Day 1: June 21, 2010
Reaching the Lincoln
June 20, Last Day Route 66 Festival Trip
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No stale danish or bagel for me this morning. I knew exactly where I was going for breakfast. I ate at the Grove Cafe last August but, although I tasted their wonderful pancakes, I did not get the signature plate sized offering nor did I get a picture of owner/cook Larry with his eyes open. I did both today. I even ate the whole thing.

Although I'm treating this as its own road trip, it is actually a continuation of an outing that started with a Route 66 festival near Joplin. As a separate trip, the previous button at the top of this page will, in typical fashion, connect with the latest day of the Lincoln Highway trip. I have added a text link at the top of the page that connects with yesterday; the last day of the Route 66 trip.

The Grove Cafe is actually a block north of the Lincoln Highway so I'd crossed it getting to breakfast. I now turned on to it (labeled Lincoln Way) and was soon rewarded with a red, white, and blue sign.

As I understand it, Niland's Cafe is closed just two days a week. In August I was here for one of them (Tuesday) and I came back today for the other (Monday). I walked around a bit, took a few pictures, and got ready to move on. I was actually in my car when I decided to take one more picture. As I did, a car rolled by with the driver holding up a finger as a "wait a minute" sign. He parked, walked up to me, and asked if I was driving the Lincoln. "Just a little bit", I said. "I'm on the way to a gathering in Dixon". That was just what he wanted to hear. I now learned that this was Robert Owens, Greene County Consul for and founding member of the modern Lincoln Highway Association. Another member, Rollin Southwell, the guy responsible for getting a monument placed at Fischer Pass last October, had spent the night with Owens and had left some medication behind. Robert tried chasing him but had soon given up on that. Rollin had a phone with him but Robert didn't have the number. We exchanged a lot of information before I headed on east with the medicine in my car. I called Lynn Asp at LHA Tourism Headquarters (the only "official" number I could locate) and she supplied me with a phone number she thought might be Rollin's cell phone. Unfortunately, it was his home in Utah. Robert & Lynn both now had my cell number. I continued moseying east.

I took a couple of pictures at the iconic Tama bridge and stopped at the King Tower Cafe for the first time. Photo activities suffered from the rain that was just starting. With my belly stuffed with Grove Cafe pancake, I couldn't bring myself to try the otherwise tempting carrot cake and managed just a glass of iced tea. But I did take advantage of their wi-fi connection to send an email to LHA Conference Co-Chair Kay Shelton telling her the medicine bag story and giving her my cell number.

Rain continued through Belle Plaine where I grabbed pictures of the colorful George Preston gas station and the closed and for sale and uncolorful Lincoln Cafe.

I stopped at the Lincoln cafe in Mt Vernon to find it closed on Mondays. I consider this a mixed blessing. After a fantastic breakfast there in August, I really looked forward to a lunch or dinner there but today that big breakfast in Ames still had my appetite significantly attenuated downward.

This bridge over the Wapsipinicon River is on a stretch of road near Wheatland, IA, that I think I missed in August. The east end connection is over gravel and there was rain when I traveled this section back then. I most likely hung with the asphalt. It wasn't raining today but it obviously has been. There's a lot of water flowing under that bridge. The last picture is of the road east of the bridge. Looks like there's a curb on one side but not on the other. I don't recall ever seeing that before.

I stopped by Smith Brother's General Store in Clinton, IA, in August but it wasn't open and it seems I didn't post any pictures. Today it was open and I got to check out the merchandise. It's pretty impressive but, at the risk of upsetting Clintonites, I still consider Schwab's in Memphis the best if-we-ain't-got-it-you-don't-need-it store I've seen.

I know I'll be returning to De Immigrant Windmill as part of a conference tour but it was open when I drove by and I wanted to see inside. Not only did I get to see, I got to learn something of its operation from Ed, one of the millers. I'd really like to see this baby in action.

I checked out Fulton's Pine Motel, where I stayed in August, but it was full. I drove back over the river to a Super 8 in Clinton. I gave that pancake a couple more hours then headed to Rastrelli's for dinner. It's a few miles off of the LH but it's in an LH town and it's darned good. Sorry about the lack of pictures. Excuses available on request.

At the end of the day I spoke with both Robert and Rollin on the phone. As I hadn't heard anything, I was afraid I'd given the wrong phone number or something similar. All is well although I did learn that Rollin had discovered his slip fairly early and had returned to Robert's. Hindsight shows we could have done better but all's well that ends well.

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