I'm in Saint Paul, Minnesota and just got back into model railroading after about 25 years away from the hobby. Although I grew up in Wisconsin (mostly) and had a lot of exposure to the C&NW and BN via my grandparents' suburban Chicago home, the Rock Island has always been my favorite. This stems from my first train set, a Lionel O27 Rock Island steam engine and train from Christmas 1976.
I'm protofreelance modeling the Rock Island/Milwaukee Road south of Davenport, Iowa, near Muscatine. The design is a double-track mainline with yard, and a couple of hidden staging/storage tracks on the lower level. Minimum radius curve is 30" on the mainline. I've got an area of approximately 12 ft by 13 ft to work with. It's a DC layout (I like electromechanical things).
I'm an environmental engineer and hydrogeologist by day.