Tuesday, August 08, 2006
No Hondas in Iowa
Day 6 August 7 Monday
Well, I hung around Dubuque because it was simply stunning. The town, the oldest in Iowa I’m told, sits mostly on the bluffs that overlook the Mississippi River, but parts of it, including the historic downtown, are lower down near the water. There are the usual gambling boat and old hotels, but the real draw to me was the architecture, which was Victorian brick, just as you would see in Boston. Sure, there were the newer homes, built maybe in the early 1900’s, but many dated from the previous century…or two!
There are three colleges and state-of-the-art medical facilities (necessary for all those farmers working around tractors, I guess!). Grandview Avenue, the main residential drag, runs parallel with the river, but is on top of the high ground. Apparently, this is the street used for joggers and walkers (mostly walkers) for exercise. There were very few bikes.
Riding up the Mississippi now for two days, it is definitely different for me, from the south where the land along the Big Mo is low, to see such high land alongside a river. But the views that result from this geographical arrangement are to die for.
Dubuque’s population is 90,000, which makes it about equal to Boulder, CO. Supposedly, the tech industry there is beginning to catch hold.
And houses, beautiful houses, are dirt cheap. A 4 br 2 ba brick and stucco home with two fireplaces, beautiful hardwood floors, remodeled kitchen, and sitting on a 1 acre wooded lot situated high above the river is listed at $177,500. I’ve included a picture, which does not do it justice.
The other picture is a mansion across from the library.
Leaving Dubuque, I should have taken the river road up to Hwy 52 and gone through North Buena Vista, but instead turned west out of town on 52, just missing Dyersville where Field of Dreams was filmed. Alas. I heard later that the drive was gorgeous.
Hwy 52 led me through rolling high-country hills, all of it farmland. Every time I topped a rise, I was met with a vista of steeples and silos dotting the landscape. Interspersed among the farms were cattle lots that, I believe, were used to feed milk cattle. Most milk operations looked to be fairly small.
This is God’s farm land, providing all the corn, soybeans, milk, and soldiers that we need. Indeed, American flags adorned barns, light posts, and hung from many houses. I imagine more than a few Gold Stars also were affixed to windows.
The shoulders of the highway were wide, packed-gravel affairs on which farmers drove their various pieces of large equipment. And when I entered Minnesota, these wide shoulders were paved for the Amish buggies.
There were no Hondas, Nissans, and Toyotas on the road, only GM, Ford, or Chevy. It wasn’t until I reached the outskirts of Minneapolis that I began to see foreign cars.
I got directions from my literary agent and she and her boyfriend met me for dinner. Their house is on Minnetonka Lake. Interestingly, there are a good number of upscale homes for sale. The talk is that the market is very, very soft and the realtors are starving. I've included a picture of my agent.
Well, I’m off to bed. Will see the Twin Cities tomorrow.