Day 7: June 25, 2017
The Rest of Iowa

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My bedroom wasn't on the Lincoln Highway but breakfast was. It was a very comfortable meal at the very comfortable DOO Dah's Diner in Marshalltown.

I followed the original Lincoln Highway alignment to and through Tama and over this gravel and old concrete.

Th famous bridge is on a later alignment so I had to backtrack just a little to reach it. A very nice little park fills the 'V' between the second and third Lincoln Highway alignments but it doesn't get much attention from LH travelers. The park right next to the bridge gets a little more attention and I imagine quite a few travelers pause to read the plaque but the bridge is the thing. A hit-skip driver bumped the north side 'Y' and it appears that repairs have yet to be made but the damage isn't terribly severe.

Just a tick to the east, the King Tower Cafe doesn't get a lot of attention from travelers either but seems to be doing OK with locals. I stopped in for some iced tea and there were two family groups having lunch and a couple of truckers who live nearby discussing business between runs. I'm guessing the two white Volvos parked by the sign were theirs.

Here's more new-to-me first generation Lincoln Highway going into Belle Plaine. It connects with the later alignment right at the Herring Hotel which was one of the topics presented at the conference. Restoration is in progress and Kristine Morrow-Pope said she tells everyone that the hotel will reopen on February 2, 2022 at 2:22 PM. That seemed a lot more ambitious to me in Belle Plaine than it did in Denison. Across the street, the Lincoln Cafe looked pretty healthy and I'm now regretting not at least poking my head in to take a look.

The King Theater isn't actually on the Lincoln Highway but it's just one block off and it is showing Cars 3. Like the Tama bridge, Preston's Service Station isn't on the original LH alignment and I had to backtrack about four blocks to reach it.

The Youngville Cafe was closed today but I grabbed pictures both with and without gas pumps. Then, because I had to turn around and head back on the other side of the road, I snapped an unusual for me west side view.

I'd never eaten at this Maid-Rite in Cedar Rapids and decided now was the time. I walked in, ordered my sandwich, and learned that this is an independently owned franchise of the real Maid-Rite company that has been here since 1932. As I turned around, I heard voice from one of the booths. "You left Denison yesterday and this is all the farther you got?" It was very active LHA member Van Becker and his wife who were just finishing ham dinners. The menu here is quite a bit more varied than that of many Maid-Rites. The Beckers told me about the restaurant being underwater in 2008 and pointed out some photos on the walls of the flooded neighborhood. While chatting with the Beckers I didn't even think about photographing my sandwich but that's certainly no a problem. You've all seen Maid-Rites before.

On the west side of Mount Vernon I followed the original LH alignment to a closed bridge which I instantly recognized as one I had visited from the opposite side in the past. I heard the rumble of a train as I was exiting the car but couldn't make it onto the bridge in time to catch the locomotive.

When I initially decided to attend the conference in Denison I thought of staying both here and at Niland Corner in Colo. With them being only 125 miles or so apart, I felt I'd have to pick one or the other. When the trip to Denison turned into a more hurried one, I could pick neither. Once in Denison, I considered stying in Colo when I headed home but soon learned that Saturday, the date of departure, was full. I thought of Lowden but considered it too far from Denison for Saturday and too close for Sunday. I was even more convinced when I ended Saturday east of Colo in Marshalltown. But a somewhat late start, gravel roads, and long chats in the Maid-Rite and elsewhere, put me on the front porch of the Lincoln Hotel just a couple of minutes before 3:00. I called to number posted on the door and had a pleasant conversation with the owner. The place had been filled on Saturday and, since nothing was booked for Sunday, there had been no rush to ready the rooms. Had I called even a few hours earlier I could have spent the night in this historic hotel. You'd think I'd know not to underestimate the time it takes me to get somewhere.

There is some nicely maintained and nicely signed Lincoln Highway west of Wheatland and east of town the long straight view attracted my camera. At the end of that long straight was another closed bridge I recognized. This one, however, I'd driven across. That was in 2010 when water flowed within a foot or so of the bridge deck. I parked and walked to but not through the barricades to take today's picture.

This is about where the Lincoln Highway crossed the Mississippi River and entered Illinois. The 1891 bridge that stood here was demolished in 1975.

I switched the GPS to "fastest route" and tapped "home". I was mildly surprised to be kept on the LH for several miles but I was eventually routed south. Although I spent one more night on the road (Mendota, IL) the trip was effectively over except for one more thing.

There is a small group of road fans with Indianapolis connections who now and then gather at some drive-in, diner, or dive in the area. A recently proposed gathering didn't happen for a variety of reasons but I remembered the name of one of the suggested establishments. I gave notice as I approached the city but folks were either not there or working. I got to Workingman's Friend a little closer to closing than I expected (Web says 4:00. Today it was 3:00.) but had a nice chat with the owner (3rd generation) and an outstanding double cheeseburger for which they are famous. Most of the four pounds I gained on this trip was Iowa pork but Indiana beef may have helped a little.

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