Another nice day as I pull out and head North toward LeClaire, IA. LeClaire is just across the river at Davenport. I am going to LeClaire in search of the origin of American Pickers, the TV show that celebrates junk, the search for junk, and the marketing of junk. The backstory of American Pickers begins with Antique Archaeology, the business and home base of the show’s main characters, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz. I watch the show and enjoy it. Recently Mike Wolfe bought a house in the village of Leipers Fork a few miles from our house. Then Sandy and I saw Mike walking down the street in Leipers Fork and it seemed like perhaps he actually intends to be part of the community. That’s all it took to add the Pickers to my itinerary. I have the address from their website plugged into my GPS but when I get there I don’t see the big enterprise shown on TV. After driving back and forth several times I spot a familiar looking old car off the side of a small alley way behind a gas station. I pull in the alley and there is Antique Archaeology – underwhelming is my first thought. It is a gray building, with an old car out front just like on TV…but, not nearly the large enterprise it appears to be on TV. And inside, where I expect a large warehouse with lots of good junk to look through – I find a garage size area with just a sampling of items from the show. There are two young women there – one is sitting on a chair in the doorway selling t-shirts and the other is behind a counter collecting money presumably from sales of other items.
Total Trip Mileage so far: 694 miles
A few miles deeper into Iowa was the so-called National Motorcycle Museum at Anamosa, IA. I say “so-called” because there is not, to my knowledge, such a facility as a motorcycle museum sponsored by the U.S. government or any other entity. But the grandiose name and obscure location does not diminish the quality of the collection. Housed in a former K-Mart or Walmart building, the museum has ample room to spread out. I spent a long while wandering back in time among the wonderful group of machines. I can see myself returning here again some day.