Backbone State Park in Delaware County, IA was our first stop once we got our bearings and spent some time familiarizing ourselves with our Mobile “Sweet”. It is Iowa’s first state park and touted as her best. It was named for a narrow and steep ridge of limestone, the “Devil’s Backbone” and it is very picturesque.
Many full-timers live by the “2/4/4 Rule” when traveling from one RV campground to the next. Drive no more than 200 miles per day; drive no more than 4 hours per day; or drive no later than 4pm each day, whichever of the 3 comes first. Being rookies, we broke all the rules the first day out but it did bring us to this nice park with a pull-through site and 50 amp service. We did agree, however, that the 2/4/4 rule was a sound one to follow.
There is a lovely little beach within the park, on the shore of Backbone Lake, along with a charming boat house and beach house, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, using the local limestone.
Hiking trails wind through the lush woods and other amenities include boating, trout fishing, bicycling and rock climbing. We spent a couple of days wandering through some of the quaint little towns that dotted the Mississippi River.
McGregor is one of those charming little towns, sitting right on the river. A local band played on the waterfront when we arrived, providing a welcoming ambiance.
Another day of exploring took us through the small town of Elkader, where we discovered the impressive St. Joseph Catholic Church, dedicated in 1900. It has been enlarged to its present-day construction and built with local limestone in the Gothic Revival style.
Then it was on to Pikes Peak State Park, which provided us some remarkable views of the Mighty Mississippi.
Time to break camp and head to our next destination!