Eastern Iowa camping adventure

There are sunrises worth waking up for. Like a crisp, fall morning overlooking the Mississippi on the way to see your two dear friends say “I do.”

Sunrise at Pike's Peak, Iowa

Joe and I took the long route to Dubuque a few weeks ago, camping in Backbone State Park and Pikes Peak State Park on the way to a wedding. We got to Backbone around 5 p.m. on a Thursday and three of the four entrances were closed off to cars. I was a bit worried we’d have to set up a camp outside the gates, but luckily we were able to enter from another side.

Joe almost fell off the dock trying to take this.

Backbone had a sweet little lake (that’s me trying to balance on the swaying dock), but I’d say that it’s comparable to the much closer Lake Ahquabi for Des Moinesians. If you’re traveling to Backbone, though, you have to go into Strawberry Point and take the obligatory tourist photo:

World's largest strawberry?

Leaving Strawberry Point (where we had some morning coffee and chai at the old hotel in the center of town), Joe and I took a lovely scenic leaf-peeper kind of drive past small towns. I’m so enamored with Elkader. It seemed like the Stars Hollow* of Iowa to me. My heart stopped as we pulled into town, passing a cemetery just as a funeral honor guard of sorts pointed and shot their guns at the sky. The funeral party wore all black, in contrast to the brilliant trees and I was overwhelmed by the moment. In town, a group of red hat ladies and a motorcycle club shared space along the main strip. I didn’t really get many photos here, but you’ll have to trust me that it’s quite scenic with bridges over the Turkey River and an old-time looking movie theater, bakery and quilt shop and Opera house on the main street.

Elkader, Iowa

* Obligatory Gilmore Girls reference!

… Next up, lunch with a brewmaster (which was definitely one of Joe’s favorite parts.)

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4 Comments

Filed under Iowa adventures

4 responses to “Eastern Iowa camping adventure

  1. What a gorgeous sunrise! NYC in the fall may be legendary, but I’m all about small-town Iowa travels this fall ๐Ÿ™‚ My husband and I are planning some day trips from Des Moines this month to explore & soak in the autumn scenery. Can’t wait! Do you and Joe camp often?

  2. Pingback: Weekend peek: Galena bride | BS in the Midwest

  3. Pingback: How fast days move | BS in the Midwest

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