Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Iowa Again Or Heather Learns A New Word

Iowa again:

Look familiar?

It was the last day of our trip. We were expecting to just take US-61 straight home, but there was a detour. The detour took us into Fort Madison, Iowa. We were surprised.

A locamotive!
A reconstructed fort.

A very busy bridge carrying . . .

. . . trains and . . .

. . . more trains.

There were wonderful old buildings.

And, there was a museum.

I grew up using Shaeffer fountain pens. I admit I didn't know they started in Fort Madison. Click here to learn about the Museum.

We asked one of the volunteers about a good place to eat and she suggested Ivy's. It was next door. When we went into Ivy's they were getting ready to close, but they stayed open to make us a sandwich. It was just a very nice experience. The whole experience of Fort Madison was pure serendipity, which was a new word to Heather.

I suspect we will find our way back to Fort Madison.


  1. Serendipity is one of my favourite English words. It describes a situation and state of mind that we don't have a German word for.

    I used to love calligraphy, but does anybody actually writes with fountain pens any more?

  2. Great stuff mate......might come to America nxt year, would you like a visit?

  3. A most enjoyable read....with nice pics!

    regards len ( scootering adventures ) england

  4. I've always liked the word serendipity. Of course I usually just say happy accidents. It is so nice when a detour takes you to a lovely place you wouldn't have normally seen. And how lucky you got to see all those trains.

  5. Tsk tsk, Keith! You haven't given Heather any serendipitous moments?? :)

  6. I kind of find it interesting that there is no German word for serendipity. My favorite way to take road trips though it tend to drive some people crazy. No plans, no pre-planned routes just a general destination and asking the locals for suggestions. Some people like to plan..

  7. That is a great word. Bikes and the occasional new word. - Heather is learning much from you. I have never been that interested in trains, but every now and again, I can't fail to be impressed bu their power.

  8. Sonja: Like Richard I find it interesting that German doesn't have a word for serendipity. I, too, have been interested in calligraphy from time to time. Back in the day a common graduation gift from what we call high school was a set of pens--one a ball point and one a fountain pen. It surprises me how long ago that was.

    Thanks for the comment.

  9. Roger: I'm glad you like the post and of course I'd love to meet you!

  10. len: Thanks for leaving a note and I'm glad you enjoyed the photos.

  11. Trobairitz: It was amazing how many trains went by while we were there. It was one after another, after another. Heather and I are experimenting with being more open to these kinds of surprises while we travel. It's easier for me, especially when I'm on the bike. We had so many "happy accidents" on this trip that Heather is becoming won over.

  12. Lori/BeemerGirl: She didn't know the word, but she recognized the concept. I'd have to say I've threw her one or two curves in our time together :)

  13. Richard: I think that is my preferred mode of operations when it comes to traveling. I like an outline and a general direction, but like to be open to what may come. Of course, that leaves the question am I very flexible or indecisive?

  14. Gary: I'm not a big train person either. What was impressive was how many of them there were. It was a constant stream going both ways. The bridge was interesting and when I get back that way I'm going to get a better look and drive or ride across it.

    Thanks for stopping by. It was a great delight to find a comment from you.

  15. Isn't it fun to get detoured off the beaten path and discovery these little gems! Serendipity. Yep, great word for the day.

  16. Keith,

    Not to long ago it wouldn't have taken a detour put you in downtown Fort Madison, until recently US 61 ran right through the middle of town. My mother lived in the Fort for quite a few years and I always enjoyed visiting her there. There is an abundance of great mom and pop eateries in The Fort and surrounding towns.

    The Shaeffer was still going when I first started to visit the Fort and I purchased several pens from it to take to Japan. I believe it has been closed for sometime now.

    As for the Trains you saw they were most likely traveling on the former AT&SF transcontinental route from Chicago to L.A. for vise versa. The Super Chief once made daily stops in Fort Madison, today you can catch Amtrak's Southwest Chief. This time of year it's possible for there to be 100 trains a day to pass through.

    I'm glad you happened upon the Fort.


  17. I'm glad to hear that you are treating Heather right. ;)

  18. good to see more fun stuff happened on the way back, and that you are converting heather to the just see what happens traveling mode we both so enjoy

  19. Keith

    Great pictures! I love the old building, there is nothing like beautiful old architecture. It looks like you had a wonderful day. Hope you find yourselves on more serendipitous trips.