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Destination Iowa: Pella

Courtesy of The Record

See all the photos shot for this feature by clicking here.

More than Just a Tulip Festival,
Pella Offers Year Round Sites to See

There’s a little touch of the Netherlands in Marion County.

Located on State Highway 163, Pella is about 43 miles south-southeast of Des Moines. This picturesque community was founded in 1847 by Dominie (Dutch for Reverend) Scholte and the group of 800 immigrants who came to America in search of religious freedom.

Pella honors its Dutch heritage the first full weekend of every May with its annual Tulip Festival. Parades, flower shows, antique car displays, and more Dutch food than you can sample in a day are perennial parts of this three-day event.

This year Pella celebrated its 75th Tulip Festival by setting a world record. 2,604 dancers put on their Klompen (wooden shoes) and danced. Completely surrounding Pella’s Central Park in the downtown area, those involved filled the streets three lines deep and spilled out past the park on both Main and Franklin streets. The Guiness Book of World Records was on hand to authenticate the record setting 5-minute dance.

However, you are not limited to the first weekend in May for experiencing a touch of Dutch hospitality. The Dutch storefronts are visible year-round and decorated for the holidays in the winter. Many of the museums are open ten months out of the year. Pella is also home to North America’s largest working grain windmill.

The Scholte House Museum was the home of Dominie Scholte and his family. It is open for self-guided tours Monday–Saturday, 1-4 p.m., March through December. You can find this museum at 728 Washington Street just north of the square.

Just past downtown on Franklin Street is the Vermeer Windmill, Pella Welcome Center and Historical Dutch Village. This block-sized complex is the home to a whole series of interconnected museums. The Vermeer Mill is an actual working grain mill built in Holland and shipped to America piece-by-piece. Wyatt Earp’s boyhood home is also part of the complex. Many other daily aspects of a typical Dutch village, including a Klompen (wooden shoe) maker are on display as well. The village is open to the public 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, March to December, weather permitting.
A replica canal and working Klokkenspiel have been built over the alleyways of the south side of Franklin Street. Pella’s historic Opera House has been restored to its former grandeur. The canal, Klokkenspiel, and Opera House are operational year-round.

The Pella Window Corporation has its worldwide headquarters in Pella. The Pella Corp. has restored the old Pella railroad depot and has turned it into a museum for the company. Pella is also the home of Vermeer Manufacturing and Central College.

Make plans now to schedule May 5, 6, and 7 of 2011 for the 76th annual Tulip Festival. But you’ll want to make note of these events as well.

• Kermis July 10, 10 a.m.-noon. Kermis is the traditional Dutch summer celebration of food and games. Kermis would be the Dutch equivalent of Conrad’s own Black Dirt Days.

• The Fall Festival September and Fall Flower & Quilt Show Sept. 24-25.

• The Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) Festival is Nov. 27. There will be a parade at 10 a.m. A party at Monarchs and the Opera House will follow with admission and reservation.

•The Village Christmas Walk runs from Nov. 13-Dec. 31. The Dutch Historical village is decorated for Christmas in traditional Dutch fashion.

May 26, 2010 Posted by | Destination Iowa, Life near an Iowa Cornfield | , , , , | 2 Comments

Car Wars: Arena Info, The Dome

The Dome (PR .5)

The Dome was called the Uni Dome during the heyday of college sports. When college sports were abandoned in the early 21st century due to the danger of transporting teams and the sagging TV ratings because of the non-violent nature of collegiate sports; the Uni Dome sat unused for years. When the college began fortifying itself following the grain blight, the dome was used as an ammunition dump due to its defensible nature.

After the legalization of Autodueling in Iowa following the coup which removed the Amanites from power, The Board of Regents voted to turn the Uni Dome into a dueling arena.

Arena Schedule
Sunday……. Team Arena Ball (see below)
Monday…… Amateur Night
Tuesday…… Divisionals
Wednesday.. Tag Night (see below)
Thursday….. RC Night (see below)
Friday……… Collegiate non-lethal night
Saturday…… Justice Night (motorcycles only see below)

Arena Notes:
The enclosure of the field is 15’ high and has 75dp (being reinforced permacrete) The stands look down on the field and can only be targeted by a universal turret. Firing into the stands is cause for disqualification from your event and will subject the duelist to a vengeful mob after (s)he exits the arena

Arena Ball: AB is played using the old football field. Similar to soccer and polo, only using vehicles instead of horses, each team tries to get the ball across the opponent’s goal line. No dropped weapons are allowed and no weapons fire is allowed in the first quarter.

Four vehicles per team attempt to move the ball by colliding with it. One vehicle is the goalie and is not allowed to maneuver beyond the half-way point of the field. One point is scored every time the ball crosses the goal line.

The Ball: is a resilient rubber sphere weighing 300lbs and is 7.5’ (1/2” in CWC scale). Firing line of sight cannot be traced through the ball.

Because of its resiliency, collisions with the ball do not affect a vehicle’s speed or direction. The ball does no damage to a colliding vehicle, and it is also invulnerable to collision damage. However, it can be damaged by weapons fire; the ball has 6 DP and is targeted normally, but weapons fire will not cause it to move or change direction. Assume it’s been coated with a fireproof paint, so it will not burn. Also, destruction of the ball is grounds for disqualification; a new ball is introduced into play after the disqualified duellist leaves the arena. Teams cannot replace a disqualified duelist.

Moving the Ball
Duellists move the ball by colliding with it in their vehicles. The collision procedure works differently from the usual method, though, because a ball can travel in any direction and change directions much more easily than a vehicle. Here’s how to figure the ball’s new direction after it collides with a vehicle:

The ball’s direction and velocity depend not only on its previous movement, but also on the speed and direction of the car that hits it. The key idea in accounting for all this is to use the squares of the map-grid. Do it in three steps:
(1) The vehicle that hits the ball is called the “colliding vehicle.” Trace a line straight out from the front of the colliding vehicle’s counter in the direction it was moving before it hit the ball. Extend the line one square (1/4″) for each 10 mph of the colliding vehicle’s speed (round up). Remember where the line ends.
(2) From where the line ends in step 1, trace a straight line parallel to the path of the ball before it was hit, going in the same direction as the ball was. Extend the line one square for each 10 mph the ball was moving before being hit, just as in step 1. Remember where this second line ends – it’s called the “end-point.”
(3) Now trace a straight line from the point of collision between ball and car to the end-point in step 2. This is the ball’s new direction. Also, the length of this new line of direction tells how fast the ball is going: For each square (1/4″) of length, the ball moves 10 mph. If the line is three squares long, the ball’s new speed is 30 mph; five squares, 50 mph, and so on. Round fractions to the nearest 10 mph.
For example, look at the diagram. The colliding vehicle is moving 90 mph north, and the ball is moving 20 mph southwest. From the collision point “A,” count north 9 squares (one square per 10 mph for 90 mph). Now count southwest 2 squares (for the ball’s 20 mph speed and southwest direction). The end-point is labelled “B.” Trace a line from “A” to “B.” The line’s direction is the ball’s new direction, and the line’s length of 7 squares tells you the ball’s speed – 70 mph. To keep track of the ball’s direction, draw an arrow on the counter representing the ball, and keep it pointed the right way.
The ball slows down as it rolls. It decelerates 2.5 mph at the beginning of each turn.

(The above ball movement rules and diagram are from ADQ 4.3 Fall 2036, Bicentennial by Allen Varney)

Teams are limited $100,000 for their five vehicles. Body styles mid-size and smaller. Games are only permitted between vehicles of like size.

Wrecks are left on the field until the game is done. The referee determines the length of the game (ie first goal wins, 4 quarters of pre-determined time, etc)

Tag Night: TN is played on the Track and Field floor. 2 contestants at a time compete in an elimination bracket. You lose if you are tagged twice or are destroyed. You are considered tagged when you are hit by the opposing vehicle.

One competitor enters from each gate (see arena). Each competitor tries to either ram his opponent twice or destroy his opponent. The middle of the TF floor is littered with mines and spikes to discourage players from cutting across the middle.

Radio Control Night: The University’s R&D department is trying to perfect remotely controlled vehicles to use as escorts to their transportation department. Four identical cars are deployed on the field. The duelists are in mock-ups of the cockpit away from the arena floor. Combat is as normal but all maneuvers and targeting at -3.

Collegiate Non-lethal Night: The University misses the big bucks that were generated through ticket sales from the football program. Network TV won’t pay for airing non-lethal football, basketball, baseball or any of the other staples of 20th century college sports. Colleges, unwilling to pay for Gold Cross coverage of their students, developed systems for non-lethal dueling. UNI has a college dueling team and is a member of the Big Midwest conference, or Big M as it is customarily called. Iowa, Iowa State, Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, SMSU, Northwestern and Purdue are all members. The Big Midwest conference sanctions all non-lethal forms of dueling. In non-lethal duels all dropped weapons except mines, explosives or flaming are legal, all weaponry is loaded with paint pellets and do no damage to vehicles. Armor is considered destroyed when the number of paint hits equals the number of points of armor.

The vehicle is considered disabled when 3 more additional hits are taken on any side where the armor is “destroyed”

Justice Night: Campus Security is the police force for Uni. This is something of a misnomer as the security force is better trained and equipped than the average police department. Rather than spend money on feeding and housing prisoners, Campus Security takes all law breakers to the arena on Saturday night. Each prisoner gets one motorcycle from the impound yard. Once the prisoners have their bikes and each has a full load of ammo the prisoners enter the arena one from each corner (4 prisoners / duel). All duels are to the death, no surrendering is allowed. If the survivor’s bike is destroyed (s)he is given another from the impound yard. The survivor has 30 minutes to strip ammo and supplies from the kills before the next set of four emerge. Destroyed bikes are left on the arena floor as obstacles for the next round. The survivors from each of the first rounds then battle, continuing on until only one prisoner is left. The last survivor is given 30 minutes to clear out of the arena with the bike.

There are no judges in Uni. There are no lawyers. All violations of the law are treated equally from vandalism to drug trafficking (murder is difficult to prosecute as the survivor can always claim it was a duel). Given the fact that Campus Security is wont to believe that out-of-towners are at fault, visitors will need to make sure they violate no local ordinances while in town.

February 14, 2009 Posted by | Gaming Notes, Other Systems, RPG | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Excerpts from the AADA Guide Uni, Iowa 2057

Excerpts from the AADA Road Atlas and Survival Guide: Uni, IA (formerly known as Waterloo/Cedar Falls)drive

Uni is the largest city in northeastern Iowa. It is the result of the citizens who stayed after the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls fortified itself and downtown Waterloo was abandoned.

Waterloo and Cedar Falls were originally two separate cities whose borders eventually touched as the cities grew. Cedar Falls was the University town and home to the wealthier portion of the population. Waterloo’s population was more working class as the city’s economy was based on the food production and manufacturing jobs in the area.


Yadda yadda yadda

When the Grain Blight hit in 20?? Waterloo’s economy took a nosedive as many of the food production facilities shut down. The manufacturing jobs were mainly agricultural and that portion of the economy took a hit as well. Waterloo faced a similar situation in the 1980’s when a major food producer went bankrupt. Many citizens left but the city eventually recovered. The food riots however took a far larger toll and the downtown was eventually abandoned (use City Blocks 2 for any duels in downtown Waterloo).

Cedar Falls, being a university town fared much better. However, the university began beefing up the defenses of their agri-business department in an effort to stave off raids by the rapidly forming gangs based out of Waterloo’s East Side.

The fortifications at the University were expanded and built upon until most of the remaining citizens in the area were protected. The fortifications are not always a wall there are pace where the streets are open but protected by fortified bunkers and gates. Eventually most of the well-to-do-neighborhoods of both cities are now protected. The citizens decide to carve a new identity from the old.


Uni is haven for those that can afford the housing within the fortifications. Those who cannot afford to live within the fortifications enjoy the semi-protection afforded by living on the outskirts of the fortified city limits or the Outer Zone as the area is known to the locals.

After a brutal Darwinian process that has culled the weaker gangs, there are only two left. The gangs do not prey on each other rather they engage in a friendly competition preying on convoys entering and leaving Uni. They also prey on the citizens and business that are outside the city fortifications. Uni’s security forces do not patrol outside the limits of the fortifications.


The main route to get to Uni is US218 north of US20, Unfortunately, you need to run through the Waterloo ruins to get there. Gang activity is very heavy along this corridor of 218.

Points of Interest:

The University of Northern Iowa is the third largest college in the state. The research facilities in their agri-business department are trying to cure the grain blight. They have also been very successful in making many different food types from soybeans, the state’s other main cash crop, which was not affected by the grain blight..

The Dome Dueling Arena located on the grounds of the university. This used to be the football field where the UNI Panthers played until the demise of college sports in 20??. It was converted to a full-fledged dueling arena in 2040 after the legalization of Autodueling in 2038.

John Deere Manufacturing: The site of the famed tractor maker’s factory in downtown Waterloo did not survive the implosion of the farming economy. The factory just south of Cedar Falls did survive and shifted the focus of its construction to soybean based agriculture. Tours of the factory and testing grounds are given on an appointment basis only.

The Waterloo Greyhound Dueltrack used to be a greyhound racing facility until it went bankrupt in 199? It sat vacant and unused until 2038 when the reconvened Iowa Legislature legalized autodueling. Investors bought the unused facility and had it operational for amateur events within six months.


One Hospital located within fortified city complete with Gold Cross facilities. One functioning Hospital located in the O.Z. no Gold Cross but it can handle most mundane emergencies. There is an abandoned hospital on Waterloo’s East Side rumors of strange goings on at the hospital have never been confirmed due to the gang activity.

There is one fortified Truck Stop 2 miles west of the I-380 US20 junction. The mechanics at this facility are not the best. The garages and repair facilities in the O.Z. are substandard. Facilities within the fortified city are better but charge 50% more to non-locals.

The Dome Dueling Arena is part of the L’Outrance Circuit. It has a prestige modifier of .5


The Flaming Skulls and the C.R.U.D. are two cycle gangs based out of the East side. They are surprisingly well-funded for cycle gangs. Rumors that these two gangs are connected to strange goings on at the abandoned hospital have never been proven.

The AADA has a branch office in downtown Uni. Other than the storefront office, there is no official AADA organization within the city.

Campus Security is the nominal police force. They are well armed, well trained, and well funded. They only patrol within the fortified borders and never venture into the O.Z. Only the fact that the O.Z. has nothing of value keeps them free from attacks by the Skulls and CRUD.

Vulcan Transport is Brotherhood certified transport and courier service. They have the contract for transporting vital research out of the university and other items of value past the cycle gangs. VT is a highly successful business and has never lost a shipment. The corporation is currently sponsoring two up-and-coming drivers on the pro-dueling circuit.

February 11, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming Notes, Other Systems, RPG | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Car Wars: Iowa 2000-2059

2000 Ethanol production expands. Iowa’s economy gets a
Second Civil War, Free Oil State Secession

2004 Texarkana Accords

2012 The Grain Blight hits Iowa hard. Though soybeans are still a common crop, the “tall corn state” is no more. All sections of the economy linked to corn-production take a severe hit. Many family farms go under. The Iowa population, dropping steadily for over fifty years, dives to 40% of the 2000 population. Most small towns disappear. All major universities have a large anti-Blight research section.

2014 The Amana Society decides to take a more active role in the state government, since their population comprises five percent of all Iowans. Six Amanas are elected to the state legislature that same year, campaigning with a platform of “Rebuilding Iowa.”

2015 Amana policies are wildly successful in regaining lost population. A few small towns are reincorporated. More Amana candidates are set to run in 2016.

2016 The Food Riots. Riverfest ’16 in Iowa City erupts in a civil disturbance. The Iowa National Guard is called in to help, but arrives too late to prevent the complete destruction of the old Capitol Building on the University of Iowa campus.

In Ames where Viesha is currently underway, the violence escalates to the point of including the local citizenry, hundreds are killed or hurt. Ames is leveled, but the campus of ISU is preserved.

In Cedar Falls on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa, the board of regents begins the fortification of the campus. By the end of the year all three campuses are heavily fortified. Since the cities themselves are unfortified, Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Ames and Iowa City (locations of UNI, ISU, U of I) become havens for gangs to prey upon family farms. Isu, Uni, & Fort Iowa are the fortress cities eventually built out of Ames, Cedar Falls, and Iowa City.

2017 Waterloo becomes a war zone as many gangs base out of the East side.

Grain companies take over the many abandoned small farms. Weapons are
installed on tractors to defend against gang attacks.

Independent farms begin arming tractors as well, though they do not have the same resources to draw on. Independent farms band together in defensive co-operatives.

The cities of Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, & Dubuque fortify themselves against gang activity. Hearing of the desolation in Ames and Iowa City and seeing firsthand the desolation of Waterloo, citizens of Cedar Falls beg the University of Northern Iowa to expand the fortifications to include the remainder of the city. Uni, Iowa becomes a fortified city.

Seeing the success of Uni, the remaining citizens of Ames petition ISU for similar treatment, Isu is incorporated. Fort Iowa forms shortly thereafter.

Upset with the Amanites heavy handed policies, Davenport and Bettendorf along with Moline and Rock Island, Illinois fortify themselves and band together as The Quad, declaring themselves separate from Iowa and Illinois. I280 becomes a toll road patrolled by the Quad’s Militia.

2020 Des Moines is the only population center larger than the Amana Colonies. Amana legislators dominate the Iowa Senate and the House. First accusations of misrepresentation are voiced. First Amana governor elected.

2021 The ruins of Waterloo are largely abandoned and are taken over by two of the three largest gangs in the state.
2035 Car Wars

2024 Anti-duelling laws passed. This reduces highway violence, but does not prevent it completely.

Enforcement of the ban is overseen by the Iowa Department of Inbound and Outbound Transportation (I.D.I.O.T.).

2029 Iowa borders closed. Because of the reduced traffic through the state, most of Iowa suffers economically. Many people move to Minnesota and other bordering states.

2030 Minnesota threatens legal action, citing hindrance of interstate trade.

2031 The Supreme Court rules in favor of Minnesota, forcing Iowa to open its borders. The Iowa Congress responds with a complex system of disarming vehicles at the border. Gangs flourish in the interior of the state, away from the heavy concentration of Highway Patrol near the major population centers. Incidents of road violence increase unexpectedly. Patrolling of the border is done by the Iowa National Guard.

2032 ISU sociology professor Sampson Pennel offers a class on what he calls the “Tyranny of the Peaceful,” saying the Amana Society is responsible for all of the troubles in Iowa in the last fifteen years. Pennel disappears after four lectures and the class is cancelled. Soon after, the University Book Store mysteriously recalls all of the textbooks for the class, citing poison ink used in some of the books.

Statewide, local sheriffs report being overwhelmed by roving gangs everywhere in the state, along with some illegal autodueling. The legislature ignores the requests for funding, denying that such violence could be possible in a pacified area.

2036 The gang problem is now out of control. Finally coming to their senses, the legislature realizes they don’t have the funds to reinforce the Highway Patrol.

IDIOT’s head George Robert Farley wants to legalize Autodueling within the state and begins campaigns.

2037 Pro-dueling candidates begin running for office.

2038 Unable to gain control of Iowa Legislature after the elections due to Amanite tampering of the ballots, IDIOT decides to “remove” the Amanites from power.

IDIOT stages a coup. IDIOT’s forces nuke the Amana colonies and attack the state capitol building. Most of the senators are killed. Since the Iowa National Guard is busy patrolling the state’s borders the coup is briefly successful. Very few Amanites survive.

The Iowa National Guard pulls back from border patrol and counter attacks the new dictatorship.

IDIOT’s leader is captured and summarily executed.

Iowa holds emergency elections to replace the decimated legislature. Iowa National Guard now secures the capitol.

Pro-dueling candidates are overwhelmingly elected.

Ban on autodueling as a sport is lifted. Vehicular weaponry is now legal but regulated. Autodueling on Iowa’s roadways is still illegal. Iowa National Guard patrols the major highways (I-80 I-35 I-380 US218 US30 US20) and will prosecute any duelists they encounter (1 in 4 chance of running across Iowa National Guard).

State Agency in charge of Autodueling is DRIVE (Dueling Regulators Iowa Vehicular Enforcement). In accordance with old state laws gambling on dueling is allowed.

2040 Eager to garner Autodueling and gambling money, Iowans convert old racetracks and stadiums to dueling arenas.

2051 Iowa Duelway in Newton, The Dome Autoduel Arena in Uni, Knoxville Dirt
Dueling and the track at the Iowa Fairgrounds join the L’Outrance Dueling Circuit. There are many local dirt tracks and Figure-8 dueling is very popular in the state.

2058 – Universities having some success in creating non-blight affected grain. Unfortunately this new grain tastes terrible and is unusable for distillation into fuel.

February 5, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming Notes, Other Systems, RPG | , , | Leave a comment