Mar 10

IA 175 interchange reconstruction meeting set

The Iowa DOT will have a public meeting March 14 about converting the IA 175 interchange at Ellsworth from a folded diamond to a regular diamond. The original plan was designed for a railroad that’s not there anymore. Construction is scheduled for 2019. The plans show that Love’s Travel Stops owns the northwest quadrant now so there’s going to be a gas station/truck stop there in the future.

There are maps online at the link above, but they are HUGE. Do not view them in your browser or it will lock up. Download them instead.

UPDATE: A reader told me the Love’s opened in December, along with a Hardee’s. That’s the first Hardee’s in Iowa along I-35, the first fast-food place on I-35 south of Clear Lake, and the second fast-food (burger) place in Hamilton County (after the McDonald’s in Webster City).

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Mar 09

Gladbrook-Reinbeck in the public 1A semifinal

The Gladbrook-Reinbeck boys’ basketball team has a chance to add another 2016-17 state championship tombstone trophy to its case this week. GR plays undefeated North Linn in the first 1A semifinal, which tips off half an hour after this blog post goes live (and if you’re not there, good luck trying to watch it).

GR won the 1A football championship by beating a private school (Algona Garrigan), and to win the basketball title either GR or North Linn will have to do the same thing. The other semifinal is Grand View Christian against Remsen St. Mary’s.

The 2A boys will have a private school in the state final for the 13th time in 14 years. Three of the four semifinalists are private, including Western Christian, which could have a triple quadruple championship year after taking home slabs for football, volleyball, and girls’ basketball.

UPDATE/EDIT: Western Christian has swept the four major sports so far this year. The overall total is Western Christian 4, other private schools 5 (including GVC over GR), all public schools 10.

Posted in Sports, Tama County | Comments Off
Mar 08

Driving a DeLorean made to match ‘Back to the Future’

I saw the (an) actual DeLorean used in the “Back to the Future” trilogy at Universal Studios in Orlando. But this… This is heavy.


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Mar 07

History of Linn County’s Seedling Mile

The Cedar Rapids Gazette’s Sunday “Time Machine” last week went into detail on the construction of the Seedling Mile for the Lincoln Highway northwest of Mount Vernon. The history shows the mile was supposed to be finished in 1918 but delays pushed it to the summer of 1919, at a total cost around $35,000.

The Lincoln Highway Association compiled a history of the Seedling Mile in 2004 (PDF), right about the time the road was rebuilt and widened.

A year after the mile was finished, the Lincoln Highway became the first IA 6, and then US 30. Since the mile was away from the Marion cutoff, it remained part of 30 until the highway was moved away from Mount Vernon Road in 1953, as Jason Hancock covers in his “Highways of Cedar Rapids” history page.

Posted in Iowa Miscellaneous | Comments Off
Mar 06

North end(s) of IA 60 finally added

July 21, 2012: New entrance of IA 60 from the Minnesota line.

The exit/entrance of IA 60 at the Minnesota line after the highway was upgraded to four lanes somehow fell through the cracks and it’s only now that I got the sense to edit photos and add them. I also have updated pictures of Hawkeye Point, the highest point in Iowa.

The page is so late in being updated, in fact, that I can also add photos of MN 60 crossing the Mississippi River from 2015. The bridge at Wabasha was my second-to-last I needed to cross between St. Paul and Memphis. (I got the last in October.)

Posted in Iowa Miscellaneous | Comments Off
Mar 04

Area man featured for longtime pursuit of weird accomplishment

As you may have seen online, the Des Moines Register’s Kyle Munson interviewed me about my travels and wrote a column about it. He even called back to the 2001 essay I wrote as a member of the Register’s Young Adult Board of Contributors.

It’s in today’s (Saturday’s) print edition. It includes my county map created at, but of course, that map will change in the future. I offered a batch of Iowa photos, but the map better shows off what I’ve done nationally.

Posted in Highway Miscellaneous, Iowa Miscellaneous, Tama County | Comments Off
Mar 03

Photos from the edges of Iowa

For those of you here for the first time… Hi.

October 1, 2015: Murray Hill Scenic Overlook, northeast of Little Sioux, in the Loess Hills. No highways, just a scenic picture.

In early fall 2015 I took an eight-day trip around Iowa, and I mean around — I did a circumnavigation of the state. However, it’s only now that I have worked on photos from that trip for the website.

Here’s a condensed map that shows all the locations that got at least one photo. (I’ve remarked that projections of Iowa often tip upward on the west side; this really shows it.)

In list form, the rundown on the Mississippi River: Business US 61 (Keokuk), US 218, US 161, IA 404, Business US 61 (Fort Madison), IA 99, IA 305 (from June), IA 92, US 67, IA 136, IA 64, IA 62, IA 32, IA 386, IA 340, Business US 18, IA 76, IA 364, IA 26 (both ends). In the middle is US 218 at the Iowa/Minnesota line. Then, starting in Dickinson County and working west/south: IA 86, IA 219, IA 238, IA 237, IA 339, IA 9 West/NW corner of Iowa, IA 10, IA 12, IA 403, IA 3, US 77 (Military Road), IA 141, IA 324, IA 37, IA 300, IA 362, IA 165, US 275/IA 92, IA 978, IA 385, IA 239, IA 333, US 275, and US 71.

Phew. Some of those pages haven’t had photos added to them for three or four leap years.

If you get to those pages and see any broken image links, let me know.

Posted in Iowa Miscellaneous | Comments Off
Mar 02

Rider Corner meeting March 9

The addition of a flyover ramp from northbound I-35/80 to IA 141 and two ramps to/from Meredith Drive are the subjects of a DOT meeting March 9 in Urbandale. Three maps and two HD animated renderings are at the PIM site. (The animations are very large.)

The most interesting part of the animations may be the signs at the beginnings and ends. There’s a giant BGS at the two-lane exit to the flyover, with through traffic for I-35/80 marked with upward-pointing arrows (a very stupid MUTCD change) and Minneapolis/Chicago listed instead of Minneapolis/Davenport. West/southbound, it starts at the future 100th Street exit and goes nearly all the way to Douglas Avenue, where there’s a sign that says “80 West / Omaha” at the very end, not including Council Bluffs.

Posted in Construction | Comments Off
Mar 01

Crescent school KEPT OPEN

In a reversal of how these things usually go, the Council Bluffs school board voted to keep Crescent Elementary School open Tuesday night. It’s a Mardi Gras miracle!

Parents had very vocally fought to keep the building open (stories: Nonpareil, World-Herald) and the district listened, at least for now.

Posted in Schools | Comments Off
Feb 28

KCCI, KETV about to be kicked off satellite – again

For the second time this calendar year, the parent company of KCCI and KETV is in a retransmission dispute with a pay-TV provider. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day, KCCI and other Hearst stations were pulled from DirecTV and not restored for about a week.

Now, the dispute is with Dish, and KCCI could be pulled off that satellite provider tonight.

Iowa had gone for a little while without any stations actually being dropped, but this pair of problems returns us back to the “new normal” tug-of-war, I guess. (And the customer always loses.)

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