Theresa “Resa” Leppert
What a GREAT weekend! Ladies from all over the Midwest gathered at Pilot Knob State Park near Forest City, Iowa, for a weekend of fun. We had ladies from MN, MO, NE, and IA at Fun in the Forest! Our event co-host, Nora, lives right there in Forest City. You can read more about this campground here: https://www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks/Iowa-State-Parks/Pilot-Knob-State-Park
Most of us came in on Thursday. I was in charge of dinner Thursday night – build your own taco salad and cookies for dessert. One Girl Camper was a bit late getting to the campground – had a blowout on her trailer. Thankfully, a State Trooper had pulled someone over nearby – and he circled back around and helped her change that tire, since her roadside assistance was delayed. Thankfully, there was no major damage, and she was able to get a new tire installed on that rim the next day, thanks to the recommendation of someone we met at the Winnebago Visitor Center!
Our camping units ranged from my backroad trailer, to newer traditional manufactured units, to a converted cargo trailer, to Dee’s beautiful little vintage Forester!
Winnebago Factory Tour
Friday morning, five of us headed into town to the Winnebago Visitor Center to do a guided tour of the Winnebago factory. Not gonna lie – I kind of wondered what on earth we would look at that would take us two hours – but that time flew right on by! We weren’t allowed to take any pics during the tour, but we have a couple of us taken at the Visitor Center – all decked out in our safety gear!
There were apparently 2000 people working at the plant that day. We saw several Class A and Class B rigs being built from the ground up. That plant was like an ant hill – people scurrying from here to there, all with a purpose – and I can’t believe what a well-oiled machine the whole thing is. The attention to detail was mind-boggling. If you ever have the chance to go, GO. It was fascinating. We finished off our town trip with some lunch at a local Mexican restaurant, Ay Jalisco. That was absolutely the best chimichanga I have ever had! (The pina colada wasn’t bad either!)
S’mores and Hula Hoops
Friday night was potluck and campfire – with s’mores for dessert. Everyone brought out their s’more fixins – we had a pile of sweets like you’ve never seen. For some reason, they were all piled around MY chair, so I looked like I had a major sugar addiction. The most important takeaway from that night was how to decide if your marshmallow is cooked correctly. Apparently, the perfectly cooked marshmallow has the appearance of “old man dangly bits.” I will save you from any pics of examples of that. 😀 I couldn’t tell you the last time I laughed that hard!
Ohmigosh! I almost forgot the lighted hula hoops! Dina brought along these LED hula hoops and we had a ton of fun playing with them in the dark. Tiffany and Dina had a hoop-off! Dina is the champion – but I am sure will be challenged again some time in future. Here is a link to some video of the Hoop Off: https://youtu.be/QP1NxfZhGcg
Wait a minute…. where did he come from?
Saturday morning, we woke up to an unexpected vistor. Squatchy showed up in the early dawn hours. Nora’s hubby, Chris, snuck in before dawn to play a prank on Nora and I, leaving him tied up to a tree at our campsite. Sneaky bugger!
What a beautiful day for a hike and a bike ride!
Once everyone was up and moving, we went on a hike up to the highest point in Iowa – the Observation Tower, at 1450 feet! You can see for miles and miles from up there. It was a short hike from the campground, and worth your time if you’re ever in the area. Check out these pics!
Some of us continued on a longer hike around Pilot Knob lake and Deadman’s Lake. Apparently, Deadman’s 4-acre “lake” is actually a floating sphagnum bog, and is home to several species of lily pads – one of which is not found anywhere else in Iowa! There are apparently several legends surrounding that name. You can read more about it here: https://midwestwanderer.com/exploring-north-central-iowas-pilot-knob-state-park/
Saturday afternoon, a few of us went for a little bike ride. Barb was nice enough to bring her extra bike for me to ride since mine is currently out of commission. While the entire park loop is about 4 miles, much of it is uphill – which was just too much for my inexperienced and aging body, LOL. We did ride out to the highway to the bike trail. Paula S. (a VERY experienced rider!) kept on going into town when Rochelle and I decided to turn back. On the way back, we were riding into a headwind in raging sunlight….
Thank God Barb and Brenda came along. They picked me up and loaded up that bike to give me a ride back. I was pooped! Rochelle was a trooper – she kept on going. There was no way she was gonna give up, stubborn woman that she is! You go, girl! (I had to nap for 1-1/2 hours to recover!)
Games and ice cream – recipe for fun!
Of course, Saturday night was another amazing potluck, finished off with ice cream dessert provided by Paula B! What a treat that was after a hot exercise-filled day! After the potluck, there was some discussion about the amphitheater up on the hill, and what a beautiful place it was…. A few of us decided to go up to check it out about dusk. Check out these photos. It is an eerie place, honestly. The energy there felt……….ancient, old. We all felt it.
We ended that night with some card games. Tiffany – you are a quiet sort – but man, when you come out with a comment, it’s a zinger! There were a lot of giggles, laughter, and stories told.
I wanted to get some sunrise pics from the Observation Tower, so Sunday morning I set my alarm for 5 a.m. and drove up to the parking area for the Tower, and took the short trail. Whew, I made it with about 10 minutes to spare. I was all alone up there as the sun rose. It was so peaceful and quiet.
Unfortunately, all good things must end, though. I then had to go back to camp to pack up for the drive home. It was great meeting new ladies and reconnecting with other camping friends. See you all around another campfire down the trail! A public album of all our photos (updated periodically as more pics are sent to me) can be found here: https://app.photobucket.com/u/catleppert1/a/c8c7c5b4-6469-4786-bc6a-48a5dd1ad873.
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Theresa “Resa” Leppert
Guide, Iowa & Wisconsin
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