Iowa in January? Well, its maybe not the first place that comes to mind when you think about places to go in midwinter, but we had been invited to our flower girls wedding, and we were honored to go; we just made sure we had every piece of warm clothing with us that we could stuff into our carry-on bags! Flying in, we saw the frozen tundra below. As we approached Iowa City, there was the ice-covered Mississippi River
and wide open farm fields below.
Once on the ground, it was confirmed that we were in farm country with the John Deere exhibit in the airport. Now about the weather, I will simply say it was COLD!!
I had scoured to find information on what to see and do around Iowa City for 3 days. There must be something, even in winter and there was! My son had seen an episode of Trucking, that showed the worlds largest truck stop, Iowa 80, was near by.
We also wanted to see how the Amish lived and there was the Hoover National Library. We usually try and let everyone pick something of interest to see when we travel.
After we checked into the Iowa City Marriott, we headed to Kalona. Kalona, a nearby Amish town, was only about a 30 minute drive south. We knew we had arrived when we saw “street legal” horse-drawn buggies; I had seen street legal golf carts, but this was a first.
We visited a cheese factory,
Saw men working the fields with horse-drawn plows. Wow.
They are big time into quilts and we got a whole lesson on quilting after visiting Kalona Quilt and Textile Museum. They have a quilt walk through the town a well.
As we drove around, we saw little girls ice skating on frozen ponds on their family farms. They skated around in their long dresses and head coverings. It was like a time warp; I felt like Micheal J Fox in Back To The Future. There were no power lines into the Amish homes and stores were closing as they only used natural light. With evening approaching, you could sense that darkness.
Hard to believe this was how they lived their day-to-day lives in our modern world. No staying up late at night watching mindless TV, computers, etc..
The next day it was time to head out to Iowa 80, The Worlds Largest Truck Stop, it was about a 40 minute drive east. It totally lived up to its name. There was a movie theater with surround sound, a barber, dentist, laundry, a chapel, two game rooms, an embroidery stand, vinyl graphics shop, a Truckomat truck wash
you get the idea – Everything! I would imagine, that if you were a trucker, you would be in heaven here. We had a good lunch at the Iowa 80 Kitchen. We all ate from the huge salad bar that really was more like a buffet than a salad bar. We browsed the showroom, that had more chrome, lights and accessories than you could ever imagine.
It was a whole new world. They had big, fancy semis all decked out on turn table displays.
Now these were some souped up trucks. There was a yellow one named Corn Patch Cadillac; Classic.
The kids climbed right up into the big rigs; Cool. 10-4 to that!
Then it was back to our puny rental car, which really seemed tiny now. Next stop – Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and Presidential Library. It was fascinating to see how a poor Quaker boy, who had had a tough childhood, grew up to become President of the United States and known as the Great Humanitarian.
Not sure I would have visited Iowa in winter, so thank you Linea! We had come to attend a wedding and we now had a whole new appreciation for another part of the USA. That is one of the coolest parts about traveling, you never know what you will experience! There is always something new and interesting to see.