Another model train hobbyist I met at the Dubuque Model Railroad Show was Les Kline. He has been interested in model trains all his life. In fact, a love of trains runs in his family. Mr. Kline's grandfather and great grandfather had 100 years between them working on the Milwaukee Road.
His model layout is N scale and filled with interesting details. A casual passerby may look at a model layout and say, "Oh, cool!" But for the creator, everything has a significance.
The Sherwin Williams store in the first photo is in the layout because Mr. Kline's wife manages one (also note the sunbathers on the roof). Capital Theater is named for the now closed Capitol Theatre in Davenport, IA, which opened in 1920.
Breyer's Ice Cream is in town because, as Mr. Kline put it, "Who doesn't like Breyer's?" Elsewhere in town there's a quilting shop for his wife and a basket-making shop for a friend.
At the house above, a dog is stealing some meat from off the barbeque while a funeral is conducted across the street.
This diner looks like an awesome place to stop for lunch. Not even McDonald's can beat 15 cent burgers!
Leaving town, you may pass a series of Burma-Shave signs (upper right). Burma Shave advertising signs first appeared alongside roads in Minnesota in 1925 with humorous messages. In 1963 the company was sold and the signs were removed. Recently the Our Iowa magazine has brought back Burma-Shave signs to the countryside, so it's entirely possible you could pass some driving through Iowa.
Are you ready for the wild and woolly countryside?
In the train tunnel there is a proportionately huge rabbit. If I were an engineer, I might just be a little scared to enter a tunnel and see a rabbit as tall as my engine! A camera mounted on one of the trains gives a view of what everything looks like from the perspective of the engine on a screen above the layout.
On the other side of the tunnel is an apiary. The pond in the background is from Superior Scenics. If I remember correctly, the workers in the foreground are scientists excavating for dinosaur bones.
Wildlife roam the beautiful mountaintop and (below) eye a stranded hiker.
I have a feeling she wishes she were back in more tame countryside!
Mr. Kline created the waterfall down the mountain that culminates in the river/pond above out of paint and layers of resin. Doesn't this look like a pleasant spot for a picnic or hike?
Many thanks to Mr. Kline for the fascinating tour of his model railroad layout and for slowing the trains down so I could take pictures! Although the town and countryside is already filled with amazing detail, it's not done growing. Mr. Kline plans to add more interesting places and stories to the more sparsely inhabited regions.