The rain finally ended, and we had a beautiful day for a drive across Iowa to the little town of Winterset, and our next stop at the Winterset City Park – a nice little city park with a small campground. We settled into a FHU site and paid for 3 nights.
There was actually quite a bit to see in this quaint little town – it’s home to the birthplace of John Wayne, the Iowa Quilt Museum and 2 Quilt Shops, and it’s the county seat of Madison County – made famous by the book and movie, “The Bridges of Madison County".
We visited the town square one evening,
where I looked around in the 2 Quilt Shops, and thought about visiting the Quilt Museum, but Tom didn’t really want to and we didn’t have much time before they closed.
We walked over to the John Wayne Museum, but only visited the Gift Shop for the same reasons.
Plus, we’re not really of the John Wayne era . . .
We walked around the corner to see his birthplace, too . . . a tiny house!
Between the house and the museum, is Freedom Rock –
one side honoring all the branches of our military (with paintings of John Wayne in several movie roles in which he played a member of the military),
another featuring two prominent Winterset natives who were instrumental in development of art and technology of the 20th century,
and the last two sides memorializing 4 local Winterset prisoners of war, and honoring the Quilts of Valor organization who make quilts for veterans.
Back at the Winterset City Park, we were able to visit the hedge maze designed by the local Rotary Club --
I tried letting Casey take the lead to find the center, but she made a few wrong turns and didn’t end up finding it until Tom was already there, and she could just find him.
The sundial at the center of the maze.
The City Park is also the re-located home of one of the (6) remaining Covered Bridges of Madison County.
The Cutler-Donahue Bridge was originally built over the North River in 1871, but was moved to its new home in the city park in 1970.
We spent another afternoon driving around the countryside, visiting the other covered bridges --
The Roseman Bridge was built in 1883,
and is the most famous of the remaining bridges due to being featured in the movie “The Bridges of Madison County”, and is still located over the Middle River.
It was a beautiful afternoon for a drive!
All of the bridges have writing on the walls inside, and some have areas painted bright white to make a canvas for the public. This section of the Roseman Bridge was all written by one woman over the course of several years – every time she came to the area she would add to her story.
Hogback Bridge spans the North River and was built in 1884.
Hogback Bridge actually had a book for people to sign . . . but there was still plenty of writing on the walls.
Cedar Bridge was built in 1883, and was featured on the cover of the book, “Bridges of Madison County”, and it’s the only bridge that you can still drive across on your vehicle.
Around that time, we started smelling burning brakes and determined that it was one of our rear brakes on the Jeep. We weren’t sure what was going on with it, but we decided that we should only stop at one more bridge which was on the way back to the park, and we would have to skip the last one.
Holliwell Bridge was built in 1880, and at 122 feet, it’s the longest of the covered bridges.
Tom talked to the host when we got back to the campground, and he gave him the number of a garage just down the road who could take a look at the Jeep the following morning. That was good, because we were scheduled to leave the day after that, and couldn’t tow the Jeep with a brake dragging.
It turned out that it was stuck on, and he was able to change both rear drums and the caliper on that one side the next day for us. Whew!
Our neighbor at the campground had picked Tom up from the shop and drove him back up there to get the Jeep in the afternoon, so we made plans to go to dinner together in a nearby town. We had a nice dinner and enjoyed getting to know these Iowans, and on the way home we stopped off at the last of the covered bridges.
The Imes Bridge was built in 1870, and is the oldest of the remaining bridges.
It was a very nice evening, and a great way to wrap up our stay. We were able to visit the last of the 6 bridges, and we saved David and Laurie a trip to this distant bridge when they went on their own covered bridge tour.