Hi all -- Dianne here. From Sioux Falls, South Dakota we traveled halfway across southern Minnesota, then south on I-35 almost to Des Moines. We wanted to check out another Corps of Engineers campground. This time we made reservations at Prairie Flower Corps of Engineers campground on Saylorville Lake, which is just north of Des Moines, Iowa. Our site is VERY spacious, grassy, with a view of the
lake and a tall grass prairie behind our site. (Perfect for a little bird watching!)
Our intention was to take a three-day mini vacation before we head back to Indiana to slave in our sticks-and-bricks yard to keep it ready for sale.
We'll explain our title "Jasper's Warning" a little later. Actually, we had THREE warnings here in Iowa, which I'll describe below.
Warning #1 is actually Chaplin's new reflex. Early in our full-timing adventure, Chaplin had the unfortunate experience of being sound asleep on the
couch underneath one of the overhead cabinets -- you know what comes next! After being on the road for a while, it's common for things to leap out at you from the cabinets the first time they are opened. Poor Chap got bonked on the head by a falling package of something-or-other. Ever since then, even if he's SOUND ASLEEP, he leaps off the couch
every time one of these overhead cabinets are opened. Roger managed to capture it on the camera while we were in Iowa, so we thought we'd include it for you. Note Chaplin's tail tucked firmly between his legs in the "scared to death" position.
Warning #2 was Jasper's warning. I looked over at him and saw that he was on
"high alert" looking out the window. Here's what I saw when I checked to see what he was looking at. Those of you who know whippets, know that they were used years ago
to hunt rabbits. That instinct is still very strong in our oldest son!! His warning went unheeded, and here's what we found the next morning on our patio -- My parsley snipped off to nubbins
and the stems and leaves laying on the ground. Roger actually caught Mr. Bunny in the act and got a photo through the
screen door. If we'd been smart, we would have moved lemon tree and its associated herbs indoors after spotting the bunny rabbit!! Oh well, the parsley was getting too big anyway, and Uncle Wiggily books were my favorite as a little child,
so I have trouble being mad at bunny rabbits for doing what comes naturally to them.
Warning #3 was a bit more serious. Sunday evening a batch of strong storms moved through the area. We turned on the local Iowa weather station (using our batwing antenna -- don't dismantle those if you get a satellite!!). The sky looked a little ominous
earlier. Watching the local weather, we saw that the conditions were deteriorating and the storm was headed our way. We pulled in our slide-outs, stowed the satellite and batwing, put the cat in his carrier, the dogs in the car, and high-tailed it to the bath house to ride out the storm. The sky looked really ominous, with a wall cloud and wispy rotations. We met a couple already there (from Iowa -- they know to take these things seriously). As we were entering the bath house, we heard the tornado warning sirens go off. The other couple had their little dog with them, too, and luckily all four animals got along well and they didn't mind that we showed up with our menagerie.
When we peeked out the door of the bath house,
the wind and rain looked like we were in the middle of a car wash. Then it started to hail. I remember our new Iowa friends saying to us, "Welcome to Iowa in June."
The hail luckily was small and did no damage. When the all-clear sirens sounded, we went back home to find our motor home intact, and even a little cleaner than when we left!! There was a small tree down at one of the camp sites, but I saw no other damage right here. I checked the internet the next day for the report of the storm, and they did spot a tornado on the ground just west of here!! There were reports of a trailer being blown across a parking lot, trees and power lines down, and more just to our west. I think we were very lucky Sunday night! We learned an important lesson: to take these things seriously, and not hesitate to vacate to the bath house or shelter. We felt pretty safe in there, as it was a block building and seemed very sturdy.
Today was our last day here at Saylorville lake. Yesterday was cold and rainy, so we stayed inside and read books and worked on our blog. Today was a lovely day, sunny and low 70s. We took the dogs for a 3 1/2 mile walk this morning down a bike trail next to the campground. It was early, about 8:00 a.m., and the birds were in full song. Wildflowers
We saw a deer in the middle of the path. It looked at us and promptly jumped into the woods, so I couldn't photograph it. My boys were really excited about the deer, and got some good sniffing done when we reached the spot where we had seen it.
The trail has an off-shoot
(an abandoned road) which goes to the beach at Saylorville Lake. Roger gives it the "ugliest beach"
award, but I'm sure it feels good on a hot day. There are large piles of dead wood piled here and there. I know they had serious floods here last spring and wonder if these were remnants of that. Anyway, during our stay, we had noticed fellow campers coming back from the beach laden down with firewood from these piles. Since our plan today included a campfire,
I had a lot of fun picking up an armful of kindling from the pile. It did burn really well!
Roger here... Dianne was like a little kid at the pile of driftwood. The pyro-queen was in her full glory. If we had had a U-Haul, she would have loaded the entire pile into it to drag back to Indiana. (She exhibits the same kind of behavior when she sees a rock that she likes - just like Lucy in the old movie, The Long, Long Trailer).
We spent a restful
afternoon tending our campfire and bird watching (me and Charlie), reading (Roger), and sleeping (the dogs). I saw several Baltimore orioles and a new-to-me Dickcissel. There is also a bird house right next to our camp site in the prairie grass with a family of tree swallows in residence.
It was fun to watch their aerial acrobatics.
Tomorrow morning we break camp and make our way to the KOA in Mt. Comfort, Indiana for one night (Thursday). We have an appointment early Friday morning to get new Bilstein shocks for the motor home. From there we'll go back to Mounds State Park and spend our days working at our house in Pendleton. You might not hear from us for a few days, as we'll be "working like dogs" in the yard.
Unless, of course, we have something more interesting to write about than pulling weeds!