Archive for November, 2009

Don’t Fuhgeddaboud Brooklyn (Iowa)

Sunday, November 29th, 2009
Sign off I-80 in Iowa, pointing to the town of Brooklyn.

Sign off I-80 in Iowa, pointing to the town of Brooklyn.

by Liz von Achen

Among the many things I love about Brooklyn, New York are the borough’s quirky entry and exit point signs. “Welcome to Brooklyn – Name it … We got it,” or “Leaving Brooklyn – Oy Vey!” and my favorite; “Leaving Brooklyn? – Fuhgeddaboudit.”

Recently, while driving along I-80, somewhere between Des Moines and Iowa City, I noticed a sign for an Iowa town named Brooklyn. Initially, my intent was to simply pull over and snap a photo of the sign to share with my Facebook friends. Curiosity and a sense of adventure beckoned a further investigation into this particular part of America’s Heartland.

Welcome to Brooklyn "Community of Flags"

Welcome to Brooklyn "Community of Flags."

A two mile drive on a country road lined with row crops led to Brooklyn Iowa’s own official ‘welcome’ sign. Welcome to Brooklyn “Community of Flags.” While not quite as edgy as the Brooklyn, New York signage, the slogan held a certain intrigue. I wondered what exactly a town had to do to earn such a slogan. Was there some sort of law that mandated every home and business to display an American flag? Did they hold the Guinness World Record for the most flag ownership per capita? What was up with this small town in Iowa and its flags? I needed to know.

A left turn at a vintage 1930′s filling station brought me to Jackson Street, which appeared to be Brooklyn’s downtown hub. The Opera House (originally opened in 1911) stands as an impressive reminder of its heyday as the town’s center of cultural activity. I marveled at two bicycles casually left on the sidewalk, with no apparent need for lock and chains. This was, after all, small town America. Population just under 1,400.

Brooklyn, Iowa's now defunct Opera House has been under renovation.

Restoration of Brooklyn's now defunct Opera House has been a project for several groups over the years.

No need to lock your bikes in Brooklyn, Iowa.

No need to lock your bikes in this Brooklyn.

(more…)

Share

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Thursday, November 26th, 2009
What happens when you're too lazy to use your tripod!

What happens when you're too lazy to use your tripod!

Share

I Eat My Words, Nebraska

Thursday, November 12th, 2009
Lincoln's Historic Haymarket

Lincoln's Historic Haymarket District

by Liz von Achen

Previously, I mentioned that the state of Nebraska smells like manure. In truth, much of the state DOES smell like cow dung, especially at rural rest stops on the I-80 corridor. But after taking a day trip into the city of Lincoln, I developed a whole new appreciation for Nebraska’s fertile aroma.

Lincoln, Nebraska is a great big little city, with some damn good tasting beef. Following easy, idiot-proof signs to ‘tourist information,’ I found the Lincoln Visitors Center in the old railroad station at the Historic Haymarket. This is a section of Lincoln that was the original town market-square, where in the 1860′s, wagons, equipment, hay and whatever else people needed (I don’t know; pies? petticoats?) were bought and sold.

I was a bit surprised at how many tourism brochures the center had. ‘You mean Nebraska actually has something to offer besides corn fields and smelly cows?’ I wondered. As a matter of fact there’s a lot more to Nebraska than meets the nose. And Lincoln was the perfect city to prove it to me.

A friend had mentioned that Nebraska was famous for its bar-b-que and its beef. Omaha Steak, anyone? So, duh-uh… as long as I was in this neck of the plains, I figured I should try some of its beef. Not in the mood to bite into a whole cow, I set my sights on a burger, and on a burger-quest I went.
(more…)

Share

Nebraska…

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Nebraska Rest Stop Scene
I’m in Nebraska now, hunkering down for the night at a cheap Motel 6. I can’t figure out why anyone would want to live in Nebraska… the entire state (so far) smells like manure. I’m not kidding about that!

Share

Colorado National Monument

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009
Scene at the entranceway of the Colorado National Monument

Scene at the entranceway of the Colorado National Monument

I was told it would take about an hour to drive through. It took me much longer because I stopped and lingered at almost every look-out point.

dscf0194

dscf0193

Share

El-izabeth Has Left The Building…

Monday, November 9th, 2009

I’m going to need to back-track a bit to fill in the blanks on what transpired in Las Vegas to lead me to making the return trip alone. But that will have to wait. For now, let’s just establish that Maureen, my travel companion and I had a falling out. She has made her own arrangements to get back to Florida, and as I was only going back to Florida for her sake, I am heading directly back to Ohio.

Well, maybe not “directly.” I’m taking a route through some mid-western states I haven’t seen before, and I plan to enjoy some of the sites along the way.

Share