Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Everyplace has something to experience!

We ended up in Cedar Falls Iowa because it was about a day's journey from Rock Island IL, and it was coming up on Father's Day weekend and we needed to find a place to stay that wouldn't be the "typical go-to" type places for Father's Day.  Big Woods Lake Campground in Cedar Falls seemed to fit that bill...and as it turned out, they had the space (two left!).  We booked 4 days to just sit back and relax, read a book and "do nothing". 

After all, we thought, we are out in the middle of "nowhere", nothing but corn fields as far as the eye can see, "what's there to see or do, anyway, right?"  Well, one thing we keep learning is that everyplace has something to experience...

We found some brochures (everyplace has brochures!) that told us that just an hour away in Dyersville, the movie site for the Field of Dreams was still there.  It seems that the Lansing family have kept it up all these years and have it available for people to come see, and to use the ball field.  In July & August on every other Sundays they host "ghost ballplayers" to come out and play in old time uniforms just like in the movie.  Cool.  They had a "Family Day" going for Father's Day with music and cart to purchase sodas, etc. and souvenirs.  Kids and parents were playing ball on the field, while others were just tossing a ball on the grass, or having a picnic, or watching in the bleachers.  The Lansing's still live in the house and stay to themselves.  They don't charge for anything, they just want to "share the dream" with people.  It cost them money from their own pocket to keep the fields up, but they do it out of love, and to keep the "dream" going.  They pay a royalty to the movie people on everything they sell (not the other way around).  (They may get some help from the city because it's a draw for them, who knows, but I doubt much.)  It left you with a really good feeling about people...that there are still some out there.

On our way out of town, we drove through the tiny "downtown" of Dyersville to see their other "famous" building, the Basilica of St. Xavier.  An 1860 Ruskinian Gothic Revival Basilica, featuring two steeples that are 212 feet tall with 14 feet crosses that cap the spires.  It also has 64 cathedral glass windows.  Now that was something to go see!  It didn't disappoint.  We had the place to ourselves.  It was amazing.  The colors on the cathedral glass were so vivid with the sun shining through them, it was truly beautiful to see.  The Main Alter with the two Side Alters were carved with such detail, no picture could do them justice.  Who would have ever thought a tiny little town, in the middle of "nowhere" would have had such a thing of grandeur?  See...you just never know what you will find.

The one thing Iowa does have is barns!  And you give the ladies enough time and they are going to "make them pretty" one way or another, right?  So, somewhere along the way, someone came up with the idea of painting "wooden quilts" and putting them up on the barns to make them "prettier".  Now, I've read several different stories on how these got started, and you can go with which ever story you want, but the bottom line is, now a days, people are putting them up because they make the barn look prettier!  I certainly like them!  Towns like them too, and don't hesitate to "advertise" them, printing brochures, maps & web sites to show you how to find them. 

Our little area that we settled into for the weekend was no exception, so off we went on Monday, driving around to check out a few!  They were up on barns, machine shops, garages, shops and even over a couple of houses.  Some were easy to see, some not so much.  Some had one, some had 3 or more!  All were fun to see.  One web site I went to had the background stories of why the people chose the pattern they did, which was fun to read too.  Made it personal.

On our way out of town, we continued to keep our eyes open for more of the barn quilts as we were traveling out on a back road, staying off the Interstate. Then I remembered that "somewhere" near here there was a Winnebago Manufacturing facility.  I quickly looked it up, and found that I was right.  If we quickly changed direction, we could make their 1PM tour!  So, we pulled into the nearest gas station, checked our map, read the info, and decided, yup, let's do it!  So, off we went!  (the fun of having a steering wheel and no deadlines you have to meet!)  We got there a little after noon, checked in at their Visitor's Center and found out that there was plenty of space on the tour, so we settled in and had a bite to eat and changed our shoes ("close-toed shoes required"). 

The tour lasted about an hour and a half and was quite interesting.  No pictures allowed, so I've nothing to show you.  I have to say tho, that it did change my mind about Winnebago, they do look like they make a very good product (no, I'm not interested in trading our sweet rig in, thank you very much!).   We met some really nice people afterwards that are planning on "going full-time" in about 2 years and had heard me say that we were full-timers for almost 5 years, so they asked us what we thought about a Class A vs a 5th Wheel.  We shared our thoughts, and ended up chatting with them for quite a while.   That's one of my favorite parts of being out here, meeting nice people!

All this just goes to show you, this crazy life style of ours is full of surprises, wonderful ones most of the time!  Around every corner is something new, someone new...life is good!

...on the road in Iowa,   Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/

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