The next leg of our journey saw us taking literal steps in the cultural past and into its future. Leaving Wisconsin, Jane followed us to Dyersville, Iowa, to visit the farm where the movie “Field of Dreams” was shot.
The baseball diamond is still there, and it was the perfect season because the corn was tall, so we could emerge from the corn like the movie’s ghost ballplayers do (Is that the plot? I dunno — I’ve never seen the movie. When I admitted that, Jane said, “What?! Are you a Communist?”) We walked the bases and I pitched a few balls and we took some pictures and said our goodbyes to Jane.
Next, we camped at Maquoketa Caves State Park, and we had our first rainout. Or rain-on, because it started during the night and we didn’t have a rain-fly (we had lost it long before starting this trip). The tent got soaked; we got soaked; our sleeping bags got soaked. We had to pop up our pop-up canopy in the rain. Yay.
Because the rain made the paths wet and slippery, we didn’t go exploring the park’s namesake caves. Instead, we hit the road and headed for Muscatine, where Gage’s fellow seminary student, Alex, and his wife, Amy, hosted us. On Sunday, we attended Alex’s church and heard him preach.
After exploring the frontiers of faith, we ventured to the final frontier. In “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,” Capt. James T. Kirk reveals that he’s “from Iowa. I just work in space.” Riverside, Iowa, took hold of that idea and ran with it, promoting the town as the “future birthplace of James T. Kirk.”
They even got the blessing of series creator Gene Roddenberry. They have an annual festival that often features visits by actors in the series and/or spinoffs. The streetlights are hung with banners depicting the faces of Trek characters. They have a sweet little museum with memorabilia.
Our next stop was in Eldon, Iowa, home of the “American Gothic” house. You know the one — It’s an iconic painting with a farmer, pitchfork in hand, and his daughter, standing in front of their farmhouse with the church-like window. There’s a museum about the painter, Grant Wood, and the house, and the people that were Wood’s models — his dentist and his sister. We also learned that someone named Sharp helped find the house for Wood. Some genealogical research is needed to find out of he is related.
That ended our sojourn through Iowa. We high-tailed it for Nebraska to rest up and prepare for the next leg — a zig-zag trip in Kansas!