July 9, 2012

Roth and Ramberg take the scenic route


If you have been following our trip, yesterday we were traveling to Monmouth, IL to see Wyatt Earp’s birthplace.

We finally pulled into Monmouth around 11am this morning.

The town had some great historic buildings and awesome looking places to shoot, unfortunately being Sunday, everything was closed, including the museum in Wyatt Earp’s house. A bit let down, we decided to ease our sorrow with some good old fashioned pie. The only place we could find that fit the bill was a little cafe called Maple City.

After a little bit of coconut meringue and a conversation with our waitress, we found out some spectacular information. Firstly, the house used in Grant Wood’s American Gothic painting was located just across the border into Iowa. And secondly, the woman who lives in the house is obsessed with pie. So much that she’s know as ‘America’s Pie Lady’.

Allthough we didn’t get a great photo in Wyatt Earp’s town, we luckily found the location of our next adventure… Eldon, Iowa. We headed out down Highway 34 with a two hour drive ahead of us. One thing we’ve learned about Illinois, is that the internet is a bit sketchy in the rural areas. It’s been a bit frustrating trying to tweet, goggle locations, follow maps, etc. Because of this, about an hour into our drive, Michele asked “Are we going in the right direction?”

We had to be old-school and get out an actual map. Crap! We had been traveling South instead of West. We just added two hours to our drive to Eldon. We took the first available right turn and headed towards the Mississippi River, which is the dividing line between Illinois and Iowa. We officially made it on Iowa soil at 2:14pm. All of us were silently thinking we better get a shot soon. * We think we have Instamapper fixed now. Follow us on our trip here is the


We pulled into Eldon around 3:34pm and saw a pie shop on main street. It looked like it had been abandoned for a long time. Again, our hearts dropped a little.

Now what? We ran into a guy who said we could get pie at the American Gothic Center.

We hopped in our vehicle and followed the signs to the American Gothic House. As we were parking, we noticed a woman flipping the sign over to ‘Closed’. We were 15 minutes too late. We told her we were from Canada and explained about our photo road trip. She saw our matching “What’s yer 20?’ t-shirts, smiled, and suddenly the sign switched to ‘Open’.

We spent two hour taking photos and enjoying the company of Rosie and Allen Morrison. They have been volunteering at the center since it opened 5 years ago. It turns out that ‘America’s Pie Lady’ sells pies right out of the American Gothic house. Unfortunately for us, she wasn’t open today because her oven broke down two days ago.

Since Rosie and Allen were so accommodating, and we had kept then at the Center for two hours longer than they should have been, we took them for dinner at the only restaurant in town, Chommy’s.

As soon as we sat down, Allen told us he had been very resourceful and managed to arrange a shoot for us with Beth, ‘America’s Pie Lady’ for tomorrow morning. We ordered the classic Iowa-renowned sandwich. The famous super-douper-extra-large-breaded-fried Pork Tenderloin.

A one-pound piece of delight. A sandwich so big and delicious, that perhaps our next destination will be finding Iowa’s best Pork Tenderloin Sandwich…

After a few drinks and great conversation, we said goodbye to our new friends and headed a short way up the road to find a hotel in Ottumwa, Iowa. A long and frustrating day couldn’t have ended up any better.