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Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Leaving SPIA parked at the supermarket, I walked forth across the town of Guttenberg, Iowa toward our eventual destination...Postville, Iowa, about 25 miles north.

There is a prodigious 7 % hill leading out of Guttenberg (the town in Germany where was invented the first printing press). As I started to climb that hill, it was raining. Why I turned to look back, I do not know; but, this is the sight Ole' Sol presented...another show of light behind shadow...with an itsy bitsy spot of reflection on a wee lake beside US 52.

Presented with such a special moment, I think of all I would miss sitting on my leather reclining sofa back in Bellingham.

Still having a bit of a problem gaining "elevation"...this is the "up" version of our 7 % hill.

Notice please, there is not much escape room from 18-wheelers barreling down this steep slope...and one passed every 30 seconds or so. Never have to worry about having a boring day walking the banks of Iowa's Mississippi River Valley.

Guttenberg has it's water tower on top of the hill.

At this point, US 52 leaves the Mississippi River. We will meet again, however, in down town Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the Mississippi puts on quite a show falling and tumbling through the center of the city...coming our way in a few days.

Yes, I have also been in Minneapolis a time or two...but never at 4 miles per hour.

Now, this was a treasured moment. This little Red Wing Black Bird had been following me as I walked US 52. He - and that other smaller bird a bit to the left - alighted on that pipe which was only 10 feet from me. I stopped and started chatting with him. He turned his back, but swiveled his head to look at me as I jabbered away. He did NOT fly away until I put away my camera and started to walk on...he then flew across the highway, landing on some telephone wires where he watched...when I again looked back, he was no longer there.

US 52 north of Guttenberg, Iowa.

Light behind shadow...just love it.

It was raining lightly for most of the 3 + hours of our first walk. The wind, thankfully, was a light breeze...which persisted throughout the day.

The Mississippi River from a viewing area near the top of the 7% hill.

That long island foreground and left is chuck full of click to enlarge.

The foreground is lined with boat slips. There is a road from down town Guttenberg leading to the boat slips and to the distant island.

Please say HELLO to Sue (l.) and Sue (r.).

Right side Sue is owner of the RAUSCH CAFE in Guttenberg, where I enjoyed my scrambled eggs, hot cakes and coffee.

President Obama recently stopped in for breakfast...a local "event" which has not hurt Sue's business.

My photo attempt at a glazed photograph of His Nibs and the ladies.

Was pleased to see Mr. O mingle with the troops down in the farming country.

Leaving Guttenberg, we drove SPIA to the tiny - 1/2 block big - village of FROELICH, Iowa, where she parked as I took off on my second leg of the day...this one only 10 miles.

Froelich is historic.

Froelich is also a living museum.

To discover so much in so tiny a place is awesome.

In Froelich, Iowa, lived the inventor of the gasoline powered tractor, Mr. John Froelich...who just happens to also be the founder of the JOHN DEERE COMPANY.

The town's covered bridge.

Froelich Village has a railroad display. The above shows detail of the modern "coupling" used to connect all those railroad cars in long freight trains. The "hose" top center is the "air" hose which is also connected between each and every railroad car, furnishing compressed air to engage the brakes on all wheels of the train.

The above pic shows a Flat Car (r.) and a real honest to goodness wooden "Box Car" (modern box cars are made of all steel).

Historic Note:

At the age of 14, having completed 7th grade, my Dad, oldest of - eventually - 10 siblings, was ordered out of the family home to make room for ever-arriving babies. Dad told me he found homes in wooden box cars - just like the one above -, in which he followed the harvest of various crops round and about the Pacific North West.

His main source of food - when not eating that which he was harvesting - was the various grains he dug from between the floor boards with his pen knife...boiling them in a pot of water over a fire built INSIDE the box car.

I shoved my camera through a crack in a board of the box car...this is the photo we received...I could not see inside, but the camera could.

This is known as a "three holer".

It is an actual "Outhouse" (toilet), serving a 1-room School House...also in the village of Froelich.

Note the really short one on the lower left...just for little ones.

Historical Note:

Our Stump Ranch - see earlier Blogs - had a two-holer, designed just like the one above. Dad used the old Model "T" to drag it every so often over a new hole as the old hole filled up.

One glorious day I, being somewhat under 5 years old, was a very small boy. I yelled at the top of my little lungs for Mother to come rescue me. Seems I was so small, I slipped backwards through the hole, landing, thankfully on some old newspapers Mother had just dropped in.

Mostly, I remember - yes, I do remember it vividly (I was petrified of the spiders under there).

It's OK...I already agree with whatever everyone is thinking.

The way an Outhouse should look.

The one-room School House.

Returning from my second walk of the day, we drove SPIA to the rather large town of Postville, Iowa, where we have bedded SPIA down in a comfy protected spot (on concrete, no less) in the local Truck Stop.

This is an early version of the Road Grader. It was pulled by a team of horses. The driver sat in back, where the grader controls are located.

Historical Note:

Both my Dad and his Dad - as well as my Mother's Dad -, all used a similar "grader". I remember well watching such machines at work back in the 1930s.

My Mother's Dad...we called him "POP", was known in the North West as the last real working cowboy. He herded sheep mostly on horseback in the Coolies in what is now know as the "Columbia Basin", South of Grand Coulee Dam. Mother was actually born in a tent out in the Coolies. She once drove me to their old homestead where POP eventually built.

Another Historical Note: POP's Brothers in Law worked building Grand Coulee Dam, which I well remember seeing with scaffolding on the dam face back in the 1930s...but that is fodder for a later blog as our walking route will take us to Grand Coulee Dam.

...and this, is a "Corn Binder".

Actually, it is a circa. 1939 International Pickup Truck...for sale at $2,800.00 OBO.

and one last Historical Note:

Dad, Mother and I once in another life, owned Tri-City Freight Lines, a trucking company based in Pasco, Washington. Among our several trucks was a Corn Binder D-40, rigged as a Semi Tractor. I drove that old D-40 on my very first trip (to Dee, Oregon to pick up a load of lumber) after receiving my drivers license - at age 14...another of Dad's stories to various and sundry...this time the State Patrol Testing Folks, for lying my age; after 63 years driving, I have yet to get my first ticket or first scratch on a vehicle.

Main street of Postville, Iowa.

US 52 North, leaving Postville.

While visiting Carol in De Kalb, Illinois, I purchased the above sheepskin gloves and hat.

Today, I applied Scotch Guard to make them water-resistant...

In the morning, SPIA remains parked while I walk north on US 52 toward the town of Calmar, Iowa, 17 miles away.

Leg was a non-event today...will discuss it again in a couple days.

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