Iowa Weekend Quickie–Saturday

I am a North Carolinian, born and raised, but I have now spent nearly a third of my life in Iowa. I decided I wanted to take in some parts of my adopted home that I haven’t visited before I hie myself back to the East Coast.

As usual when I plan a trip like this, I added more stops than I could make in the timeframe I had available. This allows me to adjust my plans based on whatever situation I want to or have to address. For Saturday, I had to drop the planned stop in Riverside because the museum was not scheduled to open until noon, and I needed to be in Dyersville in time to make the 3:30 tour at the Field of Dreams Movie Site for which I had purchased a ticket. As it worked out, it was only the first of other adjustments I made on Saturday.

I got on the road at 9:30 a.m. and reached Cedar Rapids just after 11. There must be something about noon on Saturdays because the Grant Wood Studio also didn’t open until noon. I was the only guest there, so I had the undivided attention of the two ladies on staff there. I took a few pictures and saw a short documentary about Wood and his career as an multi-skilled artist. Then, one of the staff guided me to the studio where Wood worked and lived. Built long before ADA, I had to leave Have-Seat-Will-Travel behind and make my way slowly up the stairs to the loft. Fortunately, the lady was extremely patient with my slow progress up the steep steps, and a sturdy handrail had been installed to assist.

The presentation was well worth it. The presenter knew her subject and shared her knowledge about the studio and Wood’s life and career with great enthusiasm. She explained and showed pictures demonstrating structural changes the artist had made to the space to address his needs for light and adaptations to provide living space for himself, his mother and sister. He added the cupola to the roof for extra lighting, for example. He also designed and constructed the bay window to provide a softer lighting for the room where the owner of the local funeral home–Wood’s patron–held funeral services. The home, which is next to the studio, is now the visitors center.

I do wish I had more time to experience this, but I was aware that I had limited time before I needed to drive to Dyersville. I decided I had time to go to Veterans Memorial Auditorium, where Wood had been commissioned to create a stained glass window for the then-newly constructed building. Waze had given me a short, direct route but apparently didn’t know about the extensive road construction several of the streets surrounding the site.

SB and I drifted further and further away from our destination trying to find an accessible route there. We finally found a way only to discover that the building was closed. Rather than being able to get a view and pictures of the window with the sun streaming through, I had to settle for exterior shots of Veterans Memorial Auditorium and the window.

Below, however, is a picture of the window that I found online.


When I was ready to leave, I discovered that the stop had taken more time than I had anticipated, and I wanted to be sure to get to Dyersville with time to spare. So I again adjusted my original itinerary and departed Cedar Rapids.

A curious sight got my attention as I drove through Dyersville. I’ve seen a wide variety of items decorate city parks, but this was a new one for me:



Anyway, the Field of Dreams Movie Site consists of a small number of buildings, including a white house and a barn, along with the baseball field that were used in the filming of the 1988 movie. I was part of a group who were taken on a 30-minute tour of the lower floor of the house.

The furnishings in the house were the result of an effort to restore what had previously been a person’s home into the features reminiscent of the film. The presenter talked about different parts of the house where scenes from the film had taken place. Since I had not seen the film, there were no memories for me to draw from, but I could tell that other tourists connected with descriptions. Maybe when I finally see the movie, I’ll also make the connections.

After the tour and taking a few more pictures, I had to decide whether to head further north and east towards the Pikes Peak State Park, which a friend on Facebook suggested, or take a cruise down the Grant Wood Scenic Byway. I chose to head to Pike’s Peak. I was routed to a portion of the Great River Road, which I had last driven with my newly purchased Silver Bullet. The road seemed strangely unfamiliar, including a beautiful scenic view of the Mississippi River where I ended up purchasing a bottle of honey from a beekeeper selling them at the overlook. I remembered later that I had accidentally crossed over a bridge in Dubuque into Illinois and chose to drive that side of the river road until I crossed back into Iowa at a point north of the park’s location.

The map of Pike’s Peak indicated that the park was relatively large, but I limited my visit to the overlook near the point where the Wisconsin River converges into the Mississippi.

All of the pictures from the day available on my travalogue photos pages.

By the time I left the park, I decided that by the time I drove the two-plus hour route to the beginning of the Grant Wood byway, it would be too close to night time to be able to get the foll effect of the byway. I changed the route in Waze to head home, got something to eat, and called it a night. I knew that I had planned a busy day ahead on Sunday with a lot of driving involved, and I wanted to be as well rested–especially my hip–as I could be.

Below is the map of the actual trip on Saturday:

For most of the trip, I listened to the wide range of songs in my Mixed Nuts playlist. The list has music covering virtually all popular western popular music styles covering more than a century, from Ragtime to Hip Hop. Then, on the home stretch, I switched over to what I am now calling Randye’s Replays, a 100+ song playlist of my favorite popular music, because Waze had created a route that consisted of dark, empty state roads that seem to stretch forever. I needed something to keep my mind on the task at hand.

As always, I thank the Lord for granting me the stamina to make the trip, the damn good reflexes to steer the SB as she needed to be guided, and the ability to enjoy His handiwork as it whizzed by my windshield.

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