This is the first time two updates were written on the same day - I feel like a writer more than a photographer/driver, but I think any film shooters living around or passing through this part of the country may appreciate this quick info.
While driving through Des Moines I stopped by Christian Photo today and found a wonderfully receptive and kind staff there who were genuinely excited to see The Photo Palace Bus outside of their establishment. Located on the northern part of town it is one of the bigger camera stores that I have found along this journey. I was happy to find a great selection of film (including the hard to find Fuji FP3000b) and a full line-up of darkroom supplies that's enough to start printing with.
Also they do have two cases full of film cameras - the one that is not pictured is more of a regular student selection and includes a good number of AE-1s and other cameras of similar type. The one I liked better is located behind the counter on the wall and has some nifty finds - if anyone wants a good deal on a Stereo Realist for just $50 (I checked it out and all the speeds are working, unlike in mine...) or a Contax RTS (Didn't ask how much that one was) - do give them a call at 515-270-8030 and I'm sure they'd be happy to help out. There was also a very odd old fold-out 35mm German camera the name of which I forget now, but all the shutter speeds were working great and it seems like for $30 it might have been a great deal, if only I had the extra $30 to spend... It is pictured on the same shelf as the RTS, third from left. Also - a fair deal on a Rolleiflex RIII lens hood - considering what I see them fetch these days on eBay $50 is not bad...
Thank you Christian Photo for your enthusiasm and commitment to film! Here's to many more years in business and to film never going away.
P.S. I am sorry I won't be able to make it to your photo walk-about tomorrow - it sounds like fun, but I would love to get two days to dig through and see what I can find in the archives of Topeka concerning some photos I have from 100 years ago, so I'm on the way there right after I post this and hopefully I'll make the 260 miles in one shot... I'll be back though and hope to catch one of these events next time. Cheers!