Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Iowa I Opener: Where North Avenue ends

Knuckleheads Pub and Grub
I'm gonna hit the highway like a battering ram
On a silver black phantom bike
When the metal is hot and the engine is hungry
And we're all about to see the light

Meat Loaf, "Bat Out of Hell."

Chicago's North Avenue begins on Lake Shore Drive. That road is also Illinois Route 64, and as many friends have told me, usually while they were drunk, that North Avenue/Route 64 continues west out of the city all the way to Iowa.

Main Street, Anamosa, Iowa
In fact, more than once someone would say to me while driving on North Avenue, "Hey, let's just keep driving west until we get to Iowa!" It never happened, but "The Regular Guy," the movie critic for WXRT-FM, claims to have done it--but the only thing of interest he said he encountered was a two-headed calf in a museum display.

Illinois Route 64 turns into Iowa Route 64 and it ends--or does it begin?--in Anamosa. I didn't see any two-headed calves, but the National Motorcyle Museum is there.

Motorcyles are a big deal in the small Iowa town--as is Grant Wood, the painter best known for "American Gothic." He was born in Anamosa in 1892. He ran an artists' colony in nearby Stone City--which will be the topic of my next post. While in the Grant Wood Gallery on Main Street, the volunteer on duty, whose son lives just north of Morton Grove, told me that many Chicago area bikers ride west on Route 64 and turn around at Anamosa. A couple blocks away I noticed Knuckleads Pub and Grub. It's pictured on top,  and based upon its Facebook page, I can tell you it's probably a lot more interesting than a double-headed calf. And Knuckleheads, as you can see by the motorcycles parked in front, is a bikers' choice in town.

On the far left in the bottom photograph is the Grant Wood Gallery.

Next: Grant Wood Country

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