, so in the evenings as the setting sun colors the Iowa sky, we watch the school games and listen to the parents cheer. It’s perfect.

All-star City Park

Of course I don’t live here, so I’m not privy to town politics or have to make a living here or any of the usual reality checks. From my touristy view, this place is peachy keen. Pansy-filled wagons are scattered about, and cottonwood trees float their fluff down around us all afternoon. I took the photo up top during one of Banjo and my morning walks; the “Elkader Horse Barn” is on the park grounds, and a guy who lives in town exercises his cart horses on a track around the football stadium in the mornings.

The Turkey River flows through town with a pedestrian walkway along it; it becomes Pony Hollow Trail as it leaves town into the woods. I’ve been working out on that trail each afternoon, stepping aside as a group of chatting women pass and then a guy on a small tractor. I think I love Iowa.

New Addition to Our Home

Big excitement in our little world: We’ve started a traveling herb garden. Tracy’s been cooking a lot lately (thank you, Tracy) and he misses his herb garden back at the old sticks-and-bricks house, so we’ve come up with a solution.

We bought starter herbs here at the garden center in Elkader and are going to grab larger pots and dirt from friends while we’re here. We’ll arrange the pots in this bin, and we’ll move it outside when we arrive at a new campsite, then pack it back up in the shower (aka closet) for travel.

I took this photo of the shower with the bin in it pre-herbed so I would have a reference to the Tetris-style packing I managed in that tight space. I do still have to fit the dehumidifier in there, and when my tiny house is close to being finished (bottom left), I have to flip that bin so the larger part’s on the bottom and it tapers up. I dunno if that’s going to fit, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

This tiny house is hard to work on and looks like crap so far. It’s just too detailed with indecipherable instructions. I already put two hanging lamps in the wrong place (and had glued the wiring between the flooring and ceiling). Maybe I’ll get the hang of this as I go; I’ve barely begun.

I haven’t wanted to work on it here, maybe is the problem. I did so to finish the frame so I could fit the whole thing in its bin—and then know what size bin the herbs would fit in beside it in the shower. But who would want to weave tiny bits of twine into a hot-air-balloon basket to make a lamp the size of dice when you could be enjoying your own field of dreams?

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