Goodbye Illinois, Hello Iowa

Trip Start Jun 29, 2010
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Trip End Oct 24, 2010


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Where I stayed

Flag of United States  , Iowa
Sunday, October 17, 2010


I went into Dixon and it was a cute little city.  It was another gorgeous day and I took a walk along the Rock River and through the downtown core.  There were lots of other people out and chatted with two ladies who could not believe how far away from home I was and from 'way up north' too.  I told them that where I live in quite hot in the summer, commonly getting up to 30-35.  It wasn't until later that I realized I didn't specify Celsius so they would have been thinking Fahrenheit and 30 Fahrenheit is 0 Celsius....whoops.  I do apologize for perpetrating the myth that Canada is cold! 

Dixon is where Ronald Reagan lived and a local directed me to his boyhood home.  It was easy to find but was closed for the day - must be a Sunday.  Got back on the road and headed east.  Crossed over the Mississippi River into Iowa.  Stopped in Clinton which is on the bank of the mighty Mississippi for a stroll.  Funny, I expected the Mississippi to be bigger!  Didn't stay long, back on the road to Anamosa.

Anamosa is known for two things, motorcycles and home to the largest state penitentiary in Iowa.  Motorcycles are a common sight in Anamosa. Since 1979, it has been the birthplace and home of J&P Cycles, a company which sells aftermarket motorcycle parts and accessories through catalogs, the internet, and its Anamosa retail showroom.

I went to the National Motorcycle Museum.  I wasn't sure what it would be like since Anamosa is not a big place but was pleasantly surprised - this museum was huge.  It has 250 bikes, going back to 1900. There are all sorts of crazy bikes, hand made hogs and wild rides, including the only original Captain America bike from the move Easy Rider.  If you're in the area, this non-profit museum is a must and make sure you have lots of time.  I ended up chatting with Jennifer who was working the gift shop. If I'm ever back in Anamosa, I will be looking her up - good times!  

After that I drove through the town and the Anamosa State Penitentiary is a right in the core - you cannot miss it.  The medium/maximum security prison, houses over 1,200 male inmates and was established in 1872.  Constructed from locally quarried white limestone in the style of a castle, inspiring its nickname as "The White Palace of the West". The prison grounds also house the Anamosa State Penitentiary Museum, which contains artifacts and exhibits on prison life from throughout its history.

I just walked up the street and took a few pics.  It was weird to see this huge prison on one side and houses with kids playing along the sidewalk on the other.  There is even a kids park...

Got a room at the Super 8, not the nicest place I've ever seen but I've stayed in worse.  

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