Saturday, July 6, 2019

The Aging of a Chevrolet Loadmaster

In Nichols, Iowa a few old pickups are for sale. By their looks these trucks haven't moved in years, so are they really for sale? A closeup of the hood reveals layers of paint are keeping the metal intact from advancing rust. Vehicles from this era were made sturdy.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Landscape of Iowa

Near Lone Tree, Iowa the farm land is slightly hilly in a few parts. This field has grain bins in place to hold the next harvest. Now if only the rains would stop for more than a few days.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

B-17 Aluminum Overcast Lands at Cedar Rapids CID

Another vintage WWII aircraft sighting this evening. This time it is the B-17 "Aluminum Overcast" at Cedar Rapids (CID). Yes, I saw the same flying fortress in Burlington, Iowa last year, and have seen it multiple times in Cedar Rapids. This week the plane's summer schedule had a last minute opening and fortunately was able to make another journey to the City of Five Seasons. In its one day appearance all flights were completely booked except for the last one of the afternoon. Storm clouds are on the horizon for tonight.

Aluminum Overcast sits on the tarmac in CID following a day of flights around the city for paying passengers (and media.) Unfortunately, I arrived an hour after the tour closed. I also do not have media credentials but probably should get accredited. I was an Associated Press stringer in college - maybe that will count. The covers on the engines are new this year according to a local EAA event host. The covers are designed to minimize the effects of rain, wind, debris and flying critters on the aging plane when parked for the evening.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Rollin' on the Ohio River

Last October 14th I spotted a tug pushing barges on the Ohio River near Paducah, KY/Metropolis, IL. Just like those tugs on the Mississippi River these are hard working maritime vessels pushing loads of coal, salt, grain, scrap iron or other cargo to customers along the way. This particular boat is the Tom Torretti of the Water Front Services Company based in Cairo, Illinois. The 67- by 28-foot fleet boat entered service in 2018.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Onward into Illinois Young Abraham Lincoln

Ever wonder what the Lincoln family wagon train looked like? Here is a depiction of that family's journey as they crossed from Vincennes, Indiana into Illinois. This 1938 dedicated monument is on the west bank of the Wabash River while the huge George Rogers Clark memorial is on the Vincennes side.  The DAR sponsored tribute to Lincoln shows the family on the move in 1830 guided by the spirit in the sky representing Abe's departed mother.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Only in Iowa - Seed Corn in Town

Many backyards in Iowa have vegetable gardens that include sweet corn. This display, however, takes the iconic plant to a new level. Where else but in a corn state like Iowa does the homeowner not only plant corn as a decorative crop in the front yard but finishes it off with a seed corn sign, like those found along countless rural roads?

Monday, November 5, 2018

Color in the Neighborhood

Mid-autumn and leaf color has peaked. In fact over the weekend when 1.5 inches of rain fell, most of the fall color is now brown, turning brown and on the ground. At the 42N latitude its been a short color season this fall. However, just a week ago this maple tree displayed its brilliant yellows just five houses away. Those leaves are now done, racked to the curb, and ready for pickup by the city's services. See you next fall.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Preserving Windmills from Iowa's Past

For more than 100 years the Aermotor Company has been manufacturing windmills which are used primarily for pumping water to livestock. These icons of farms and ranches can be seen all over the country especially here in the Midwest. This non-working specimen is located at the Vinton Railroad Depot in Vinton, Iowa. The sails on the wheel are chained in place as to restrict movement and to help prevent long-term damage. The tail shows at least two bullet holes which qualifies it as an authentic and time-tested Aermotor windmill.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Seek American Legion Poppies from Jackson G Nyitrai

On most Labor Day weekends, American Legion Post 305 member Jackson G. Nyitrai positions himself underneath the Mississippi River bridge at Marquette, Iowa. His mission is to offer red paper poppies for a donation to those gathered at the annual flea market. An event that attracts hundreds of people.

This year rain fell for most of the day, making the flea market crowd run for shelter below the overhead structure. Jackson, a retired US Navy service member who worked on ship boilers for many years, collects monetary donations to help fuel the Legion's local scholarships and honor flights to Washington D.C

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

NE Iowa Beauty in the Valleys

This is not the image of Iowa that most people have of the Hawkeye state. NE Iowa was spared from the advancement of glaciers some 12,000 to 14,000 winters ago. Last Sunday following an early evening rain storm, the valleys west of Elkader filled with clouds. True to Iowa form, the 2018 corn crop can be seen in the foreground.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Foxtail in Late Summer

Beauty is all around. Example, here are a few stands of foxtail grass reaching for the late summer sun along the nearby rising Indian Creek. The grasses are quite common around this portion of eastern Iowa. Generally at this time of year the grasses are yellow and brown from lack of moisture. Not this year.

T-6 Awaits for AirVenture 2018 Landing Slot

At the Dubuque, Iowa airport (DBQ) a vintage T-6 waits for the landing slot at AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 on July 22nd. Annually, the North American Trainer Association (NATA), made up of T-6 pilots and owners, gather in Dubuque for association business and to practice takeoffs/landings and formation flying for EAA's Airventure in nearby Wisconsin. WWII-era T-6 planes from around the world come to Dubuque for the meeting and are occasionally accompanied by a few P-51 Mustangs and F-4U Corsairs. Watching and listening to the planes as they roar to life, circle overhead and trail smoke in various formations is well worth the trip to Dubuque. The event inside the hangers and on the tarmac is not open to the public except for viewing behind fences. Be sure to stick around after the T-6s takeoff for Airventure - a few minutes later the planes will be in formation, trail smoke and give Dubuque an aerial salute before traveling east over the Mississippi River.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Iowa Flag Still Flies Despite F3 Tornado in Marshalltown

Marshall County's Iowa flag flies above the courthouse square two days after the July 19th tornado. I don't know whether it survived the F3 winds or replaced the one that flew during the storm. One Marshalltown resident told me that the flag was still flying right after the tornado went through downtown.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Watching the Flying Past

A farmer whose land is located near the Dubuque Regional Airport (DBQ) watches 41 T-6s take off to join AirVenture 2018 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Annually the T-6 Association conducts meetings and practices formations at DBQ in preparation for a week's worth of activities at the EAA event in Oshkosh. The hour and a half flight of T-6s from Dubuque to Oshkosh generally commences sometime between 1:00 PM and 2:30 PM on the third Sunday of July. Stay a bit longer at the airport following the T-6 take offs. You'll see a special salute to the airport and community from these aging warbird trainers.