Thursday, September 5, 2013

Week 4 -- Des Moines, Iowa

We made it across Missouri in two days, with an overnight stop at a KOA campground in Oak Grove, west of Kansas City.  There’s a lot to enjoy in the State of Missouri...we’ll just have to do it another time.  It’s strange to say when we’re planning to be on the road for three months, but each time we stop there are more things to do than we had anticipated.  The time just flies by, and I can hardly believe that it’s September.  

Our first stop was just outside of Des Moines at the Bob Shetler COE Park on Saylorville Lake.  Actually, our campground was on the Des Moines River beside the tailwaters of the lake.  There is plenty of fishing in the area, but catfish seems to be what most are hoping to catch.  As for John and me, we’re saving ourselves for trout.

We really liked this park.  It was flooded a couple of years ago and has been rebuilt.  The large concrete pads are wonderful, and the sites in our area by the river had plenty of shade and nice green lawns.

There are also wonderful hike and bike trails adjacent to the park, and big grassy areas where dogs can play fetch or take a dip in the river.

Our first excursion was a short trip south to see the Bridges of Madison County, made famous by the book and movie of the same name.  (If you don’t remember the story, the book is still available, as well as the movie starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood.)

We were able to see four of the six remaining covered bridges in the county.  There were supposedly more than fifty at one time, but most have been washed away or burned.  The bridges were originally covered to prevent deterioration of the heavy timbers used in the bridges themselves.  Area farmers did most of the work to satisfy the obligation they had at the time to pay a poll tax.  The six remaining bridges, several of which have been relocated to better preserve them, have been refurbished and stabilized.  The ones we saw are shown below.

Hogback Bridge (1884)

Hogback Bridge Interior
Cutler-Donahoe Bridge

Cutler-Donahoe Bridge Interior
Holliwell Bridge (1880)

Holliwell Bridge Interior

Note posted in Holliwell Bridge
Imes Bridge (1870)

We had lunch at the Northside Cafe, which was featured in the movie.  Although we didn't sit on the fourth stool from the front, which was occupied by Clint Eastwood in the movie, we did have killer hamburgers.  John's featured Maytag Blue Cheese, which is made in nearby Newton, Iowa.

On Friday night we had a real treat.....we attended a high school football game.  The Valley Tigers vs. the Waukee Warriors!  

The really special part of the evening was seeing our cousin, Travis Moore, play trombone for the first time with the Valley Marching Band.  

On Saturday, my cousin, Jan Moore and her family visited us at the RV park.  Carrie Beth had a good time playing in the park...

...while the Bagley Pack got acquainted with their Cousin Payton.

Afterwards, with dogs safely parked at home, we had great BBQ at Jethro’s.

John and I split a three-meat dinner.  After I took my part and John ate all he could hold, the plate still looked like this!  We didn’t go away hungry!

It was a wonderful week.   We had a great time.  We were sorry to miss Jan and Andy's two older sons, Wesley and Travis, who were away at college, but enjoyed our time with the rest of the family.

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