Friday, June 28, 2013

Muscatine, Iowa

We're in Muscatine, Iowa.  We camped here two years ago and liked it.  And  I think Jim wanted to come back so he could kayak in the Mississippi.

We're staying at Fairport State Park, a campground adjacent to the Mississippi River.  However, "adjacent" is not a strong enough word this year,  as the Mississippi flooded into the campground and covered some of the sites including the one we reserved.  I'd asked for a site close to the water and I certainly got that.

However, a gracious ranger found us another spot.  Last year we stayed at Fairport one night then moved to nearby Shady Creek Army Corp of Engineer Campground.  For this return trip we toyed with the idea of trying to get one of the first-come-first served spots at Shady Creek, because it's a beautiful campground.  But it's entirely closed due to high water.  So I'm glad we stuck with Fairport.

After settling in to our campsite, we drove to a place I found online called "Farm and Fleet" that promised clothing and groceries in addition to all the he things you'd think you'd find in a store with that name.  Mom, if you are reading this, it was like a gigantic version of Wellington's "Farm and Home" with a little more food, although the food choices were limited to soda, chips and candy. And there was no underwear, which is what I was looking for (it's either that or do the laundry).  They advertise clothes and they have no underwear?  Even Walgreens has underwear.  So we had to go to the shopping option of most smaller-sized cities:  Walmart.

Then we drove downtown to check out the water front area.  Flooded.  Then we drove across the Mississippi River into Illinois, just to cross the bridge.  That was one full river we saw down below.

Now we're back in the rig.  Jim's watching TV and I'm halfway into the novel "We are All Beside Ourselves" by Karen Joy Fowler, about a woman whose family raised her and a chimpanzee as sisters for the first few years of their lives. And because it's near the Fourth of July weekend and family vacation time, we can hear the kids outside racing up and down the park roads on their scooters.
Part of the campground at Muscatine's Fairport State Park on (and now partially in) the Mississippi River.
The signpost for the campsite we originally reserved at Fairport State Park.
A boy bikes through Muscatine's Waterfront Park.
A flower bed at Waterfront Park. According to what I've read, the flooding got bad just a few days ago and should peak Monday.
The Mississippi River as seen from downtown Muscatine.  Mark Twain lived in Muscatine in 1855 while working at the local newspaper.  


  1. I've enjoyed getting caught back up on your adventures. The last comment on your last picture, piqued my interest, so a short Google search took me to some of the articles published by the Muscatine Newspaper written by Twain. They were in the form of correspondence to the paper and described by the web sight as some of his early experiments with being a travel writer, like you. The eight articles were fun to read, entertaining, and displayed some of the Mark Twain humor that would become his trademark. Thanks for pushing me into this little research project.

  2. Hi Carl. I heard from Sandy this a.m. on FB but think I got her "hello" just as I signed off. Jim is kayaking in the Mississippi River as I write.

  3. Hi, I live in Muscatine Iowa and just started kayaking. Can you tell me if it's safe to kayak on the riverfront in Muscatine. Is it safe to go at the campground river at fairport?

  4. Hi Front Stage Books! Thanks for commenting. Wish I could give you a “yes” or “no” answer, but safety depends on your skill level. I'm (Bev) new to kayaking and am only paddling on lakes and very slow rivers until I have more experience. (Plus I’m kind of a chicken in the water.) So I didn’t go out on the Mississippi. Jim, however, has more experience and is a strong swimmer. He put in at Fairport, kayaked around the flooded area of the campground, and went out into the river. Jim’s opinion was that the high water and fast current were not conducive to safe kayaking. At another time his opinion might be very different. It really depends on the individual. But have fun learning! Kayaking is a great way to see things from a whole new perspective.