Day 3: June 21, 2017
The East Tour

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The conference's first day began with the group photo at a challenging 7:30 AM followed by an 8:00 east tour departure. I did not get a picture of the two buses of of the semi-bleary eyed conference attendees boarding them so you'll have to settle for a couple of photos taken via the interior mirrors. That's bus driver Ron in the first one and tour guide Bob Ausberger in the second.

I took almost no other pictures from my bus seat. For one thing, I've learned that pictures taken through from a moving vehicle through a dirty window are seldom very good. I'll still have a go if it's an interesting enough subject and an unusual opportunity but that was not the case today. I've driven most of the route before and there's a possibility I'll drive it again on the way home. I took this picture of Thomas Jefferson relaxing in his gardens in his city at our first stop.

That first stop was in Jefferson, Iowa, where the 168 foot Mahanay Bell Tower overlooks the town square. The tower is unusual in that it contains both a carillon and an elevator and observation deck. Technically the 14 bells it contained comprised a "chime" but just last month the count was upgraded to 47 which comes with the right to be called a "carillon". The statue of Abraham Lincoln next to the tower has a connection to my home state and to another named auto trail.

The figure was commissioned of William Granville Hastings by Captain Charles Clinton for a statue he had erected in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1902. That installation includes a kneeling female figure who has just completed writing the words "With malice toward none" from Lincoln's second inaugural address. Clinton donated an identical statue to Bunker Hill, Illinois, which had been home to most of the soldiers who had served under him in the Civil War. The Lincoln casting in Jefferson and another in Sioux City, Iowa, are from Hastings' sculpture although neither came from Captain Clinton. A little more than a decade after the statue in Cincinnati was erected, the road beside it became part of the Dixie Highway.

The tower's observation deck is the reason that rooftop art, such as Nicole Bennett-Tuel's "Wild Woman on the Roof" exists. It also provides a fantastic view of the country side and other buildings. The glass dome tops the Greene County courthouse.

The first picture shows the other side of that dome. The pictured murals are two of the four on the upper floor of the impressive Greene County courthouse. The side of the courthouse opposite the carillon features a small sculpture garden.

The conference fee included lunch at the attendee's choice of several Jefferson restaurants although it seems the restaurants themselves weren't fully aware of this. There was some initial confusion about this at The Peony but it was soon resolved and an excellent meal was had.

At Lion's Park, guide Bob Ausberger submitted to an interview by a local TV station. The pillars represent Iowa's population by decade. The old railroad bridge was recently replaced but the 1924 bridge and the original LH bridge remain. The older bridge can just barely be seen on the other side of the new railroad bridge. It is on land now owned by Bob and Joyce Ausberger and Bob likes pointing it out as "the bridge he gave to his wife for their anniversary".

In Grand Junction we were treated to a phenomenal variety of homemade cookies, a museum visit, and a stroll through a Lincoln Highway themed garden.

Dinner consisted of some wonderful barbecued Iowa pork at the county fair grounds.

Denison is the home town of actress Donna Reed and in 1995 the 1914 Germania Opera House was reopened as the Donna Reed Center. That's where we ended the day watching an episode of The Donna Reed Show, an overview of the 2003 LHA caravan produced by member Mike Kelly, and a delightful 1924 film promoting good roads.

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