I have a hard time writing blogs while I’m on the road, because my days are packed from dawn to dusk. Yesterday, for example, I ran around Dubuque for about 10 hours checking out another church, 5 more B&Bs, some shops, and a library. By the time I finished dinner, it was 8:30 and my energy level was near zero. When I got back in my room, I shot what was left of my attention span on updating notes, copying the day’s pics to my laptop, and staring blankly at the TV. Tonight, though, I feel a little extra burst of energy (maybe from the Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA), so here are a few random notes from this trip.

I’ve had very good luck getting into churches on this trip (11 and counting; stop me; I’m out of control!);  it’s really been quite miraculous. Every single church I’ve stopped at, I got to tour, even though most were locked. I’ve been especially blown away by the churches I’ve toured in Dubuque, a town that had a lot of money a few decades ago and spent much of it on buildings. Since Monday, I’ve toured: St. Raphael Cathedral (large, imposing, light), St. Mary’s Catholic Church (ornate and virtually unchanged in 140 years), St. Luke’s Methodist Church (100 stunning Tiffany windows), and St. John’s Episcopal (five Tiffany windows, Gothic interior). I’ll do a more complete posting on these churches later.

[It happened again today in Galena: I stopped at another church just as two members of the congregation were leaving; they stuck around long enough to let me in and to shoot a few pics of the interior.]

The B&B visits are going very well, now that I’ve settled on telling everyone up front that I’m not selling anything. Yesterday, though, events took an odd turn. One B&B owner is married to a law enforcement professional who is entirely too suspicious. After we set up the visit, and I gave her my name and contact information, she called me back at her husband’s suggestion to get my driver’s license number and date of birth. I gave her the info, reluctantly, but, this doesn’t give me warm fuzzies. When you’re in the hospitality business, treating guests like potential criminals in an effort to thwart the remote possibility of getting victimized isn’t exactly hospitable.

Today’s Bad Decision: Not getting the details of Justin Townes Earle’s show in Rock Island. I assumed he wouldn’t be playing before 10, so I didn’t go to the bar until 9. I walked in just as he was playing his last song. While his show wasn’t the only reason I stopped in the Quad Cities for this trip, it was a major draw. It wasn’t entirely my fault, though. I found out later that he lost his voice and had to cut his set short. At least I got a copy of his new CD.

© Dean Klinkenberg, 2009