July 10, 2012
Sometimes things come easy and other times you have to work for them. Today we worked. We started out in Mount Vernon; a pretty little town.
Last night the young woman at the hotel counter told us to come by tomorrow and have coffee at the café she worked at during the day.
It was an eclectic little café and antique store called Fuel. Alexa was smiling as we walked in. We had perhaps one of the best lattes ever and enjoyed chatting and admiring the décor. Michele bought a large retro-looking light-up sign in the shape of an arrow and we decided to ask our followers on facebook and twitter to tell us where to go.
To back up a little, if you haven’t been following our trip, we’ve tried to make it a little more fun and interactive. We tweet out asking which town we should go to, or what road to take, or have a trivia contest. We have some cool trucker shirts, hats and a CB Microphone that plugs into your smartphone, as prizes. The point is, if you are not following us, then maybe you should. Here are the links for facebook and twitter. An added bonus is a little thing called Instamapper. If you click on the link you can see where we are at any given time (assuming we’ve got cell service).
So the point is if you have time please follow along, and many of you are. We posted the question ‘Luxembuerg, Petersburg, Guttenburg or Prairieburg?’ and asked which town we should go to. The vote was close and we ended up driving to Prairieberg.
Lets just say when we got there it looked bleak. One gas station (not pretty), a restaurant that had been closed for a year and nothing else. We drove around a little and found a kind of a thrift store, without an entrance. Two big picture windows with all sorts of used items for sale inside. Perfect we thought! Now we just have to figure out how to get in. We wandered over to the gas station and inside were the attendant and two locals. One of the locals had a great white beard, and cool ‘Herb Tarlek’ kind of blue pants. He was very talkative and entertaining. We asked him what he did in town and he belted out “Come and sniff me and you can tell.” ‘Easy, we’ll be able to photograph him’ we thought… this guy was perfect. Well, as soon as we mentioned taking a photo he got up out of his chair, said a polite good bye and that was that.
No problem… we can still get the guy who has the used stuff in the windows. When we asked about him, the locals chuckled and said that that store hasn’t been open in over 17 years. The owner Jimmy, lives in the house attached to the back of the store. He used to work as the town clerk so of course he knows the history of the town. “Just go knock on the door.” Again, perfect, we thought. Michele and Dana knocked on the door and waited… and waited. Finally a man with no shirt on answered the door. He was about to have a pork tenderloin lunch with his wife and we had interrupted. We asked if we could come back after lunch to take photos in the store and he politely declined. Damn! Struck out in Prairieberg. That’s okay, when one door closes another one opens. It determined where we’d go next.
We grabbed lunch in the next town and saw a poster for the County Fair in Manchester. It was 15 minutes away, so off we went. As luck would have it, we ran into the reigning Queen of the Fair. One photo down. Then we proceeded to the Field of Dreams movie site, just a half hour away.
We gotta say there was something a bit magical about driving down the highway imagining being one of the cars lined up to get there in that late night scene in the movie. “Is this Heaven? No, it’s Iowa.” An easy photo there, no problem, or so we thought.
We drove in a half hour before closing time and talked to the woman inside the souvenir booth. “No, the owners aren’t here and they don’t like us bothering them when people want to take their photo. If they happen to show up, then maybe, but never anything scheduled.” She shooed us out 3 minutes to 6pm, so we headed for the second place winner of the Berg vote; the town of Guttenberg.
Apparently they have a replica of the Guttenberg Bible. The town is right along the Mississippi River and it’s quite picturesque. We checked into a quaint little inn that used to be a button factory, complete with stone walls and an incredible view of the river.
Only three places open nearby for dinner. A pizza place, a sports bar and local watering hole. Of course we wandered into the local watering hole Moxie’s, and saw two locals sitting at the bar and a woman behind the bar. When we asked her if they served food she said “Only pizza.”
We sat down at the bar and slowly, drink after drink, she heard our story and we heard hers. She made some calls to arrange some people for us to photograph, but secretly we also wanted to get a photo of her. What we learned today was maybe we need to take it a bit more slow and ease into asking if people are willing to have their photo taken. After a few hours, our new friend Jerri, who doesn’t like having her photo taken, was posing for the people from Canada.
Great shot, great night.