Clear Lake, Iowa - Hot time, summer in the city!
Jul 22, 2009
|Clear Lake and Forest City, Iowa
We head for Clear Lake Iowa and the Winnebago plant in Forest City where we'll get much needed service for the coach as well as a visit to the Grand National Rally where we'll meet up with our friends from Lake George, Jeff and Sara.
The trip is uneventful but passing through Minneapolis gives us a sense of how large of a city it relly is. We missed the Mall of America, dog gone it! Donna thought of Eileen Karn but there was just not enough time to stay there. Why not? Everything else seems to grow like wildfire out here!
Every state border crossing brings another visitor information center, and Iowa was no exception. We try to stop and pick up maps and information as we enter each state. In the Iowa Visitor Center, Donna found a delightful little gift shop that had IOWA products. She bought an Amish basket, just the size we were looking for for the dining table in the coach. It was made and signed by a 9 year old Amish boy.
As we travel next to corn field after corn field, we spot windmills - power generating windmills. This is a sign of things to come. We figure somone just threw out some sort of a seed and a windmill grew!
We're getting closer to Clear Lake where we find a small lake with a thriving summer population. The houses on the Lake are quite nice and not just converted cottages. We found our campground and proceeded into a 100 foot plus site, with grass and all the usual amenities including dear in the field next to us.
We could see into the surrounding corn fields and grasslands. It turns out the deer come out at night and the owner showed Skip where they could be photographed. Mrs. Speaker, the campground owner, stayed talking for quite awhile and asked Skip a lot of questions about photography. It turned out she was a professional photographer who does frequent workshops for Canon all around the country.
We are here for three days and we'll try to get some repairs done on the Winnebago, tour the Winnebago plant, and participate in the festivities of the WIT rally (short for owners of Winnebago - Itasca products) in Forest City about a 15 mile drive through the cornfields on the dusty back roads of Iowa. They've decided to call the rally WITSTOCK in honor of the upcoming WOODSTOCK anniversary.
Our first day at the factory we had to sign up for a service time and then had to wait until 3 in the afternoon to see if we made the list for service the next day. We decided to go to the rally while we waited. We took the shuttle bus over(actually less than ½ mile) and started to see the sites. We walked down the main lane in the rally area, and saw literally thousands of Winnebago RV’s parked next to each other. They were organized and parked by state.
We went into the main exhibition building and found we could renew our WIT club membership and attend the rally for the rest of the week. Just as we were preparing to contact Jeff and Sara, lo and behold, they walked thru the front door. It was great to see them. We talked for awhile and then agreed to get together later. Skip and I went thru the vendors, looked at new rigs, went thru the craft competition area, and then headed back to check the list. We made the list but for a standby slot at 11:30pm the next day. Back to Clear Lake.
7/23 We drove the coach over for the 11:30 appointment at Winnebago. We took the factory tour of the plant and watched as new Winnies rolled off the assembly line. Very, very interesting. Winnebago is one of the few RV companies that didn't "go under" during the recent bad times. Our repairs were finished by 4:30 that afternoon except for the levelers. They still creep up every once in a while.
That night we went into downtown Clear Lake just to roam around. Surprise - Surprise - it’s festival time and the main street is blocked off with bands and antique cars…a great small community event..right there in the middle of Iowa… The previous day we stopped at what seemed to be the local grocery store... and just to share a contrast, all the baggers, and especially behind the meat counter, were High School and College kids dressed in white shirts and black ties. They couldn't do enough to help the cutomers. They even took groceries out to people’s cars!!!!! No tipping allowed.
On Friday we took the rig back to finish up some small problems and to visit with Jeff and Sara for awhile. We stopped by the craft vendors - Skip bought leather suspenders, and I got some honey products. We're all set to leave Winnebago land. We had a great time… We're off to the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota.