Stop #13 - A very popular Smith Park Campground, Algona, Kossuth County, Iowa
Friday was another one of those “shoulda” days. I shoulda just left the trailer hooked up to the truck and done it in the morning after a good night’s sleep! I only drove 135 miles yesterday, but it was the most tiring 135 miles I have driven in a long time. The highways I drove on were deplorable - even the US highways were deplorable. The constant bouncing between the truck and trailer (and I had the sway bar on) - you know that bouncy/rocky motion you get on concrete that’s been badly laid and has aged or pavement that is literally falling apart at the seams, plus keeping an eye on the traffic coming at me on roads that had no shoulder (at least no trucks with oversized loads - oh wait a minute, there were 4 or 5 of them, watching for farm implements as I came over the top of a hill, making sure I didn’t drop my wheels off the pavement onto the shoulder (when there was one), the glare off the road surface and all those horrible “zebra stripes” or “patchwork quilt” designs on the road surface created by filling of pavement/concrete cracks with tar. I traveled IA-10 from Hawarden to US-71, north to Spencer, east on US-18 to Algona. Even the new concrete surface west of Algona was “bouncy”. The speed limits on these roads are either 55 or 60 - I know why now. The ONLY good and decent highway I have been on in this State is the 5 miles from Algona to this Park on US-169! I am dreading leaving here.
As would have it, when I was unhitching I forgot to properly check the position of the jack cone I use. As the trailer hitch “popped” off the hitch ball, over went the jack cone and down onto the ground went the trailer hitch. I just stood there for 3 or 4 minutes and then said “Dumb ass. You knew you shoulda waited ‘til morning.”
Well, I dragged out my jack stands and my pneumatic or hydraulic jack, whatever it is and started raising up the trailer tongue from the ground by cranking the handle on the trailer jack. Just then Ryan, a Park Ranger came by. What such a nice young man he is. He finished getting the trailer tongue up enough, by cranking, to get my hydraulic jack under the “V” part so the cone could be put in place. Because the camp pads are crowned, which I pointed out to him, maybe okay for all those big rigs but didn’t work out for leveling my little rig, he suggested moving the trailer over a bit and reparking it. So I hooked up Eggie again and re-parked him and unhitched again and he stayed put.
I said after all that there was no way I was cooking supper, so took a shower and went to a Mexican restaurant and had a BIG margarita - I had something to eat too. I went to bed at 7:30 p and didn’t wake up until 7:30 a.m., stayed in bed and snoozed until 9:30 a.m.
Oh, this is homecoming weekend in Algona, but I didn’t know this until I was the last vehicle (with trailer) going down Main street in Algona (I didn’t see the lights flashing on the police cars about 3 blocks behind me until it was pointed out) and I noticed all these people lining the street. I asked someone at a red light what was going on and some one told me it was Homecoming. Of course, wise me said “Oh, I thought you knew I was coming to town so you threw me a parade.” Chuckle, chuckle.
Saturday night there was a big barbecue out here at the Park at the group shelter, for The Class of . . . or Classes of . . . , so traffic has been pretty heavy going by. And, they have speed bumps except they are the reverse of speed bumps - speed dips, very deep dips every - oh who knows but they are irregular and sometimes close together. They jar you worse than the bumps. Gosh, the folks are leaving already, it’s only been 90 minutes since they started piling in.
I spent a couple hours at a very interesting and professionally done museum in Algona called Camp Algona POW Museum. In the almost two years of it’s existence (in the mid-40;s), there were over 10,000 German prisoners here but not all at once, with the average monthly camp population at a little over 3,200. While I was there, elderly individuals came in to visit with classmates - they were part of the reunion - and here and there I would hear little stories of what it was like when they were youngsters here during the era of the Camp.
Afterwards, I stopped at the local grocery store and picked up some fresh fruit for supper. As I was getting into the truck, a young man asked me how I liked my Tundra and I told him it was the “best truck ever had.” He told me you don’t see too many around here and I said I noticed that right away when I entered Iowa - lots of Chevies. But all I see are Ford dealers. Oh, that’s right must have lost a lot of dealerships.
Here is a view from my campsite looking eastward -
. You can see the trees are starting to turn color. The ends of the bridge that go over a creek are interesting. At night the end is lit up - like a train engine coming at you.
Sunday took it easy, ran into town to get more of my blog posted. I’ll get some pictures posted to Flickr before I leave Wednesday morning. Tuesday, I plan on driving up to Clear Lake to see the memorial for The Big Bopper, Richie Valens, and Buddy Holly who where killed in a plane crash in 1959 after playing at the Surf Ballroom earlier that evening. (I just checked their web site and saw Clint Black is playing there on 10/2, ohhhhh, one of my favs)