Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A "Hawkeye" View of Iowa

When living in Minnesota, we had enjoyed a fun rivalry with our neighbor to the south, Iowa. There are many Iowans living in the Gopher state who still maintain their loyalty to the black and gold "Herky the Hawk". So during our three day stay at F.W. Kent County Park in Tiffin, Iowa, we explored the area from a "Hawkeye's" view.

From our quiet campground, Iowa City was only 12 miles to the east of us and home of the University of Iowa. Being a college town, we felt that the odds were good that we would find bike/walking paths and a brewery or two! We scored big on both accounts when we enjoyed handcrafted brews and great food at Backpocket Brewery and walked around the campus on some beautiful pathways.

Backpocket Brewery, located in the recently developed Iowa River Landing, served up delicious pizza and a wide selection of beer. It was a good reward for Doug who had just finished up his longest RV driving day on record with a 302 mile, 7 hour drive from Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.

After relaxing on their comfortable patio, we took a walk towards campus. We knew we were getting close because of all of the randomly placed "Hawkeyes" that lined our path. 

The Hawkeye most certainly is "King" in these parts!

The next day, we drove 12 miles west of the park to discover what the Amana Colonies is all about. The Amana Colonies is a group of seven villages that was established in 1855 by German immigrants seeking economic and religious freedom. They embraced a communal way of life in which the citizens worked for the benefit of all. They relied on each other for food, clothing, education and other necessities of life. This communal way of life continued until 1932 when the Great Depression forced them to make changes. Today the buildings of this National Historic Landmark that produced the meat, linens, furniture and other needed items, stand tall enticing tourists to explore.

We (ok, mainly Chris) enjoyed walking through the shops and admiring the goods still handcrafted in Amana. Some of the beautiful items that one could be tempted to buy if one lived in a house larger than ours ....

Christmas ornaments galore!
Beautiful Quilts!
Handcrafted furniture!
Dandelion Wine!

OK, I always have room for a bottle of wine, so let's go in!

Meanwhile, Doug found his little piece of heaven at the Chocolate Haus!

We were too early in the tourist season to take a guided tour of the rest of the villages, so we finished up our day the way that we both enjoy ... with a walk on the path around Lily Lake.

The path led us past eagles, hawks, geese, and all sizes of turtles ... including this little guy who had lost his way. We enjoyed this part of Amana Colonies which gave us "hawkeye" view of the natural side of Iowa.

Back at our campsite, we took an evening walk around the beautiful lake in F.W. Kent Park and enjoyed the quiet that comes when you are the only campers in the park.

Always having his "hawkeye" on the weather radar, Doug studied the weather forecast to determine our most opportune move day into Rochester. With rain on its way, we decided to leave a few days early. We are currently at Autumn Woods RV Park for the month of May. While Chris puts in a few hours at work ...

... Doug is spending his time on some RV maintenance projects. The Wildebeest is currently in a state of upheaval as Doug investigates and repairs a leak above our door. I just try to ignore the mess and trust that all will turn out well in the end!

And ... I am sure that he will have a little "down time" and would love to share some of the nerdly RV facts that he has discovered. Let him know that his "fans" want to hear from him!

Until next time ... Ask the RV expert ... and enjoy the adventures in your life!
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