Travels with Bentley

Travels with Bentley
Bentley - our Heartland Bighorn

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

July 17-18, 2016 - Amana Colonies RV Park, Amana, Iowa

Sunday, July 17, 2016

I woke up to the sound of rain in the middle of the night, but right away the air conditioner kicked on and I never heard anything else until I woke up this morning.  It didn't seem like there was any accumulation and we were soon preparing to pack up Bentley and move on. We pulled out of our site at 9:20 but it was almost 10:00 before we left the campground as we had to wait in line at the dump station.  Everyone seemed to pull out at the same time and they all needed to make the same stop on the way out as we did.  We were soon on our way, and it was not long before we crossed into Iowa.

We had to drive through Des Moines, the State Capitol of Iowa.  Here is a shot of the capitol I was able to take as we passed it on the Interstate.  I would love to visit this capitol building someday.  It really looks interesting.

Today will be a longer drive for us, one of the few longer driving days I have between sites this trip.  It will take us about 5 hours to reach the Amana Colonies. The weather forecast indicated we could run into some rain but we managed to go around or between showers because we never ran into any rain.  We did see LOTS of corn and bean fields as we drove through Iowa, and they really were very pretty because everything is so green and is laid out very neatly.

Our drive was pretty uneventful until we neared Amana.   Our GPS led us not to Amana, IA but to East Amana.  As we pulled into the first road leading into East Amana, we could see we were in trouble - dead end road ahead.  A man was just leaving his house on his bicycle.  I guess he could see we had no idea what we were doing, and here he came.  No he didn't think we could probably make the next corner, so Dean pulled up around a flagpole area, and then was able to back up enough he could make the curve and get us back to the highway.  He said GPS gets mixed up with the Amana's (there are 5 different ones - Amana, East Amana, West Amana, High Amana and Middle Amana.

Once we were redirected we soon found the RV Park.  The Amana Colonies RV Park is pretty much a very large field with strips of gravel for parking of RV's, two deep.  The park has full hook-ups, decent wi-fi and the Verizon signal is fantastic.  The staff was very friendly upon arrival and pretty quickly we were led to our site for the next two days.  We probably should have asked for a different site. The gravel driveway was already a bit muddy especially where the truck was parked. Unfortunately it rained Sunday night and now it is a bit of a mud pit.

We soon had Bentley set up, so we turned on both air conditioners and then we left for a drive around the area so things could cool down a bit.  We drove to all of the Amana's and just enjoyed looking at the historical buildings, the beautiful flowers in bloom and enjoying the late afternoon ride.

Bentley in our spot for the next 2 days

Site next to us.

Between each road is one long graveled area.  If you get here first you have a pull-through spot, you arrive late and you back in on the other side.  We didn't have any neighbors while here.
When we returned we were hungry so I made biscuits and hamburger gravy for dinner.  We hardly ever have this anymore but we both like it.  Dean watched TV while I worked on updating the blog for our Omaha stop.  I finally finished up the second day at 11:30.  I'll have to finish it up in the morning.

Monday, July 18, 2016

I rarely stay up past 10:30 and I'm usually in bed by 10:00.  I was not too surprised when I didn't wake up until nearly 6:45 this morning.  That is really late for me.  Fortunately Dean had the coffee made and I was able to get a cup right away.

Dean told me he'd like to go into Amana and eat breakfast this morning so once I finished my second cup, we got ready and headed in to the Ox Yoke Inn.  Dean had a typical breakfast of bacon, eggs, hasbrowns, and bread with strawberry jam.  I ordered the multi-grain pecan pancakes.  They brought them covered in a caramel sauce.  Very good but a little richer than I expected.

It was about 9:30 when we left the restaurant and most of the stores do not open until 10:00.  We stopped at the Visitor Information Center which was located in an old corn crib.  Dean was really interested in this old building.  They had preserved the building well and we were able to climb up in the cupola.

From there we went to the Historic Museum to listen to a 20 minute film about the Amana's.  The first thing we learned is the Amana colonies are not Amish, as many people believe.  The Amana's were a communal society until 1932, when during the Great Depression they set aside their communal way of life.  They established the Amana Society, Inc. a profit-sharing corporation to manage the farmlands, the mills and the larger enterprises.  Private enterprise was encouraged and The Amana Church was maintained.
Old barn

One of the homes.  I loved the hydrangeas along the front.  They were just beginning to turn color.

The High Amana General Store where I bought my horseradish jelly.

Their cemetery.  Dean read at the Museum that they were buried in a row as they died, except for children.

Post Office for South Amana

Another old barn

and another

One of the businesses in downtown Amana

The Millstream Brewery

We toured the Noe home, located behind the museum, which was quite large and full of history of the Amana Colonies from the time they first arrived in the United States and then their move to Iowa.  When I say the home was large, it was two stories with two stairways and more rooms than I would have imagined in a house during this period.

We visited a number of stores including a children's toy store; three general stores; Heritage Haus; Amana Meat Shop & Smokehouse; Millstream Brewing Co. (there cream soda was really good); Amana Woolen Mill; Broom & Basket Shop; Giant Rocker;

I started to scoot back, but it felt like it would tip.  Can you imagine what that would have been like - me flying off the top back of the chair as I went over?  It's okay if you laugh, I did, just thinking about it.
and the Philip Dickel Basket Museum Gallery.  As we were leaving the "Largest Rocking Chair" I noticed this tractor out front.  I think he might have a hard time getting out of this.

We bought a couple of cheeses at the Heritage Haus and some horseradish jelly at the General Store in Middle Amana.
Flowers at the General Store.  These pictures do not do them justice.

I especially loved this pot of flowers by the door.
As we drove back to Bentley, we also passed Lily Lake.  The lillies are in full bloom and almost have filled the lake.

We returned to Bentley about noon, and we had cheese, meat, crackers/bread and fruit for lunch.  We should eat this more often!  We rested after lunch and I worked on completing the Omaha portion of the blog so I could get it posted.

We went back to the Ox Yoke Inn for dinner.  Dean had the fried chicken and I had baked steak. They wore both good but neither was outstanding.  We shared a piece of coconut cream pie after dinner and then we returned to Bentley.

We will be moving to a park in Illinois in the morning.  We will stay there 2 nights and then move on to a park near Rockford, IL where we will visit with Dean's sister, Ruth Ann and her family for a  few days.


  1. The pictures are beautiful Cheri, I especially like the one of you in the big chair. Made me think of you when you were just a little girl. I love reading about your adventures. Makes me feel like I'm there with you.

  2. Haha! I hope it wasn't because I was a brat!!! Makes me think of Lily Tomlin. Thanks Aunt Lillie. I appreciate your comments.
    Love you.