Day 22: Into Iowa

Yes, finally in Iowa — but barely.  The remainder of Illinois took til early evening.  I’m going to slog away at northern and central Iowa for the next three days and then evaluate what’s accomplishable with the remaining days at that point.

In addition to the usual abandoned grassy lots that I found today, I got the dogs to one last dog park in Illinois.  This one was in Aurora.  Big enough for a run and fencing seemed good enough to contain Grem.  But I forgot about it was a Saturday and therefore it was pretty mobbed.  And with weekend type dog people as well with their weird attitude and obnoxious dogs.  When a Standard Poodle stole Nik’s ball and I walked aaaaalll the way across the park to get it back, I tried to conceal my impatience when I asked if she could get my dog’s ball back from her dog.  Her response “well, I can, but he’ll just get it back again.”  I said nothing but went off to the furthest point to play.  What I didn’t say.  Oh, I see.  If I want to bring toys to a dog park, it’s my tough luck if you can’t keep your dog away.  How silly of me.  Then just a few minutes later, although we were in the furthest corner, when Grem dropped her toy at my feet, the Obnoxious Owner’s dog swooped in again and stole the toy.  Of course, I had to be the one to walk clear across the field to the woman to get my toy back.  No apology.  So we left.  Basically, I know from back in my NYC park, “weekend people” take their dogs out just so they can sit around and talk to other people.  They don’t interact with their dogs or train them at all.  They don’t bring their own toys or treats.  And the dogs are bullying and oafish at best, aggressive at worst (and too often).

But enough bitching — let’s get to the pretty pictures already, right?  And I’ll try to come up with some food photos tomorrow. 

Oopsie — I didn’t write the name of this one down.  But I know it was in Chicago and on Harlem Ave.  The canopy extends to the left, supported by two stone-faced columns.  I chose to include this photo instead just because it shows off the sign and storefront better.

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I have seen a LOT of people mowing grass on this trip.  All kinds of mowers, all ages of people.  I regret not taking photos of a granny-type woman in her sit-down mower.  Today, I was mesmerized by this guy in Naperville on a stand-up mower.  This ditch was next to a shopping center and it seemed more like an amusement park ride than work.  Both sides were pretty steep and it seemed borderline unsafe.  Sometimes he’d have to hop off and use footpower to get to the top of the sides.  He was a master.  Forget Segways — this looked like much more fun.

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Some statuary for you.  This one of a fireman and doggie (Dalmatian I assume — spots don’t translate well to bronze) at the Aurora Regional Fire Museum (yes, in Aurora).

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and these foxes on the bridge in St. Charles (I assume a reference to the Fox Valley):

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This sign at the Hotel Lafayette in Rockford:

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Supreme cuteness, also in Rockford:

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An incredible mural — also from Rockford:

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This was in or close to Rockford — just south of town on Route 2 (or Highway 2 or whatever kind of road they call it)  but already in deep farmland.  That’s why this one’s a mystery.  I don’t know if this was ever used as an ice cream stand or store — it seems unlikely given its remote location.  It seems a bit too big and fancy for a “you-pick” or “we-just-picked” produce stand.

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I’m not positive what this sign advertised — but it seemed to be pointing at a mobile home park.  This could still be Rockford — even further down that already twisty part of “2”.  Wonderful woodsy font.

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So my van is big enough — why do these normally non-lap dogs need to be in my lap when I’m driving?  Surely the view of the river was just as good from behind me.  I’m proud that I got this shot with my right arm extended at 70mph.  Even prouder that we didn’t crash.  Nik was content with the passenger seat view, thank god.

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I found another of these gold aluminum (?) mid-century screeny things today in Sterling.  A match or near-match for this building in Richmond, IN that I posted to Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/3817561368/

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Also in Sterling, this nice sign & reflective vitrolite.  I love the two-piece approach to this sign which must’ve had neon originally.

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And to close, a hi & goodbye from this cute dude in Rock Island:

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