Old Diary

A Place to Lay Our Head

Our New Home

Our New Home

To say that today was filled with ups and downs would be unfair to an elevator!  We had them:  emotionally, physcially, and geographically. In and out and up and down to pack up and travel.  In and out and up and down along the route — hilly and twisty.  In and out and up and down about where our new home might be.

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Water lapping at our tail…

This morning when I woke I looked out the door and the Mississippi was lapping at our rear.  It’s hard to realize how much water this river “holds”.  We were at the widest point of the Mississippi — it’s nearly three miles wide at Thomson, and a dozen miles or so long in this pool for lock #13.  How much water is contained in a lake three miles by twelve miles — if it’s only 1 foot deep?  Or how much water has rushed into that same lake if it suddenly rises two, three, four, or more feet?  It boggles my mind to imagine.

By the time we pulled out this morning the camp hosts were gone and only about 5 units remained — all of whom were being forced out by flood waters.  The Corps will have finished shutting it down by this time and I see on The Weather Channel that flooding is being reported in Fulton IL.

Last night — late — I listened to another message from the people up here at Blackhawk Park.  After assigning us a temporary site yesterday the weather forecast was revised again and we were told (too late to call them back) that they might be closing later this week.  So, last night we wondered what to do.  It’s the busiest week of the year for campgrounds coming up — 4th of July. My resources for places to camp were all telling me this was not going to be easy and we could possibly end up with a couple hundred mile drive to a campground we might LIKE or at least 50-70 miles to a KOA campground which we would be less than keen on .

We got moving around 5:30 and by 7:30 we had packed up, slid in, disconnected, dumped and refilled our fresh water supply — we were ready to go.  And goodness gracious, if the rain that had been plaguing us all night didn’t come to just about a halt.  Saying a prayer for safe traveling mercies we high-tailed it North.

We stopped in Galena for coffee AND….  Literally as we were re-entereing the coach the phone rang again with a call from … you guessed it… the rangers at Blackhawk. The forecast had changed again overnight — they had MISSED a couple rain events and they were hopeful — even optimisitic that we’d be Ok here for at least most of our stay if not all.

Reassured we continued our journey northward with a stop for groceries (Prairie du Chien) and  a stop to look at binoculars (Cabela’s – Prairie du Chien).  The river highway — HWY 35 — had mud slides over the weekend and the highway was closed so we retraced our steps and found a detour.  Finally, about 1 p.m. we arrived in De Soto and pulled into site #67. The first shot shows us in our site.

This area is quite open, with little shade, but when faced with a lot of booked-to-the-gills campgrounds we were happy to have our choice of sites in this area and not to have to scurry for last minute accommodations.

We slowed down enough to snap a few shots of the flooded section.  Just outside the park is a small bait and campers’ supply store.  The owner told us they have been flooded out 5 (FIVE) times since May 1, 2013!!!  Considering last year there wasn’t enough water in the river to keep barge traffic moving — and now flooding — it’s quite a change.

We decided to celebrate with Pastrami sammies — pastrami, mustard, mayo, lettuce, on a sourdough baguette!  Add in a little cole slaw and a beer and it was a meal fit for a king – or if not a king, then at least for Edward X. Delaney!

We’ll be here for 14 nights, Good Lord willin’ and if the creek don’t rise.  Kathryn is scheduled to visit next week for what may be her last visit with us until after Labor Day, so it’s good not to have had to divert a couple hundred miles in the wrong direction.

Our life here will be different than planned — we would normally do a lot of walking here — the place is spread out and there are places TO walk.  But with the flooding we may focus on getting some of that still-put-off organizing work done — especially as regards the basement.  But for now, the awnings are out, the curtains are drawn to keep ourselves cool and we’re basking in the delights of woodpecker rattles, and warblers, and watching turtles sunning on floating logs.  Life is Good!

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When they close the park they even pull all the breaker boxes!

It’s not quite that bad, but nearly so!

Blackhawk Park — our next stop usually has about 2.5″ of rain during the month of June.  This year they’ve had 10.5″ and the month’s not over.  We had a call last night from Eric Hammer to say that our next site is currently underwater.  Eric helped us out last year during our visit to Blackhawk so it wasn’t a problem remembering just who he was.  He wanted to know what we wanted to do.  They have a walk-up site that’s dry and we are all optimistic that the flooding may not worsen during the next two week — but there aren’t any guarantees when it comes to Momma Nature!

Then, this morning, it looked like rats leaving a ship here…. lots of units were pulling out whether or not they were scheduled to leave today.  And about 10 a.m. the rangers came around to tell us that the park would be closed tomorrow.  No big deal — we’re leaving tomorrow anyway, we thought, blithely ignorant of events going on around us.

our new spot #68

our new spot #68

About 10:30 we were eating breakfast and my battery backup started making noise.  We lost electric from the shore power pillar.  A walk over to the huddle of rangers and we found out that the section we were camped out in needed to be shut down today.  So, we picked up our bed and walked…. or we pulled up our levelers, drew in our slides, cranked down our antenna, disconnected our power cable and moved — to a different part of the park.  We’re back out on the Point, not far from where we camped with Kathryn last summer. The map to the left will give you an idea where we are now.

We have to get our groove on early in the morning.  Rangers will be coming ’round about 7:00 A.M. to disconnect power over hear too, and pick up picnic tables to be taken to higher ground and all those things that need doing before the park is officially closed. We’ll hold breakfast until after we are on the road, and get our wastewater dumping and reload with fresh water before heading North.

We need provisions so we’ll stop along the way — most likely in Prairie du Chien.

Blackhawk ChangesThe change at Blackhawk moves us from the shelter of those old Oaks I showed you last year to a much more open area without much shade — we’ll see how it goes but even at the worst it’s only a 2 week stay.  Who would have thought that the year after such a drought in the Midwest that too much water would have become such a serious issue.

We’re a little concerned about how Del is doing on the Nina or Pinta.  They have some 200 miles to travel from their last stay at Marquette, IA to their next visit at Hudson, WI.  That includes a number of locks and I’m sure with this weather they are also dodging river trash and logs.  Stay safe, Del.

When we started thinking about RV’ing we looked at it as an adventure.  We didn’t expect to out with such a bang, but hey, life is good and adventure keeps it interesting!

We’re on the move tomorrow so I’ll talk to you when I can.

All Hands, Abandon Ship!

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