Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Take the Road to Grant Wood Country

Eastern Iowa is Grant Wood country. Not far from Cedar Rapids is a road that runs north of State Highway 151. On county road X28 the Grant Wood Scenic Byway commences. It leads to nearby Stone City where you can see the stone quarry, church and general store that Grant painted (titled, Stone City.) The byway continues to nearby Anamosa where Wood is buried. Back in Cedar Rapids Wood's studio has been preserved for visitors and much of his work can be seen at the art museum. His most famous work, American Gothic hangs at the Art Institute Museum in Chicago.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Modern Day Tom Sawyer Drawn to the River

Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer lived along the Mississippi River in fiction a century and a half ago. Fast forward to 2013 and you can still see the how the river attracts youth to its banks. Fishing just feet from Lock & Dam 11 at Dubuque, Iowa this boy forgets about catching a catfish while focusing on Marquette Transportation's downbound barge and tow named, Show Me State. The barges contained covers, scrap metal and coal. Churn from the tow activates fish and lures nearby pelicans to feed.

Monday, July 29, 2013

SOO 4410 - A Rare Locomotive Still in Red & White

The SOO Line Railroad operates in the upper Midwest and is now part of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Last Saturday I spotted engine 4410, built in 1978, and is presently sitting at the Dubuque, Iowa CP yard. Since the early 2000s SOO locomotives have been repainted into the CP color scheme or have been scrapped. To discover a SOO colored locomotive, let alone an active engine is becoming quite rare. It's a piece of railroad history that is almost gone.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Rusty the Giant Sloth To Get Company

Ice Age Iowa hosted a particularly interesting creature - a giant sloth. At the Natural History Museum at Macbride Hall, in Iowa City is this display of a life size giant sloth, nicknamed Rusty. Recently nearly complete sets of huge sloth bones have been found in the state and are being prepared to join Rusty on display. For 28 years this display has been the center point for the museum including dressing Rusty on holiday ocassions. This practice ended sometime this year as his fur has shown wear from festive use. There is no timetable for the bones to be on display but the chatter around the museum is that the display will be forthcoming soon.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Been Off Line

I have been off line for a few days with a family matter. I will be posting again soon.