My family didn't do a lot of traveling when I was growing up – and we weren't campers. But we did enjoy quite a bit of Iowa's great outdoors.
Some of my best childhood memories took place at what I think of now as one of Iowa's ‘Forgotten' State Parks: 9 Eagles State Park in Decatur County.
I say forgotten because we only see a handful of visitors when we camp there – and rarely share the campsite with more than an RV or two.
It's our not-far-from-home escape from civilization.
Childhood Memories Revisited at 9 Eagles State Park
published by The Scenic Route at GoRVing.com
Following Interstate 35 south from Des Moines, you’re only 4 miles from the Missouri border before exiting toward the small town of Davis City, population 195. The nearest town for supplies is Lamoni, but hand lettered signs at the end of farm driveways may offer eggs, produce, baking, or Amish hand-woven baskets.
The campground is quiet as we arrive. Often we camp alone, in seclusion, though once we shared with a couple of elderly brothers who visit each spring to hunt Morel mushrooms.
With no cell service, Doug and I are forced to relax in comfy camp chairs placed on the dried pine needles that cushion the gravel camp site, books and magazines waiting to be read as we lounge.
There is no playground in the immediate vicinity, so the girls turn to the toys of my own youth – sticks, rocks, and leaves, fashioning fairy houses at the base of trees, setting up targets to throw rocks at, or just drawing in the sandy dirt. Simple activities a world away from our usually connected lives.