Camping in Nevada’s New State Park – Walker River State Recreation Area

Duke and I just got back from a two night camping trip in Nevada’s newest State Park, the Walker River State Recreation Area. The park just opened this summer. It is made up of four units along the east fork of the Walker River. The units are not contiguous. The first night we camped in the Pitchfork unit in the Riverbend Campground. The campground is less than two hours south of Reno. It has nice bathrooms with flush toilets and showers. I loved the setting, especially with the fall colors.

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We had yummy Guiness stew for dinner.  Once it got really dark we enjoyed the amazing number of stars and the view of the Milky Way that you can only see when you are away from city lights.

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The park includes a 5.6 mile stretch of the Walker river that is open for floating or kayaking. I think it would be fun to rent a kayak and make the trip some time.

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During the days we had beautiful fall weather. The only problem was that the nights were cold. The first night it got down to 27 degrees!

The next morning we packed up and moved about 45 miles down dirt roads to the Bighorn Campground in the Nine Mile Ranch unit of the park. It is a rustic campground with brand new pit toilets. Each camp site is well separated and right along the river. We were the only ones camping there and overnight it got very cold – down to 18 degrees! Other than the cold it was a wonderful place to camp.

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We had good sleeping bags and lots of blankets but it was hard to get up in the morning. Even the water in our five gallon container was frozen! The temperature warmed up pretty fast once the sun came up.

When we warmed up we packed up and headed home. Along the way we stopped for lunch at Rosie’s Place a great Mexican restaurant in Wellington.

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Road Trip – Keokuk to Springfield

Yesterday, we continued our five week road trip heading south. Before we left Keokuk we stopped at the locks on the Mississippi River to watch a barge going up river.

 

 

 

Then we crossed the river into Illinois and headed towards Springfield, the capital of Illinois. About half way there we stopped at the Dickson Mounds Museum. This area along the Illinois River was at the heart of the Mississippian River culture and there are many mounds from the towns that existed here.

 

 

In Springfield we headed to the capitol. This is the 27th state capitol that Duke and I have visited. Many don't give guided tours but Illinois does. A guided tour really enhances the experience for me. Our guide, Jack, did a fantastic job.

Jack said that although the Illinois and Iowa capitols were built from the same plans, the Illinois Capitol is taller. He told us that at 405 feet the Illinois capitol is the tallest domed capitol in the country.

 

The interior of the building is colorful, bright, well maintained and stunningly beautiful.

 

 

From the capitol we went to the Lincoln library museum. They had two shows, one about Lincoln and one about the library. I don't know how they did it but it was very difficult to tell if the narrators were real people or video of some sort.

 

 

There were lots of exhibits but I liked the one that is a tally Lincoln did of the votes he got in 1860 and 1864. You can see Nevada was added to the 1864 list.

 

 

We ended a great day with dinner and shared a root beer float.

 

 

Road Trip – Iowa

When asked we tell people the destination for our road trip is Duke's High School reunion in Manchester, Iowa. The reunion was Saturday night. When we leave Iowa tomorrow we will have spent 5 nights here in Iowa. We had a great time site seeing and visiting family and friends.

 

Thursday, Duke's sister, JoAnn, came to Manchester. She drove in from western Iowa. We arrived at Jim (Brother) and Marilyn's (Sister in law) house ten minutes before JoAnn did. We did a lot of visitingand catching up. Then after dinner we drove around Manchester and checked out the new white water park.

 

JoAnn headed home Friday. Friday afternoon Duke and I went to Marion, Iowa to get together with a group of friends Duke has known since college. We had dinner in Stone City where massive amounts of beautiful sandstone have been quarried and there are many old butter yellow sandstone buildings It was raining hard but we had a great dinner.

 

Saturday was Duke's 45th High School Reunion.

 

 

 

Sunday was a beautiful clear day with temperatures in the law 70s. Jim, Marilyn, Duke and I went to Backbone State Park near Manchester. We grilled brats for lunch and then hiked along the lake. It is a gorgeous spot, the weather was perfect and there weren't even bugs!

 

 

Today we went out for breakfast with Jim and Marilyn then headed south. Since today is another beautiful day we stopped at Stone City where we had dinner Friday night when it was raining. Stone City is also one of the places Grant Wood lived so we tried to recreate his American Gothic. We didn't have a pitchfork or anyone to take the picture. I put the iPhone on a timer and rested it against a water bottle!

 

 

We also checked out a couple of the old sand stone buildings.

 

The nearby prison is pretty amazing too.

 

From Stone City we went to New Windsor in Mercer County, Illinois to look for the graves of my Great great great grandparents Jacob and Anna Menold. They were buried here in the 1880s. Once we got to the cemetery Duke and I went in different directions to start searching. I turned around and there it was! We had parked right next to it. The stone is very weathered but by looking very closely from different angles I was able to decipher it. I have been studying my family history since I was about 16. This stone filled in some new information! Very exciting!

 

 

 

 

Our next stop was Duke's Grandfather's farm near Montrose Iowa. Duke's Dad grew up on this farm and Duke visited the farm as a child. We found it and walked all around. The old barn is still standing. Duke's Dad worked for Kent Feed. We found a Kent Feed sign on an old shed.

 

 

 

We have had a wonderful time in Iowa. I think that in summer it is one of the prettiest places in the world, and it sure was fun to catch up with friends and family!

 

Road Trip – Red Wing, Minnesota

Duke and I stayed in Red Wing on our road trip in 2010. We liked it so much that we decided to explore Red Wing again.

 

Yesterday we drove the short distance to Red Wing from Minneapolis along Highway 61. Highway 61 follows the Mississipi. We will be on it a lot as we head towards Memphis.

In Red Wing we did some exploring. The Red Wing shoe store and museum is fun. Duke bought some shoes. Although he has big feet his new shoes are smaller than this!

 

We browsed a wonderful book store, Fair Trade Books. It was a very nice surprise when the owner told us that on your first visit he gifts you a book. So Rick chatted with us to see what we like to read and gave each of us a book!

Then we went to Hanisch Bakery around the corner and shared a milk shake and a cookie.

We had a great dinner on the river and slept well in spite of the thunder storms during the night. it is raining this morning. After breakfast we are headed to Manchester.

 

 

Road Trip – Minneapolis / St. Paul

Duke and I are about half way through our 5 week road trip. We spent yesterday near Minneapolis visiting with my Aunt and cousin and the family. My Aunt Dorothy took us to the Minnesota History Center. From the central gallery we had a beautiful view of the Minnesota State capital.

 

 

The museum was fun and very interesting. Here Duke, Aunt Dorothy and I are in front of a sod house.

 

We all went out to dinner and had fun catching up.

 

 

Road Trip – Tofte to Minneapolis

Yesterday we drove from Tofte on the shore of Lake Superior south to Minneapolis. Along the way we stopped to check out a couple of light houses.

 

 

 
 

We had a picnic lunch overlooking Two Harbors Bay and watch a big ship coming in to load taconite.

 

 

 

 

 

Last night we spent at my Aunt Dorothy’s place near Minneapolis.