Saturday, August 15, 2015

Ida County

Ida Grove, the seat of Ida County decided at some point to have a castle theme. It's really weird and dorky which fits in perfectly with us. It's just too bad the courthouse wasn't a castle.


more castles...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Winnebago County

Winnebago County is indeed home to the Winnebago RV company. We didn't happen to catch the factory but we did have fun in downtown Forest City.

I really appreciated that they keep the civil war stature painted in the proper BLUE uniform as a reminder that in Iowa, we weren't traitors.

Also they had a cool sculpture garden made of bicycle parts.

Uncle Billy would have approved

Kids enjoyed Scoopy Doos.

Worth County

Worth County, uh, has a Casino, I didn't take a picture of it. It took us a while to find the courthouse because it doesn't actually have a sign.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cerro Gordo County

Cerro Gordo county is home to two very different 20th century american musical icons. On one side it is the home of American broadway composer Meredith Wilson. His home town of Mason City is the inspiration for River City in "The Music Man" and thus also the inspiration for the greatest Simpsons episode ever..."Marge vs the Monorail".

and that concludes our conductor training

The county is also home to the famous Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake which was the last place Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens played before they died in a plane crash just north of Clear Lake on Feb 3rd 1959. The Ballroom is still active. On the day we stopped in we caught Whitesnake setting up.

You can walk out to a memorial in the field where the plane crashed. It's private property so please be respectful.

The glasses mark the trail to the memorial.

The courthouse was meh

Franklin County

Mason City may be the inspiration of the Music Man, but in my mind it was more like Hampton in Franklin County. It's courthouses like this that make up for the Cero Gordo's of the state.


We had a nice picnick in Beeds Lake State Park

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Iowa County

Iowa county is known for two things in the state. The a large outlet mall in Williamsburg and the Amana Colonies both are the target of large tour buses full of retirement home residence (probably as part of one trip).

A lot of people in Iowa are confused about the nature of the colonies. They are NOT Amish. Although they are of German origin, and lived simply, they are not the same thing and did not shun technology when it would help. The fact that they ran a successful appliance company should give this away but the confusion still exists. Originally the colonies were a theocratic collective where nobody owned anything and your life was planned according to the needs of the (rather sexist) church.  What is left of that today is mostly a tourist trap of old timey german food and folk art. So just know what you're in for. Check out the museum (the history is pretty crazy), and try the braunschweiger and craft beer.

The courthouse in Marengo

Poweshiek County

Poweshiek's 1859 courthouse is really cool. We have mostly been west and north at this point so I look forward to seeing more of this as we push east. The county seat is Montezuma which as a kid was a place I assumed had rampant digestive track problems but is actually a pretty nice little town. We had a great little picnic at Diamond Lake County Park.

No robot horses allowed

Giddy up

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Crawford County

Here we are in Denison Iowa home town of Donna Reed, a fact that the town will never let you forget. People have this really wholesome view of her because of  The Donna Reed Show and It's a Wonderful Life but I think she was just as beautiful as Ingrid Bergman or Liz Taylor or anyone else around at that time (or since).  

The buffalo girls are coming out tonight. 

Carroll County

Shockingly, Carroll is the county seat of Carroll county. We drive through here all the time on the way to visit Laura's family in western Iowa. Seems like a nice town, too bad about the courthouse though.

All thats left of what was once a cool courthouse. Carroll obviously feels the shame.

Carroll County is also where the city of Templeton is and thus the source of Templeton Rye Whiskey (sort of). The story goes that Al Capone was a big fan of "The Good Stuff" which is the main selling point of the whiskey. The distillery has had some bad press lately, but word is they're trying to move everything to Templeton and make right. The truth is, while not my favorite Iowa Whiskey (that would be Cedar Ridge) it's not bad. The story is still pretty good too.

Al Capone is a fan of Carroll County

A bottle of Templeton Rye