Thursday, September 6, 2012

Iowa: "Maybe this is Heaven"

We are on the road again..............leaving Galena around 11:00 and heading west on Rt. 20 with those fast-moving trucks again.   We filled the gas tank while we were in Galena for $ 3.94 a gallon.  We thought that was a good price after paying over $4 for it yesterday.  The kicker was when we'd crossed over into Iowa and found it selling for $3.69 !  We later bought it for $3.59.  I hope the trend continues as we move west.

Dyersville, Iowa is the home of Field of Dreams.  We've been there before, and decided not to go there again today.  Instead, we chose to visit St. Francis Xavier Basilica in downtown Dyersville. 


There are 52 Basilicas in the United States.  Randy and I have visited one in Santa Fe and one in Lackawanna, New York, both large cities.  51 of them are in metropolitan areas.  The one is Dyersville is the only one in an agricultural area. 

It appeared over the tops of businesses and auto garages in the little town as we drove in.  Not enormous when compared to the one in New York, but a definite presence. It was built in 1888, seats 1200 people, and has 64 stained glass windows.

I always take a photo of the front door of buildings of reknown, and did so today.  Once we had opened that door and walked in,  we could not even speak for the beauty of this magnificent church.  I will have to let my photos tell about that.  We are not Catholic, but we appreciate beauty. 
You can read about this Basilica further at 

Walking behind the Basilica, we discovered the most lovely purple bush in full bloom.  I have never seen a bush like this one, so took a closer look and discovered that it had purple bean-like things growing amongst the flowers.  If anyone can tell me what this is, I'd appreciate it.  I confess that right there under the towers and next to this gorgeous religious structure,  I broke off one of those purple beans and stole it for its seeds.  So far lightning has not struck me.  So far.
 Another twenty miles, perhaps, and we arrived in Manchester, Iowa, birthplace of my father.  I've been there several times over the years. In the center of town is the Delaware County Courthouse.  My great grandfather delivered a speech at the dedication ceremony for that courthouse in 1895. My paternal grandparents, who had passed on long before I was born, are buried in Oakland Cemetery, along with my paternal great-grandparents. Some great aunts and their families are also in there, and some distant cousins, as well. We visited them all this afternoon.

While paying respects here, I was on the phone with my sister in Texas, trying to get the address of the house my father grew up in. I only knew it was close to the courthouse, and my last trip here I could not recognize it.  Finally, my sister found the death notice for my grandfather, and it mentioned his home address.  I'd seen the house long ago, and knew how the front windows were shaped, but would not have recognized it without that address. Time and some redecorating over the years since my father left it in 1920 have altered it dramatically, but I was still glad to see it.

We continued our western drive into Waterloo, Iowa.  We did some "hotel shopping," and are in a brand new motel with the best deal.   Randy has had a swim, we've had a pizza delivered to our room, and as soon as the convention wraps up the last speech, we will be asleep.  We have a mental map of where we will be going tomorrow, don't know how far we will drive or where we will stay, but we know we will have a good time.