Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Grand National Rally, Forest City, Iowa
Winnebago’s Grand National Rally can be compared to some of the well known pilgrimages. As a Winnebago owner, you should make an attempt to attend this rally at least once and indeed we have met owners that have been coming here for decades. This is our first rally in our four years of owning this motorhome.
We arrived on Sunday to a long line of motorhomes waiting to enter the grounds. Parking was held up for several hours hoping that the ground would dry out some from the heavy rains the night before. The grounds were formally farm fields of rich Iowa soil. This means that they can become quite soft. Not the best conditions for a coach weighing in at over thirty thousand pounds. We were finally parked without incident and watched as others maneuvered into spots. Since it is still a week before the official start of the rally, the grounds are still lightly populated. Since arriving we have already had the chance to visit with numerous folks we have met in the last month or so from two state rallies and our WIT rally to Springfield and Chicago.
Today, we headed to Clear Lake, Iowa and the Surf Ballroom, best known as the last place where Buddy Holly performed before his death. We found it to be a very nice village along a good sized lake and parked near the yacht club. Really- right in the middle of north central Iowa farm country. We visited the Surf Ballroom and looked at the displays about that last evening that Buddy Holly would ever perform. The ballroom still remains very much like it was that evening just over fifty years ago. It also looked very much like the kind of places that my parents would go on a Saturday before the start of WWII. It truly was a trip back in time.
After visiting the ballroom and reading about the events of that evening in 1959, we decided to visit the site of the small plane crash that took the lives of Holly and some of his band along with the pilot. The site is in a cornfield about a half mile in from the nearest road. You know you are at the right spot when you see the tribute alongside the road. After hiking in from the road, you will come to a small memorial at the actual crash site. It does not look like much, but that crash had a big impact on the Rock and Roll music style.
For those who may not know of the story, the below write up is quite good.