Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rude awakening

We are at the Lake Fisher Park in Bloomfield, Iowa (map). This is actually a municipal park, despite being a mile or so from town. There is a small campground here, just six sites, but each has a 50-amp pedestal and access to a water spigot. Sites also have tables and three of them have fire rings. Not bad for just $10 per night; stays of up to ten nights are permitted. In addition to the campground, the park has a disc golf course, playground, ball field, picnic shelters and, of course, the lake. We have the whole campground to ourselves.

We had an excellent visit and stay with our friends. We ended up spending six nights, through the duration of our conference. Five of those nights we dined together, and the final night, where our conference ran through dinner, we enjoyed cocktails on the deck afterward. They also gave us a great tour of Des Moines and we spent a pleasant evening at the Arts Festival. We are very grateful to them for their hospitality.

Yesterday morning we had figured to sleep in a little bit (remember those cocktails?) and then get ready to roll. Instead I awoke to the sound of a klaxon -- how my phone rings when the call is from the Red Cross Disaster Operations Center. We are not on call this month, so it caught me by surprise, and by the time I climbed out of bed and made it to the phone it had stopped. No message was left and I opted to have my first cup of coffee before calling back in to see what was up.

They were scrambling to assemble leadership teams for Tropical Storm Debby in Florida, and the Colorado wild fires, and I think they were hoping to send a Chief. By the time I called back in they had filled the list with people who are actually on call this month, which is good because we were really not well-positioned for those disasters anyway. One of the on-call leaders was our host, Mark, and shortly after my phone rang he found out he was headed to Denver. I feel a bit guilty because I think our presence for the last few days kept him from getting the lawn mowed before he left. I did check to see if we could drop him at the airport on our way out of town, but DSM has 12'0" clearance on its approach roads.

We did go right past the airport as we left Des Moines on IA-5, one of the few highways in this part of the state that travels at an angle to south or east. After a brief stop at the Walmart in Knoxville for provisions, the road narrowed from divided highway to two-lane through rolling hills, a very pleasant drive. US-34 took us the rest of the way into Ottumwa, where we had figured to stop for the night at the municipal campground.

It was still early in the day when we rolled up on it, and it was fairly unappealing from the road -- lots of rigs, fairly closely spaced. At $15, we figured we could do better by continuing on our route, which turned south in Ottumwa onto US-63. This spot was only another half hour along, and fit the bill nicely, especially being empty as it was.

Now that the leadership pool has been depleted staffing the current disasters, and with things happening fast and furious on the disaster landscape, we feel the need to pick up the pace and make Kentucky before our on-call availability comes up. We don't want to get diverted to the coast or elsewhere without getting the chance to see the boat there. Between here and there we will pass through St. Louis, where by coincidence some of our nomadic friends are already meeting up, and we'll stop there Wednesday night to have dinner with them. That will still give us two days to make it to the lake before we go on-call.

From here we will head east and south on state routes 2 and 15 across the border into Missouri, where state routes 15 and 6 will bring us to the Great River Road. I expect tonight we will be in Palmyra, or maybe Hannibal.


  1. How was the off-site delegate experience this year? I'm quite curious.

    1. Lance, we just wrapped up our reports in our other blog, infopubs.blogspot.com/

      I shared some thoughts there on the off-site process.

  2. Hi-

    Have been following you since we sold our boat and bought an RV. We did coastal cruising--- for 10 years, to Canada, all of the American and Canadian canals. With no ambitions to go offshore, we chose a used Grand Banks 42, and immediately installed stabilizer fins. (Naiad.) We have many boat friends who have crossed oceans.... most in Nordhavns. (We are in the same "boat" (ha) as you are. Newer Nordhavns are out of our reach financially, and are unsuitable for our kind of cruising. I don't know if I could look at only ocean for days on end...but we certainly enjoyed being part of the cruising community, meeting people, then meeting them again at another dock.

    We liked seeing places we never would have seen by RV in the US.... Rideau Canal, Erie Canal, Trent Severn..... great fun. My e-mail is vspelton (at) gmail.com. if you have any questions. Seems like you've got it well in hand!

    Good luck!


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