Our first day of the recent road trip was a day of aimless meandering as we intended to stop for an overnight at Keokuk, IA.
One sign along the 380 loop between Waterloo and Iowa City has intrigued us for a number of years, so we decided--spur of the moment--to make a side stop at Brandon, Iowa.
Brandon is home to "The Largest Frying Pan in Iowa."
Note: the kids refused to get out of the van for this photo op, so you're stuck with yours truly (since we felt viewers might need a sense of scale.)
We stopped in Iowa City for lunch at IHOP and a few gratuitous purchases at the Hawk Shop. (Knowing we are going to miss the state fair this year, dh needed a poster fix for the office.)
The next stop was a planned side trip. Since several Star Trek fans reside in this domicile, we stopped to see the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk--Riverside, IA.
(Note once more the absence of teens. Apparently these sorts of stops are uber embarrassing.)
Keokuk was a lovely, old river town on the Mississippi. I was impressed with how much architecture remained from the early days, all those great details along the tops of building and store fronts. It was definitely eye candy for anyone who likes to look at that sort of thing.
We went down to the Mississippi where we were able to view a paddle wheel boat(normally used as a Visitors Center, but was currently under construction) and a statue of an impressive figure on horseback.
(The teens were enjoying the actual river front with dad as mom wandered around photographing everything like usual.)
Keokuk has a hydro-electric dam across the Mississippi which means all Mississippi river traffic must use a lock to go up or down the river here. We noticed a barge heading up river and some kind fishermen gave directions on how to get to the viewing platform for watching them go through the lock.
The power plant.
Coming in; water low.
Going out; barge raised to new level.
There was a very friendly older woman named Alex at the lock with her granddaughter. She was very helpful in telling about the history of the lock & dam at Keokuk, as well as stories about the power plant. As a girl she had toured the facilities with her school group. She talked about the walkway under the lock and the river that goes out to the power plant. She remembered it being VERY loud inside the power plant with all the machines/generators running. She said she had been a bit scared as a girl walking through those tunnels knowing that all that river water was above and around her! It was really interesting to visit with her proving once more that one of the best treasures of the state of Iowa is the people!