roth and ramberg reach the world's largest truck stop

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

We slept in a little bit this morning. We crawled out of our beds at around 8:30 am. Every night is a late night on these trips since we shoot as long as we can, maybe grab some dinner, then spend the rest of the night and early morning writing blogs, posting photos and gathering the writing for our magazine app of our trip.  AirHornDanny, as it turns out, is a darn good writer (Dale is the one plowing thru writing the blogs, just to make it clear.)

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First stop was breakfast at a retro diner called Rausch’s. A family owned café that was also a gas station until to a few years ago. It’s been in the family for generations. Dana even sat in the chair that President Obama sat at in 2011 when he came thru the town.

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Sue Rausch and her husband run the café and also own the mechanic shop in the building next door. Sue was happy to drive home and change into her café shirt. We wrapped up our shoot and all had a piece of homemade pie with ice cream. It tasted incredible! They sure know how to make pies around here.

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Last night we met the spunky owner of the local tavern. Her name was Jerri and she runs Moxie’s Mixed Drink. We had an absolute blast meeting her and taking her photo. While we were there, she made a few phone calls and set us up to meet Kerri and Jeff in the morning, to get a tour of the one of the last remaining dance halls in Iowa, Lakeside Ballroom.

We pulled up and saw a large white building nestled beside the Mississippi. Kerri pulled up and we headed inside. Stretched out in front of us was a 70 ft wooden bar that ran the width of the entire place.

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After admiring it for a few minutes, we then walked thru a doorway inside to a gigantic ballroom. A stage was located at the far end of the building. The floor was maple and in beautiful condition. The ceiling was covered in white lattice with paper material in behind.

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There were great vintage lamps hanging from the ceiling. You could almost imagine the Saturday nights that have happened there over the years. People from Johnny Cash to Willie Nelson have played there. The previous owner let it get a bit worn down and Kerri and Jeff and some other locals decided to buy it rather than see it torn down. As we have learned here, and in many of the towns we’ve been in, that the sense of pride and dedication is almost unbelievable.

We said our goodbyes and kind of hoped we would be back on the weekend to see it in action but we had to move on. There were a couple of highway options, but we decided to take the scenic route and head back toward the Field of Dreams to give it one more try.

On the way there, the drive took us up to a lookout that had a spectacular view of the valley. The small town right beside was Balltown: population 42.

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We saw a huge restaurant called Breitbach’s that had a sign saying it was Iowa’s oldest bar and restaurant, and across the street, a feed store with antiques called Skip Breitbach Feeds. Dale wanted to push on, but was fortunately outvoted. The feed store was crazy good. Antiques everywhere, next to flower bulbs, baskets, dried flowers hanging from the ceiling, giant bags of dog food and cat food. It was so awesome we knew we had to get a photo.

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It was owned by a man named Skip. We briefly met him but he had to run a few errands. He said he’d be back. His brother Mike owned the restaurant across the street. We went inside the restaurant and met Mike, but he was in a bit of a rush too. We hauled him outside in front of the restaurant and photographed him quickly. Then his brother came back so we rushed to shoot him at the feed store and even managed to get a shot of the two brothers together before they had to go.

Mike insisted we had to have the pork tenderloin and pie. Totally full from breakfast, we had to push ourselves to eat anymore. Well, it was so worth it. One of the best tenderloins you could imagine. The coating was magnificent. They don’t use any sauce on the bun so it has to be good, and it was!

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We followed it up with raspberry pie. When they’re busy they sell over 70 pies a day and people come from all around just for a slice. The restaurant as it turns out, was featured on a tv food show called ‘Feasting on Asphalt’ with Eldon Brown.

The place has a great story that we will write about later. It burned down twice and both times the community came together to rebuild. Great guys with big kind hearts!

Another short drive to the Field of Dreams site. When we got there a baseball team was playing on the field. They were the U.S. Military All Stars baseball team. A giant bus was touring them around North America. We photographed a chaplain named Juan, dressed in his full baseball gear. We sort of shot before we got permission from the owners of the ball diamond, so we will hopefully be able to use his photo.

Next stop. We heard about a drive-in located on the famous Highway 61; famous because of the classic 1965 Bob Dylan album ‘Highway 61 Revisited’. The drive-in was located just south of a town called Maquoketa. We tried to find the owner, but couldn’t track him down. The manager and ticket booth attendant said he may show up. The light was going down so we decided to set up the lighting and hope he showed. Just as the sun went down, Dennis drove up. We took his photo and listened to his great stories about his drive-in. He bought it in 1972 and it is one of only four drive-ins left in Iowa.

He said everyone is happy when they come to the drive-in. Looking around, he was right; many had got there early to have tailgate parties. Families were there with their kids, playing on the swings and taking free rides on a kid-sized train. Surrounded by a cornfield, it’s definitely considered a classic American drive-in.

Dennis was very accommodating as we tweaked the lighting and waited for the dusk sky. Afterward he took us to the concession stand and we shared some popcorn and slushes.  A great experience.

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We hopped in the car and drove the last 45 miles to Walcott Iowa; the goal of the whole trip. ‘Iowa 80’, the World’s Largest Truckstop! With a quick look around, we saw rows and rows and rows of semi trucks here for the Jamboree. Off to the hotel, stay up late writing and then back to meet the truckers in the morning!

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Over and out.

roth and ramberg get a hard earned deuce

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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

roth and ramberg say give a piece a chance

July 9, 2012

It all started yesterday when we met a great couple in Eldon, Iowa - Rosie and Allen. They had generously spent time with us and during that time suggested two people we had to photograph. Fast-forward to today. We drove down main street and there was Allen patiently waiting for us on a bench in front of an old brick building. We followed him inside where there was a huge thrift store. It was run by volunteers and its sole purpose is to raise money to restore the town’s Opera House.

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A woman named Jo who was the major driving force behind the restoration. She led us back outside to a set of wooden doors. Inside was a dark staircase that led up to an old ticket booth. A few more sets of stairs on either side led to the Opera House. Wooden floors, incredibly high ceilings, metal chairs with floral cushions, in a word… spectacular! Jo figured it would be complete within two years. We think sooner given the amount of volunteers scurrying around. Oh, and they’re looking for window washers if you make it down this way any time soon.

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If you remember Rosie and Allen from yesterday, then you know they volunteer at the American Gothic Centre. It’s a tourism centre located a few steps away from a tiny famous house. The house was the background for the American Gothic painting.

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Strangely, although the State owns the house, they actually rent it out. The logic behind it is that the exterior of the house is the heritage part, not the interior.

We followed Rosie and Allen, and were soon sitting inside the house talking with Beth, the current renter. Beth has a quite a story. We’re not going to go into it here, but she wrote a book worthwhile reading.

It’s titled ‘Making Piece - A memoir of love, loss and pie’ by Beth Howard. “You will find my story is a lot like pie, a strawberry-rhubarb pie. It’s bitter. It’s messy. Its got some sweetness, too. Sometimes the ingredients get added in the wrong order. but it has substance, it will warm your insides. And even though it isn’t perfect, it still turns out okay in the end.”  

Every Friday and Saturday, she opens up her living room to tourists and has tables set up with pies for sale. It’s known as the Pitchfork Pie Stand. Unfortunately her oven was broken and of course she needed it fixed to make this week’s pies. In between telling us stories and posing for our photos, she was on the phone trying to resolve the oven issue.

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As we were wrapping up, everyone there suggested we head to a place named Cantril.  “You have to go see the Dutchman’s store!” Apparently it is run by the Mennonites and is supplied by the Amish? We’re weren’t quite sure of those facts but we went there anyway.

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It was a cool old-fashioned store, with bulk spices and candy. Also a section with bolts and bolts of fabric. It was well worth the trip. We enjoyed a bit of a picnic on the porch. While we were there we struck up a conversation with a man named Mike. We told him about our trip and we mentioned the pork tenderloin sandwich we ate last night. His eyes lit up and he said the best tenderloin is in the town of Solon… and that was good enough for us. We were on our way.

Highway 1 was the route. The town of Solon was about two hours away. Unfortunately, the same issue happened today that was prevalent yesterday. No internet service to speak of, so we couldn’t tweet or facebook any of the details. We’ll try again tomorrow. Follow us on twitter and facebook and we’ll ask you which direction to go or what town to visit. So far you’ve been bang on!

As we were driving, Michele spotted a great sky and photo opportunity. We pulled onto a dirt road with some farm buildings in the background high on a hill. Within two minutes a red truck pulled up (the owner). Within three minutes Michele had him convinced to take a photo.

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His name was Wynton. He’s been living on and running a farm for 25 years. He gave us a great tour of his several properties, including the ultimate barn/mancave, complete with a vintage corvette, motorcycles, restored tractor, his kids old toys …. a picker’s dream!  We waved goodbye and headed out to find the Iowa’s best tenderloin!

We finally arrived in Solon and drove down main street. There was a building on the corner that had a sign claiming it had the biggest and best tenderloin in Iowa.  We knew we found the place – Joensy’s.

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Inside we met a woman named Lisa. Her husband practically grew up in the restaurant, as his father had owned it for many years. Now Lisa, her husband Brian and their five girls all run the show.

We sat down and ordered two tenderloin sandwiches, which of course we couldn’t finish… oh and some deep fried pickles. YUM.  The interior was classic with leather benches and wood paneling. It looked as though it hadn’t changed in years - our kind of place. Tonight only Lisa and three of her kids were working and they kindly let us keep them a bit late in order to take their photos. The people here have been incredible for sure!!

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We packed up and headed down the highway a few miles upstate to Mount Vernon. We checked into the hotel and at the front desk met a young woman who we will try to hook up with tomorrow. Right now we are all pretty tired from our day of shooting. We think we have 4 or 5 solid photos and need some more, but tonight we have to rest!

Follow our journey tomorrow on instamapper. We will try to tweet a little more and be more interactive. If you’ve read this far, tell us the classic movie that was filmed here in Iowa. That’s where we’re heading tomorrow. Be the first and you win this shirt!

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Roth and ramberg take the scenic route

Sunday, July 8, 2012

If you have been following our trip, yesterday we were traveling to Monmouth, IL to see Wyatt Earp’s birthplace.

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We finally pulled into Monmouth around 11am this morning.

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The town had some great historic buildings and awesome looking places to shoot, unfortunately being Sunday, everything was closed, including the museum in Wyatt Earp’s house. A bit let down, we decided to ease our sorrow with some good old fashioned pie. The only place we could find that fit the bill was a little cafe called Maple City.

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After a little bit of coconut meringue and a conversation with our waitress, we found out some spectacular information. Firstly, the house used in Grant Wood’s American Gothic painting was located just across the border into Iowa. And secondly, the woman who lives in the house is obsessed with pie. So much that she’s know as ‘America’s Pie Lady’.

Allthough we didn’t get a great photo in Wyatt Earp’s town, we luckily found the location of our next adventure… Eldon, Iowa. We headed out down Highway 34 with a two hour drive ahead of us.  One thing we’ve learned about Illinois, is that the internet is a bit sketchy in the rural areas. It’s been a bit frustrating trying to tweet, goggle locations, follow maps, etc. Because of this, about an hour into our drive, Michele asked “Are we going in the right direction?”

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We had to be old-school and get out an actual map. Crap! We had been traveling South instead of West. We just added two hours to our drive to Eldon. We took the first available right turn and headed towards the Mississippi River, which is the dividing line between Illinois and Iowa. We officially made it on Iowa soil at 2:14pm. All of us were silently thinking we better get a shot soon. * We think we have Instamapper fixed now. Follow us on our trip here is the link.

We pulled into Eldon around 3:34pm and saw a pie shop on main street. It looked like it had been abandoned for a long time. Again, our hearts dropped a little.

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Now what? We ran into a guy who said we could get pie at the American Gothic Center.

We hopped in our vehicle and followed the signs to the American Gothic House. As we were parking, we noticed a woman flipping the sign over to ‘Closed’. We were 15 minutes too late. We told her we were from Canada and explained about our photo road trip. She saw our matching “What’s yer 20?’ t-shirts, smiled, and suddenly the sign switched to ‘Open’.

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We spent two hour taking photos and enjoying the company of Rosie and Allen Morrison. They have been volunteering at the center since it opened 5 years ago. It turns out that ‘America’s Pie Lady’ sells pies right out of the American Gothic house. Unfortunately for us, she wasn’t open today because her oven broke down two days ago.

Since Rosie and Allen were so accommodating, and we had kept then at the Center for two hours longer than they should have been, we took them for dinner at the only restaurant in town, Chommy’s.

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As soon as we sat down, Allen told us he had been very resourceful and managed to arrange a shoot for us with Beth, ‘America’s Pie Lady’ for tomorrow morning. We ordered the classic Iowa-renowned sandwich. The famous super-douper-extra-large-breaded-fried Pork Tenderloin.

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A one-pound piece of delight. A sandwich so big and delicious, that perhaps our next destination will be finding Iowa’s best Pork Tenderloin Sandwich…

After a few drinks and great conversation, we said goodbye to our new friends and headed a short way up the road to find a hotel in Ottumwa, Iowa. A long and frustrating day couldn’t have ended up any better.

roth and ramberg attempt to escape

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Well, we went to visit our new friend Becky’s antique store this morning, located near downtown Sandwich. We had met Becky at our hotel the night before. Within a few minutes of seeing her this morning, she blurted out “I have your whole itinerary planned for you today. Go book yourself into the hotel again.”  She was half kidding, but she did, in fact, have our day planned for us.

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It started first with meeting her sister, Carolyn, who own the antique store right across the street. Aptly named Two Sisters Antiques. We decided to shoot them outside in front of Carolyn’s store. It seemed simple enough, but we were battling two things. First, the traffic, since the best shot was from the middle of the road. And second, the heat. Another day over 100 F and nothing could stop the sweat dripping from our bodies. The heat was killer, but we all plowed thru. Next stop… back to the Bull Moose, this time for lunch.

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The part of the Bull Moose facing the main street is an old railway car. Attached to the railcar is a decent sized bar. The railway car was one of the original five cars that Teddy Roosevelt traveled around in when he was seeking his third nomination as President of the United States. During one of his trips he was shot mid speech on the train and somehow managed to continued his speech before heading to the hospital, where the attending nurses claimed he was “as strong as a Bull Moose”, hence the name of the restaurant. The owners Ron and Sue had purchased the restaurant back in 2010 and spent a year restoring it to its now beautiful condition. We had another great lunch of sandwiches and then took some photos of Ron and Sue.

In the meantime, our itinerary captain Becky, had arranged for another local man named Ron to tour us around the town. He picked us up and toured us around Sandwich. We saw it all, including main street, his house, lots of amazing historical buildings and the fair grounds. We also saw the school where he and his high school sweetheart and wife of 58 years went. He even treated us to ice cream… now that’s a tour. And then to top it all off we went to visit the Sandwich Police…

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One of the local officers, Rich, was game to have fun so we did a little video and some photos of us being arrested by the Sandwich Police. It was already 4 o’clock and even though Becky had arranged more events, we had to depart. We could have spent our entire trip in Sandwich and been happy. Everyone there was incredible and we are grateful to all the people we met.

One of the locals having lunch at the Bull Moose said “travel down highway 34 and you will get to Iowa eventually”… and so we did.

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On our trusty old-school map, we discovered two famous people were born in Illinois: Ronald Reagan and Wyatt Earp. We tweeted out for help to decide where to go and Wyatt Earp won!  (The tweet winner Sue Manzuik will get one of these lovely prizes.)

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Thus, we continued down highway 34. We passed a drive thru liquor store near Princeton. We thought it would be a great excuse to buy some beer so we did yet another u-turn and headed back. We mounted a video camera right beside our CB on the dash before driving in… unfortunately, we went through the exit door. The owner firmly told us to go around to the other side and come at it from the right direction. We backed up and swung around to the entrance. When we pulled in, he noticed all the gear on the dash and couldn’t help but ask what it was all about. We told him our long story, during which time we had to drive through the liquor store a couple of times to let other customers thru to buy stuff.

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Take a look below and you can see GPS tracking of the never ending drive thru. If you’ve been paying attention throughout our journey, you know if you go to Instamapper, you can see our location at any time along the trip.

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It was getting later and later, and we still hadn’t reached Wyatt Earp’s house! The weather changed, a thunderstorm moved in so we took a few scenic photos along the way, until we hit the town of Galesburg.

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Now we sit in our hotel just before midnight to push through our blog. Tomorrow, we go find adventure at Wyatt Earp’s birthplace.

Follow along on Twitter and Facebook and you could win a cool trucking t-shirt. Logo designed by our good friend Marie Hohner.

Oh yeah, and speaking of Marie, she came up with Dale’s new CB handle… Hotshoe. Michele is DangerGirl and Dana is AirHornDanny. What’s yours?

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roth and ramberg and the sandwiches

Friday, July 6, 2012

Here we are in Sandwich, Illinois - a small town southwest of Chicago. First off, we have to clarify who the ‘we’ in ‘we are’ is. Dale and Michele of Roth and Ramberg Photography, of course, but we also have a guest with us. An Alberta College of Art and Design photo student named Dana Prediger. She heard about our idea to go to the world’s largest truck stop in Walcott, Iowa. The very next day she sent this email:

Hi Dale and Michele,
I am intrigued by the idea of you doing your calendar at the largest truck stop in Iowa.  If you decide to go there I would like to offer my services as an assistant, gopher, behind the scenes person, holder, folder, or as an all manner of whatever is needed to be done person. Once there I might also be used as resource to source out interesting looking characters, trailers, truck stop food, waitresses etc.
I grew up as the daughter of an independent trucker and have spent my fair share of time at the truck stop…ohh yess. I have seen too many Burt Reynolds/Loni Anderson “Smokey and the Bandit” movies and heard an inordinate amount of rubber ducky convoy songs which still from time to time roll through my head. My father likes to tell me the story that I was named after the “Hayes-Dana” Trucking company:) and my portfolio to get into school was based on garage mechanics (Dad fixes his own trucks) where I hung out at Road Kings for a while to get interesting shots of 18 wheelers.
I woke up this morning so pumped on this idea I couldn’t wait to send you this email!  Of course, there would be no question that I would pay my own expenses and not expect any amount of payment. Hanging out in this atmosphere with you guys around camera equipment and truckers would just be plain….cool:) with hopes I could help you in the process. Also, it would give me an opportunity to wear my cheesy cowboy shirt with dedicated pen holder.
Anyway, it was a thought. The trucking calendar would be a great idea, and I think your clients would love it—-that’s a big 10-4….
Over and out,
Dana

How could we say no?  We admired her ‘moxie’ and bought her a ticket to join us. So our adventure begins!

Last night we landed in Chicago and stayed at the luxurious Intercontinental Hotel. We had dinner at a swanky seafood wine bar. We ordered a lovely bottle of wine and enjoyed some delicious salads and seafood. The purpose was to enjoy one evening of great ‘healthy’ food and a wonderful night’s sleep in a luxurious bed!  We know we’ll have way more food and hotel adventures along the way, but we thought we would get the high class one out of the way and start the road trip off with a bang.

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This morning we headed to the mall, not our favorite place, but we wanted to buy some sim cards for our ipad, etc. If you didn’t read our email blast or last post, then you’ll want to know the whole story. We are on the road from Chicago to Iowa to the world’s largest truck stop located in Walcott, Iowa. We’re shooting the road trip along the way, with you as the navigator. Using Twitter and Facebook, you control which way we go. Wanna see where we’re at? Click on our Instamapper link, which keeps track of our ipad location while we’re on the road.

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You tell us where to go via social media and that’s where we go!

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Right when we started our trip, we got this tweet, the first of many tweets. We promptly did a u-turn and headed toward the cemetery. We took some photos there and then headed back onto the main road, however we turned the wrong way. But lo and behold, as we were making a u-turn, right in front of us was a little florist/tombstone/greenhouse place on the side of the road. We couldn’t resist stopping!

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We dropped in and talked to the owners. In short order were quickly taking their photo.  Barb and Butch were great hosts. The temperature was over 100F and their power (thus air conditioning) had been out for awhile and they were on their way home to cool off just as we arrived. They graciously endured a photoshoot and wished us well. If they are any indication of how nice people are here, then this should be a great trip!

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We headed west towards Iowa and stopped off the highway to get something to eat and to figure out our next plan. We came up with two places we could head to next. One town called Genoa, the other Sandwich. After an overwhelming decision, you, the people, decided on the yummy town of Sandwich.

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We checked ourselves into the Best Western in Sandwich and at the front desk we met two friendly women. One of whom was named Becky. It turns out she is going to the World’s Largest Truckstop Jamboree too. She doesn’t have a truck and isn’t married to a trucker, but she’s going anyway. She also owns one of the many antique stores in Sandwich. Tomorrow we’re going to visit her there. The town of Sandwich is well known for two things: the oldest continuing county fair in the state of Illinois and one of the largest antique fairs in the United States.

Since we’re in Sandwich we knew we had to find the best sandwich in Sandwich… and we found it in a vintage railway car restaurant on main street called the Bull Moose Bar and Grill. Our waitress Jacqueline was super fun and the owners Ron and Sue bought us a round of cherry bombs to make us feel welcome. So far this is the easily one of the friendliest towns we’ve been in.

Our goal tomorrow is to meet a guy named Earl, or get arrested by the Sandwich Police!

roth and ramberg ask "what's yer twenty?"

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WHAT’S YER 20?


Breaker, breaker. 2012 marks our 20th annual Roth and Ramberg calendar. Can you believe we’ve been on the road this long?


Now if you’re old enough to remember the classic trucking movie Smokey and the Bandit then you’ll know “What’s yer 20?” is CB radio trucker-talk for “What’s your location?”



What’s the 20 for the 20th calendar?
Glad you asked, Rubber Ducky. We’re going truckin’. And you’re at the wheel. Starting on Friday, July 6th we’re headin’ on a road trip from Chicago to the world’s largest truckstop in Walcott, Iowa for the Trucker’s Jamboree on July 12-13th. And you’ll steer us to shoot locations along the way. 

We’re calling it #tweettrucking. Just like CB radio, everyone on Twitter has a handle (ours is @rothandramberg), so we’ll be asking you for directions on there and on Facebook.

You tweet, we shoot.
Should we go right or left? Do we go through Minooka or Warrenville? How far we drive, where we eat – even random stops – you’re guiding us and we follow your advice and find the photos for our Calendar. We’ll post our ‘20’ using Instamapper, so you can find us no matter how lost we get.
 
Nobody rides for free. 
To thank you for your help, we’re trading tweets for treats, including t-shirts, trucker hats, and even our beautiful CB radio.  
So “keep your ears on” to twitterfacebook, and our blog for updates, photos, pie, videos, coffee, pie, PRIZES, more pie, and sweet trucker swag.

And if you don’t want to drive, we still hope you’ll come along for the scenery.

See you on the open road.


Dale & Michele


roth and ramberg discover whisky

It’s July and time to turn the page. If you have our Roth and Ramberg calendar, then you know what to do.

When we first started planning for our trip to Scotland, we decided to stay in small villages near Loch Ness. After many years of shooting our calendar, we know the smaller the place, the more likely you will meet interesting people. The rooms were limited as the Scottish Open was going on the same time, however we did manage to find a place in a village named Drumnadrochit.

Upload from July 01, 2012

We had no idea how to pronounce Drumnadrochit, but we discovered it was close to a couple of key places, including the Loch Ness Exhibiton Centre, Urqhart Castle and as it turned out, the most important discovery we could have made… a place called Fiddler’s Inn.

Upload from July 01, 2012

The first evening in Drumnadrochit we wandered into Fiddler’s Inn and found the place to celebrate our travelling companion’s (Terri Roberts) birthday. We of course ordered whisky and birthday haggis, (some of the locals found the haggis with a candle a bit odd) and by the end of the night we knew we had found our Scottish Office for the trip.

Upload from July 01, 2012

Fiddler’s Inn is owned by a man named Jon Beach. Jon is definitely a whisky expert. His Inn has won numerous awards for being the best whisky bar in Scotland. What better place to spend our evenings editing, blogging and sampling whisky from all across Scotland? If that wasn’t enough, Jon was key in helping us meet people who eventually ended up in the calendar, ‘Willie the Rat’ to name one.

Upload from July 01, 2012

So if you want to read more about Jon and our adventures, then download our app and read all about the behind the scenes of our trip.

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Jon is still our go-to-guy for anything Scottish or whisky. We hope to make it there to see him again, but if you beat us, stop in and say hi, better yet stay there at the Inn and explore the Loch.

roth and ramberg meet a loch ness skeptic

It’s June 1st, time to turn the page on your Roth and Ramberg Calendar.  This month, we would like to introduce you to a man named Adrian Shine. 

Upload from May 31, 2012

He has a great character face and a wonderful personality, but he’s also one of the skeptics we met on our Loch Ness Adventure. He does not believe there is a gigantic sea monster roaming around Loch Ness. Adrian is a man of Science and according to his science, there just isn’t enough food for something so big.

Upload from May 31, 2012

In the 1980’s, he was a big part of Operation Deepscan – a gigantic undertaking that involved numerous boats using sonars to scour the waters of Loch Ness. The idea was to see if there was anything large and living down there. His conclusion was basically that there wasn’t. The locals are quick to dismiss Adrian as a naysayer, but it’s obvious to us Adrian is a big proponent of all things Loch Ness.

Upload from May 31, 2012

Upload from May 31, 2012

He designed the Loch Ness Exhibition in Drumnadrochit, which basically disputes a giant cyrptid living in the Loch. It was ironic to us that there were stacks of Nessie’s available for purchase in the gift shop though.

Here is an interesting video on youtube if you want to learn more.

Another way to learn more is to go to our website and check out our ‘behind the scenes’ magazine and read all about our adventures with Adrian and the rest of the people we met in Loch Ness.

Upload from May 31, 2012

OR download the app and read it on your iPad (the app is free).

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roth and ramberg shoot more barbers

Well, we seem to have a thing for shooting in barbershops. Maybe it’s because most of them are so darn friendly and accommodating. This particular series was shot for London Barbers. We discovered them a few weeks ago when we shot in their shop for a different job. That day we learned a whole lot about straight razor shaving. This time we were searching for a location to shoot a little video with our friends at The Camera Store. The Camera Store wanted to video us doing an actual photoshoot. The purpose was to compare two different types of cameras; our very own Hasselblad system vs the new Nikon D800 system.

Again our talented art director friend Brian Allen from Trigger in Calgary agreed to help us out. He came up with a wicked concept. Here are the initial sketches.

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First thing we did was do some research which led us to some interesting posters of hair. We bought some wigs so we could have some hair to cut and shape.

Upload from April 23, 2012

The guys at London barbers were awesome as we showed them the illustrations and they did up the hair perfectly. We blew the image highlights out a little on the original and photoshopped it to give us a bit of a retro edge. (Yes, youtube critics, we know the exposure was not perfect. It was on purpose.)

Here is the original shot version.

Upload from May 08, 2012

Here is the camera store video, rather long and technical. If you have a few hours, make sure you read all the comments… we almost peed our pants reading them. Looks like we better stick to taking pictures not acting!! One funny thing we learned is that people sure are harsh when they comment on The Camera Store videos. Dale was trying so hard not to look dumb, that he ended up looking uptight!

Here are some of the wonderful comments it received:

that guy seems like a complete douche”

It’s spelled Neekon not Nikon”

That Dale Roth guy appears to be pissed that he has to be in the same room as a peasant Nikon camera”

oh…and I was finding it amusing that Dale looked like John Goodman rather than an arrogant loathing self centered photographer”

that woman is saying yap yap yap…so annoying

these working pros seem incredibly serious and stern in this video”

do they really make their final check on an imac/ipad? and not with a proper adobe RGB monitor (antiglare) like the Eizo monitors”

And these were the nice ones!! Anyway, we had fun along with a little drama when the sound guy fainted and his lips turned blue. We called the ambulance and luckily it all worked out in the end!

Here is the condensed video with a little more fun involved.

And the final posters.

Upload from May 08, 2012

Upload from May 08, 2012

Upload from May 08, 2012