The latter part of June and most of July was spent trying to stay one step ahead of disaster. After leaving Big Woods we stayed at Blachawk County Park just a mile away. A few nights later a thunderstorm came through with 70 mph winds. About 7:30 pm that evening the tornado sirens sounded and all the campers, along with their pets, headed for the main bath house. We huddled together in the showers until the worst of the storm passed through. We put Smoke in his carrier as we fled the camper, and he was very tolerant of being cooped up for over an hour.
Branches were down everywhere as we drove back. David had to pull a large branch away from the door so we could get inside. It had poked a small hole in the door, and several in our outdoor mat. Otherwise, we were very lucky to have survived the storm with almost no damage. It continued raining all night, and by morning, the nearby river was rapidly rising. The ranger advised all campers to leave. As we made our way out to the freeway on Lone Tree Road, we saw quite a bit of storm damage from the high winds. Several roofs were patched with tarps, many trees were down, and power was out in parts of the Cedar Falls area. We decided to head for Hickory Hills in LaPorte City as our next family camp out was at that park in a few days.
We enjoyed visiting with Ranger Al, some of the regulars at this campground, and had a great time with family that weekend. The weather was mostly sunny and warm.
June 24th, we left Hickory Hills and headed for Grant River in Potosi WI. We planned to stay there until July 3rd, when several in the family had reservations at a campground in Charles City, Iowa. Our aunt and uncle were having a 60th anniversary party at their home, a short ride away. During our time at Grant River, the water was high, but flooding wasn’t expected along that area of the River. The campground was filling up quickly by the end of June, all the reserved sites had been taken for the July 4th weekend, and people were bringing in campers to the walk in sites.
Meantime, the dreaded fish flies had moved in by droves, covering campers and trees and making it almost unbearable to sit outside very long. It rained several days in a row. The river got higher, water creeping up the banks. By July 1st, a couple of the lowest sites were under water, and the camp host told everyone that evening the campground would be closing July 2nd. The electric would be turned off at 8AM that morning.
We got up at 6:00am, and couldn’t believe how much the water had risen overnight; several of the roads in the campground were under water, several inches deep. It didn’t take long to pack up camp as we had put everything away outside the night before.
July 2, 6:00 AM
We headed north and west, stopping for the night at a small campground in Clermont, then at the R Campground in Charles City where we spent several days. Some of Joan’s brothers and sisters camped with us. Besides enjoying an aunt and uncle’s 60th wedding anniversary, there was time to attend several of the July 4th events in Charles City, do a little shopping, and have coffee downtown. July was turning out to be a good month after all.