Apr 22, 2010

Tour Around the Lake


During our travels around America we occasionally find areas that just feel right, comfortable. Lake Red Rock is one of those places. Because of it's location near Wisconsin it may well become a regular stop during our annual travels to the upper Midwest.

I've written before about Corps of Engineers campgrounds. If you like "camping" and can live without full hookups, they are often among the best choices. But, as you'd expect, some are better than others. Some are older and designed for tent campers or small camping trailers -- with smaller sites that can often be very un-level. Others handle larger campers and motorhomes just fine. The Lake Red Rock COE campgrounds are among the best we've experienced, clearly designed for big rigs, and maintained very well.

Yesterday, Wednesday, we took a circle drive around the lake, stopping and checking out all the other COE campgrounds (yes, there are more than one), a county park with RV camping sites, and the Elk Rock State Park. All the COE campgrounds were of the same quality as the one where we're camped. The county campground was not bad either. But the State Park was not really appropriate for campers like the bus-house.


Lake Red Rock is the largest lake in Iowa, formed when the Red Rock Dam plugged up the Des Moines River in 1969. It's primarily a flood control project and as such the level of the lake can vary considerably. It's maximum size is about 70,000 acres, but most of the time it's more like 15,000 to 20,000 acres. Long and narrow, it stretches 15 or 20 miles in length. The photo above is a composite of 5 separate photos, and can be enlarged by double clicking. The dam is way off on the extreme left side.

The lake is pretty full right now, the result of heavy snowfall in Iowa during this past winter. They're dumping a lot of water through the dam and keeping the Des Moines River below as full as they dare. We know this because we're camped below the dam and the river goes right by our campsite... and you can be sure we keep an eye on the water level. Now, I trust the operators of the dam know what they're doing, but in the spirit of self-reliance and keeping us safe, the Safety Director has me go over to the river every morning and do a measurement, just to make sure.

Today we're going into Knoxville to haunt the Courthouse archives... the next phase of Dar's genealogy project. She's going to focus on birth, death, and wedding records of my ancestors. My job is to check out the jail house, court, and police records. Hmmm.

Rapidly Researching near Lake Red Rock...
Thom



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