Major holidays present a problem for RVers like us who don't like to make reservations, at least not months in advance, since we don't want our route or timing to be constrained too much. The 4th of July in particular is a major vacation time for US families, so parks that accept reservations can book up months in advance. We knew we'd have to do our research to find a spot where we could stay for the duration and not end up spending the 4th in a Walmart parking lot!
Our research turned up Prairie Rose State Park near Harlan, Iowa, which only takes reservations for half the sites. After leaving Weston Bend State Park in Missouri, we made our way into Iowa. A new state to color in on our "states visited in the RV" map!
Upon arriving at Prairie Rose a full week before July 4th, we discovered that here a camper could actually "save" the "non-reservable" sites by showing up ahead of time, paying, and putting his or her payment receipt card on the post, whether or not they actually occupied the site. For the 4th, a lot of local folks had done that, planning to arrive for the coming weekend and wanting to ensure themselves a spot. This practice makes it a bit tougher for we out-of-towners to get a site!
Fortunately, though all the full hookup sites were taken, we were able to find an electric-only site right across from the lake.
We experienced a bit of a rough day as one of our leveling jacks broke (the housing for the motor at the top), so we had to use boards under the driver's side front wheel, as you can see in the photo above, to level the coach. After getting leveled, slides out, and all set up in our site, we needed to fill our water tank. Our luck was getting no better; we discovered that the water spigot right next to our site was broken!
I walked up to the camp hosts' site and asked them about it; yep, they were aware it was broken. They generously drove me back to our site with two of their extra water hoses to help us try to reach a farther spigot, but even using their hoses and two of ours, we could not reach the next spigot, so we had to pull in the slides, move Pearl, fill the water tank, and get her all set up again. Whew!
Fortunately, once we did get all settled in, this view made the ordeal worth it. We enjoyed some amazing sunsets during our stay.
And it was pretty nice during the day too.
We ended up staying at Prairie Rose until July 6th. Most folks arrived on Thursday or Friday before the 4th of July weekend, then left on the 4th (a Monday), so after a very full park for the weekend, it was much more to our liking the last couple of nights we were there. And of course, there were the sunsets!
We surely wished we had kayaks here as this small, tranquil lake did not allow motors that caused a wake, and it was so peaceful and tranquil. Kayaks, canoes, and pontoon boats made up the boating traffic.
We'll have a couple more posts on things we did while staying in the park, so stay tuned. It really was a gorgeous part of Iowa!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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