It’s a Big Dam Country — Day 8

Most­ly dri­ving today. A few inter­est­ing detours. Some planned some not.

I left Pano­ra around 9. Made my way to West Des Moines via some love­ly park­ways to nowhere. Found a Barnes and Noble with a Star­bucks and got an iced lat­te. Offi­cial­ly sum­mer now. Tried to plan a rea­son­able route for gen­er­al east­er­li­ness and failed. So I decid­ed to go with the “what’s about 100 miles east of here?” game. 

That would be Pel­la, IA home of Pel­la Win­dows. So I stopped, ille­gal­ly, and get this quick shot of the corp head­quar­ters for my friend Paul who works for Mil­gard Win­dows.


headquarters of pella windows
head­quar­ters of pel­la windows

This was my first view of the Mis­sis­sip­pi riv­er in Fort Madi­son. Then the GPS rout­ed me away from the riv­er and I end­ed up not cross­ing until Han­ni­bal, MO.

first look at the mississippi river
first look at the mis­sis­sip­pi river

I stopped for lunch at a Taco Johns. In Can­ton, IL maybe. There were some sad look­ing train bits on a dis­con­nect­ed siding. 

I don’t know whose liv­ery this pur­ple is/was but It must have been an attrac­tive car at one time.

purple railroad car
pur­ple rail­road car 

The Caboose seemed to be doing a bit bet­ter. They have so much more charis­ma and so much less sur­face area to paint.

caboose in a parking lot
caboose in a park­ing lot

Today I saw the first police I’ve seen in four days. (Not count­ing the Pano­ra offi­cer who waved at me while I parked in the lot at the his­tor­i­cal vil­lage.) The first one was marked and as I came up behind him he pulled into the cen­ter medi­an and U‑turned back the way we’d come. The sec­ond was an unmarked white unit with the inte­ri­or light­bar. I was doing 72 (cruise con­trol) in a 65. Dri­ving right, pass­ing left, etc. He came up on me as I was pass­ing a tanker truck. Pass com­plet­ed, I pulled over, and he pow­ered on past at 80-some­thing. Clear­ly the time had come to get off the road for the evening.

sleepy good-sheep

About the Author

Lara Harriger


  1. jearls

    You went through Han­ni­bal and you did­n’t get a pho­to of the lighthouse?!? 

    Yes. A light­house on the cen­tral Mis­sis­sip­pi. In Han­ni­bal. The “Mark Twain” lighthouse.

    1. lara

      Okay — for the next road trip. Iron Butt check-point pho­to-ops. Right?

  2. jim franklin

    If you’re so inclined to vis­it­ing this sort of thing, New Madrid, MO is host to the largest earth­quake to ever hit the con­ti­nen­tal US. Changed the course of the Mis­sis­sip­pi, cre­at­ing a dam, if you stretch the definition.


    1. lara

      I think that might indeed qual­i­fy as a dam — at least in the loose sense that road-trip­ping requires. I’ll see if it fits into the return route.

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