Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Feeling like Noah – thunder, lightning and rain

July 26.

It is 3:30 a.m. and it is useless to try to sleep any longer. It has been seemingly nonstop lightning, thunder and rain all night long – too close for comfort. Little rain ditties have been running through my head:

Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day.

The rain is raining all around,
It rains on field and tree
It rains on umbrellas here
And on the ships at sea.

I’m singing in the rain; singing in the rain…

Those childhood memories danced along in my head, and as the lightning got closer I wished I had unplugged Jeremiah before I went to bed. The Ranger had said, “If the storm gets bad, the safest place is in the cinderblock restroom.” Yeah sure! That structure is quite a ways from here through a lot of trees and you won’t find me out and about under those conditions. Fortunately, I’m on high ground above the Maquoketa River and in no danger of flooding. I’m so glad to be in a watertight motorhome and not in a tent like several of the campers.

The rain finally stopped about 5:30 a.m. The weatherman on the radio said the eastern portion of Iowa got between one and two inches of rain, and that southeastern Iowa can expect continued rain today.

Today I will finish writing and editing articles for the Sept/Oct issue of Personal Chef magazine. I’m a few days behind schedule.

I alternated writing/editing with short walks. It is hot and very humid here at Backbone Campground. I surprised myself by getting work done quickly – and then decided to leave this campground early afternoon – a day early. My plan was to find wireless Internet access either in Cedar Rapids or Iowa City in the southeastern part of the state.

My uncanny sense of direction served me well – OK, actually I must give credit to the compass that my friend Jesse installed on Jeremiah’s dash. Without it, who knows where I would have ended. Why? Some of those back roads that I like so much are unnamed and unmarked. And some of them are not even on my maps. I simply stuck to paved roads that went either south or southeast and finally got to the outskirts of Cedar Rapids.

No luck finding wireless – but on the cheerful side, I did find a Dairy Queen and tank up with gas before continuing south to Iowa City.

While I’ve gotten pretty good at navigating between cities, it is in those cities that give me the most frustration. I took the first promising exit into Iowa City – and ended up in the University of Iowa part of town. Even if I did spot a wireless hotspot while threading through traffic, I would never be able to find a place to park. So I reversed my route and headed to I-80 in hopes of finding the Visitor’s Center for maps and information.

After some frustration and a stop at a gas station for directions, I was rewarded with a city map, directions to a county RV park for the night, the mall where I would find wireless Internet and a Verizon cell phone store – and easy parking. By this time I had been up since 3:30 a.m., wandered along backroads, and had a few failed attempts at finding services I needed. The temperature was in the high 90s, humidity in the 70s – I was feeling fried!

I parked at the mall, turned on the generator and the air conditioner so Cat would not cook while I was gone. Getting my writing work off via email and getting a new cell phone (still Verizon and same phone number) cheered me up considerably. Now to find F.W. Kent Park in nearby Tiffin, Iowa.

And what a park it is! It has 1,082 acres that include prairie lands, forests, wetlands and a lake for boating, swimming and fishing. It seems like I have hit the jackpot! Oh, yes – pull-through electrical RV sites that are fairly level. A cold Corona was calling my name! And that was soon followed by a shower, cup of Sweet Dreams hot tea and bed!