I camped at Spook Cave some years ago, when I was a school principal in Elkader, which is not far from there. The whole area up there is great camping territory. Pikes Peak State Park has breathtaking views of the Mississippi valley.
When you cruise past Des Moines on 35/80 you pass within 2 miles of our place as you go by the Hickman Road, Douglas Avenue, and 86th street exits. Honk next time!
Closer to home, you should try Lake Anita State Park, just outside the town of Anita, some 60 miles east of Omaha. It has a large area with hookups and a smaller tenting area, which is where we always set up. It's on a hilltop and you can see for miles. There's a nice fishing lake with a miles-long bike trail around it. The hookup area is usually fully booked but the tenting area often has spaces available w/o reservations, and they were to have built a new shower house there this year (we went to Alaska with the camper this summer so we haven't been back to Anita to see). There's a good steakhouse in town.
Even closer to Omaha is Prairie Rose State Park, and just outside Des Moines is Jester Park, one of the best county parks around, complete with elk and buffalo.
Our first trip with the A128 was to Ft. Kearney State Park in April, 2011, to see the Sandhill Crane migration. The huge windstorm we sat through while there showed us how well the camper handled winds up to 60, not that we'd want to do that again.
It would be fun to do a group camp somewhere next summer. We'd look like a little Alpine village, all clustered together like that.
It's never too late to have a happy childhood!
Lee, WU0V, and Courtenay, N0ZDT
2011 Rockwood A128
2000 Silverado 1500 pickup
60W solar system
2000W inverter generator