It is a strange experience for me as a writer to publish a book and, a couple of weeks later, return to the locale of the book. Double Dutch Death involves a murder and a windmill, similar to the one found in Pella, Iowa. Those of you who have read the book should recognize the significance of the photo. If you haven't, you'll just have to read it won't you?
We are camped at Howell Station, a Corps of Engineers campground located south of the dam at the Red Rock Reservoir. It has become an August tradition for 6-8 couples of our camping friends for a number of reasons. The sites in this campground are spacious, fairly level, and overlook the Des Moines River as it flows out of Red Rock. There are a number of hiking and biking trails, also mostly level, which is a bonus for those of us who have left our Olympic years behind.
The timing has become traditional because it is the week of the Iowa State Fair, about an hour away. Several of the couples have grandchildren or friends showing cattle or other animals, participating in the beard contest, or entries in the fair themselves. The location close to Pella, Iowa is also a plus. We always make a visit to Jaarsma's Bakery for some of their delectable treats. (After all, we're hiking all of those extra calories off.) We like just walking around beautiful downtown Pella and especially enjoying the floral displays. And a few of us can't pass up The Quilted Windmill, a wonderful quilt shop.
Yesterday some of us toured the windmill, the museum and the pioneer village. It gave me a chance to see how many errors I made in Double Dutch Death. Of course the book is fiction and the town of Little Sneek is only loosely based on Pella, but one does like to have these things make sense. We have other traditions for this trip, mostly centered around food. One of the couples who farm provide amazing fresh sweet corn. Usually one morning involves French toast with "Heart Attack Syrup." The potluck suppers usually require more table space for food than for diners. So a couple more days and we will roll ourselves home. Meanwhile, there's always great sunsets here.
Some random thoughts about writing, camping, and eating.