Thursday, August 13, 2009

Riverside, Iowa: future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk

We're going to Iowa!

It had rained the night before.

At the Great Sauk Trail rest area -- so this is still an Illinois bug.

I-80, westbound.

Will it look the same in the 23rd century?

Summer farm fields.

Not too far across the river (there's only one) is this sign.

Westbound toward Iowa City, take the exit going south on Route 218. Drive a while. After driving a while, we weren't sure whether we had missed the turnoff for Riverside, and so we pulled into a general store in Hills, Iowa, to ask directions. There is a purple marten house in the parking lot. These are them.

Ah hah. (Riverside is another five miles south of Hills.)

Park here. Say, you could rent space in the very same building.

Once you park, the Enterprise -- excuse me, the Riverside -- is just to your left. It's on a trailer because they have parades, and it's in them.

The entrance is next to the American flag. At the far left, notice the shuttlecraft.

You have entered the portal. There are maps of the U.S. and the world, filled with pins marking where the Trekkers come from. We added ours to the thickly filled Chicago to Riverside corridor.

Why yes, that's a tricorder and a communicator, behind glass. Don't laugh -- doesn't it look like your cell phone?

Sixties space fashions. In only one episode, "Where no man has gone before," did the women wear slacks and shirts, and plain hairstyles. Remember Sally Kellerman? She was the main girl.

Oh yes. You've arrived. What are all those messages written on the sign?

Here's one of them. The rest of us can't add any -- the sign is behind a velvet rope and under glass.

And you can't sit in Mr. Shatner's chair, either. It's behind a velvet rope, too.

Look closely and you'll see that Himself has been here, once.

When you re-emerge, you see the shuttlecraft, just near a rather pretty neighboring garden.

You've got to get one last picture, to give you an idea of the scale of the thing.

There is more to see in Riverside -- the sign outside town, announcing this is "Where the trek begins," another marker, in a bucolic park area, that looks unsettlingly grave-like -- but when you are on your way to a family reunion, sometimes you hurry on. Besides, you can revisit next year. Trekfest always takes place on the last Saturday in June. My local cousins say Route 218 southbound is backed up for a mile then.

Besides, you've got your souvenirs.

Your new mouse pad.

Your "Kirk dirt" -- actual soil from Riverside. The nice elderly lady who sold me this for $3.00 was a one-day volunteer, replacing a regular volunteer who was ill. She kind of made a disbelieving noise as she took the package out of the display case, but I didn't care. No, je ne regrette rien.

And you've got your memories.
July 31, 2009

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