Iowa Iowa Iowa Iowa Iowa

This webcam makes me furiously happy.

Now, if you're a normal person and you follow that link, you're probably thinking something like, um, what?  It's a road with water behind it and occasionally random vehicles.  I'm not sure why anyone would think that's worth pointing a 24/7 camera at, much less why you should get excited about it.

And you're probably right.  But this bridge and I have a history, so it's a little like running into an old friend you haven't seen in years.

See, when I was in high school, I was a big fan of The Little Hawk, the student newspaper of City High School in Iowa City, Iowa.  The Mazama High School Lance, of which I was co-editor, participated in a newspaper exchange with a few dozen other high schools around the country, and The Little Hawk was the best of the lot.  I always read the new issue of The Little Hawk when it came out, admiring their graphic design and shamelessly ripping off their coverage ideas.  One of the things that stuck in my memory from The Little Hawk was a euphonic line from a student column (sadly, I have forgotten the name of the columnist) regarding what was possibly the most redundant place on earth: "the Iowa Avenue bridge over the Iowa River on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City, Iowa."

So when I went to college in suburban Chicago, my parents, in an act of love and lunacy, DROVE me two-thirds of the way across the country to install me in my dorm and attend orientation.  (Two years later, when my brother began at the same school, they also came out for his orientation, but had learned their lesson: that time, we all flew.)  When I realized that our intended route took us straight through Iowa City, I insisted we get off the freeway and try to find the Iowa Avenue bridge.  And we did.  Somewhere in our family archives, we have a picture of me standing on the Iowa Avenue bridge over the Iowa River on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City, Iowa.

(About seven years later, when I realized that the intended route for another family road trip was taking us within 20 miles of Carthage, Missouri, I insisted we get off the freeway and go find the Precious Moments Chapel.  And we did.  My family members are either as crazy as I am, or to be commended for humoring my odd ideas of what make worthwhile pit stops.  Either way, these are the things of which memories are made, people.  Good times.)

So then, just the other night, I was watching The Colbert Report (another thing that makes me furiously happy) and heard Stephen declare that he was covering the Iowa caucus with "the most complete coverage I could get from free webcams."  He then showed some prime examples of Iowa webcams, including "a highway cam of I think that is the Iowa Avenue bridge over the Iowa River; they're a creative people."  But I knew immediately that Stephen didn't have the half of it when it comes to how creative Iowans can be.  That's not just the Iowa Avenue bridge over the Iowa River; that's the Iowa Avenue bridge over the Iowa River on the University of Iowa Campus in Iowa City, Iowa! 


Amanda L. Caldwell said...

Just realized you've been blogging away the past couple months and I've been oblivious. Clearly I need to reacquaint myself with my Google Reader.

I saw that bit on Colbert and am so happy you alerted me to the full beauty of that bridge. This reminded me of a couple things:

(1) On our move out west, driving like settlers over the mountains, only in Ford Escort, I made Steve stop in Independence, Missouri, for the full effect of feeling like we were on the Oregon Trail. This despite the fact that all the tourist attractions were closed for the winter. I also pointed out any Oregon Trail signs we saw along the way and took pictures of them out the moving car window. So I am wholeheartedly with you on choosing arcane tourist stops.

(2) Remember when Lee first heard about Precious Moments and said, "Precious Moments? That sounds like a line of feminine products!" That's one of the most Lee-ish moments I remember, although I think it's funniest to people who know how straight-faced he would be about such things.

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