Here we are in Sandwich, Illinois - a small town southwest of Chicago. First off, we have to clarify who the ‘we’ in ‘we are’ is. Dale and Michele of Roth and Ramberg Photography, of course, but we also have a guest with us. An Alberta College of Art and Design photo student named Dana Prediger. She heard about our idea to go to the world’s largest truck stop in Walcott, Iowa. The very next day she sent this email:
Hi Dale and Michele,
I am intrigued by the idea of you doing your calendar at the largest truck stop in Iowa. If you decide to go there I would like to offer my services as an assistant, gopher, behind the scenes person, holder, folder, or as an all manner of whatever is needed to be done person. Once there I might also be used as resource to source out interesting looking characters, trailers, truck stop food, waitresses etc.
I grew up as the daughter of an independent trucker and have spent my fair share of time at the truck stop…ohh yess. I have seen too many Burt Reynolds/Loni Anderson “Smokey and the Bandit” movies and heard an inordinate amount of rubber ducky convoy songs which still from time to time roll through my head. My father likes to tell me the story that I was named after the “Hayes-Dana” Trucking company:) and my portfolio to get into school was based on garage mechanics (Dad fixes his own trucks) where I hung out at Road Kings for a while to get interesting shots of 18 wheelers.
I woke up this morning so pumped on this idea I couldn’t wait to send you this email! Of course, there would be no question that I would pay my own expenses and not expect any amount of payment. Hanging out in this atmosphere with you guys around camera equipment and truckers would just be plain….cool:) with hopes I could help you in the process. Also, it would give me an opportunity to wear my cheesy cowboy shirt with dedicated pen holder.
Anyway, it was a thought. The trucking calendar would be a great idea, and I think your clients would love it—-that’s a big 10-4….
Over and out,
How could we say no? We admired her ‘moxie’ and bought her a ticket to join us. So our adventure begins!
Last night we landed in Chicago and stayed at the luxurious Intercontinental Hotel. We had dinner at a swanky seafood wine bar. We ordered a lovely bottle of wine and enjoyed some delicious salads and seafood. The purpose was to enjoy one evening of great ‘healthy’ food and a wonderful night’s sleep in a luxurious bed! We know we’ll have way more food and hotel adventures along the way, but we thought we would get the high class one out of the way and start the road trip off with a bang.
This morning we headed to the mall, not our favorite place, but we wanted to buy some sim cards for our ipad, etc. If you didn’t read our email blast or last post, then you’ll want to know the whole story. We are on the road from Chicago to Iowa to the world’s largest truck stop located in Walcott, Iowa. We’re shooting the road trip along the way, with you as the navigator. Using Twitter and Facebook, you control which way we go. Wanna see where we’re at? Click on our Instamapper link, which keeps track of our ipad location while we’re on the road.
You tell us where to go via social media and that’s where we go!
Right when we started our trip, we got this tweet, the first of many tweets. We promptly did a u-turn and headed toward the cemetery. We took some photos there and then headed back onto the main road, however we turned the wrong way. But lo and behold, as we were making a u-turn, right in front of us was a little florist/tombstone/greenhouse place on the side of the road. We couldn’t resist stopping!
We dropped in and talked to the owners. In short order were quickly taking their photo. Barb and Butch were great hosts. The temperature was over 100F and their power (thus air conditioning) had been out for awhile and they were on their way home to cool off just as we arrived. They graciously endured a photoshoot and wished us well. If they are any indication of how nice people are here, then this should be a great trip!
We headed west towards Iowa and stopped off the highway to get something to eat and to figure out our next plan. We came up with two places we could head to next. One town called Genoa, the other Sandwich. After an overwhelming decision, you, the people, decided on the yummy town of Sandwich.
We checked ourselves into the Best Western in Sandwich and at the front desk we met two friendly women. One of whom was named Becky. It turns out she is going to the World’s Largest Truckstop Jamboree too. She doesn’t have a truck and isn’t married to a trucker, but she’s going anyway. She also owns one of the many antique stores in Sandwich. Tomorrow we’re going to visit her there. The town of Sandwich is well known for two things: the oldest continuing county fair in the state of Illinois and one of the largest antique fairs in the United States.
Since we’re in Sandwich we knew we had to find the best sandwich in Sandwich… and we found it in a vintage railway car restaurant on main street called the Bull Moose Bar and Grill. Our waitress Jacqueline was super fun and the owners Ron and Sue bought us a round of cherry bombs to make us feel welcome. So far this is the easily one of the friendliest towns we’ve been in.
Our goal tomorrow is to meet a guy named Earl, or get arrested by the Sandwich Police!