From West Branch we headed towards Forest City, Iowa. Along the way we passed through the lovely city of Waterloo. John Deere is the area’s largest employer and there is a John Deere Museum in Waterloo which we did not have time to stop at. As we continued northwest we saw many farms and windmills.
We arrived at Forest City where we stayed for five days getting some minor repairs done on the RV at the Winnebago factory. Winnebago provides free camping sites with electricity for everyone getting service done at the facility. We were very pleased with the quality of the service we received at what we felt was a fair price. All the service people we worked with were very polite, friendly and accommodating.
One day we took a two hour tour of the factory, the largest RV manufacturing plant in the country. This factory produces an average of forty RVs a day! We saw everything from the sewing room where they make cushions to watching them install flooring and roofs. We were not allowed to take pictures so unfortunately no pictures for the blog. During the tour we had to wear closed toed shoes, a safety vest, safety glasses and ear plugs.
On the top floor of the Winnebago Visitors Center is a museum on the history of the Winnebago Company which was named for the Winnebago Indian tribe.
On Saturday we drove to the Buddy Holly crash site, located in the middle of a cornfield. At the side of the road there is a large replica of the big glasses Buddy Holly wore. A three quarter mile walk took us to the actual crash site. On February 3, 1959 Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, along with pilot Roger Petersen, were killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa. Holly and his band were playing a “Winter Dance Party” tour across the Midwest. After performing in Clear Lake, Holly was frustrated with the cold tour buses and decided to charter a plane for their next show in Minnesota. The plane crashed in wintry conditions late at night soon after takeoff. Holly is known for songs such as “Peggy Sue” and “That’ll Be the Day”. The day of his death is often referred to as “The Day The Music Died”.
We really enjoyed our time in Forest City. We fell in love with the Iowa people with their hard work ethic and friendly personalities. The kind of town where you can pull up to a gas station and put air in your tires for free. A town with few stoplights.
A town with a touching memorial to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in a small park next to the courthouse where we sat and enjoyed lunch one day.
A town with miles and miles of beautiful farmland, silos, cattle and American flags.