The Great River Road

Following the Frost line!

Wakonda State Park, MO61, La Grange, Canton, Keokuk, River Road X28, Montrose, Fort Madison, Burlington, Muscatine, IA22, Fairport, Wildcat Den State Park, Devil’s Punchbowl, Pine Creek Grist Mill, Montpelier, Buffalo, Davenport, Le Claire, IA 67, Riverview Recreation Vehicle Park, Clinton, Eagle Point Park, Discovery Trail, Sabula, Eagles Island, Mississippi Palisades State Park, Maquoketa Caves State Park, Heritage Canyon, Fulton ILL, IA 52, Bellevue, St Donatus, Dubuque

Rain on our first day out left us to pulling up at the Wakonda State Park, MO. Park is nice but dated. We had a great time hunkered down in the rain for two days.

Been traveling from the south to the north of the country and I notice that most all US Flags are at half staff! I wonder if we will ever be happy again? With all the Christmas presents “AKA Stimulus Checks” I would guess everyone would be smiling, well don’t get me started! On a brighter note, I will be long gone by the time “the frogs notice the water is bowling”! I’m glad we lived our life’s when we could be proud Americans.

Enough with that! Before the Gas shortage gets a good grip on our plans we are moving right alone. Heading up the Great River Road toward Davenport.

At LaGrange IA. there is a nice gravel lot for the quick over night stay along the river or there are spots with Elect and pads provided by the Mark Twain Casino, sites are pretty sad looking. 40° 2’15.32″N 91°29’57.01″W . On north at Canton IA. there is a great city camp ground with elect water and pads right on the river, where you can watch the Barges coming down from the Lock and Dam and the channel is right next to the west back where you can enjoy the view. If $20. 40° 8’22.51″N 91°30’56.27″W

North of Keokuk IA. we found another great little park at the River view park in Montrose right on the river for an overnight stay. 40°32’1.08″N 91°24’51.35″W If you get on the River Road at Keokuk, you will find an great afternoon ride with a few pull offs. X28 is the road name. 40°24’46.69″N 91°22’48.04″W Just before Montrose the road got very pretty but had a slide the night before in a rain storm, but was no issue for seasoned travelers! Montrose also had a great park to pull up along side the river. After a morning of high adventure we pulled up at Fort Madison IA at the Rodeo Park.

The Great River Road between Burlington and Wapello Iowa “Hwy 99” is a little lame as the river is not near the road. You cross the Iowa River twice, witch is nice and there are the Toolesboro Indian Mounds. At Muscatine you can get off of Hwy 61 and follow the river again to Davenport IA 22. On IA 22 there are three or four Recreation campgrounds between the railroad track and the river. We also found the Wildcat Den State Park where you can park at the Pine Creek Grist Mill parking lot. There is four to seven miles of hiking trail in the park and of course the Grist Mill. If you get on the tails look for the Devil’s Punchbowl. At Davenport you can find your way onto US 67 and keep on the River Road north. There are also a number of bike trails in Davenport.

We found another great little pull out at Le Claire IA near the Buffalo Bill Museum . 41°35’59.59″N 90°20’33.55″W We came into Le Claire early on a Sunday morning and things where pretty slow. But if your into river front bars and restaurants there seem to be several in a very small area along US 76.

The Pickers Shop

Made it to Clinton, IA and took a spot at the Riverview Recreation Vehicle Park 41°51’5.36″N 90°11’5.70″W. Spent a couple days biking the trails and parks in the area. Park has dump station water and electric on concrete pads also showers for $22. It is a requirement that you like the trains! Our fridge when out here and we held up for a week waiting for that and for the weather up north to catch up to our liking. Took a day trip to the town of Sabula IA. A small town on an island on the Mississippi. Crossed the river for a day trip into Savanna, ILL. And found the Mississippi Palisades State Park. Very nice and lots of views of the river.

We took a couple of day trips, one west of Clinton and found the Maquoketa Caves State Park. Very nice valley full of natural bridge caves. And it has a nice RV park that is $20 with Electric. If you can still walk, you need to visit this park and the Heritage Canyon that is in Fulton ILL. Just across the river from Clinton. Both are free or small donation. And both offer a full afternoon of exploring.

After heading up to Sabula and getting on IA 52 we made it to Dubuque and crossed the Mississippi into Wisconsin. I have to recommend Bellevue and St Donatus on IA 52. Bellevue is a very nice river town next to a dam on the Mississippi and has really nice only homes to admire. If we weren’t already a week behind our schedule we would have spend more time there. We have only traveled the Great River Road through Iowa this time. We have in years passed been on the Road in Missouri and Mississippi. And found it to always be full of fun and suppresses. Safe Travels

On the Way North again!!

MO63, Moberly, Macon, MO36, Hannibal, MO61,

Got past our Doctor visits and seem to still be blessed with good health. Headed to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Planning to run a campground up there for the summer.

Had a good couple weeks in Missouri, visiting Family and friends. We only have three weeks to trek to Michigan so I will try to post more often as we start out heading up the “Great River Road”. Safe Travels

Boston Mountains

Fort Smith AR, I 49, Boston Mountains, Bobby Hopper Tunnel, Ozark Plateau, Rogers, Neosho MO, I 44, Hwy 5, Osage Beach

We spent a couple days in Fort Smith visiting the old fort and riding a couple of the towns trails. Went up the new I 49 over the Boston Mountains and onto the Ozark Plateau to Neosho. Took another break around Rogers AR to ride a few of the trails they have there. But the weather got cool and we have moved on north and trying to keep warm. We are just a couple weeks early for the weather in Missouri, but the Dog Woods and the Red Buds are blooming tells us Summer is just around the corner. Safe travels.

Ouachita Mountains

Broken Bow OK, Hwy 259, Poteau, Hwy 59, Hwy 112, Fort Smith

Spent a couple days running over the Ouachita Mountains in eastern Oklahoma. Spent a night on a mountain top with great weather and listening to the wind whistling through our windows. Views are great but I guess I’m not much for landscape photos.

Texas 2021

TX 1458, Buller RD, Coump Ferry RD, TX 359, Pine Island, US 6, Navasota, TX 90, Roans Prairie, TX 30, Huntsville, Trinity River, TX 19, TX 94, Apple Springs, Lufkin, TX 59, Nacogdoches, La Nana Creek trail, Henderson, TX 259, TX 43, Marshall, TX 49, Jefferson, Turning Basin, TX 49, TX 259, Daingerfield, Sulphur River, De Kalb, The Red River…

Had Breakfast at a great Picnic Area on TX 30, “30°37’46.93″N 95°52’35.66″W”! Found a great place to spend the afternoon on the Trinity River boat ramp on TX 19, between Huntsville and Trinity, “30°51’28.52″N 95°23’55.60″W”. It has trails in both north and south along the river where seems to be bums leaving bags of trash after spending time along the river. But if you can look past that the old hi way bridge and the Rotating Railroad Bridge are great photo opportunities.

We road our bikes on the La Nana Creek trail in Nacogdoches and a little around the town. The usual Collage town really, Zombies walking the campus with there mask on and not paying attention to anyone or anything. Don’t recommend the trail for bikes as it is very rough and muddy after a rain. Found another great picnic area on TX 43 just north of Tatum “32°21’32.82″N 94°27’57.82″W”. Turned out to be a great place to overnight.

Jefferson Texas! What a great find this is, Church Bells, Trains at all hours with horns blowing, Free over night parking, $12 Electric and Water, Free dump station, Amazing Board walk on the Big Cypress Bayou, Bike riding town for sure lots of old time things to see. Train Museum, and Train rides, Jefferson Ghost Walk, lots of shops and restaurants. There is no end to it here. Lois compares it to Fredericksburg. Did I mention Free overnight parking? “32°45’20.48″N 94°20’39.67″W” If you can believe it this place 130 years ago was the second largest inland sea port in Texas!

Stephen F. Austin State Park, Texas

Sealy, Brazos River, Bellville, Newmans Castle Bakery, TX 36

This park is amazing!  The trails are so well kept that biking them is a breeze, hiking them is really a beautiful workout and so interesting that you will want to stop every few minutes just to look at the magnificent trees!  These trees have a little of the Spanish Moss on them giving them a fantasy look,  the trails are so well kept and mowed so that the grass doesn’t keep getting on your legs and the staff especially the Park Hosts are so friendly and helpful. The park had a flood a few years ago so they are redoing all the shower/rest rooms and man are they nice.  The shower rooms are so spacious and amazing.  Yep, this is one awesome park plus the RV sites are all PULL THRU, so no backing required!! 

Sealy is an old railroad town that has lots to offer in railroad history. I don’t have much experience with Railroad photos but this is for sure the place to find them moving around town at high speed and just switching and putting around. Didn’t have time this trip but there is a nice route from the park to town for biking. Made an afternoon trip to the county seat, Bellville to check out the local specialty meat shop, Bellville Meat Market. Brisket to die for with outside dinning. We also had to hit Newmans Castle Bakery for coffee and pastries! Then Dinner back at Sealy, Tony’s Family Restaurant. We are back on Keto tomorrow!!

Magnolia Beach, Texas

I 2, Pharr, TX 281, Alice, TX 359, Skidmore, TX 181, Beeville, TX 59, Goliad, Victoria, TX 87, Magnolia Beach, TX 60, Wallis, TX 36, Sealy, Stephen F. Austin State Park,

We are back on the road again and having the time of our lives. Poked our way back north trying out some new roads and stopped at Magnolia Beach once again, we cant not stop when ever we are near by and spend at least one night. Love the birds here and taking photos right out side our front door!

Headed into Victoria, TX to find the Grace Lutheran Church for Easter service. Where we had our hearts lifted, as we attended Sunrise Service and greeted with a smiling congregation with no mask. Service started outside and we all moved through a mock up of Jesus’ Tomb, was a very uplifting event led by Pastor Keith Aschenbeck! Then moved onto Sealy, TX and the Stephen F. Austin State Park to visit our friends and restock the rig for a couple days.

Headed North

After three months at Resaca De La Palma State Park we are heading north for the Summer. While here this winter we found ourselves with unusual cold fronts for Texas. Cold lasted over a week with temps in the 20’s at night. Rolling blackouts, lines for Gas, Propane and WALMART CLOSED!! HEB had empty shelves! Seems we are at the end of the food chain down here in the Valley.

We have had a great time at RDLP and would recommend it to anyone that wants to host away from the busy atmosphere of the usual camping park. Work is light, low key and there are no campers as this is a Day Use Park. Kelly and the crew at the park were all very helpful and informative about the area. Look forward to coming back again.

On a sad note, we spent most of our time here taking pictures of Birds and seeing the sites in and around Brownsville, keeping to ourselves. I have to say it breaks my heart to see what my Country had become. A bunch of sheep that the Government has convinced that we should mistrust each other and believe anything that they say to be good for us with out question.

Resaca De La Palma State Park

Green Jays, Tamales, Texas Brush Country, Sabal Palmetto forests, “javelina rats”, Cotton rats, Wood rat nest, Ebony Tree seed pods, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Estero Llano Grande State Park, Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Nuevo Progreso, Rocket Ranch, Sabal Palm Sanctuary

I know we are far enough south as I am finding ads for Tamales on Facebook! We arrived at the RDLPSP just ahead of a cold front and spent the first three or four days in cold and cloudy conditions. Our first impression is we like it here, three host and a young woman is our supervisor, and she is very easy to get along with. I have read about “Texas Brush Country” and this little park seems to fit that description. Along with eight miles of trails here that wind around a resaca of the Rio Grand. <Resaca: the dry channel or the former often marshy course of a stream>.

After exploring the park we have found there to be a shortage of birds other than Green Jays and yard broke Turkeys. Must be the dry season as the resaca is for the most part dry. The few wet areas have a few duck and a few Cara-cara’. But for the most part a very interesting place for a day tour. We found ourselves out an about the area visiting other parks to feed our Birding interest. Brownsville has a lot of resacas and if you find one with water there is most likely birds around it.

Spent and afternoon riding around the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Where we found a group of Alligators that made our day.

Estero Llano Grande State Park has a large area of ponds and has a number of wader birds. We also have explored the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge witch also has ponds and water birds. We have also checked out the Sabal Palm Sanctuary. Nice old Mansion and several mails of trails around a forest along the Rio Grand.

We wondered into the Rocket Ranch one day looking for birds and found this really unique campground right on the Rio Grand River. If you have a Fully Self Contained RV and understand the process of Dry Camping this place is very nice. They have a nice web site and if you don’t have a rig they have Classics little Rigs setting on the banks of the river you can rent. Just a few miles from the beach and Space X. Tell Maddie that Lois and George sent you.

On the Road again

US90, Breaux Bridge, Chez Jacqueline – French restaurant, TX290, Somerville TX, TX77, Magnolia Beach, Victoria, Resaca De La Palma State Park

Another tradition is Breaux Bridge and Scrimp Po’boy, but this year we came on a holiday. So our usual shop was closed but we found Chez Jacqueline Café open. Great Coffee and Doberge Cake and a great Breakfast the next morning.

As we came by Houston we took a detour to visit our friends that have retired in a little town called Somerville TX. Dick and Lois set us up in a pull through site with electric and water and just ten foot from Ms Lois’ kitchen. I put on four pounds in two days!! We took them out to one of the many cafes in the area near their place, that was quite an experience in itself. We had a great time with them and plan to make this little piece of Texas a regular stop over. 

Made it back to our favorite beach site, Magnolia Beach. Another tradition we don’t pass by. After the swamps of Louisiana you have to have your sunglass’ when on the beach. Wind was cold this year so we continued to move on south to Brownsville. Took a gig at the Resaca De La Palma State Park. Hoping we can work on our birding photography here.