And the wind blew, and blew, and blew! Monday after Father’s day and we did not do a good job of anticipating the weather or the wind. Because of the summertime need for reservations in this area we opted to carry-on with our plan for the day.
Already last evening, they were forecasting a lot of rain and even more wind. While it might be the kind of day I would normally choose to sit on my hands and delay moving — that isn’t to be today.
Awakening to a lull between rain and wind we were packed and ready by 7:45 — early for us, but when we make up our mind we can do it! I usually prefer to miss Rush Hour but the rain forecast worsened as the day went on so an early start seemed the best way to go. We skirted around town rather than going with our GPS “Fastest Route”. With only a 10 mile addition to the “fastest route” we missed most of the agony.
Most of the day was spent on US-52. It’s a lovely route through intensely green fields of corn and soybeans and alfalfa (those were the only crops I could tell from the coach. Part of the route is 4 lane, part is 2 lane and when you get to Iowa we dropped off the US highway onto some county roads to get back over to the Big River. Road surfaces were mixed, with some really bad (as in bumpy and poorly maintained) roads in MN, IA & WI — but I slowed down a bit on each section and grit my teeth and bore it!
With winds over 45 MPH at times there were moments I wanted to pull over and wait out the wind, unfortunately there weren’t a lot of places to do that with narrower shoulders than would have been necessary, and in the rain I wasn’t in a hurry to trust a gravel shoulder! But, we slowed down and ended up making the 280 mile trip in just under 8 hours with a fuel stop and a meal and more than a couple towns to go through.
We pulled into Grant River Recreation Area about 3:30 and did we get a surprise. While we came through Prairie du Chien and noticed flashing traffic signals, that was the last real ‘town’ we went through before arriving at our destination and little did we realize that earlier that morning they had more severe winds than we, and the power was out from Cassville along the Mississippi to the Dubuque bridge. And, no power means no lights in the bathrooms and no pump to pump water in the campground. Our tank was full, and the site does not have a water hookup — so it wasn’t a bother for us, but we had considered waiting to top off our tank until we got here. Glad we didn’t wait. The water pressure at Ham Lake was one big drawback — at times you got barely a trickle when the campground was full and everyone was using water. Not sure if that was a campground or community issue. But I had taken the time to top off where we knew the water TASTED good! ( I could not remember the quality of water at Grant River )
Grant River Recreation Area is another Corps of Engineers campground, made possible by their involvement on the Mississippi River. Of the sites in both the Rock Island and Minneapolis districts of the Corp this is our second least favorite one. There’s one we physically can’t get into, and then there’s Grant River with a Railroad track directly next to the campground. One year we spent 2 full weeks — that’s 14 days in a site that is right NEXT to the railroad — you see those two black boxes on the outside of the loop? Well we were there — and with 20 or more trains per day we rocked that site for the entire time; we rocked it, rolled it, vibrated it — by the time we left there had been so much vibration we felt like you do after you’ve been on a train for 3 days with your feet vibrating.
Further away, as we are now in site 17, you still hear noise and whistles but it’s actually a nice, lovely park. Pictures will come along as we’ve spent some time here and as the branches get picked up! With 63 standard electric sites out of 74 total sites it’s not a huge location and the distance between sites is about typical for the Corps. Some of the sites have concrete drives, others are gravel.
The big draw, obviously, is the proximity to the Mississippi River: for fishing, for playing, for watching the river traffic, and just chilling! My brain is always fooled when we are here. I think the Mississippi is on the Western Edge of Wisconsin and while it is, at this point the Mississippi is actually to the SOUTH of the Campground — so the sun sets upstream and we have a nice Southerly sight line for our satellite. 🙂
We’ll be here 9 nights before moving on to Thomson Causeway and after a busy weekend with more mileage than I can imagine I’m ready for a few quiet day — and so it my ankle, which I think I overused during the weekend. So, there you have it.. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow!