We intended to leave around 8 AM yesterday morning, driving from southeast Michigan to northeast Iowa. As it was we left closer to 10 AM. We did not hit any city traffic but were backed up in construction traffic several times. We're going to try a different route on our way home next week.
Finally we arrived at Elkader, Iowa! I had booked rooms at a B & B a couple of miles from town many months ago. That's a real good thing! Elkader is a small town and the B & Bs and motels are all full by now. Judy (owner of The Pines with her husband Gary) said she lost count of the number of calls she's gotten from Rumblers looking for rooms!
We were real happy at The Pines, even got to sit out on the patio with our drinks and bread and olive oil. It was a nice break after being on the road for 10 hours.
It gets very dark here at night--quite a change from my last trip where it never got dark! The bed was insanely comfortable with a solid foundation and down mattress cover. We were up early and showered, ate breakfast and said goodbye to Judy. It was a short drive to Founders Park in Elkader, where we unloaded boats, tents, and other gear and Bill got back in the truck to drive to Savanna, Illinois. Julie and I put up the tents and organized our area. Bill is taking the Rumble bus back here this afternoon.
On the PALM last month we had difficulty blowing up our air mattresses, so a couple of days ago I handed Bill a foot pump and asked him to make it work for the air mattresses--he added a fitting and some tygon tube, and presto! No more running out of breath to blow up mattresses every day!
After setting up camp Julie and I walked to downtown Elkader, where it was plenty hot!
Keystone Bridge was built in 1889 of locally quarried limestone. It is the longest of its type west of the Mississippi River.
We returned to Founders Park in time to sign waivers and attend the pre-ride meeting. It was good to see Rex again! He is the leader of the Rumble, now in its 20th year.
We saw other old friends too, including Jane, Greg and Jim.
Dinner was on our own tonight, and most of us lined up for chicken dinner and sweet corn provided by the Elkader Fire Department, part of the Sweet Corn Days festival.
Unfortunately rock music late into the night was another aspect of the Sweet Corn Days festival. The band was supposed to be done by 1 AM, but continued until about 1:30. Rex gave us all earplugs, but they were ineffective.
Tomorrow we begin paddling on the Turkey River for 3 days, then we paddle the Mississippi for 4 more days. Thus another Great River Rumble begins!