Road Trip Weekend: Le Claire Iowa - Antique Archaelogy

I love junk. I want to repurpose or reuse old junk and incorporate it into my world. I see beauty in old stuff that other people consider junk. A little wear and tear? That's ok. Dents, scratches, fading - that's alright too. Rusty junk? That's even better.

This summer I started my Junk Junque Garden...Garden of Junkin'...Just a little place where I could enjoy my junk and relax. No boys and no dogs allowed. Doesn't help that our new puppy Rocket can squeeze through the gate, and that Ike lets himself in and out like he owns the place. Oh well. A gal can dream. Anyway, it's a work in progress. I'll eventually have all grass removed and it'll be just mulch and a butterfly garden and ornamental plants/grasses...oh and more junk of course. Below are some photos. Click to enlarge...

This past weekend my hubby surprised me with a short weekend excursion. He took me to lovely downtown Le Claire, Iowa. You're probably asking "Le Claire, Iowa? - of all places why Iowa?!"  Well - If are a junker, or picker or a lover of old rusty things - chances are you too may be a fan of the show American Pickers on the History Channel. If not, you may not know that Le Claire, IA is home to Antique Archaeology  - home base for Mike Wolfe's antique business and the show. You can read all about Mike's story here.

Le Claire, Iowa is a sleepy little Mississippi river town - the birthplace of Buffalo Bill. There are a few antique and artsy shops, a couple of riverboat cruises and the Buffalo Bill Museum along the main drag. Antique Archaelogy is on Davenport St. - which sits back on a side alley off that main street, Cody Road. We arrived about 11:00am on Saturday and found the crowd of fans growing. The shop itself is much smaller than it looks from TV. (Hey everything looks bigger on TV, right?)

Anyway, there seemed to be a few things for sale outside, as well as inside. But more than anything it appears that the store has sort of become staged mostly, for the parade of fans that come through. The main part of the store is basically show-merchandise-central, where they sell T-shirts, caps, gloves, posters, and a lot of other logo items. I figured we probably wouldn't see Mike or Frank,  but hoped to perhaps see Danielle the store manager. No such luck. There were two other young gals working and very busy selling T-shirts, answering questions about the store and the show. I overheard one of them tell a fan that The Guys are on the road 90% of the year and rarely are in the shop.

Someone asked the dark-haired, tattooed gal if she was "the girl on the show" and she said no she wasn't (Sorry, but it was pretty obvious to me...perhaps it would to him if he really watched the show!). She did not elaborate on Danielle's whereabouts however. Another fan asked them if they would sign The Guys' names to a poster. One gal responded - "I don't sign their names well. She does though" and gestured to her co-worker. I was shocked and kind of disappointed that A) A fan would ask someone to forge a signature and B) That they'd actually consider doing it. Geez. Maybe this is the pitfall of putting their business on reality TV (one of the many).

Hubby bought a shirt. Disappointedly, I didn't buy anything. I had hopes of going and finding some rusty little trinket that they'd brought back from a pick or had in the shop but after being there about 20  minutes the store was literally like a can of sardines. There were so many people in the store and in the parking lot you couldn't move. They were all very pushy and some very rude. I don't know if the store gets this busy during the week - or only on Saturdays...I don't know how those gals can stand it. It's crazy. I don't see how they could sell anything other than Tshirts, posters and keychains.

I enjoyed exploring the shops along Cody Road in Le Claire that day. I was a little disappointed that I didn't wind up bringing home any rusty junk for my garden or office. However, I did score a few cool rings in an artsy store I found and my first Momiji doll - Poppet.  I've been admiring Momiji from afar for awhile...now I'm starting a new collection. We had a good time and got away from home. So it wasn't a total loss.

Maybe I'll get lucky and be able to check out Mike's Nashville TN location sometime in the near future.

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