Day 7: Prairie Perfection

Yes — quite a busy and beautiful day.  Gorgeous skies all day long.  Pretty white clouds that never blocked the sun long enough to mess with my lighting.  Temps in the mid-80s — which feels like nothing when you’re used to 100.  Only put the A/C on a tiny bit in the afternoon.  Sparkle is running like a champ.  Got all my Iowa stuff done & got through the Omaha list.  Back on schedule despite the whole A/C fiasco back in Illinois.  Planning on arriving in Colorado on Monday — or sooner.

Grip and Fixie both have a little diarrhea — maybe from the heat yesterday or from some funky water source they were wading/eating in.  I’ll try to be more careful with my swimming choices.  A couple of “accidents” in the van while I was interstate driving.  Glad I had my giant spray bottles of Fantastic & Febreze on hand.  But I think I might need something stronger for these situations.

On to the Iowa stuff.  From Des Moines.  This is actually a much longer sign — but this is the only part of the sign that could be shot on the sunny side this morning:



More Des Moines — the French Way Cleaners building:



And this sign in Des Moines — how could I have never seen or heard of this Plaza Lanes sign before?  It’s absolutely incredible.  Unfortunately, impossible to shoot in the morning.  Here’s the non-sunny side from today.  Yes, rather like the Sheridan Lanes sign in Tulsa — but far bigger and spans much of the roof.  I don’t know if it’s still lit and has animated rolling bowling balls & crashing pins.  Really a gigantic work of art.



From the sunny side —  a couple of detail shots from far, far away.  The clarity is decent considering that (thanks, Dee!):



Three signs from Boone, IA:



This one features a leaky faucet — don’t know if the neon still works.  If you like plumbing & faucet signs, I have this little page:



From Harlan, IA:



Detail of the sign:



A few shots from Woodbine, IA.  This drug store still in business — since 1916:



Last time I was here it was POURING rain, for HOURS — so my photo of this sign was terrible.  Glad I got a do-over in the sun.  I’m assuming this is a modern sign — but maybe not:




One more from Woodbine — a detail from the Dairy Sweet sign:


This giant sign is from Logan, IA.  The sunny side of the sign was mostly missing — like it had been ripped away in a storm.  Sparkle makes a cameo appearance:



A rusty crusty from Missouri Valley, IA.  The bottom reads “Clean N Comfy”:



Across the river and into Nebraska.  From Omaha — this, er um, very masculine sign:



And last one for the night — from Omaha.  Not sure if it was a car lot or a used car lot associated with this sign originally.  Love him.  How can you look at him and not feel thoroughly happy?



OK, come on back tomorrow for lots more Nebraska.  And don’t forget — lots more purty photos over at Flickr every night:

14 thoughts on “Day 7: Prairie Perfection

  1. i checked that phone number in omaha and it’s MP Auto Sales. i can ask my dad if he knows what it used to be if you want… 🙂

    god i’ve never even been to these parts of omaha. crazy!

    glad you have blue skies!


    • Not terribly important — but I’m curious. I was all over Omaha yesterday. A list of about 20 things. The biggest disappointment was missing seeing this statue which was removed 10 days before I got here! In front of the MofO Bldg:
      Mutual of Omaha's Swimmer sculpture

      • wow, that’s a bit of a horrific sculpture there. i think it was put up for the swimming trials / practices (or whatever that was) they were holding in omaha.

        so funny you were all over omax yesterday. me and my bro and sis are supposed to be going to omaha to see my dad this week but logistics made it impossible. i’ll just pretend you went in our place!

  2. That Plaza Lanes roof sign is amazing and looks to be intact so I bet it still lights up and I like how the Lippert sign says it has an elevator, don’t see that too often. Just curious, have you heard anything about the reimbursement on the a/c repair yet?

    • I don’t recall ever seeing an “elevator” mention on a sign either. I’m gonna give Firestone a call next week. The awkward thing was “corporate” has the shop that did the job call to find out how to compensate. Which meant I got a call from my “friends” in Orland Park after he heard all my complaints from them. But it was nothing I didn’t tell him in person.

      The Plaza Lanes sign still has lots of tubes & it might be lit. Hard to tell if there were breaks in the tubing from the distance I had to shoot from.

  3. I go through Des Moines often and I will have to check out the bowling alley sign and the French cleaners. The cleaners facade is interesting since you see so little Art Nouveau in North America. I love your roadtrips and thanks for documenting all this fantastic artistry!

    • You’re very welcome! It’s great to have other virtual friends that love this stuff, too. Gives me that extra oomph at 1am to keep on blogging despite very heavy eyelids.

    • Yes, I love happy people signs, too! Glad to have you to share them with. More good weather today — blog post much later tonight. Just getting set up at 10pm.

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