Monday, August 22, 2016

Headed West and 375 Million Years Ago

Location: West Overlook Campground at Coralville Lake; Iowa City, Iowa

Note: All pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 Cell Phone
Click Pictures to enlarge

Well, I decided to head west. I have a hankering to see the Rocky Mountains again. Although I was there a year ago, there were a couple of places that were snowed in and I couldn't see what I wanted to see before leaving. So, I guess I'll see them in the next week or so. 

A strange thing happened on Saturday before I left Goshen on Sunday. I went to eat at a nice Chinese Buffet and stopped at Dollar General around noontime. I got back to Liberty after being gone about 1 hour to find a guy on the roof and two women waxing her. Also, there were two kids playing on a blanket. Strange uh? I asked what was going on and the guy on the roof said they were waxing her up for me (I assumed he was talking about Liberty). I told him they washed the rig the other day and I had been trying to get in touch with the owner to pay her but she wasn't answering her phone. He said the wax job was $8.00 per foot, which would be $240.00 dollars. I said nope, I didn't order it. I was lucky they were just finishing up when I arrived or Liberty would have only been half waxed. One of the ladies that was doing the waxing finally got in touch with the owner who was out of town. She put me on the phone with her and I told her I didn't order a wax. She said she didn't have any of her paperwork with her so guessed I should enjoy the free wax job (she said that with a lot of sarcasm), so I sarcastically replied, "thanks" and gave the phone back to the woman. I still haven't figured out if it was a scam or not. If I hadn't have shown up when I did and paid the worker the money owed for the wash, they would have finished the wax and I would have gotten a phone call asking for payment with my credit card for both the wash and wax. I would have been out of state by the time I got that call. Oh well, being in the right place at the right time is always a good thing.
The Campsite at the West Overlook CG. Liberty is sporting her new free wax job.

I decided to make a long tow out of Indiana. It was interstate almost all of the way so it was easy traveling on me and Freedom. There were some bad "bridge ends" that needed work in Indiana and Illinois. Someone should tell those Highway Departments about that.
It's always good to see the Mississippi River. In this case, it is the Iowa/Illinois State Line.
Things got better once I crossed into Iowa. I know I said in the last post that I should avoid the big cities but I didn't have a choice about Chicago. I had to pass through South Chicago, which technically may not be considered as Chicago. I just cranked up the radio volume on the oldies channel so I couldn't hear all of the gun fire and cruised on through. While setting up camp, I checked Freedom and Liberty for gunshot wounds but didn't find any, so it was a good day. 

This campground is a Corp of Engineers campground located on Coralville Lake which was created by constructing a dam on the Iowa River. That's about all I knew about the area before getting here. I didn't have reservations but I did call to see if it was crowded. They said they were booked up on the weekends but had openings Sunday through Thursdays. Well, since I was scheduled to leave the Rally on Saturday, I had to extend my stay there one day so I could show up here on Sunday, plus a storm blew through Goshen on Saturday.
Coralville Lake still had a lot of boat traffic late Sunday evening.

Looking downstream from the top of the dam. That is the dam discharge channel on the left and a campground on the right. That is NOT the campground I'm staying in. There is no way I would sleep downstream of any dam. Anything build by man is subject to fail if the circumstances are right. Even with horns, alarms and whistles, you may not be able to get out in time.

View from the campground located downstream of the dam. That wall of stone is the dam with the red truck crossing it. 

I explored parts of the area today. I went to the Visitors Center and saw their typical displays. I was surprised by something they called the Devorian Fossil Gorge. The name alone sounded interesting so I dug a little deeper. The dam was completed in 1958 to provide for flood control and recreation. It's an earthen dam with stone faces. All was good with the dam complex until the Flood of 1993 hit the area. The water got so high that it started coming over the emergency spillway for the first time ever. In fact, it was 5 feet deep over the spillway and lasted for 28 days. After the water stopped rising, they were able to inspect the damage downstream from the spillway. There had been a small campground located there on flat ground. What they saw was bedrock. All of the soil had been washed away and a 22 foot gorge had been created in the limestone bedrock. But the really surprising thing they found was fossils were located everywhere in the limestone. Sea creature fossils as well as sea coral and other things. Apparently, these were from 375 million years ago when Iowa and the midsection of the U.S. was covered in a shallow inland sea. These fossils were from that period. This is where they talk about the Super-continent Pangea and the Continental Drift Theory. I'm not sure I believe all of that. It is hard for me to believe them when they say, the Drift caused all of the mountains to appear and disappear a couple of times while all the while, these fossils survived for 375 million years. Sometimes, it seems easier to believe in the Expanding Earth Theory. I try to keep an open mind but it is difficult to explain these sea creature fossils in the middle of Iowa. Even the Great Flood of Noah couldn't explain it since it didn't last long enough to have deposited so many creatures so as to have created the limestone layers. Unless, all of the sea creatures died at the same time during the Great Flood. Hmmmm, inquiring minds want to know. :) It's been a long day and my mind is wandering, but thinking is what separates us from the other animals God created. 

Standing in the Gorge created by the Flood of 1993. The rock is mostly limestone with fossils. I saw several but they are hard to get a good pictured because most have been worn down over the decades. That horizontal structure in the distance is the Spillway. Water 5 feet deep came over that spillway for 28 days to create this gorge.

This is a fossil that was cut out of the bedrock and is on display in the visitor's center. They don't look like that in the gorge any longer. It was good they saved it.

Another fossil on display in the visitor's center.
I end the post with a picture of very nice swing located outside of the Visitor's Center. It was a great view on a day where the temperature was in the mid to upper 70's and a cool breeze blowing up the hill. It was nice and I enjoyed it for about 20 minutes before moving on. 
Tomorrow I plan to explore what sounds like a set of communist towns dating back to the mid 1800's. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road. 



  1. Darrell, still following your posts and continuing to enjoy.. This last post was particularly interesting. Liberty is also nice and shiny - almost blinded me - and the price was right. Happy your son is doing well. Be safe. Martin

    1. Thanks Martin, I hope things are going your way. Take care.