Scamping in Iowa

 In early April, we retrieved the Scamp from the pole barn and headed for Dubuque, Iowa. Open campgrounds are not widely available this time of year in the Upper Midwest, but we found a couple good ones about thirty minutes south of Dubuque not far from the shores of the Mississippi River near the town of Bellevue.

Our first campground was the county-operated Spruce Creek, and it was a steal at $22/ night and a choice of waterfront sites. In fact, we could choose any of the campsites here because we were the only ones camping. It wasn’t too hard to find the perfect spot.

One of the reasons that no one else was camping is that the flush toilets and shower house were not open yet. There were pit toilets and the Scamp’s bathroom, so we didn’t mind. We passed several days hiking area trails and watching the barges go up and down the river. The town of Bellevue has locks to facilitate the barges. There is nothing better for the lazy man than to watch the locks in operation. 

Bellevue State Park has a campground and many trails. With a few days of rain in the forecast, we eventually moved to that campground, which did have open hot showers and was a couple of dollars cheaper than the county park. Our campsite didn’t have the river at our steps, but the views were incredible.

We prepared nearly all of our meals at the campsite, but we did make it out one night to a local eatery. The food and drink were good.

However, even though we are both fully vaccinated, the restaurant seemed too crowded. Pre-pandemic, it was easier to overlook a coughing fit at a nearby table. But, man, it just doesn’t feel right yet. I will take my chances outdoors.  To beat the crowds, camping for a week in April along the Mississippi River in Iowa is highly recommended.


  1. I know what you mean about some things not "feeling right" just yet. It's going ro take me a long time to scale back my pandemic behaviors. I only ran into one other person on the trails last week (other than the youth-corp people) that donned-masks as we encountered each other. If we pull off our family reunion campout in August I won't be surprized if I'm the only one still wearing a mask.

  2. This weird new world isn’t over yet. It’s almost like a switch has been turned on to announce “the almost end of the pandemic.” There are still a lot of not-fully-vaccinated people dying and being hospitalized. I was an Illinois Walmart last night in a rural town. Less than half of the customers were wearing masks inside. I don’t get it. I love freedom, but freedom not to wear a mask is pretty low among the freedoms worth dying over.

  3. Scamping....the perfect verb!


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