We made it into Iowa April 17, and stopped at a campground near Mount Pleasant, Iowa for one night. Then we headed to the Coralville Lake area south of Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. There are several Corp of Engineer Campgrounds on this lake, and three opened April 15th. We chose Tailwater West which had cement pads and electric/water sites, and a few full hookup sites. We stayed at this campground for several days, notified various family members that we were going to be there through Easter weekend. We had visits from quite a few of Joan’s brothers and sisters that weekend. It was SO GOOD to see family again; we had really missed them over the long winter away. For the most part, the weather was sunny although windy and not quite as warm as we would have liked. We did have a campfire a couple of times during our stay, which we really enjoy doing. Went for several walks, a bike ride one day, and did some shopping in the Coralville area. David was so happy to be in a HyVee grocery store again, as he really likes their produce and deli departments.
After leaving Coralville, we headed to George Wyth State Park in the Cedar Falls area. We had been corresponding with Blackhawk County Parks before we left Arizona to ask about volunteer camp host openings for Summer 2014. We heard back from the ranger for Big Woods and Blackhawk parks in early April, giving us open dates for camp hosts. We had signed up for an opening at Big Woods from June 1-15th. We got the phone number for the ranger in charge of Hickory Hills and called him shortly before we got into Iowa. We met him at Hickory Hills April 21st and signed up for the weeks of May 18-31, and again in August 1-17. We are looking forward to our camp host weeks, and to having a free RV site with full hookups for the weeks we are hosting. At Hickory Hills we will keep the main bathrooms cleaned and trash emptied, and will sell firewood. At Big Woods we will sell firewood, and help keep bathrooms clean and stocked with toilet paper.
While staying at George Wyth, we visited with Joan’s brother Lyle and his wife Cindy. We enjoyed spending time with the couple who had camped most often with us through the years, in good weather and in bad. Often, we would camp with them early, or late in the camping season-before the bathrooms were open or after they had closed. The weather this spring is much cooler than usual. We are thinking we should have stayed in Arizona longer, and shouldn’t have come back to Iowa so soon!
We left George Wyth state park April 23rd, and stopped at Swiss Valley Park outside Dubuque. This is a county park only a few miles west of Dubuque, located in a valley in a somewhat protected area; there are several rainy and stormy days predicted toward the end of the month. The bathrooms have just recently opened, and we found an electric/water site close to the bathroom. We have our yearly physicals scheduled for May 2nd, a family graduation May 4th, and want to stay in the area long enough to get various goals completed. Smoke has his yearly checkup on April 29th and we want to visit with David’s sister and husband and some of our friends we haven’t seen for a long time. We plan to stay at Swiss Valley until May 5th, and then head for the Corp of Engineers park in Potosi Wisconsin, which is about 15 miles from Dubuque.