Rodeo, New Mexico
January 29, 2005
Large and spacious with a lake as centerpiece, Cutty’s Des Moines has even more amenities than its sister campground in Okoboji. The two-story lakeside clubhouse has a big dining area and kitchen upstairs, which is gleaming and modern. Downstairs there is a indoor pool; spa; sauna; bathrooms and showers with lockers; laundry room; and much to my delight, a gym with treadmills, stationary bicycles, and an assortment of mechanized physical therapy massage tables, all with instructions for use. I’m too accustomed finding campground gyms with hand-me-down machines that barely work, ones on their last legs; these machines were like new, well-oiled and maintained. The bike was better than any I’ve used yet.
Back at our campsite, we looked around for a fire pit or cooking grill. We’d planned a Labor Day weekend get-together with relatives and had 10 pounds of chicken that would never fit on our own little grill or pans at one time. Incredulously, all up and down our row, there was not a fire pit to be found. Turns out that at this Cutty’s some more closely spaced rows with sewers don’t have fire pits, so we quickly made our move to a sewer-less space a few rows down with the all-essential grill. We were ready for company!
As expected, the campground/resort filled up for this last camping hurrah of the season before school and onset of cooler weather. Bob’s relatives arrived and the party began. I’d prepared two different kinds of potato salads and slow-cooked cowboy beans to go with the chicken. But prior to that, we enjoyed sitting around the chicken as the hot wood coals transformed it from pink to golden, chatting and sipping on rum and cokes and munching on chips and dips and tortilla rollups.
The next morning dawned bright and sunny as one after another of our guests emerged from their big yellow tent. It was time for pancakes and French toast, the easy way. Cutty’s offers an all-you-can-eat buffet of these, plus juice and coffee, for $2 per head. For an extra buck, you can get a big slice of ham. It was then off to the clubhouse, where the cooks were creatively making Mickey Mouse pancakes alongside plain ones, plus stacks of French toast. After everyone had their fill, we wandered over to the Carnival for slush cone desserts for the kids and to check out the games and prizes. They ended up playing more on the various and sundry pieces of playground equipment, slides, swings, climbing toys, and an Old West playhouse. While the "grown-ups" returned to the campsite to kick back, the kids went swimming, played miniature golf, paddle-boated, and threw each other (or fell accidentally/on purpose) in the lake.
From journal Iowa Interlude: Fringes of Des Moines and the Amanas