Day 23: Northeast Iowa

Great sun and clouds all day.  I wished I had had a denser shooting schedule to take advantage of them.  Instead, I would drive about an hour between photos at times.  Lots of corn.  Lots of cops — but they didn’t catch me speeding today.  Only about a week more to go on this trip.  I’m thinking I will probably just scrap KS and MO entirely on this trip and do the Southern IL & IN stuff on the way home. 

In addition to the rivers and grassy lots that I found, I took the dogs to a dog park in Clinton, IA today even though it was still the weekend (see previous post).  “Prairie Pastures Dog Park” was a wonderful place with good fencing.  $3 per dog (an honor system pay station) and well worth it.  A small lake and lots of good landscaping for sniffing out bugs & where furry creatures might have been.  Separate areas for dogs that need it.  Nice people, nice dogs.  I’d definitely go slightly out of my way for this one again.  The park it was in was gorgeous as well.

Some food shots as promised.  Nothing that exciting — but I’ll work on it.  This might have been the perfect donut.  Duncan Hines tasting chocolate cake with maple frosting.  Nuts would have moved it from an A to an A+.  From a gas station — next to this defunct gas station on the Lincoln Highway in Stanwood.


Later that afternoon… I’m not a big M&Ms fan but always eager for something new.  And I needed lots of sugar and coffee to get through this big highway day.  Strawberry and peanut butter — an unusual combination but it worked for me.  I’m sure it’s a limited time only thing — and I bet not all that popular.  So if it sounds appealing, you’d better track some down quick.


I saw lots of fraternal organization signs today.  Masonic Temples, Moose Lodges, Fraternal Order of Eagles, etc.  Here’s an old I.O.O.F. (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) sign from Tipton:


and another from Decorah:


Also saw another nice neon V.F.W. sign in Galena:


On the way into Galena, was this log cabin that was originally the home of Ulysses S. Grant.  I thought for sure I could just grab an online link later to include here but I’m coming up dry.  There’s only talk of the much bigger house in town.  I do remember from the plaque that a few families lived in the house before it was moved here.  One family raised five children in it, another raised six children.  I’m not sure if  this would have enough room for me and the dogs.  I don’t see how they could even get that many beds in there.  Did they all sleep together?  I have lots of questions.


Earlier in the day, I was in some little farm towns.  They seemed more like movie sets especially since the shops and offices were closed and the streets were deserted on a Sunday.  Mini libraries, city halls, and post offices.  Quite a change from Chicago just yesterday.  This was Oxford Junction:


In downtown Clinton, this building really stood out and just had to be Louis Sullivan’s work.  Sure enough, googled and found this:



Another great building/store just down the street:


The bottom part of the neon sign obscured by the later-added metal canopy spells out the address:


I scooted across the Mississippi River today for a bit to get some stuff in Illinois that made more sense to do on this portion of the trip than last week.  This sign is from Savanna, IL:


And lastly, you may remember from previous posts about stones and rocks used for architectural detail?  Well, I think this storefront in Decorah takes it to the extreme:


8 thoughts on “Day 23: Northeast Iowa

  1. The exterior detail of the VA building is a real winner. Boegel’s appears to have made a few improvements to their facade over the years. You might need a new category — the search for the perfect donut / sugary snack. Hope you picked up more than one of that donut cause it sure looks good!

    • Glad you are enjoying my blog & photos. I only bought one of these donuts — didn’t expect much from a gas station. Usually those are pretty lifeless and bland. Except for Krispy Kreme which are stratospheric in sugar.

  2. Oooh, your photos are gorgeous! The deserted farm towns on a Sunday afternoon: that’s the midwest. The neon and vitrolite menswear shop is a wonderful find. I think you’re headed to my favorite part of the trip, the small towns.

    Best wishes to you and the pups!

    • Yeah, Iowa is one big state of small towns I think. You’re never more than a couple blocks from the cornfields it seems — or the horrible chicken-raising buildings. Tomorrow, I’ll be back in Central IA so I’ll shoot some more dinky towns for ya.

      • Oh I was just wondering if you were going to take any shots of the Surf Ballroom where Buddy Holly held his last concert. 🙂

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