Grant River and Mark Twain Lake

There is enough distance between Milwaukee and St Louis to require two stop-overs. Well, in a car, it would be a long day driving, but in a Class-A Motorcoach or a pickup towing a travel trailer, a 4 hour drive, according to Google Maps, turns into 6 hours real driving time. Allowing for the extra travel time, we broke the trip into two stops; Grant River Recreation Area, on the Mississippi River, near Potosi, Wisconsin and Indian Creek Campground on Mark Twain Lake, about 45 minutes west of Hannibal, Missouri.

Both campgrounds are Corps of Engineers run facilities with large sites with plenty of separation from nearby sites. And, as with many Corps campgrounds, they are on Corps managed bodies of water.

View from our trailer, looking toward the Mississippi at Grant River

Shortly after getting setup at Grant River, it began to rain and rained hard that night and fairly regularly throughout our stay. There were occasional breaks, but not enough to plan to do much. So, there are only a couple of highlights.

In the nearby town of Dickeyville, we happened upon an interesting site, the Dickeyville Grotto.

The Grotto was built in 1925-30 by Father Matthias Wernerus, Priest of Holy Ghost Parish. As I mentioned, we were dealing with intermittent rains, so our stop there was short. I was amazed by the media used on the shrine. All sorts of rock, glass,bits of ceramic and who knows what else. Father Wernerus must have been quite a scavenger.

Since I didn’t get many pictures due to the rain, you can check out more information at:

dickeyvillegrotto.com

Our camp was just about 10 miles upriver from Dubuque, Iowa and one morning at Breakfast, Joanette said, “you know, the Field of Dreams Baseball Diamond (in a corn field) is just a few miles west of Dubuque. So, I kicked into planning mode, and found a nice bike trail that ran from Dubuque to Dyersville, near the Field of Dreams movie site. It would have been a great ride along Iowa’s Heritage Trail, but it will have to stay on the bucket list, because the rain made a ride difficult. Instead, we drove out, and luckily for us, there was a break in the weather and we were able to take pictures of the house, walk around the diamond and even takes pictures of us coming out of the famous cornfield.

Cornfield at edge of Field of Dreams

Our timing was perfect. While we were inside, having their, on special, half priced Bloody Marys, the heavens opened and it rained hard, and continued to rain as we drove back to camp.

Unfortunately, the next day, I had to drive back to Milwaukee, to pick up a delayed package, so Keith, Joanette and I left Bill and Mouse at camp and we headed back to MKE. To make it more interesting, we drove, via Lake Geneva, outbound and through Madison on the return. Our stop in Lake Geneva was quick, though we did enjoy the drive through Wisconsin farmlands. I thought I had a couple of pictures from Lake Geneva, but, apparently, I didn’t.

On our way back, through Madison, the weather was not cooperating, so we didn’t stop, but we did get a photo of the Wisconsin State Capitol. I have always liked Madison. The capitol building sits on a narrow isthmus between Lakes Mendota and Monona.With better weather, we could have had nice pictures of the Capitol with the lakes in the background.

As you can see, the weather was not pretty! We made it back to camp, had dinner and watched a little TV and listened to it rain all night. The next day, we were packing up to head to Mark Twain Lake. Taking down the tent room is no fun in the rain. But, luckily for us, the weather picture improved rapidly. By the time we arrived at Indian Creek, the weather had cleared. So even though the tent room and carpet were still wet, we didn’t have to put them up in the rain.

Mark Twain Lake, view from camp

Bill, Keith, Joanette and I rode together to check out the campground and walk down to the lake. After they returned to the campsite, I added another 8 miles, or so, making a total of 15.67.

Here is my Strava map for the ride.

Since, we were so close to Hannibal, of Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn fame, we decided to drive in and check it out.

Mark Twain Statue on Riverfront

When Samuel Clemens was choosing a nom de plume, he choose the riverboat term for measure (mark) two (twain) fathoms. Even though, he was long gone from Missouri when he wrote of Tom and Huck’s adventures, he still had a connection to his river upbringing.

We had a fun, and dry, day in Hannibal. It was an interesting combination of Samuel Clemens’ real childhood and the fictional childhood of Tom and Huck created from, in part, Mark Twain’s childhood memories.

After our three days in the Hannibal and Mark Twain Lake area, we headed to St Louis and that is a nice breaking point. Until next time!

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