David Freeze: Finally getting to see the Field of Dreams

Published 12:01 am Thursday, August 4, 2022

Editor’s note: David Freeze is cycling along the Mississippi River from Dubuque, Iowa, to New Orleans. Contact him at david.freeze@ctc.net.

Since about four years ago, when I passed through Iowa briefly on the way to visiting all 50 states, I have wanted to visit the Field of Dreams near Dyersville, Iowa. It wasn’t easy but I made that visit today. I left Dubuque about 8 a.m. after dropping the rental car off at the airport. I had the bike onboard and the things I thought I might need. As soon as I went out of the room this morning, lightning struck close by and rain started.

I went to the airport anyway and found a number to call at the Budget desk. I was told to drop the keys in a box and just leave the car. Immediately I started pedaling toward Dyersville. Clouds were threatening but the rain didn’t start in earnest until nearly 11 a.m., with plenty of lightning. At the time I was riding on the Heritage Trail, a packed crushed limestone old railroad bed that isn’t nearly as hilly as the surrounding area. I hope the hills lessen some as I head south because those today had some doozies mixed in.

A solid downpour had just lessened a little as I rode into the Field of Dreams property. I was soaked, but so were lots of other visitors. Plenty of workers in the process of setting up the Major League field that will be used for a game between the Cubs and Reds got very wet too. There were hundreds of workers, lots of trailers to bring in goods for the game, and another field pretty much ready to be used. The famous field shown in the movie is not the one the game will be played on. I naively thought it was but the MLB field is about 500 feet away through the corn. The stands there will seat about 8,000 fans next week. Last year’s game between the Yankees and the White Sox was the most watched game ever.

I was told touring the site is free, but found that visitors are asked for a $20 or $40 donation. That covers everything except a tour of the house, which is scheduled ahead of time. I didn’t get to see the inside of the house but got to stand in the batter’s box, run the bases (there’s a video made by a new acquaintance) and a few photos of a ghost player (made by another new acquaintance) who looks like me coming out of the corn. Just the same as the old White Sox players did.

The field is left open for anyone to throw, hit and run and plenty were doing just that in the light rain. Mrs. Rahe, yesterday’s Welcome Center lady, is part of a neighboring family that plants the corn and organizes regular ghost player games.

I rode about 64 miles today, enough to make me eat a huge meal as I write this. Tomorrow, I will head south and try to follow at least part of the Great River Road. Today was all about baseball and tomorrow will be about the river. “People who know baseball aren’t better than everyone else, but everyone else would be better if they knew baseball.”

Keep riding along. Today was good despite the weather and the hills. I am excited about tomorrow and hope you are too!