Wednesday, May 11 - The rains started before we left and they have followed us. We have spent a few days parked just to avoid driving in the rain.
It seems weather forecasting has changed. I don’t think a next day forecast has been right all year. Yesterday, the forecast was 90% chance of rain. It was overcast in the morning, but by noon it was warm sun with few clouds. Today, the forecast was for afternoon showers. So we thought we would move an hour closer to Des Moines, park and see the capital. I looked at the weather radar this morning and a hundred mile wide front was just west of the capital. We moved anyway, 10 minutes closer to Pella on the banks of the Des Moines River. Got parked just in time before the rain started.
We are just below the dam and the water is quite swift. It must be good fishing as there are well over a hundred Pelicans, plus a like number of seagulls and then some small back feather birds. When they all take to air, it's a sight. The Pelicans take turns drifting downstream, then flying back up to the dam to again drift downstream. It makes no difference to them in which direction their heads face. But, when they are facing downstream, it looks to us like they are in a shooting arcade. We do not see them feeding on their swift journey, so we think they do it for fun.
More food acquisition in Pella. Today’s haul included a chuck roast, rib eye steaks, smoked chipped beef dip, roast beef, bologna, raspberry breakfast bread, zucchini bread and sour dough bread. Oh yeah, we had sandwiches at Opa’s again. Today we shared a table with two couples from Des Moines who shared places to see in the area.
Thursday, May 12 - It was forecast to be sunny, cooler and windy today. They got that right. However, they have extended the windy part for two more days. The reason we wanted to hang here was to paddle the red rock area on the lake. We will miss that, since after the wind, rain is back in the forecast. And so it goes.
Saturday, May 14 - We drove an hour north to Des Moines and toured the capital. Of the 14 capitals we have visited, this one was the best. Magnificent interior design. What first looks like wallpaper is paint.
It's all painted
We normally do not try to move on Friday or Saturday, but reasoning that with the bad weather, there would be plenty of sites available. We got the last site and it was due to a cancellation. I should have figured these people do not let a little inclement weather slow them down when we noted five men in waders, at least a dozen on the shoreline and seven fishing boats at 6:30 in the morning with the wind blowing 12-15.
Sunday, May 15 - The Union Pacific RR and the Squirrel Cage Jail Museum were billed as free and several casinos in Council Bluffs offer parking, That was enough us to entice us to drive 2.5 hours west. Turned out the rail museum is only open three days a week and Sunday was not one of the days. The free admission jail wanted $7 a person to take a peek. We passed. Council Bluffs is a has been town. It looks like the casinos are the only source of revenue.
Monday, May 16 - We noticed that the Nebraska state capital was only an hour away. So, why not? We got an half-hour down the road and saw a sign that the Air Force SAC museum was the next exit. Rain looked imminent. So we took the off-ramp. It was raining by the time we parked at the museum. We wandered around looking a the humongous planes SAC used, then parked the rig in the beautifully landscaped state park next door, ate lunch, and napped. A long day.
It was designed to hang on a bomber wing and be dropped to defend the bomber. It was abandoned when the pilots were not able to get attached back to the bomber.
Tuesday, May 17 - Are we trying to get in a rut? Today we went to the Nebraska state capital in where??? Lincoln. Good job. Most capitals have parking close by, so we took KoKo to town. We can tell you what they have around the capital for blocks in all directions - No Parking signs. I suspect the largest concentration in the universe. We drove four miles to a mall, parked and took the Jeep back to town. Got the last parking place for a car. Sometimes having the handicap card helps out.
Do you want to know about the capital? It’s not much. A high rise. The inside has lots of murals and such, but the light is so dim, they are a waste. From the 14th floor, you can look in all directions. I can tell you that Nebraska is still flat.
We drove north on US81 to the town of Stomsburg, billed as the Swede Capital of the US. They have free park for overnighting with electric and central water and a dump.
Wednesday, May 18 - Three hours north on US81 brought us to Yankton, SD and the COE campground Cottonwoods. $8 including electricity. [No dry camping at most COE places] At every COE we have parked this trip, we say this one is the best. Well, this one is the best.
We stopped to change drivers an hour south of Yankton and as we pulled on the road Glenda advised us to continue on Johnny Carson Blvd. Johnny lived in Norfolk, Nebraska and graduated from HS there. As we approached Yankton, signage advised us that we were on Tom Brokaw Blvd.
I was disappointed that we missed the Granite Museum in York. We like the stone. Glenda was is a snit and mislead us.