I didn’t know that this quote was from J.R.R. Tolkien.
Who knew The World’s Largest Truck Stop and Truck Museum were in Walcott, Iowa.
Tom Collier did!! It was one of the reasons he and Barb stopped by to see me earlier in the summer on their way home from their Minnesota visit.
Some pictures. This place had numerous buildings and went on forever.
I have stayed at this fabulous resort several times. A few times they even let me stay inside the house.
Here we are. Safe and sound in the driveway and all set up. I did very well, even if I do say so, at backing in the spot. I could not have done it without Abby’s guidance. Joey helped me level, unhook and set the stabilizer jacks. He wanted to see the cats, but they were hiding. Jax went up to the trailer door while it was still closed and was sniffing away as if he knew the cats were inside!!!
After a wonderful jacuzzi bubble bath I was feeling non sweaty and defurred.
After a wonderful dinner with Abby and the boys I headed out to Henrietta for what I hoped would be an awesome night of sleep.
There was a fabulous breeze and boy did I sleep…until I was awoken. You know how you wake up and you are not sure why. I look out the bedroom window and there are what looks like three cars with maybe lights on the top right by my trailer. Only the parking lights were on. Out pops an officer with a flashlight shining at the trailer. The outside door was open so I went to the screen door where he shined his light on me and asked if everything was okay. I wanted to say, “It was before you woke me up.” Instead I suggested he try the house. I was thinking that surely Ab would have called me or sent one of the boys out if something was wrong. One officer asked me the way to the barn.
Too awake by the unexpected appearance of multiple police cars I was up for the day.
Once it was light out I noticed the heavy fog near the ground and went out to take a picture. The pictures are up the drive to the street. The view was awe inspiring, God’s creation is beyond words. Then I thought I saw motion. There were two deer gracefully crossing the drive from the front yard to the trees on the other side of the drive. They hung out there awhile grazing on the lawn.
At this time I have no news of what went on… stay tuned for my next adventure. I hope I will not be posting tomorrow about any adventures tonight!!
I am blessed and feel so grateful that Sam and Abby let me park in their drive and share their electric and water.
I drove a little over 7 hours on Tuesday, September 4th, on my way to Abby’s house in Thornville, Ohio. I had intended to stop in Bloomington, Illinois at a Walmart for the night. I drove right past Bloomington. I was feeling good and the driving was going well. Then I was all of a sudden pooped and needed to potty. No Walmart in site for miles. Google Map kept wanting me to go back and not forward to find a Walmart. Finally Google instructed me to get off 74 and head to Walmart. Of course, it took me down all sorts of po-dunk two lane roads where there was no room for cars to pass me. On their way home from work I am sure they had choice words for me. AT LAST … Walmart.
Oh my, the area had a regulation against overnight parking. I was close to 36 so I headed east in to Hendricks County, Indiana, the birthplace of my two dear children. (See Mike, I do know where you were born. Spoon!!)
Just a short way down the road in Avon, Indiana, was a Lowe’s. Thank you Christine for telling me that Lowe’s and Home Depot often allowed overnight parking. The manager was so sweet and told me which area of the parking lot in which to park. At last………
It was so stinking hot!! I sweated my way through both sides of two pillow cases. Eddie, feeling relief that we were stopped, wanted only to snuggle. Sweaty and hairy.
5:45A and what do my sleepy ears hear???
YEP, a huge honking semi parked next to me warming up his engine right next to my bedroom window. I got up and fed the cats and decided to try to sleep a bit longer.
7A I start hearing some really weird noises. Next to the Lowe’s parking lot was a body shop, but I thought surely they couldn’t be THAT loud. So, I get up, get dressed, take my medication and grab a water bottle.
To my surprise my section of the parking lot was cordoned off and they were ripping up the asphalt to repave the parking lot.
I bet they were a tad surprised to see this sweaty old gal come out of the trailer. As I neared my driver’s side door a truck pulled up and pointed out the direction for my exit. I tried not to run over men that didn’t see or hear me coming. I get to the exit only to find cones blocking my way. The same truck appeared and the man got out and moved the cones and then came over and said have a nice day and a safe trip. I would love to have heard their conversations.
Coralville Dam in Coralville, Iowa at the Army Corps of Engineers facility
This a view of Hank and Henrietta from the Visitors’ Center taken April 2018 on the day I checked in for volunteering.
This is Hank and Henrietta waiting patiently as I turn in my shirts and keys on September 4th.
This is Henrietta in April on our contractor pad site at Linder Point.
Hank and Henrietta in September ready to leave for the trek East.
This will be Bear’s first ride in Henrietta. Eddie hid as soon as I started packing and pulled in the slide. Bear didn’t know what was coming a followed me all around very curious about what was happening.
I am ready for the next adventure. I enjoyed my time in Iowa and will miss my new friends, but it is time to move on. I have decided that four months in one place is toooo long for this wandering girl.
These are views from the Visitor Center.
These are inside the Visitor Center. The VC has a short movie about the building of the dam and the effects of the two floods in uncovering the Denovian Fossil Field. The fossil field is a big attraction.
My desk is above left. Above right is the view from the door. The theater is through the door in the back. There are a lot of stuffed animals! There is a touching table with pelts and bones, and a touching table of fossils taken from the gorge and other Iowa quarries. To the left is a picture of my friend Ranger Pat.
This is a video of the spillway during the 1993 flood on You Tube from an individual. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfk5VBoa0SQ. I can’t locate the Corps video shown in the VC. Perhaps it is a government secret!!
Fossil Field videos on You Tube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1089Wl1SPTk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxZ2DsNz0QA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xlcl1Wrsp0
These are pictures of fossils in the VC.
These are two examples of crinoids from the Devonian era.
Crinoids are marine animals. The name comes from the Greek word krinon, “a lily”, and eidos, “form”. They live in both shallow water and in depths as great as 30,000 feet. Those crinoids which in their adult form are attached to the sea bottom by a stalk are commonly called sea lilies. The unstalked forms are called feather stars or comatulids. (Wikipedia)
In the center (of the picture on the left) is the dorsal plate of a Dunkleoteus. Dunkleosteus is a fish that existed during the Late Devonian period, about 358–382 million years ago. The name Dunkleosteus combines the Greek osteus, meaning “bone”, and Dunkle, in honor of David Dunkle of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. This fossil is from one that was probably 5 feet in length. They got as big as school buses and could dislocate their jaws to eat things larger than themselves.
The picture on the right is a recreation of the Dunkleosteus with a diorama in the back. This picture is courtesy of the Vienna Museum of Natural History.
Below are pictures from the beach. These were taken in May. Nice clean beach!!
I really enjoyed my time here. I wish the Visitor Center had been busier, but I met some VERY interesting people. It is nice to volunteer 20 hours a week and receive a full hook-up site in exchange. Free electricity made it much easier to run the AC during the unseasonably HOT days.
Coralville Dam May 1, 2018 to September 4, 2018
Here I am at the desk in the Visitors’ Center. This picture was taken in August. It took me that long to remember to have someone take my picture.
The Visitor Center and The Depot Express both had a polo shirt as the required shirt for work. Not my favorite type of shirt and not a cool one to wear for a gal that sweats a lot!!
On the left is April and the right is the site all decked out in August. Notice the difference in the trees. Once it got hot I was in the shade almost all day. The other contractors and volunteers had WOW sites, so I had to do something!
This is the view from the Visitor Center when I first checked in with the USACE (United States Army Corps of Engineers.)
I miss my Akron, Houston, Red Rock, and Strawn friends.
Barb Collier, Pam Perdue, Kim Morckel, Bev Vaughn and I were a quilting group in Akron. The first year we made a different quilt block each month while we chatted. I chose to use fabric that represented the month of the block. This was about three years ago.
This is the group at Barb’s house August 2017.
I split these block in to three lap quilts. I gave one to Rachel, Michael and Gretchen. Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of each one when they were done. I used different fabrics for the blocks on each of the quilts.
Gretchen received her quilt last Thursday. I do not quilt as fast as Barb (or as neatly) but I finally finished the quilt. Gretchen was kind enough to pose with the quilt and send me the picture.
Molly photo bombed in the bottom right corner. You can see the January, April, May and June blocks.
On Tuesday, May 15th I began a part time job at The Depot Express in Coralville. It is a gas station/convenience store that is locally owned with 9 stores. It is only an 8 minute drive.
The first two days I was trained by Jo, great gal, on the food side of the store.
Great selfie of me in the bathroom with my COOL hairnet!
We made burgers and other hot sandwiches, deep fried a lot of appetizers, and made pizza. I made at least 20 pizzas in two days. I am good at making them, BUT….my slices are not as even as they should be!! Ask for a big slice when you stop in the store.
On Thursday I started my training on the register and front of the store with Jenn. Another sweet gal.
There are at least 15 different types of Marlboro cigarettes. Then there are about a zillion other brands. The prices in this clip art picture are WAY off. I think the average pack is at least $6. Then there is the chew and the snuff and the cigars and the vapor products. My head was spinning. Luckily the customers were very kind in pointing out where their brand was located.
I had to get a post office box because I could not receive mail at the dam since it is a government facility. My mail usually goes to Rachel and Nate’s in Texas as their address is my official address.
Rachel screens my mail (don’t send anything to her address that you don’t want her to see) and forwards or scans.
Today I had letters to mail and stopped in at the post office. I had two letters from friends, a piece of junk mail and two packages. I can’t express my excitement!!! REALLY!!! Thank you Barb and Jeannine for the cards! Thank you Rachel for sending Henrietta her official Texas license plate ( the other Henrietta never became an official Texan). She says thank you to you Rachel and a huge thank you to Sharon who sent decorations for Henrietta. I will take a picture once they are up.
My address is P O Box 881 North Liberty, Iowa 52317.