Sunday, August 28, 2016

Taking A Sunday Drive #43

"No matter where I roam, there's no place like home."

Saved the best for last: Iowa, Beautiful Land.

I started going through photos of our Iowa trips and realized there are too many to use in one blog; so, a few photos and some words about our times together in our home state.

When we were first married we didn't have a lot of money to spend on travel but one way we could do it was by camping. This was our first tent - shown here set up in my Mom's front yard. I remember the first time we used it. It was over the 4th of July weekend and we went to Chichaqua Bottoms Park northeast of Des Moines. It was quite hot that weekend, but the park wasn't crowded and we had a good time trying to canoe in the old Skunk River oxbows.

We decided to do long weekend camping trips to the three 'corners' of Iowa we weren't from. In northwest Iowa we've camped at Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, visited Stone State Park in Sioux City, visited The Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, seen The Hausbarn in Manning, climbed the tower in Pilot Knob State Park, walked along the shore at Storm Lake, but somehow missed Orange City which we are talking about visiting this fall.

In northeast Iowa we've been to Mason City, Iowa Falls, the giant tree house in Marshalltown, Decorah, Dubuque, Lansing, Lime Springs.

And to the Hurstville Lime Kilns near Maquoketa (as well as the caves).

We've been to the The Field of Dreams near Dyersville, the Amana Colonies and the Yellow River State Forest.

We toured Cedar Rock, the Frank Lloyd Wright house at Quasqueton, viewed the Anamosa State Penitentiary (from outside) but missed the National Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame!

And, with my affinity for mills, we've been to the Motor Mill on the Turkey River near Elkader and toured Potter's Mill at Bellevue.

In southeast Iowa, we attended this Buckskinners' Rendezvous at Lake Wapello State Park near Drakesville, where we also looked in on a farm auction attended almost entirely by Amish, and celebrated our 20th anniversary with dinner at Big Muddy's on the banks of the Mississippi at Burlington.

We've seen the Golden Domes at Maharishi University of Management at Fairfield, hunted for geodes at Geode State Park near Lowell, looked for big kitties at Wildcat Den State Park near Muscatine and visited the old Manning Hotel in Keosauqua.

We shopped at the Dutchman's Store, a huge, old-fashioned, general store operated by Mennonites in Cantril, before driving by the Wickfield Pavilion east of Cantril. This unique round barn was built in 1918 and is now on the National Historic Register. We had a scary few minutes on the way to see the above when a pickup truck struck the horse and buggy of one of the local Mennonite farmers. Luckily he and the horse were alright, although the buggy was badly damaged. (I think it is an interesting comparison between the domes in the two photos above.)

Closer to home are the famous covered bridges of Madison County, Lake of Three Fires State Park near Bedford, one of our favorite camping spots, Mormon Trail Lake and Park near Bridgewater .....

.... the National Hot Air Balloon Classic at Indianola as well as, of course, our own Southwest Iowa Hot Air Balloon Days every September here in Creston. This photo was taken at Lake McKinley, but most years we get the best view right from our own deck.

I began by saying how very, very, many photos I have taken on our travels throughout Iowa. I don't need pictures to remember the places we've been, but like the one above, they do help. This barn once stood along highway 169 south of Winterset. It was torn down several years ago, but I still think of it every time we pass that way. Pictures aren't necessary, but I'm glad I have them as reminders of just how beautiful my home state is.

East is east and west is west, but home's the place I love the best.

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