Tuesday, September 25, 2012

First RV Overnight September 25

Off on our first adventure

It is 10 PM and I am feeling relaxed.  A couple drinks of whisky, a full day of travel and sunshine, an evening of campfire and woodsmoke and making friends with the folks in the next space.  They are here to get married—two couples marrying tomorrow afternoon at the scenic overlook at Pike’s Peak State Park.  
Lovely day of travel, up to Waukon to interview veterinarian “Doc Holliday” for Acres USA.  So, we took to the Great River Road—the long way there, but it you can’t take the scenic route, what’s an RV for?

The weather:  perfect.  Seventy degrees, relatively dry, sunny with scattered clouds.  The leaves of autumn beginning to turn, growing more brilliant the farther north we get. 
Autumn’s peaking shyly at first, orange, yellow, pink, among the green.

A crane along the backwaters of the Maquoketa River near its confluence with the Mississippi.

Cornstalks, yellow-brown, stand a patient crowd awaiting harvest in whispering fields.

Lush meanders, river-blue, trace sparkling paths amid the woods.  Dancing butterflies, yellow sprites flutter over grasses still of green.  Fluff, the stuff of next year’s flowers drifts in search of purchase.

I sensed right away when we embarked that this trip will give me the hope I need to get through this next month.  I already feel free, relieved, happy.  I actually feel like writing, like making poetry, like capturing images in words or “on film.” 

We hadn’t intended it, but we accidentally crossed the very high, very narrow, blue bridge into at Sabula into Illinois.  So rather than go back across, we merely continued north up the Illinois side, through the tidy little town of Hanover (“Mallard Capital of the World”), and across the idyllic Apple River and into Galena.

It was fun to visit Galena, though, since it figured so prominently in my novel, The Scrivener’s Tale.  Galena itself is full of ghosts.  Just a brief walk down the street there triggered my psychic impressions.  I wrote in my jotting journal,

“Haunted as Jerome [AZ].  Indians in the hills still—lights at night, local citizens often see unexplained balls of light in the trees.  Civil war conflict?  Indian fighting—hand-to-hand, tomahawk-style.  Glowering spirits, no airy-fairy here, but heavy, dense,  town sits on lead and iron.”

After Galena, we traveled through little towns like Garnalillo—an unlikely name in an area full of German monikers—where we lunched at the Thoma Dairy Bar Café, one of those places where the real America lives, or the once-idealized America lives on.

Thoma Cafe
Once in Waukon I met with Holliday, then we proceeded to Pike’s Peak.

We arrived after dark, so we haven’t seen the total beauty of this place, but I can feel it.  This is a sacred place and I am happy to see it protected as a park. We are just a couple of miles downriver from the Effigy Mounds National Monument, but I know now why the Indians built their worshipful places here. 

The town of Marquette—at the foot of Pike’s Peak State Park is delightful, too, like Galena but not as touristy.  The Peak itself is named after the same man—Zebulon Pike—as the Pike’s Peak in Colorado, both places being part of his explorations of the west. 

I captured a rare moment on camera--that perfect sunset moment and it felt like dessert after a fabulous meal.


I think I will don my sneakers and go for a walk in the three-quarters moonlight, look at the stars and maybe find the scenic overlook. 

Scenic Overlook north of Galena, Iowa side of Mississippi

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