Friday, June 14, 2013

Day 26 - Chicago & Winterset

On the I-80 Iowa interstate expressway - not long after we paid $10.20 in tolls. It's limit is 70MPH however most are travelling at 80MPH ++

Nope - this is not a vehicle travelling too close to the old style RV - it's actually being towed. Along the I-80 Iowa highway

The State Capitol building in Des Moines, Iowa - in grand style!!!

The capitol of Iowa is Des Moines. This view is taken from the State Capitol building looking towards downtown. The cannon in the foreground is a Civil War relic

The tall Soldiers & Sailors monument next to the Des Moines State Capital building.

Statues located in front of the Des Moines State Capitol building in Iowa

There were 19 covered bridges in Madison County, Iowa - only six remain. This is the Hogback Covered Bridge located about 16 klms north of Winterset. This bridge was not used in the movie "The Bridges of Madison County".

Ralph in front of the Cedar Covered Bridge, just a few klms north of Winterset, Iowa. The bridge was used in the cover of the book "The Bridge of Madison County".

The Cutler-Donahue Covered Bridge in Winterset. One of the six remaining bridges in the county of Madison. Not used in movie or the book.

Well well - a surprise welcomed us when we arrived in our B&B in Winterset. The famous movie actress Maureen O'Hara stayed here three weeks ago to take part in John Wayne's 106 birthday (26MAY13). She is 92 years old and we are staying in the room she used. She was looked after by her granddaughter during her three day visit. John Wayne fans would remember they were close friends and she starred in 5 of his movies - can anybody name them?

This is the Maureen O'Hara's bedroom in our Heavenly Habitat B&B in Winterset. Decorated beautifully and the owners are great people. We may not sleep tonight with the knowledge that she has stayed in our room

The kitchen and dining area of the Heavenly Habitat B&B in Winterset, Iowa

This is it, the birthplace of Marion Robert Morrison aka John Wayne and aka The Duke. Born 26 May 1907 in Winterset, Iowa. The cottage is on the corner and very small in size.

The sign says it all.

For those who don't know what John Wayne looked like. The picture was on the outside of the John Wayne museum next to his birthplace home, Winterset, Iowa

Great art work on the vehicle. Located in the John Wayne Museum car park in Winterset, Iowa

An old photo of Winterset when John Wayne was born.

The huge City Hall in Winterset, Iowa. For a town of its size this is a grand building and can be seen from different aspects around the district

The Village Bootery in Winterset. What is its importance? The structure was the drug store run by John Wayne's father Clyde Morrison back in 1907

And now for something different. This sign was discovered on the local Winterset High School wall, across the road from our B&B. It has to be related to the Cold War efforts in which Winterset and its surrounding area could have been a nuclear target???

We departed Chicago at 7:45 am after cleaning off the spoils from the tree that Ralph was parked under. We set Tommette the GPS and surprisingly she took us through the middle of downtown Chicago amongst the rush hour traffic. However, it wasn't that bad, once we drove through the heart of Chicago we were on the expressway and bang we were travelling west out of "Dodge". The drive across Illinois and into Iowa was long but comfortable enough. American's love to drive well over the speed limit and we only saw one sheriff vehicle that had pulled over a driver. We stopped at Iowa City at their Walmart to buy lunch and hence outside the city was a rest stop. All toilets and comfortable picnic settings are evident in these great places. Onwards we made Des Moines (pronounced De Moyne) and toured the State Capitol building. Very impressive and overlooks the seemingly tall building skyline of Des Moines. Continuing on we turned south at Earlham and drive along back roads to find some of the covered bridges of Madison County. There are six out of the original 19 remaining and we visited three - Hogback, Cedar and Cutler-Donahue. None of these bridges were used in the movie "The Bridges of Madison County" we will see the other three tomorrow which were used,  they are: Roseman, Holliwell and the Imes Bridges. When we arrived at our B&B at 4;30pm we were greeted by the owners who showed us our room. The B&B is an old church renovated in a very nice style and has two guest rooms. Our guest room has been recently titled the Maureen O'Hara Room. The 92 year old actress had stayed in our room three weeks ago when she was invited to participated in John Wayne's 106 birthday bash. She was accompanied by her granddaughter and apparently is currently having a legal battle with her ex-carer who has been accused of abusing her in the past. Ms O'Hara was living in Ireland during those years and since she dismissed her carer is living in Boise, Idaho with her family. She was a fine actress, starred in five of John Wayne movies and well respected within the Thespian fraternity. We are happy to enjoy the Heavenly Habitat's offer of the room she had been in. Now Winterset is a small town, all sites are easily within walking distance so we walked to John Wayne's birthplace (the museum and building was closed) and ventured along the main square. Interestingly, the square reminds us of scenes  of the town used in Back to the Future. Tonight we sleep in a very quiet town as compared to noisy Sheffield Street in Chicago where activities right up to 4 am were happening outside our B&B. Tomorrow we will drive to the other covered bridges and go through John Wayne's museum. It will be a three hour drive to Kansas City. We will spend two nights in that city. Cheers. 

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