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And The Other Shoe Drops

  Muscatine, Iowa is an old river town along the Mississippi, settled by white folks in 1837.  Iowa State University operated an experimental farm here, and the area is widely known for producing some of the most delicious watermelons and cantaloupes in the country. Last Sunday afternoon, towards the end of my stay at Shady Creek COE (just north of Muscatine), I received a text from my mother, indicating that my father's three month journey in hospice was close to the end.  I hitched up on Monday morning and towed the Scamp ninety minutes to a county park campground on the eastern edge of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.   Indeed, my dad was no longer responsive, and the hospice nurse told us that he could pass away at any time.  We sat with him for the rest of the morning before taking a break for lunch.  I then returned to the Scamp to let Callie out for a short walk.  During that time period, Mom went back to my Dad's room and found that he had stopped breathing.  She gave him a hug and

Blackhawk COE (Desoto, Wisconsin)

This is a wrap-up of my time at Blackhawk and a note to myself for future consideration.  

I've been to Blackhawk about a handful of times now.  After each time, I like it better and better.  For amenities, there are flush toilets, free, clean showers with good water pressure, and a dump station.  Each campsite has a picnic table and fire ring.  Many of the campsites, including the one I stayed in, have a water view.  With the senior discount, campsites with electricity are $13/night.

Despite the fact that water is everywhere, the mosquitoes aren't bad except at dusk.  Even then, the blood suckers aren't any worse than they are at home.  Firewood is available in large bundles at the rv park up the road at a reasonable price but it was junk and  burned poorly.  Note:  don't buy it again.  You would think I would have learned by now. 

There are many roads, paths, and trails for Callie walks.  Leashes are required, and campers are generally respectful of the rules.  There are no grocery stores nearby, but there are a few bars with food in Desoto and Ferryville.  City services are about 30 minutes away in either Prairie Du Chien or La Crosse.  There's a Cabella's (camping supply store) in PDC.  

TV and radio stations come in clearly from La Crosse.  Sunsets and sunrises are both amazing.  Often, fog covers the water in the morning but burns off quickly.  There are a ton of tent sites available for boondocking, but the difference in price and privacy isn't worth it in my estimation.  These sites are also on the lowest ground, which is usually water-covered in the spring.  

During the weekend, there was a large group of African-American dads and sons camping in the group area.

I thought this was one of the coolest things ever.  Diversity is an uncommon thing in Wisconsin's camping world.  And it was clear that many of the dads didn't have much camping experience but were out there for the bonding with their sons and "little brothers."  Of course, it stormed hard Thursday and Friday night, so many of the campers and their belongings got totally soaked.  From all appearances, they still had a blast. 

Yesterday, I drove through the rain along Hwy 35 (the Great River Road) and then on a lot of county highways and tertiary roads along the river in Illinois.  Whoever said that Illinois was flat hasn't driven along the Mississippi River.  

It rained last night, and it's raining again today.  A good day for reading newspapers and books.  The rest of the week looks sunny and dry.  Julia will be joining me in a few days.



MFH said…

It's great to see you writing like this...details and observations!
Makes me wanna come see!

More! More!

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