Saturday, July 31, 2010

Iowa - Elk Horn Windmill & Prairie Rose State Park

The next day we got up and back on the road. We crossed the mighty Mississippi, then a lot of highway as we drove across the huge state of Iowa. This was the state that we were least familiar with so we were a little anxious so see what it was like. Pretty much immediately we noticed that the landscape had changed and that we definitely were not close to home anymore. Where we live in western NY state there is a fair amount of agriculture but this was different, there's a lot more sky and tree's are getting scarce. Across most of the state the low rolling hills are consistent and really beautiful. The hills reminded me a bit of being in a small boat on the ocean when you can't see very far over the crests of the waves that seem larger than you, only here there's corn! As we got close to the western edge of the state we called ahead to check site availability at Wilson Island State Park on the Missouri River and learned that the campground was closed due to flooding. Forced to modify our plans we decided to stop to see a Danish Windmill in a town called Elk Horn. It was pretty quiet in Elk Horn but the windmill was pretty cool and it reminded me a lot of one on Cape Cod that I visited as a kid. From there we made our way to Prairie Rose State Park, a sort of oasis in the area. There's a nice lake with fishing, a swimming area, and more trees than we'd seen for quite a while. We found this park to be full of unoccupied 5th wheels that were squatting on sites waiting for the upcoming Independence Day weekend. Even though there we trailers everywhere we had only a few actual neighbors, one had a really unique Big Foot brand fiberglass trailer that is a bit like a giant Scamp or Boler, to me it looked like it has good potential to be a cool vintage trailer sometime in the future.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fisherman's Corner Campground on the Mississippi River - Illinois

After spending several hours at the RV/MH Museum we continued west. As far as traffic goes, this would prove to be the worst we would see on the trip. Several interstates come together just south of Chicago and it's not really someplace that you want to tow your vintage trailer through. It was bad enough that on future trips we will likely plan detours to avoid the area. Eventually my knuckles got their color back and we arrived at Fisher's Corner Campground on the Mississippi River in the Davenport/Quad Cities area. This campground is run by the Army Corp of Engineers and it was perfect for our overnight stop. Most of the RV's at this campground were class A buses, but there was another small yet more modern Shasta on a nearby site that stood out almost as much as we did.

RV/MH Hall of Fame, Elkhart IN

On the second day we made our first sightseeing stop at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana. My father-in-law had given me a magazine clipping about this museum a few years ago when we were just getting started on our trailer and it's been someplace we've wanted to stop by ever since. If you're interested in old trailers this is the place. It's a lot like going to a vintage trailer rally, but it's a little odd that there are no owners with each trailer to tell all their stories. It was amazing to see some really old stuff built by Covered Wagon, Schult, and Spartan in person. There was one Shasta in the collection, a 1954 model that was pretty similar inside to our '63 considering that it's 9 years older. I've posted some more photos from the museum in a set from our trip on Flickr that I'll keep adding to as I get to it. If you are ever traveling through Elkhart the museum is a an easy stop, it's right off the interstate and worth making some time for!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pokagon State Park, Indiana

For day 1 of the trip our focus was on getting some distance between us and home, however we won't ever cover as many miles as a lot of folks. I plotted the entire trip using google maps and spent a lot of time looking at paper maps for each state. My wife cashed in on our AAA membership and gave me a huge box of maps, tour books, and camp books covering every state we might touch during the trip. Over the course of several months I revised an itinerary that ended up with no single day's drive being over 6 and a half hours according to google and this put us just over the Ohio border into Indiana on the first night. The days travel went extremely well with only a half hour of torrential rain just before we got to the campground but no issues with the trailer. Pokagon State Park looked to be a pretty nice place, but in honesty we pretty much just slept and ate there. It was a rainy Sunday night and campground was empty, the tall trees in the wooded sites made the Shasta look pretty small. Three weeks later on the return trip we would discover that Pokagon is more popular than this first impression made it seem.

Monday, July 19, 2010

4,200 mile Road Trip!

We are now back from a very successful three week 4,200 mile road trip with our Shasta. Starting in Western New York we travelled through 12 states with longer stays in Colorado and South Dakota. We spent time visiting with family, took in 3 National Parks, saw several National Monuments, and made stops at a bunch of other interesting places along the way. We camped in 11 different campgrounds ranging from small to large and covering the entire gamut of styles. The trailer held up great with only a few minor issues with one cabinet door and the jack late in the trip. My plan is to try and post a little bit about some of the locations that we visited on the blog as I dig through our bazillion photos.