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Monday, August 24, 2015

Fields of Opportunities

Tommy and I set off from my home in Berlin, Md on August 18 at 10 AM heading for Ledges State Park in Boone, Iowa. I arrived at Ledges on August 20 at 7 PM. I had dropped Tom off at ISU at 6 PM for orientation for Transfer students. Tom wanted a college life, a Greek Life, so he transferred from Springfield College to Iowa State University. He did his homework and got into a Frat house and he got tickets for football and basketball games. His dreams come true. Oh and he is majoring in Hospitality and Culinary. Upon entering Iowa, the state greeting sign proclaimed its motto: “Fields of Opportunities.”  Miles later, Tommy reflected on the significance of the state motto and his situation.
10 AM we leave and follow Rt 50 across Bay Bridge to 97 to 70 to 68, which took us from the most eastern part of Maryland to the most western part of Maryland, to 79, which took us through WV to PA. Along the way we stopped at a local grill and had great food. I’m sorry I forget its name and town. If it comes to me I’ll post it. We camped in Ryerson Station State Park. We were the only campers.
Campers you might ask. Or not. Whatever. I have camped all of my life. Now I own a Scamp 16 foot deluxe travel trailer or a caravan. I consider it my first home and Berlin my summer cottage. We barbequed and had a fire and drank beer. Like the old days, familiar. I love how he takes over the cooking. He has been camping from the day he was born. It is natural to him. He went to bed before midnight and woke with the sun, a new experience for him right now in his life. He turned into a great navigator and learned a bunch about geography along the way.
On the second day we left PA returned to WV for a short leg and arrived in Ohio and followed 70 all the way to 74 in Indianapolis. 74 is a lovely road which we followed to our next camping site in DeWitt, IL. Clinton Lake SRA is near a nuclear power plant that uses the Lake to cool the coils and creates a lovely waterfall of steaming hot water that becomes a stream that meanders until t is cooled to reenter the lake.
Back on the road we connect to 80 at the Iowa border and Tommy is greeted with a message when he reads the welcoming sign to Iowa, “Fields of Opportunities.”  After dropping Tom off at Orientation at ISU at 5:30, I went to Ledges SP and set camp. He called at 11 and we had dinner late and he crashed. Friday he spent on campus getting bank setup and other stuff in preparation for moving in on Saturday. After another good evening we were set for move in at 8:30. We were the first ones there. He was on the third floor of the frat house in a four-man suite, two bedrooms and a common room. Sweet. We did the usual stuff, unpacking, trip to Walmart, building this and setting up that. I was out of there by noon as the suite mates went to Walmart for more stuff. I went back to the camp and took a nap. I took a quick trip into Ames to visit the Olde Main Brewery, which has an outstanding Scottish Ale and a very decent Pale Ale called Clone Ale. When I got home about 7 it started to rain, which was expected and I was already ready. I was glad I was home because this was a terribly horrendous thunderstorm with great peals of thunder and large crackling lightning bolts. The water that came down flooded the campgrounds. My awning was repositioned to allow that amount of water to cascade off the corner a created a waterfall. Most the tenters bugged out leaving their tents for recover the next day. One tent was flattened.
At 4 in the morning I woke freezing. I donned my cashmere sleeping sweater, another blanket, and turned on the heat. In no time I was back to sleep and didn’t rise till 8 in a very cozy Scamp. The campgrounds began drying out as a strong wind made the hanging table cloth and tarp used to keep wood and fireplace dry dance beautifully to the music of the wind. Sunday is a day to rest and I rest and read. I start my road trip tomorrow. Heading north on 35 and will camp south of Duluth. It was the campsite I used when I left Duluth last May to meet Tom at ISU. Then I spent two glorious weeks at end of May on Hwy 61 from Duluth to Portage. This time I hang a right and plan to follow the Lakes on American side to south of Buffalo and head to Seneca Falls down to Ithaca and meander over to CT to see my granddaughters and then head home no earlier than Sept 21. That’s tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
Dinner at 6, back to frat by 9 and we part company until Thanksgiving. Fields of Opportunities, Carpe Diem, son, Seize the bloody Day, Tom!

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