Corn, Clocks, Churches… and more corn

My time in Minnesota came to an end on Sunday afternoon.  Matt and I had the best time at Metallica on Saturday night and it was great getting to see the new Vikings stadium – it’s kinda weird looking from the outside but the sound is incredible. Here’s the set list for those of you who care about these kind of things…

After an influx of fresh kale from Tom, one last load of laundry and a trip to the Farmers Market, it was time to say goodbye to my friends and to the Twin Cities. Renee suggested that I stop in Red Wing on my way out of town and I’m so glad I did.  There are giant Red Wing boots that have been painted by local artists all over town – my fave was the Corner Drug boot. I ended up spending a long time at Fair Trade Books.  Rick, the proprietor, gives a book to all first-time visitors (which is awesome) and I’m looking forward to the book he gave me.  Turns out he used to live in SF and he had hitch-hiked across the US twice back in the 70’s so we had a lot in common.

I headed south for Decorah, Iowa and while it’s a very pretty drive, most of what you see is corn fields.  Apparently I was near the area where Field of Dreams was filmed…  I mean, I’ve seen lots of corn fields already but Iowa takes it to a whole new level.  I spent the night at the Decorah campground which was really lovely – plus they had the cutest Little Free Library!  I had a spot right by a creek and enjoyed a long run to Luther College.

Next stop – Spillville!  When I got to town, I stopped at the Main Street Mini Mart to get gas and ended up having a really nice chat with the owner Renee and her sister. They invited me to spend the afternoon with them – day drinking, kayaking, etc and if I didn’t already have plans that evening, I absolutely would have taken them up on their offer.

The Bily Clock Museum was the reason for my visit to Spillville and I was not disappointed. The Bily brothers designed and carved the most extraordinary collection of wooden clocks that I’ve ever seen.  Their entire collection is on display as they never sold a single clock (despite being offered a lot of money) and as they had no heirs, left everything to the city of Spillville with the express instruction that the clocks are never to leave the city.  The tour was excellent and despite the rule that no pictures are allowed to be taken, the tour guides were kind enough to make an exception for me.  These pictures are of the American Pioneers Clock and the Grand Tower Clock.

The second floor is mostly dedicated to the composer Antonin Dvorak who lived in Spillville during the summer of 1893 and composed two of his most famous works there – the New World Symphony and String Quartet in F.  Renee from the Mini Mart told me that the church in Spillville houses an organ that Dvorak played so of course I had to check it out.  The church is on a hill and surrounded by a cemetery on two sides – many of the “inhabitants” are Czech immigrants.

During the Bily Clock Museum tour, I also learned about America’s Smallest Church, located in Festina, Iowa (the Bily brothers carved a model of it).  Since Festina was only 15 minutes away from Spillville, I decided to drive over there.  The church can hold 8 people are measures 20′ x 14′.  To put that into context, my MoHo is 20′ x 6′ 8″.

From Festina, it was a 3+ hour drive to Adel (near Des Moines), where my friend/former colleague Dana lives. Juno got to see more cows (and the cows got to see Juno), I finally got to see Kum & Go for myself and I even got to jump on I-80 West for a few miles. FYI – if I had stayed on I-80 West, I would have been back in SF in 26 hours.

Catching up with Dana and her daughter Abby last night was wonderful.  I had been craving Mexican food and to my delight, Dana made enchiladas.  We took a long walk around the neighborhood (which is surrounded by more cornfields) The sign on the door of the bedroom where I slept was hilarious (made my Dana’s grandson) and the Mrs. Butterworth’s decor was just the best.

Alright, time to get on with my day… I’m gonna wrap up this post with another round of “Find the Snug”


State count: 10

4 thoughts on “Corn, Clocks, Churches… and more corn

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