Iowa all over the Place

Iowa is a big state (to me at least, with its big sky and vast farms), but we always manage to hit several towns when we’re here. Below are shots from Elkader, Harper’s Ferry, Cedar Falls, and Waterloo.

The Meeter’s Herb Garden

Our last couple of days in Elkader we spent doing maintenance work on the trailer (and washing it), thanks to Dave and Deb having been our package delivery service. Thanks, again, guys! Spending a bit of time with us when they could spare it was the real treat, though.

Aren’t we a bunch of classy campers? This is Iowa-style: as long as everyone’s smiling, it’s all good.

I’ve mentioned before that Dave’s parents live in Harper’s Ferry, Iowa, which I love because, for about a decade, I lived in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. They’ve retired right on the Mississippi River, and man is it low right now.

We spent an afternoon catching up with them and talking about how their family has faired over the pandemic, plus being profoundly thankful that they and their children and grandchildren all got through it healthy.

Their house has a magnificent view of the river: here’s Earl Meeter and Tracy assessing the garden and how it’s been damaged by an unusual lack of rain.

Nevertheless, they did have extra pots and compost/soil for us, so we started the traveling herb garden. Thanks, Pat and Earl!

So far so good. (LOL it’s been three days.)

Hot as Hell

Cedar Falls is where Tracy grew up, so we headed to the campground we stayed at last, Big Woods Lake, and man is it a totally different scene now. It’s dry and hot. The prairies around the lake are pretty much devoid of flowers. The earth is hard.

Our first couple of days here, we struggled to keep the trailer and the fridge cool. It’s not like we were desperate to sit inside (in fact we did not, because we would have just added our heat to the inside temp).

Our worry was that the trailer would soak up so much heat from the direct sun, and its temp would increase inside to such an extent that the ac would throw in the towel and give up. So we shut all the blinds, tried to go in and out as little as possible, and sat outside and sweltered.

The sun was hitting the side of the trailer that has the fridge against it, and we could see the temp of the fridge rise and rise and rise. So we put up our batik as a sun shade and Tracy rigged a fan to blow behind the fridge compressor. The fridge did survive!

If we’d had a water connection (we don’t; we didn’t get into the campground in time to get a spot with water), we would have run a drip hose over the trailer to cool down the sides. I think the heat wave has passed us though, and there’s a bit of a breeze, so the trailer feels like it won’t combust!

Finally: that top image. Three friends from high school. Three guys who grew up (mostly, ha). Tom now lives in Missouri, where we visited him last year, and he heroically drove up here for the weekend to see us this go-round. Mark lives in Cedar Falls and took a break from the My Waterloo Festival—where his Mustang was escorting Elvis in the town parade—to hang with us for a beer in Waterloo, one town over from Cedar Falls.

These guys, plus a load more, are coming to the trailer for a bratwurst cookout this afternoon. Wish us luck not getting in trouble with the camphost! Nah, what am I thinking? This is Iowa. Seems like as long as everyone’s smiling, it’s all good.

PS: Banjo has big news about her internet stardom that I will announce in the next installment. Stay tuned.