Monday, September 21, 2009

Is Winter Going to Be a Long One?

Stop #12, A beautiful Sioux County Park called Oak Grove., near Hawarden Iowa

I left Ponca retracing some on NE 12 to NE-15/SD-19 to Vermillion SD. Got gas and a quick breakfast at Mickey Dee’s, stopped at Walmart to get some cash - and yes a few spools of ribbon and the wire size I like to work with - and a couple of grocery items. I spied a car wash leaving WM and gave the truck and trailer a good washing. I continued north on SD-19 to SD 46 and turned easterly. I thought I had seen corn and soybean fields in northern Nebraska, not like I saw coming through this part of South Dakota and into Iowa. The soybeans are turning yellow so you see many rolling hills of yellow and green and miles and miles of corn fields. Just not use to seeing such extensive corn fields. The further east I have gone, the hills are still rolling but not as high as in northern NE - gas mileage has gone down a bit what with the hills.

In Iowa, the road becomes IA-10 and I turned off on a County Road and followed the signs to the Park. It is $16 a night w/electricity and signs said nothing about a daily use permit fee. Whoopie.

I couldn’t make up my mind as to check out this County Park or go on past Orange City to another called Miller Creek. If other county parks in Iowa are as nice as this one, I will probably hit a lot of them. I was told by a Park camper that this is the 2nd campground site. The original was down by the Big Sioux River and got flooded just one too many times 8 years ago, so it was moved up on the hill. I drove down to where the old campground was and it is pretty there along the river (I forgot to get pictures). It is now for group gatherings and has shelters/tables. The Park also has 4 rather large cabins too and a tenting area. The signs directing one here call it a State Park, but it is the Sioux County Conservation Board in Hawarden IA that maintains it and I assume gets the revenue. Stayed 2 nights.

Thurs. morning saw more trailers coming in for the weekend, I assume. Gee showers were 25 cents for around 5 minutes and pop in the pop machine is 50 cents. Morning started out with fog and since I was on top of a hill I could look down on the fog in the valleys. You can hear traffic noise on IA-10, but it’s so far away.

I sat out last night even after the sun went down and NOT ONE mosquito bothered me, a few gnats and some of those ladybug “stinky beetles” (as a local calls them) flew around. I was hoping to see some deer but didn’t. Speaking of the “stinky beetles”, they are as thick as flies sometimes, they are attracted to white and at one time the side of the trailer was just crawling with them. The local said to not mash them as they leave a yellow stain and if you do they will stink. She said don’t wear a white shirt or they will be all over you. We have so few ladybugs at home, that I didn’t even consider them to be a pest, but treated them with “respect” so to speak, since they eat aphids. I guess the reason I was taught to treat ladybugs “with respect” is because my mom knew they stunk when mashed and left a yellow stain. I knew they were a beetle and my housemate said he remembered reading somewhere that they do stink if squashed. The local told me a story of how they had gotten in cracks and creases of the slideouts on their 5th wheel and when they showed up at their son’s place in southern Texas, they just flew out everywhere when the slide outs slid out, even despite cleaning them off before hand. Better check Eggie before I leave.

I shouldn’t have gone into that Dutch bakery when I was in Orange City (oh my, another Casita just pulled into the sight next to mine). Anyway, back to Orange City, I took the visitors tour of downtown (lots of street construction there) and learned about the many kinds of Dutch windmi -err Molens.


Orange City was named after William of Orange, the father of the Dutch nation. Henry Hospers, a leader of the 1870 Holland Settlers, plotted the settlement of Orange City. The Chamber of Commerce is located in a Dutch Windmill, with construction in 1972 by a local bank who wanted a structure that would represent the community’s heritage and hospitality and be used as a drive-in bank. Various structural issues needed to be addressed and finally in October of 1973, the drive-in bank opened its doors. In April of 2001 the Dutch Windmill opened as the Chamber and Visitors Center. It measures 52 feet from the ground to the dome and 76 feet from the ground to the top of the vane. Orange City is known for its Tulip Festival in May; and also, their high school band was invited to the Rose Parade several years ago and the band members all wore the Dutch wooden shoes (not this big though) and shuffled for 5 or 6 miles, as I remember the length I do remember a band that did wear wooden shoes. Boy, they must have practiced A LOT wearing those shoes.

In the Windmill Square, there were models
of the Standard Molen to grind corn; the Wipmolen and was used to drain polders; the

Paltrokmolen used to saw timber; the Tjaske; used to keep pasturelands dry but no longer used; the Poldermolen used also to drain the polders, often built in gangs of five with each lone lifting the water by three feet; the Stellingmolen, a tall structure that could catch the winds and didn’t need to be built on the outskirts of town - used to grind corn.

The lady at the Chamber told me that all the flowers you see in town will be dug up pretty soon (even though they are in beautiful bloom) to plant the tulips for next May’s Tulip Festival. Glad I caught all the beautiful flowers now. I drove around the older residential areas and very beautiful homes with gorgeous lawns and gardens. It was a breath of Spring in early Fall.

The architecture of the downtown businesses reflect the heritage of the community too: , even businesses outside the downtown Square:
, all their Welcome banners say “Welkom:
One definitely feels like they are in a Dutch community and community members have artfully incorporated the Dutch heritage into their own lives. Even the student apartments around Northwest University are neat, clean, and planted with lots of flowers.

Well, just have to go meet this Casita couple. They are Gus and Sharon from Ireton, Iowa
(just about 15 miles southeast of here). They bought their ‘97 Freedom a couple of years ago from a couple near Omaha. Thurs. night they had one grandson with them and Friday night they will have the other one. We, natch, had to Casita talk. I
encouraged them to become familiar with the two Casita forums as there are a number of folks with the late 90’s models they can chat with.

Here’s a picture of a wooly worm.

Do you think it’s going to be a short or long winter?

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