We were all ready to leave the crummy campgrounds on Monday and quickly got the RV on the road with Suzy in her car following behind. Once we got past Kansas City, the trip north on I-35 was an easy drive for the better part of 3 hours. We had nice rest stops along the Interstate and took our time. We pulled into our next location just a few miles from the Iowa state line at a little RV Park outside of Eagleville, Missouri called Eagle Ridge RV Par. Our first impression of this small RV Park was how nice it was after the crummy campground for the past two weeks. As the name suggests, Eagle Ridge is one the top of a low ridge with a great view off to the west over the new cropfields. We saw some really nice sunsets during the week when the clouds allowed. The owners were great providing us a lot of information about things we could do during the week. However, to be honest, we were just as interested in playing games in the campground. In particular, we enjoyed teaching Kaytlynn had to play our favorite game, spades and got in quite a few games over the week.
The weather on Tuesday was nice with rain predicted for later in the week, so we headed north into Iowa to explore the Bridges of Madison County. This may sound familiar as this is the title of a well known book and 1995 movie. For those of you that never saw the movie, it is a story of a photographer interested in taking pictures of the covered bridges in the county which has the largest collection of surviving covered bridges in Iowa. This sounds like a lot, but there are only 6 of them of the original 19 in the county. The range in age from 1870 to 1884. I was looking forward to being able to compare different covered bridge designs, however, all of these bridges were constructed using the same plans, even down to the red paint on the sides. Except for the length, they all looked exactly the same. Kaytlynn enjoyed doing cartwheels down the center of each bridge, so it was worthwhile. Even though we had a map with the location of each bridge, we decided to follow the signs for the Covered Bridge Scenic Byway. While it did lead from bridge to bridge, the byway was more interested in showing you the entire county. Instead of going directly from bridge to bridge it went miles out of the way over dirt roads and farmland. It was very scenic and if you enjoy driving dirt roads, was actually a lot of fun. We stopped and took pictures of each bridge, although they are difficult to tell apart, and had a nice picnic lunch at the park at Cedar Bridge. This was the only bridge that was not original, as it was set on fire for some reason back in 2002 and rebuilt in 2004. All except for two of the bridges, Cutler-Donahue and Imes Bridges, are at their original locations. Cutler-Donahue was moved to the Winterset City Park and Imes was moved to be closer to the highway in St. Charles. With no water under these bridges, they certainly looked strange. Hogback, Holliwell, and Roseman Bridges can only be accessed by dirt roads which added to the fun, in my opinion. Consequently, the road trip took the better part of the day and was an unusual day for us.
It rained much of the day on Wednesday, with storms in the afternoon, so we stayed in the campground and played games most of the afternoon and evening. Thursday was better, so Kaytlynn and I took off to play some disc golf while Kal and Suzy went to the store. Kaytlynn and I drove north to Lamoni, Iowa to a disc golf course on the campus of Graceland University. Since the first half of the 18 hole course was around the pond, the showpiece green space for the University, it was all well manicured. Each fairway was open with very few obstacles except for the pond itself with freshly mowed grass to play on. Most of the holes were well marked with concrete tee pads and easily seen baskets. However, the sign for hole 5 ran along the edge of the area with heavy brush on the left side. According to the sign at the tee the basket was suppose to be along the brush which curved to the left. When I threw the disc the cross wind caught it and it sailed out of sight into the brush. After spending 15 minutes looking at the ground into the brush I finally found it stuck about head high into the brush. I was grateful that I did not lose my favorite driver. However, two holes later, Kaytlynn finally got an excellent throw at the basket and we watched it sail into the pond. Since these discs do not float, that was the end of it. Kaytlynn was still very new at throwing a disc, so it really surprised both of us she managed to throw it into the pond. At the end of 9 holes, Kaytlynn had had enough. The weather was sunny, hot, and the course had very little shade. If not for the wind it would have been a lot worse. Especially since it appeared that the back 9 wound in through the buildings on campus, I agreed with her in calling it a day and heading back to the campground.
It rained again on Friday, so it was another day hanging out in the campground and playing games. Saturday was a bit better with only light rain in the morning, so we headed south to the town of Jamesport, Missouri. This is the location of the largest Amish Settlement west of the Mississippi which was evidenced by the number of families we saw traveling in their horse buggies. Jamesport is a small town which is in the process of transforming itself into a tourist attraction. While much of the downtown area is still closed shops, there are a number of stores to attract visitors. The main difference is these stores feature locally made products instead of the usual tourist trap garbage. We enjoyed spending time in a couple of stores seeing unusual products, many made by hand. Then we entered one of the many antique stores in town. It felt like we were transported back in town to a large garage sale!! The store was full of all kinds of junk you would find in someone’s garage 10 to 40 years ago. Everything from old tools, toys, books, records, clothing, and all manner of cheap memorabilia. While we enjoyed pointing out strange objects to each other, I can’t imagine how the store was going to stay in business. I guess I just don’t understand the appeal of antiques, unless it is furniture. We then drove just out of town to an Amish country store. This store was amazing with all kinds of interesting items you would not find in most stores. They had every kind of flour I can think of and a very wide selection of jars full of jellies, jams, and preserved vegetables. Kal did find enough sorghum for all of the kids, as well as, some other choice items. Then it was off to the bakery next door where we bought some great bread and pineapple carrot cake.
After lunch at a local barbecue in Jamesport , we decided to check out another historic site in the area we had heard about. Adam-ondi-Ahman is the site of a Mormon settlement established in 1838. When Joseph Smith visited the area in the spring he discovered two “altars” on the top of Tower and Spring Hill which he proclaimed were constructed by Adam. In May he declared this was the site that Adam and Eve came to when they were exiled from the Garden of Eden and by August the town grew to 1500 Mormons. However, the locals feared the Mormons would seize control of local politics and barred them from voting in the August elections in Gallitin. The Mormons fought back and the Mormon War began. It did not last long as the Missouri National Guard was called out and the Mormons were given 10 days to leave. By November they had moved on to establish a new community in Far West, Missouri. Today the site is owned and maintained as an historic site by the Church of Later Day Saints and is a very nice place to explore. Most of the 3000 acres have never been farmed and remain in this pristine environment. There is a nice picnic area on the site and you can visit the two altars on Tower and Spring Hill. There are also some nice views of the Grand River Valley from on top of Tower Hill. Even with this side trip, we had plenty of time to indulge in more games once we returned to the RV for the evening.
We spent Sunday doing laundry and cleaning the RV, which with 3 of us did not take very long. The rest of the day was spent playing games once again. By this point Kaytlynn was getting good at spades, except for nils which can take some time to play well.