Monday, May 2, 2016

Day 1, Sunday, May 1, 2016 Decatur, Illinois to Palo, Iowa

“Yet it isn't the gold that I'm wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
It's the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder,
It's the forests where silence has lease;
It's the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It's the stillness that fills me with peace.” 
Robert W. Service

Why Alaska?
Having had the incredible good fortune to travel and live in many parts of this amazing world of ours, I now covet the inclination to see, feel, and touch that which resides just outside my window…North America.  Bicycling cross-country in 2014 awakened a deep seated desire to travel as many of the byways that this great land has to offer.  I’ve come to realize that the destination is subordinate to the journey itself.  The sights, populace, and mystery that resides in those areas unmarked on the map, laying between destinations, is where real adventure is to be found. 

The Roads
Pleasant Creek Campground
Departing Decatur, Illinois at 10:30 AM this morning under overcast skies that gave no indication of impending storms, we found ourselves confronted with heavy rain after crossing the Mississippi River into Iowa.  Hwy 121 to Hwy 155 offered majestic views of light green spring foliage, tilled fields, and the first emergence of the new corn crop.  From there it was Hwy 74 with the recent construction completed and which offered a nice smooth highway.  Hwy 80 was another story.  Two lanes, heavy traffic, and multiple construction sites coupled with heavy rain made this a drag…BUT BETTER THAN A BIKE RIDE IN THE RAIN!!!  For our farmer friends in Decatur, our observations were that NO fields were seemingly planted in Iowa.  Overall, our Iowa friends seem to be two to three weeks behind in warming weather and planted fields.

Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area Campground
Lakefront View
                                                                                  How fortunate to have such a beautiful spot to camp tonight.  Located in Linn County, Pleasant Creek is home to 1500+ acres of public land that offers hunting, camping, hiking, restored prairie grasses, and a lake with swimming and “no wake” boating.  Due to ongoing work, the lake has been drawn down considerably but the whole setting offers one of beauty and quiet serenity.  We are here early in the season so we have the campground pretty much to ourselves.  With 30 AMP power, hot showers, and plenty of campsites it is a real bargain at $16.00 a night for electric hookups and $11.00 for all others.  The only drawback…it is cold, rainy, and a great night to be in a NICE WARM RV. 


  1. Will you be coming through our way in one direction or the other? Family picnic in our backyard? Alanna

  2. Steve,

    Sounds like you are off on another great adventure! We look forward to reading your blog and hearing all about it.

    You have already gone past us to the north but if possible, come by Estes Park on your way back to Decatur. Safe travels.

    RK & PK

  3. Hi Steve, that is wonderful. Sharon and I hope you have a fabulous time. Look forward to your posts.
    Give us a call sometime. Would love to catch up.

    We are both happy that you are now using an RV. We were worried about your knees.

    All the best
    Don & Sharon