Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: To boldly go...to Riverside, Iowa!

4.25.2012

To boldly go...to Riverside, Iowa!

As part of my quarterly journey to Lincoln, NE a couple weeks ago, I took a detour down the beaten path (and away from the interstate for a few minutes) to a place that has often been the subject of Star Trek lore, Riverside, Iowa. According to the Gene Roddenberry, the creator of "Star Trek," Riverside is the future birthplace of James Tiberius Kirk, a boy who would grow up to be captain of the USS Enterprise.

Riverside, IA (population 928) is a small town south of Iowa City, IA, about 20 miles below Interstate 80 on the east side of the state. It's a simple place, with a main road that goes right through town, a single gas station, fire station, and several stores. If you ride through the main thoroughfare (Iowa Highway 22), you probably would miss everything if not for the giant starship float in front of the town's museum and historical center that meets you at one of the curves.

I think this is the right place...
The Riverside History Center houses several examples of Star Trek memorabilia and cool artifacts from William Shatner's visit there in 2004 for the filming of "Invasion Iowa." There are also other historical photos of its long past; one of its oldest buildings, St. Mary's Catholic Church, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It's a simple place, but it has quite a few cool things inside.
Some strange things in here, like this unburied time capsule.
Billboard from William Shatner's 2004 visit to Riverside. Several cue cards (not shown) from filming adorn the walls. His director's chair sits in the bottom right corner.
Does anyone want a tribble to piss of a Klingon?
There are several, fan-donated displays of toy collections and memorabilia. The museum runs solely on donations so they're always looking for something new to add to the exhibit.
Two Starfleet uniforms from the TV series, "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
Continue about four blocks up the road and you'll find the official stone marker that heralds the future coming of one of the greatest captains to ever come out of Starfleet Academy.

The stone marker is behind a small yellow building. Don't worry, the place gives you enough clues.
Come back in a couple hundred years for the real birthday party!
So, if you want to go see "Where the Trek Begins," head to Riverside, IA. If you want to make a weekend of it, definitely visit on the last weekend of June for their annual Trekfest. There's also a huge golf course/resort at its outskirts to keep you busy.

For more information about this city, visit their official website at http://www.riversideiowa.org/.

Live long and prosper!