Sunday, July 27, 2014

More Iowa

We had a short stop at Rock Creek State Park near Grinnell, where we vowed to never again stay in a public campground on a weekend.  Even when the non-electric sites are fairly empty, the smoke from the campfires is just too much for us.  However we did have a nice view.

But we arrived on a Sunday at Coralville Lake, north of Iowa City, and had our pick of sites.  Since this is another Corps of Engineers lake, it's cheap enough even with electric.

As I mentioned previously, we had been seeing some minor flooding on our way across Iowa and Coralville Lake had its share with some sites under water.

Can you see the pavilion out in the water?

The water was pretty close to the top of the emergency spillway, but we were told it was actually receding.

We went to the visitors center and found there is something very special about this spillway.  Only twice since the dam was built in 1958 have flood waters flowed over the spillway, in 1993 and 2008.  The 1993 overflow continued for 28 days and carved out the Devonian Fossil Gorge below the spillway.  Fossils from 359 to 416 million years ago were exposed in the limestone.  And they're everywhere!
Hexagonaria, a fossil coral

Stalk of a Crinoid - an animal  that lived attached to the sea floor.

I couldn't find an exact match to this one in the literature.

Like I said, they're everywhere.  It's really pretty cool.

Our last stop in Iowa was at the HWH factory where we had a little work done on one of our jacks.  They have spots for the customers to stay overnight and even offer electricity.

While there, we dashed over to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library.  On the grounds is the house where he was born in 1874.

Although I think the modern presidents have more elaborate presidential libraries, it was very informative and well done.  We learned that he earned his wealth as a mining engineer and was acclaimed as 'the Great Humanitarian' because of his work organizing relief efforts for 57 nations over the course of his career.  Then he had the misfortune to be elected president right before the stock market crash and was blamed for the Great Depression.

My favorite Hoover quote - Fishing was a lesson in democracy because all men are equal before God and before fish.


  1. Sure glad you found a site that wasn't under water. One of the reasons we don't travel much in the summer is because of the week-end warriors. Just can't handle them.

  2. Memories....Summer weekends at the campgrounds with lots of people and smoky campfires.

  3. The fossils were definitely cool.

  4. Wow that is a lot of high water!! The fossils are so perfect!! I'm drooling over the holly hock in the photo of the library..been trying to get some to grow here for yrs with no luck!

  5. Now that's a lot of fossils! Oh, yeah, summer weekends. ANd it doesn't matter how hot it is, they're gonna build a campfire.

  6. Great fossils, so crisp looking. I had the presidential library on that Iowa trip itinerary, I'll have to add this too!

  7. I kinda like the simplicity of the Hoover House. Have you visited Rapidan Camp in Shenandoah National Park? It was the Hoovers' getaway when they were in the White House.