Apr 25, 2010


Since Friday a big storm system hanging around the Upper Midwest has been responsible for a spell of "stay-inside" weather and the more than 3 inches of rain that was in the rain gauge this morning. Today, while the rain abated somewhat, it's been just nasty outside -- cold wind, drizzle -- you just want to curl up around the heater with a book (or a PC if you've got I.A.D. like me) and let it blow. Warmer days are ahead.

Since we're parked below Red Rock Dam and right on the banks of the Des Moines River it's good to have confidence in the U.S. Government and the Corps of Engineers if you want to get a restful night's sleep in this campground. You see, the lake above the dam is fairly full. Heavy winter snows in Iowa recently melted and nearly filled the lake. Sure, you say, but they could just let more water out -- pull the plug on the old bathtub and let 'er drain out. But you'd be wrong, at least if you care about the good people of Ottumwa Iowa who are already dealing with downstream flooding problems from this same river. The last thing those folks need is even more water coming at 'em.

But the rains of the past few days also have to go somewhere -- so the lake level is certainly rising again. That dam is already holding back a wall of water some 80 to 100 feet high. I'm sure they think it can hold a little more, especially if it's going to help the people of Ottumwa. They have confidence.

Couple all that with the sign in the campground, just down the road from our site, that graphically reports the high-water level from a flood a few years ago -- it was way over my head. Well, you just gotta have confidence!

So, as the rain poured down on the camper last night, I put my head down and fell quickly to sleep, confident that the 40 year old dam was properly designed and constructed, and will continue to do it's job... at least for the next couple days. There are some things you've just gotta trust, at least if you want a good nights sleep around here.


We had been planning to leave today, but the prediction of a much better travel day on Monday changed our minds. So tomorrow morning, we pull up jacks and head north to a rendezvous with some friends near Cedar Falls.

Wondering how long I can tread water...

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