Live Trip Map Day 3: August 17, 2009
Iowa 2
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At the Grove Cafe in Ames, I gave myself another "don't take just one picture when people are involved" lesson. I had one yesterday but, apparently, it didn't take. I got just one shot of owner Larry Goodale's face and it was one of those eyes half closed things. So all I've got is Larry's back. The Cafe is known for its pancakes but that's not what I ordered. Why? I don't know. The bacon & eggs were excellent but the 'cake is the thing and Larry kept me from missing out. Official Grove Cafe pancakes are huge hubcap sized creations. I got a pair -- pumpkin with whipped cream on the left, regular on the right -- of mini-cakes. Topped with homemade syrup, they were delicious. I even got a sample of the pulled pork that Larry smoked last night. The lunch crowd is in for a treat and I heard that a pulled pork omelet just might be available.

Their slogan starts with "Just like home..." and it certainly is a friendly and comfortable place. Larry talks about as good as he cooks with a low key banter that brings on lots of smiles and the occasional laugh. The slogan continues " don't always get what you want." but I think most do.

In places, it was the original LH alignment that caught on and got paved while the newer one didn't. This is one of those places. I started down this gravel road at the west edge of Ames but the washboarding was just a bit much. I turned around and returned to US-30.

If you look just right at the road surface that more or less lines up with the 'ST' in STANDARD, you might see the blotches that mark the Ogden Footprints. The footprints were left in the wet concrete in 1929 and were later filled in to smooth the surface. Differences in the concrete kept them visible. The street is now paved with asphalt but not the footprints. In something akin to the "yard of bricks" at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a short strip remains uncovered.

ADDENDUM: Aug 20, 2009 - I've received a couple of comments from folks who cannot see the footprints. They are indeed not easy to find. To remedy this, I contacted one of those fancy west coast graphics outfits (my son) who applied a subtle tweaking of contrast to make the prints more visible. Then I applied the less subtle midwest technique of putting red dots at the toe of the two nearest footprints. Hope that helps.

It seems that neither the original 1913 alignment through Beaver nor the 1914 route that bypassed it were ever paved. I figured that, if I was going to drive gravel, I might as well see some bridges so I opted for the 1914 north of town. It's well graded all the way. I've bookended this panel with pictures of the 1915 Marsh bridge and the 'L' bridge for which I have no date. I love the chicken mailbox. That's the lane running a long way back to the buildings and I doubt this gravel road gets a lot of casual traffic but somebody still wants to look good. Bravo!

This is Lions Club Tree Park although I didn't see that name or any other scrap of information at the park. I don't know the story but it looks like something not finished but with nothing in progress. There is an "underlook" that gives a view of the three Lincoln Highway era bridges but what might be panels for explanatory displays are bare. The third picture was taken from the "underlook". The last picture was taken from the 1924 LH bridge which makes it easier to see the original LH bridge beyond the C & N railroad bridge.

I knew that there was a Lincoln statue and carillon in Jefferson but I didn't know you could get to the top of the tower. It seems that the Mahanays, who donated the money for the carillon, often enjoyed listening to one in Florida but thought folks should be able to take advantage of the tower. They stipulated that this carillon was to have an elevator. Thanks to them, I was able to see where I'd been, where I was going, and get an entirely different view of Mr. Lincoln, too.

From the tower's attendent, I learned that the Lincoln Highway west of town was closed so that a bridge could be repaired. I assume that's the Eureka bridge and hope that it really is being repaired and not replaced. I thought to check at the Iowa LH HQ next door but found no one there.

At the tower, I met a retired couple from New York. They are driving a mid-sized RV and their plans for the day were "west". The man had been a truck driver and recalls being behind people with, as he said, "no place to go and all day to get there". He has an entirely different view now that he is one. And he's enjoying every minute of it.

The two monuments erected by Civil War veteran J. E. Moss in 1926 are well known Lincoln Highway landmarks but I was completely unaware that a mailbox stood near them. There is no visible residence nearby so maybe fan mail for the long deceased Moss simply accumulates here.

George Gregory's markers are not so well know but it seems he was "firstest with the mostest". The first picture shows that he was building markers more than a decade ahead of the LH and Greetings from the Lincoln Highway has a picture of a Gregory marker with the words "Lincoln Highway" and "1913". That's the Lincoln's birth year and it's not clear whether that's also the year the marker was erected.

The second and third pictures are of markers at a corner where the Lincoln Highway once turned. Note the letter 'L'. I suspect that balls once topped all of the pedestals and that there were a few more pedestals in that gap shown in the last photograph. Perhaps more interesting than the picture itself is the fact that I took it from a four way gravel intersection where cars once passed on the way from New York to California. Not one car passed through it while I casually strolled about.

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