Live Trip Map Day 2: August 16, 2009
Iowa 1
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The Great River Road passes through Fulton and information panels in the riverside park tell a bit about that. A paved walk leads to the top of the levee for a view of the Lyons-Fulton Bridge and the fully operational De Immigrant Windmill. The windmill doesn't open until 1:00 on Sundays and, though tempted, I didn't hang around that long.

Over the river and through the arch to Iowa's roads we go. Clinton seems pretty proud of its Lincoln Highway connection as shown by this new bridge with a modern logo.

It had rained overnight and the skies were grey but there was no precipitation as I headed out of Clinton. That didn't last long. As I approached Grand Mound, the GPS announced a left turn that would take me over the railroad tracks and onto an older alignment. The railroad blocked my view of the road but I took one look at the gravel approach to the crossing and drove on with visions of early travelers mired to their axles in Iowa "gumbo" playing in my head. I did cross the tracks in town and sought out the place where the road not taken entered. I believe I chose wisely. I went back to following my pre-plotted route until I reached the spot in the third picture. The rain was very light now but I again chose wisely and turned around. I believe that's a snowmobile on the yellow sign but it's possible that Iowans have perfected the "gumbomobile".

The middle picture shows a pole at the first turn for the path I didn't take into town. This seems to be the sort of Lincoln Highway signs that exists throughout the state. The road is marked incredibly well through Illinois; not quite so in Iowa. But striped poles got the job done back in the twenties and they still work today. The stipes and arrows might be the work of local groups. The full statewide route isn't marked but stripes often appear to help get through a town with some non-obvious turns.

Rick Sebak calls the Lincoln Cafe "a gem". The big windows and block letters look good inside and out and the food is superb. There are comfortable tables and booths but I sat at the counter since that's the only place you get three waitresses. Molly, Andi, & Erika took good care of me. Good call, Rick.

I understand a seedling mile that's been paved over. I don't quite understand what's in the second picture. I believe that the pavement between the cement slabs is truly the ninety year old surface of a seedling mile. Is this its original location? Where did those concrete railings come from? The plaque tries to explain but it doesn't quite work for me.

The restored Youngville Station is often busy but is closed on Sunday. The schedule includes a Friday farmer's market.

It was really nice to see these two icons in person after seeing tons of pictures. That's George Preston's gas station in Belle Plaine and the one of a kind bridge in Tama.

If you found Archie Bunker's chair empty, would you sit in it? Yeah, me too.

Lincoln Highway Delivers What Route 66 and the NOTR Did Not.

I've known the independent Maid-Rite in Greenville, Ohio, forever. At some point, I started to hear rumors that there were others. Maybe an actual chain but how all these Maid-Rites relate to each other is murky at best. I have no illusions of untangling any of that but I should be able to at least sample some product. Right? That should be easy. My awareness and curiosity came late so my first attempt didn't come until 2005 in Rolla, Missouri, on Historic Route 66. The Maid-Rite there was closed for the holidays or some such. In 2007, I found a Maid-Rite in Lexington, Missouri, on the National Old Trails Road closed on Sunday. Iowa is the home of Maid-Rite. Grabbing one of those loose meat sandwiches should be a cinch on this trip.

Drake Hokanson's Lincoln Highway book contains a photograph of the counter in a Belle Plaine Maid-Rite. That restaurant, I learned just before leaving home, has long been closed. Earlier today, I took a short detour to Marion because of the Maid-Rite -- possibly one of the original franchises -- there. Closed on Sunday. Finally, in Marshalltown, I tasted victory at Taylor's Maid-Rite. It looked like a Maid-Rite, fell apart and required a spoon like a Maid-Rite, and even pretty much tasted like a Maid-Rite. But it just wasn't quite the same or as good as a Greenville Maid-Rite. There's no place like home.

Back on the 4th, a fellow named Gary, whose LH trip I've been following, told of finding Niland's Cafe closed. I had hoped that it was just the normal "closed Monday" (I think he was there on a Monday.) but it was closed today, a Sunday, too. I was looking forward to my first visit so that was a fairly big disappointment but I'll get over it. The Maid-Rite and the end-of-day sunshine help.

ADDENDUM: Aug 20, 2009 - Missed it by that much. Actually I missed it by a couple of hours. According to, Niland's is now closed on both Mondays and Tuesdays and they close at 3:00 on Sundays. The timestamp on my first photo at the cafe was 6:02 EDT or 5:02 CDT. I was just a little late.

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