Our main goal for our trip was to visit the Lincoln Highway bridge in Tama, Iowa. I drove across that bridge some 30 years ago, and as I remember it, my friend Alice and I did not stop and take a picture of it. Memory is a tricky thing of course, but I remember also driving by the King Tower Cafe and gasping when we saw the neon Indian. In my mind it was daytime, but rainy and dark and the neon was glowing. I decided it was time to back and get a picture of both.
We got to watch the sunrise over the Mississippi from our hotel room and then headed north from Davenport up to the Lincoln Highway. Damn, I just love roads. I really fell in love with roads when I was in grad school. Route 66 of course, but also US40, the old National Road, and the Lincoln Highway. I never did get that Ph.D in cultural geography that I thought about, but I always had studying these early highways in mind....maybe the Dixie Highway. I truly love the Lincoln Highway though. Iowa has done a great job marking the old road. We took the old sections of the road whenever we could even though SOME people in the car shook their head over the gravel roads.
I must admit that I was truly smitten by Iowa as we drove west. The landscape is so different than Illinois. Perhaps you have to be somewhat attuned to the, uh, subtleties of the Midwestern landscape, but Iowa is dramatically different. All those rolling hills you see in Grant Wood paintings are everywhere. Little streams cut back and forth through the fields and it all looked golden.
We hit the King Tower Cafe with its neon Indian sign when we first got into Tama. It's been a long, long time since that neon glowed, but still admired it. It was about 11:30 and breakfast had just been a bit of leftover pizza in the hotel room so we decided to have lunch. Somehow it seemed the polite thing to do. It was amazingly quiet in that place, friendly, but quiet. After a bit somebody from the kitchen came out to talk to the man in the booth next to us. Politics. Rural Iowa politics. It was fascinating really. Evidently there's been some kind of family estrangement from it all and they are thoroughly convinced that people are paying protestors. The one man talked how campaigning for Bernie, that he loved Bernie, but went with Trump once it became a two person race. They also totally blame the DNC for not running Bernie. Well, I couldn't argue with that one. I had a patty melt because, well, patty melt. Marbled rye. Sigh. And fries that were strangely dry and seemed to repel salt. Wonderful homemade chicken soup with dumplings came before it though. I skipped the dumplings but the broth was wonderful and the chicken great....so homemade I got a little bone in it but didn't mind a bit!
Our victory had been accomplished so we headed back to Cedar Rapids where we were staying. By this time it was afternoon and I was getting tired of driving. I searched on bars and found a place named Ernie's Tavern so we figured we had to go. It was fine, but no wine and wasn't quite what we were looking for. I tried to remember places we had looked up and finally came upon what I was looking for. It was only a few blocks away so headed over. Little Bohemia. Oh man....could not have been more perfect! It was just starting to rain as we got there and the door was open and the air felt soft. Bartender was lovely and funny, the wine cheap and cold just how I like it and we were happy. Just happy.
We headed to our hotel and hung out for awhile. Ernie bites his tongue when he's guessing crossword puzzles. I think it's one of the cutest things I've ever seen, but you know, that's just me.
This is getting long....so more later....