Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"Ole Man River"

As we had made arrangements to meet up with Ann and Mike from Los Gatos in Iowa we booked into an RV Park at Clear Lake, Iowa as it looked like a nice place.  The RV Park was about 5 miles from town surrounded by cornfields, just a short walk to the lake and I took my nightly walk in the neighborhoods by the lake. It turned out to be a beautiful town on a shallow lake with houses all along the edge. The town is notable for the “Surf” dance hall where Buddy Holly last performed before being killed in a plane crash the “Surf” is preserved just as it was back then and there’s a Buddy Holly remembrance festival every year on the 3rd February. I saw we could take a trip on the lake in a paddle boat “the Lady of the Lake” and as the weather was a bit changeable I went to check it out. The boat was not at its dock so I couldn’t explain to Ann the size of the boat; poor Ann she had visions of peddle-paddling the boat herself – it was a Paddle Boat! When we arrived back from the cruise a Christian Group was singing in the town square, “Music in the Park” performed by a group of Evangelical Christians and Mike explained that we were in a very conservative Christian area.  We walked around the downtown area and later had afternoon tea back at our RV.  It was lovely to see Ann and Mike. 

There was a little Old Church on the RV Park and we were told there would be a Nondenominational Service on Sunday morning. So…as we had not gone to Church for a while we decided to go. Quite an experience – the Pastors interpretation of the Bible was very, very unusual. His talk centered on the Book of Revelations, Chap 13, he cited support in the Book for the 2nd Amendment; we are in the End Days – Europe is going to take over the world within the next 7 years (you could have fooled me); – then the Anti-Christ will emerge from among the original 10 countries of the “European Union” most likely Germany, with Britain as the spokesman!. So be prepared and keep your guns ready. I thought about walking out but decided that it was all too interesting. There’s a dragon in the text but, but this was conveniently glossed over, he referred to China as a great country because there are 100,000 converts to Christianity every day - how funny?   Have a peep at the Book of Revelations, Chap 13 and see what you get out of it.
That night as we were returning from our walk we could hear Bagpipes being played at the campsite.  There was a man dressed in a yellow sleeveless tee-shirt and shorts, almost in the cornfields at the edge of the park blowing his heart out on the bagpipes..  Needless to say I just had to listen and talk to him.  He ended up with an audience of one, me!! (I have a photo)  He was from Texas and he was self-taught and he was good. Then he told me he also played the Bodhran (Irish drum) so off he went, got it and played it for me. As I walked back to our RV I met a woman with a 3 legged Dalmatian who said her maiden name was Reilly and her parents were from Ireland, her late father was a famous Radio and TV personality – Bill Reilly; there’s a statue of him in Iowa Falls.

The following day we had a tour of the Winnebago Factory in Forest City, Iowa. We both found it very interesting and are happy we have a Winnebago.  Wanda suggested Route 66, Eileen challenged us to visit some silly places, so on our way home we did a side trip to a town called Britt, Iowa and visited the Hobo Museum. The town of Britt has a Hobo festival, in July, every year when the new King and Queen are selected. Hoboes are a dying breed as there are only about 10 genuine hoboes living. Having read “Water for Elephants “and seen the movie, I enjoyed reading about the lives of these men. One guy “Gas can Paddy” had all his worldly belongings in a converted gas can; he would stand at the side of the road pretending to be out of gas, hitching for a ride; and yes people did stop and pick him up thinking he had run out of gas and was walking to the nearest gas station.
We are now In Minnesota and travelling along the Mississippi in a northern direction. We stopped at Winona, Red Wing, Pine City and now in Duluth.  We are both enjoying the Minnesota accent.  We can say “Yeeaa” and “you know” inserted in a sentence wherever you like and put the Swedish lilt into our speech.  All the State Parks and Rest Stops are closed in Minnesota.  The State legislators have not agreed on a budget so the tax payers suffer. We tried to buy a Mega Millions lottery ticket and all the machines had been closed down at 3pm on Friday 3rd July.  What a way for the people of Minnesota to celebrate Independence Day?

From here on we are truly moving into unknown territory so there’s a lot of planning to be done with various maps to be pored over.  We also need to keep an eye and ear on the weather, as we’re in tornado country. The last few days have been very hot and humid - we like the cold better!  And, we have also witnessed some really spectacular thunder and lightning storms; much better than any fireworks!

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