Monday, January 24, 2011

Random Photo of the Week: Balltown, Iowa

Several years ago I found my favorite urinal-wall art of all time: a little pen-drawn map of Iowa, its full squat shape for all to see, with the simple block lettering: 'IOWA.' Next to it someone had scrawled, with an arrow, 'Idiots Out Walking Around.' Wish I had taken a photo.

I did take a photo outside Dubuque, Iowa, of a portrait of Iowa's overlooked Mississippi River valley landscape at Balltown, a high up village with a legendary chicken shack. Apparently this painting was made, in exchange for a meal or two, by 'traveling gypsies' half a century ago -- then lost under wallpaper. It was rediscovered shortly before my visit in 2001, while updating Lonely Planet's USA guide.

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